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The History of Authentic Oriental Rugs: Which Countries Do They Originate From?

oriental rugs

While some things continue to change, some things forever stay the same, and that rings true as it pertains to the value of antique Oriental rugs.

Though there has been some evolution as far as weaving techniques or design, for the most part, Oriental rugs haven’t changed much.

It’s hard to determine who wove the first Oriental rug because the fibers disintegrate over time. However, one of the oldest rugs found to date was the Pazyryk rug. 

In 1949, this famous carpet was discovered with 2 tattooed mummies in the Altai Mountains in Siberia. During an excavation of a burial ground, excavators discovered this antique beauty with a sheet of ice that had formed around it.

The ice protected the fibers from deteriorating and preserved the rug from the 5th century B.C.

Keep reading to learn more about antique Oriental rugs and the countries from which they originate.

What Are Oriental Carpets?

Oriental rugs are piled or flat woven textiles. They are hand-knotted in one of the traditional weaving areas of the Far or the Middle East. Persian rugs are also considered Oriental, but they’re made in Iran (formerly known as Persia).

Oriental rugs are heavy textiles. They are both useful and symbolic and to this day, produced in “Oriental countries” for local sale, home use, and export.

Oriental rugs are made using materials such as wool, cotton, and silk.

What Countries Make Oriental Rugs?

Oriental rugs are defined as rugs that were produced in Asia (the “Orient”). However, the term can also refer to specific rug patterns too.

They can be geometric or floral. Antique Oriental rugs can also be open and large scale or refined and intricate.

Oriental rugs originate in areas that fall along the “Rug Belt.” It stretches from Morocco across North Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia, and Northern India.

By simple definition, area rugs that were produced in Asia are classified as “Oriental rugs.” But the term “Oriental” can also refer to the specific types of rug patterns. 

By strict definition, Oriental carpets are rugs that are hand-knotted only in Asia. Countries like China, India, Turkey, Russia, Pakistan, Iran, Nepal, and Tibet are some of the biggest rug exporters.

Persian rugs (made in Iran) are unusually thick, and they are extremely rich in color and known for their distinct knots and designs. Rugs are typically named after a town, village, or district in which they were created, or after the weaving tribe.

Who Made Them First?

Some of the richest Oriental rug-making traditions belong to Indian rugs, Turkish rugs, and Persian Rugs.

There is also a long history of Chinese rugs, Tibetan rugs, Afghani rugs, and many more. Rugs that are hand-crafted in these regions are Oriental rugs. 

Oriental rugs are both a treasured and revered example of beautiful craftsmanship. By tradition, rugs are hand-made in a meticulous weaving process.

Even though machines make more affordable versions of Oriental rugs, the finest and most intricate versions have been created entirely by hand. You won’t find any machine-made Oriental rug that stands up to an antique one. 

The aforementioned Pazyryk rug, which was found in Siberia, dates back to 500 B.C. History tells us that over 2500 years ago, Cyrus the Great at Pasargadae had the Achaemenian court decked with extraordinary carpets as well.

While there is evidence of Oriental carpets existing so long ago, historians can’t pinpoint for sure where the very first rug originated.

What Are Different Types of Oriental Rugs Made out Of?

Silk and cotton are two of the primary materials used in Oriental rug-making. However, wool is still the fiber we see the most of in these beautiful antiques.

Wool stays clean longer, and it is more resilient. It also cleans up better than other fibers, which is why most Oriental rugs are still crafted using wool.

The dyes used are from insects and plant materials such as madder, oak, sumac, indigo, pomegranate, cochineal, and larkspur. Until the 1870s, these materials were the only sources used to dye the wool.

There has been much debate about which type of dye produces more beautiful and long-lasting rugs, especially with the invention of synthetic dyes. Because natural dyes tend to fade gently with time, they create a much more sought-after patina.

The design of Oriental rugs circumscribes a beautifully complex and artistic symbolism. You can trace a carpet back to its origin by simply analyzing its design.

Rug weavers use colors, shapes, patterns, and symbols that relate to their particular surroundings and culture. 

How Much Do Oriental Rugs Cost?

This question is almost impossible to answer as there is such a variety of price points when it comes to Oriental rugs.

You can find an Oriental rug for $1,000 or $50,000. It all depends on the quality, the age, the size, and the materials.

If cared for properly, Oriental rugs are an excellent investment and can be passed on through generations to be both showcased and enjoyed. If you have one that requires some repair or cleaning, take it to a professional before you try to clean or repair it yourself.

Oriental Rugs Are Antique Treasures

As our world becomes more and more technologically innovative, things continue to change.

It’s a unique circumstance when something stays the same, not just for tradition’s sake, but also for quality.

Oriental rugs are antique treasures. They represent timeless beauty and history that can add dimension to almost any room.

If you want to find something that works with your aesthetic and price point, give us an inquiry so that we can better assist you in your quest for finding the perfect Oriental rug.

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