Hand-Knotted Oriental Rugs
Oriental rugs come in the most breathtakingly diverse array of styles, colors and designs, with each type of rug having its own distinct characteristics, origins and weaving technique. So what is the one common thread that runs through them all? Interestingly, it’s the fact they are all hand-knotted. All Oriental rugs, whether they originate from Iran, India, Pakistan or Afghanistan, are always woven and knotted by hand. If you see a rug that is obviously machine made, no matter how strikingly similar it may be to a Gabbeh, a Bokhara or a Kashan rug, it is simply a replica. It is not the original.
Oriental Rugs Warps, Wefts And Knots
Most people walk into a carpet shop and are impressed with the wealth of choices that lay displayed everywhere but how many of us really think about the labor of love that goes into creating each rug?
In an oriental rug, every knot is made by hand. Weavers sit at the loom for hours on end, deftly weaving and knotting wool in various hues, creating a finished rug that has exotic patterns in deep, rich colors. A hand woven rug measuring 12 feet x 9 feet takes a minimum of 3000 hours just for the weaving. That’s more than 4 months and it does not even take into consideration the time spent on spinning and dyeing the wool or setting up the loom.
Let’s not forget those knots: A coarse Oriental rug has on average about 30 to 40 knots per square inch and a high quality Oriental rug can have a density of 300 or more knots per square inch. It’s difficult to even imagine the weavers’ patience and persistence.
Origin of Oriental Rugs
Most rugs are woven by nomadic tribes in remote hilly areas. The weavers use the knotting technique passed down by their ancestors and in the process of creating the pattern, they give free reign to their creativity, which adds to the variations. It’s absolutely amazing. Every Oriental rug tells a different story. If you look closely, you will notice that all the little design elements that may appear to be randomly chosen are actually depictions of the weaver’s narrative.
Types Of Oriental Rugs
Persian rugs are the oldest type of rugs that you see and most other types of rugs are in some way or the other imitations of this original rug making style. Persian variations run the gamut from roughly woven tribal rugs such as Herez, Kurd and Hamadan to lush, high quality rugs such as Qum, Nain and Tabriz.
Traditional rug making in Indian was initiated during the reign of Mogul Emperor Akbar during the 1500s. The techniques and styles used were mostly adopted from the Esfahan style, which originated in Esfahan, a city located south of Tehran in Persia.
Rug production in Pakistan can be traced back to the 1500s when skilled Persian weavers were brought into the country to create masterpieces for Akbar Shah. All Pakistani rugs still reflect their Persian heritage.