An Introduction to Antique Oriental Rugs


Despite not knowing precisely where, when, or how it originated, rug weaving has been performed for many years throughout Persia and the East.

The earliest carpet that has been discovered, the so-called Pazyryk carpet, dates to 500 B.C. and is highly intricate in both design and execution.

Its discovery in the Scythian prince’s tomb in Siberia, a long way from its likely origin, suggests that carpets were already a common item at that time. As far back as the second and third millennia B.C., there are tools that are thought to have been employed for carpet weaving.

Persian Rugs IntroductionHistory of Antique Oriental Rugs

Handmade Rug-making was common during the Middle Ages, according to historical records, especially in Sassanid Persia (3rd–7th century), which was under Islamic rule during the Seljuks’ rule (11th–13th century).

The Mamluk dynasty in Egypt and Syria up until the turn of the 16th century.

The Ottoman empire began in the 14th century, the Mughal dynasty in India in the 15th century, and was as far west as Spain.

On diplomatic trips, rugs were given as presents and tribute and were either bought or looted. According to legend, kings who observed these goods invited expert weavers from abroad to set up workshops on their land.

By the seventeenth century, carpets were being made by several nomadic tribes in various regions of Anatolia, Persia, China, the Caucasus, and India.

The Late 19th and Early 20th Century

Sadly, only a few early carpets like antique Bokhara rugs have survived.

Those that survived are currently kept in well-known public collections or large institutions.

The majority of antique rugs on the market now are from the final quarter of the 19th century or later, when carpets gained popularity in the West and the rug business had a financial resurgence in the area.

This comprises carpets from well-known tribes or long-established hubs like Persian Kerman, Kashan, Turkish Oushak, and Chinese Ningxia as well as those from then-unknown enterprises like Persian Serapi, Heriz, and Sultanabad or Chinese art deco rugs.

Each area and tribe evolved its own weaving tradition and lexicon of designs and colors throughout the centuries, while they undoubtedly affected one another.

The fact that the fundamental designs have remained mostly constant and constrained since before the 18th century is a testament to both the challenges of making carpets like Bokhara rugs for sale and the limitations of this medium.

The Village, Tribal, and City Rugs

For their own use, early households in tribes or villages produced carpets, or they purchased them from specialized stores that catered to the royal courts and elite.

Although some can be quite exquisite, the former were often woven on simple looms and were smaller in size, more primitive in design, and slightly looser in structure. These “village” and “tribal” carpets appeal to many collectors because they are imbued with authentic cultural tradition and personal expression.

As a result, they are capable of standing alone as works of art.

These carpets including oriental and Persian rugs were also created on a wide scale and in a variety of shapes for commerce as demand increased at the end of the nineteenth century, though rarely in great proportions.

On the other hand, “city” rugs, or antique carpets made in workshops, were often woven on modern looms using a blueprint created by skilled designers.

These carpets might be any size, but they were often more formal with no kinks or asymmetries, a fine, densely packed weave, and more consistent colors.

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