Archive for April, 2013

Persian Rugs, Oriental Rugs: Classification

 

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Old Persian Tabriz Rug

Old Persian Tabriz Rug

The principal types of Oriental and Persian rugs is not always very easy to determine. Hand-knotted rugs are woven in so many cities, districts, and villages with such minor differences that few rug dealers can accurately distinguish all fabrics available in the market today. Substitutions, continually practiced by suppliers, are made possible by the general lack of knowledge among purchasers. To some rugs, fancy names and terms are attached by dealers, perhaps only to refer to the quality, grade, or maybe only the pattern. For Persian rugs, the name always refers to the town or village in which they have been produced. A Persian Kashan rug has been woven in the city of Kashan. In many cases though, a rug would be called a Kashan even if it resembles the traditional design and colors of a Kashan but has been produced in the immediate neighborhood of Kashan. Often the names given to handmade rugs do not indicate the town or province where the fabric has been born, but rather, it refers to the region where the rug has been taken to for marketing purposes. In most cases, consumers do not need to be concerned about this fact, because it is safe to assume that every single rug-producing region in the world is naturally capable of weaving rugs in many different grades and qualities.

Lahore, as the main center of rug weaving in Pakistan, is known for its rich supplies of native wool. To a very large number of rugs being made by Afghan weavers who reside in refugee camps behind the borders of Pakistan no name can possibly be given. Also, during recent years some interesting village rugs of Pakistan have begun to appear in Western markets with no specific name or character of their origin. In manufacturing towns of Turkey, such as Ghiordes and Ushak, several grades of rugs are made, and each grade receives its special name as a guide to a knowledge of its quality. Due to Western influences, and perhaps to native ambition, some relatively large companies have recently been established, using old and well-known fabrics as the pattern in their production to which no specific name can be assigned. Although India is one of the largest producers of handmade rugs in the world, no classification can be given to their production since they are known to be copies of original products and are made in grades arranged merely upon a trade basis. Rug production began in India during late sixteenth century not because of tradition but for purposes of exportation, generating extra income for poor families who found it much easier to copy existing designs rather than going through the expensive and painstaking task of creating them from scratch.

 

Modern Pakistani Gabbeh

Modern Pakistani Gabbeh

 

 

 

It should be noted that recent advancements and developments in technology and ease of access to information have made the production of rugs so much easier in most parts of the world. A dealer can travel to Turkey and buy his wool there, have it shipped to Pakistan for natural dyeing, then send it to his factory in Nepal where he has several looms set up for the production of his rugs using patterns of traditional Persian carpets. As a result, the origin of hand-knotted rugs does not seem to be as important to end users as it once used to be.

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