Buying an oriental carpet

Oriental carpets are special things. They are works of art, paintings made in fabric, but they are also utilitarian; you can walk on them or hang them on your living room wall.

Their aesthetic value is recognized by all societies and has remained undiminished over thousands of years. But like any other highly-developed art, there is an enormous lore about carpets, and it can be difficult to know where to begin when choosing a carpet. Here then, is a guide to oriental textiles for the budding “ruggie” from carpet showroom in hagerstown.

A good rug is knotted of high-quality wool or silk. Wool is the commonest material, and doesn’t stain or wear as easily as silk. Good wool must be both strong and pleasantly smooth. Kurk wool is one of the softest and sturdiest. Some natural oil should be present in the wool to keep it soft and shiny. Chemical washes, which make carpets look beautiful and shiny by artificial means, also make them brittle. Since the 1920s chemical dyes have been widely used, especially in Iran, and while they are as attractive as natural dyes, the Turks are returning to the use of natural, traditional vegetable dyes.

The more knots per square centimetre, the stronger and more expensive the carpet will be. Beware of carpetshops that measure knots in square inches; the numbers being higher with inches, it’s a way of suggesting the carpet has dense knotting. Fifty-six knots per square centimetre is very good, 20 is not so great. A 5’x 8′ carpet with 500,000 knots in it that took three weavers and one master weaver one year to make can cost $5,000.

Their designs and colors are myriad and specific to the individual weaver – b y its nature, a handmade carpet is unique. In general though, rural rugs made by nomads tend to be geometric in pattern, and city-made rugs tend to have floral motifs, particularly in Iran, but these styles are often seen blended together in one carpet.

Rug styles are influenced by the success of a design in the Western market, and weavers are quick to copy a successful design from another area. Consequently, it is difficult to strictly categorize rugs according to type, especially the newer carpets. What can be said is that they tend to follow tribal, not national, boundaries.

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