Oriental rugs offer a beautiful and unique addition to any room in your home. Their intricate designs and amazingly smooth touch make your home feel warm and inviting.
Many people don’t realize that there are actually a lot of different types of oriental rugs. Here’s a quick oriental rug guide so you can determine the right fit for your home, from both a design and maintenance perspective.
Kashan rugs are a type of Persian rug, pulling their name from the city where they originated in Iran. These rugs are most often made from silk and the particular type of weave used is thought to date back to the 16th century.
The silk material is due to the desert that surrounds Kashan, meaning that the wool from sheep was not originally as soft as it is today due to a lack of water and shade. Wool rugs tended to be more brittle and unforgiving.
Kashan was originally an affluent city visited by the rulers of the Safavid Dynasty and the rugs were designed to create a luxury appearance using colourful designs, dyes and patterned fabrics woven carefully by expert rug weavers. The time it took to create the patterns made the rugs even more valuable.
How to Identify a Kashan Rug
You can spot a Kashan rug by:
- Looking at the underside of the fringe at the edge. Weavers usually use the Senneh asymmetrical knot for Kashan rugs, whereas most other oriental rugs have symmetrical knots.
- The rich colors such as royal blue, red, and ivory are also prominent in a medallion pattern starting from the corners of the rug.
- The pile of the rug is often trimmed really short to help with the smooth feel and emphasise the sharp patterns.
- The rugs are dense and heavy, emphasising the luxurious feel.
Tabriz rugs get their name from the Tabriz area in Northwestern Iran. They’re often large rectangular rugs made to fit big stately rooms or runners to place in long hallways. The rugs can be made from cotton, soft wool, or silk as all of these materials are soft and weavable in the Tabriz area.
Unlike some other Persian rugs, there are some rugs here that are obscure shapes, with octagon and hexagon variations.
How to Identify a Tabriz Rug
Tabriz rugs are known for:
- Their fine texture and hand knotted technique.
- The smooth touch to the pile despite the knotting technique.
- Elaborate hunting scenes or floral gardens alongside the traditional medallions originating around the edges and flowing into the middle of the rug.
- Tabriz rugs have a unique color palette of ivory, terracotta, oranges, rich copper, and burgundy.
- The weave pattern is set in a weft and warp design where only the horizontal threads are visible from the back of the rug.
Qum rugs come from the large holy city of Qum in Iran. It has only become famous for its intricate rug weaving since the 1930s, making Qum one of the newest types of oriental rugs on the market. They’re characteristically large, winning the size title above other oriental rug styles.
Due to the modern weaving technique, the Qum rugs are developed as a renewed method of creating past designs. Many of the designs feature similar motifs to the Kashan and Tabriz rugs but may have a more floral appearance.
How to Identify a Qum Rugs
Qum rugs are the modern take on a Persian rug, and as such, have a few very unique features:
- Very fine silk fibers to ensure every detail is perfect. Because of the introduction of technology into rug weaving, professional weavers are able to make rugs with much finer details.
- The warps (vertical cords) on the back of the rug are depressed because the wefts (vertical cords) are pulled tightly creating greater tension.
- The cords are often 2 woven fibers pf cotton or silk to create a greater thickness and more stability. They are also usually dyed blue so that they stand out from the back of the rug.
- The knots are Persian asymmetrical, just like those of the Kashan rug.
- The underside of the rug will have a kilim, an area of woven fibers which help to support the rug’s fringe at either end. These are also useful for rug hanging.
Kerman rugs were one of the very first types of Persian rugs, originating from South Persia in the 16th century where they were well thought of and placed in the homes of the wealthy. However, the village of Kerman was destroyed in the 19th century during a civil war and the tradition of Kerman rug making was relocated further north. Due to this move, you may also see Kerman rugs referred to as Laver rugs.
The Features of a Kerman Rug
Being one of the oldest types of Persian rugs, Kerman rugs have some very noticeable features:
- Each knot is accompanied by 3 turns with the first and last having much more tension than the middle. This ensures stability and the weave pattern is very noticeable from the underside.
- The rugs are made of silky Carmania wool to give a thicker texture than the silk rugs.
- The most common sizes are 9 x 12 feet or 10 x 14 feet.
Bijar rugs come from the city of Bijar in Northwestern Iran. They are particularly known for their use of bright colors and unique, eye-catching designs.
The designs almost always have an intricate border of medallions, or interwoven flowers, and may not have a large fringe at each end like other Persian rugs.
How To Identify a Bijar Rrug
Bijar rugs have a few distinguishing features:
- Their colors are created from vegetable dyes, making rich reds, oranges and yellows.
- They use a Turkish knot called a Gordies knot where 2 wefts are inserted between each row of knots.
- They take inspiration from older types of rugs with a tight weave and thick body, making them the most hard wearing of the oriental rugs.
Which Rug Is for Me?
Oriental rugs are beautiful, unique, and expertly made, so whichever style you choose, you won’t be disappointed. It’s best to pick a rug that matches the accents of your home color scheme or find something that speaks to you if you have a neutral room, just to provide a bit of a kick.
Whichever rug you choose, make sure you take care of it, ensuring you have it professionally cleaned and restored every few years so it maintains its beauty for longer.