Oriental Rugs

Discover the Beauty and Complexity of Oriental Rugs: a Simplistic Guide

Oriental rugs are handcrafted textiles that originate from countries in the Near, Middle, and Far East, including regions such as Iran (formerly Persia), Turkey, India, Afghanistan, Pakistan, China, and the Caucasus. These rugs are renowned for their intricate designs, rich colors, and fine craftsmanship. Here are some key characteristics of oriental rugs:

Hand-Knotted Construction: Oriental rugs are traditionally hand-knotted, with skilled artisans individually tying each knot onto a foundation of warp threads to create the rug’s pile. This labor-intensive process results in durable and high-quality rugs known for their longevity and beauty.

Natural Materials: Oriental rugs are typically made from natural materials such as wool, silk, or cotton. Wool is the most common material used for the pile of the rug due to its durability, resilience, and ability to hold dyes. Silk is often used for highlights or accents to add luster and sheen to the rug.

Intricate Designs and Patterns: Oriental rugs feature a wide array of intricate designs, patterns, and motifs that reflect the cultural heritage and artistic traditions of the region where they are made. Common motifs include floral patterns, geometric shapes, medallions, and pictorial scenes, each with symbolic significance and cultural meaning.

Rich Color Palette: Oriental rugs are known for their rich and vibrant color palettes, achieved using natural dyes sourced from plants, minerals, and insects. These dyes produce colors that deepen and mellow over time, resulting in the rich and nuanced hues characteristic of antique and vintage oriental rugs.

Variety of Styles and Regions: Oriental rugs come in a wide variety of styles, influenced by the design traditions and techniques of the regions where they are produced. Some well-known styles include Persian rugs (from Iran), Turkish rugs (from Turkey), Afghan rugs (from Afghanistan), and Caucasian rugs (from the Caucasus region).

Quality and Craftsmanship: Oriental rugs are renowned for their quality craftsmanship and attention to detail. Skilled artisans meticulously handcraft each rug, ensuring precision in knotting, symmetry in design, and durability in construction. Higher quality rugs often have higher knot density, finer materials, and superior craftsmanship.

Collector’s Items: Fine oriental rugs are highly sought after by collectors and enthusiasts for their beauty, craftsmanship, and historical significance. Antique and vintage oriental rugs, in particular, can command high prices at auctions and in the secondary market, making them valuable investment pieces for collectors and homeowners alike.

Functional and Decorative: Oriental rugs serve both functional and decorative purposes in interior design. In addition to adding warmth and comfort to a space, they can also serve as focal points, tie together different elements of a room, and contribute to the overall ambiance and aesthetic.

Whether you’re drawn to the intricate designs of Persian rugs, the bold colors of Turkish rugs, or the tribal motifs of Afghan rugs, oriental rugs offer timeless elegance and sophistication that can enhance any interior space with their beauty and craftsmanship.

Oriental rugs are not just floor coverings; they are woven treasures that carry centuries of cultural heritage, artistry, and craftsmanship. Originating from various regions in the East, these rugs are revered for their intricate designs, vibrant colors, and superior quality. In this simplified guide, we embark on a journey to unravel the beauty and complexity of Oriental rugs.

  1. History and Origins:
    • Oriental rugs have a rich history dating back thousands of years, with origins in regions like Persia (Iran), Turkey, Afghanistan, and Central Asia.
    • They were initially crafted for practical purposes, such as insulation and decoration, but evolved into symbols of wealth, status, and artistic expression.
  2. Materials and Weaving Techniques:
    • Oriental rugs are traditionally handcrafted using natural fibers like wool, silk, and cotton.
    • Skilled artisans employ various weaving techniques, including hand-knotting, flat-weave, and hand-tufting, each contributing to the rug’s unique texture and appearance.
  3. Designs and Patterns:
    • Oriental rugs boast a diverse range of designs, influenced by cultural motifs, religious symbols, and regional traditions.
    • Common patterns include floral motifs, geometric shapes, medallions, and pictorial representations, with each design carrying its own symbolic significance.
  4. Color Palette:
    • Oriental rugs are renowned for their rich and vibrant color palettes, achieved through natural dyes extracted from plants, insects, and minerals.
    • Colors often hold cultural meanings; for instance, red symbolizes joy and happiness, while blue represents spirituality and protection.
  5. Regional Variations:
    • Different regions produce distinct styles of Oriental rugs, characterized by their unique designs, materials, and weaving techniques.
    • Examples include the intricate floral patterns of Persian rugs, the bold geometric motifs of Turkish rugs, and the earthy tones of Afghan rugs.
  6. Care and Maintenance:
    • Proper care is essential to preserve the beauty and longevity of Oriental rugs.
    • Regular vacuuming, rotating the rug to prevent uneven wear, and professional cleaning are recommended maintenance practices.
  7. Appreciating Oriental Rugs:
    • Oriental rugs are not merely decorative pieces but valuable investments that appreciate in value over time.
    • Beyond their aesthetic appeal, these rugs serve as cultural artifacts, offering glimpses into the history, traditions, and craftsmanship of the regions where they originate.

Conclusion: Oriental rugs are masterpieces that transcend time, weaving together art, history, and culture into every fiber. By delving into their beauty and complexity, we gain a deeper appreciation for these exquisite creations that continue to enchant and inspire admirers around the world.

Bohemian’s, collectors of fine Oriental rugs. We at Bohemian’s have become enthusiastic collectors and dealers in oriental rugs. Of course, like many people, we love the beauty and uniqueness of hand made rugs.

Essentially, Westerners may have trouble understanding the designs, techniques and histories of carpet making from foreign places. Hopefully this simplistic guide will excite further study of the complex world of Oriental Carpets. Also known as Persian Rugs.

Oriental Rugs

Why are they Called Oriental Rugs?

Oriental carpets by the strictest definition are carpets made by hand in the orient. The “Orient” in this case means “the East”– the middle east, and Asia.

The “Rug belt” includes parts of North Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia and India. Of course, rug production has spread to European countries and the United States in the last centuries. However, the term “oriental rugs” generally refers to those made in the Middle East and Asia.

What’s the Difference between Oriental Rugs and Persian Rugs?

Oriental rugs encompass any rugs made by hand in the orient and is a general term. On the other hand, Persian rugs refers to rugs that specifically come from Persia, which is modern day Iran.

Typically, Persian rugs show incredible design, and high quality. Indeed, many people collect Persian rugs for their fineness and artistry.

Are Oriental Rugs outdated?

Some people claim that the intense colors and busy patterns of Persian rugs make them outdated. After all, over the last ten years, people have embraced more minimalist decors. However, in traditional homes, Persian Carpets look rich, unique and timeless.

Additionally, Persian Rugs represent a much longer trend in interior design. In fact, people have been decorating with fine oriental rugs for centuries. So, overall, most people regard oriental rugs as a mainstay in fine decorating.

That said, choosing the right rug for your space does take some skill. Firstly, you have to chose the right size rug for your room. Generally, you want to leave around 1 foot to 3 feet around the perimeter of your rug. However, you also have to take into account the size and placement of your furniture. So, for instance, in a dining room, you will want a rug that allows all of the chairs to comfortable scoot out from underneath the table without falling off the rug.

Then, you have to have knowledge of color theory. Indeed, a rich red Persian rug can really tie a room together. In fact, many interior designers pull a color paint palette by looking at the accent colors in a rug.

Finally, a broad knowledge of different design motifs and patterns can help in creating a pleasing interior design statement. For instance, a Tabriz rug with lots of geometric motifs may look great in a room with more playful accessories.

Carpet Making

Carpet making varies in technique, design and cultural signification in different places. Of course, this often produces very different regional effects.

The terminology developed to describe rugs therefore often describes a place as much as a design. For instance an Agra Rug is named after the city of Agra in India (the site of the Taj Mahal) and describes an often sophisticated floral all-over pattern. Similarly “Heriz” rugs are rugs produced in the North West city of Iran, Heriz.

Rugs from this area are known for their durability and strength with bold central designs. Additionally, Heriz rugs are said to be very durable in part because of the large copper and mineral deposits in the mountains of Heriz. So, these mineral deposits produce a thicker wool from animals fed on the mountains.

Red Persian Rug, Blue Persian Rug

Culturally and historically, carpets were produced for a vast array of reasons and purposes. Nomadic peoples especially in Afghanistan and Iran (known as Turkmen) often used hand made rugs as wall coverings in their tents, bags as well as floor coverings.

Carpet weaving was a rich source of cultural inspiration and a source of social unity for Turkmen people. Women predominately engaged in carpet weaving. However, whole villages were involved in carpet production, dying wool and sheep and goat rearing. Thus, carpets were prized for their artistry and vibrant colors.

Red Persian Rugs generally are the most common. In red Persian rugs, the primary color of the “field” or main background in the rug has a rich red. These red Persian rugs can vary from rich cherry red to a deep burgundy color.

However, Blue Persian rugs also show a great popularity, especially for Western markets. Rich cobalt often forms the intense color of Blue Persian rugs.

Oriental Rugs Near Me

Obviously, oriental rugs travel quite far to make it to stores in the United States. Finding oriental rugs near me can sometimes be a tricky proposition. After all, dealers have to pay expensive import taxes on Persian rugs. Additionally, with the political situation in parts of the Middle East, embargos can make the rug trade quite difficult.

Thus, Oriental rugs rarely come cheap. Most oriental rugs that were made by hand cost significantly more than cheap copies. However, the investment in authentic handmade rugs often pays off. A good oriental rug can last for 100 years or more.

So, Oriental carpets and especially antique oriental carpets are still prized for this artistry and technique. The skill and time involved in rug production is vast and often overlooked in a modern world where mechanization has replaced much of the work previously done by hand. A room size oriental carpet can take years to produce and is a process that often involves the handiwork of multiple weavers.

Cheap Oriental Rugs

Cheap Oriental Rugs do exist as reproductions available today. Of course, the reproduced patterns often seen on modern machine made carpets are a poor substitution for authentic oriental rugs. In cheap Oriental rug copies, synthetic fibers and dyes have replaced real cotton, silk and wool. Additionally, the dyes in cheap Machine Made oriental rugs reproduced today do not have naturally derived dyes.

Large machines and computers crank out thousands of replicated knots in an instant in these reproduction rugs. Designs and motifs which reflected cultural values and the unique inspired vision of a weaver are now based on “hot trends” and sale ability in the marketplace. Lastly, tufted rugs simply do not have the same longevity as oriental carpets. While the latter can last centuries, modern tufted rugs have a lifespan of about 10-12 years.

Karastan Oriental Rugs

That said, Karastan Oriental Rugs do tend to outlast their competors. What are Karastan Rugs? Karastan Rugs names a US company that made replica Oriental rugs by machine in the United States. While still made by machine, these Karastan rugs often show good quality wool and nice designs.

So, while certainly not worth as much as Persian rugs, Karastan rugs do show nice quality. They may be a good alternative if you want to spend less money than on a real Persian rug.

Used Oriental Rugs

A better alternative to cheap oriental rugs than the copies are used oriental rugs. Of course, used oriental rugs offer a significant savings for the consumer.

Obviously, used oriental rugs can vary in condition. So, you need to check a few aspects of the rug.

Firstly, you will want to determine the condition of the pile. The rug pile refers to the softness and thickness of the rug. When dirt gets into the weave of a carpet, eventually the pile erodes. So, on a used oriental rug, you may see “low pile” or some spots where the rug has worn slightly.

Additionally, you should check on the condition of the fringe. With careless use of a vacuum, some people accidently ruin the fringe on a carpet. Of course, fringe damage can be common on used oriental rugs. While people can get the fringe repaired on a rug, it is costly.

Thirdly, you should check the binding along the side. Once the binding has damage on a rug, you could spend a fortune trying to fix it. So, take this into consideration if you see a used oriental rug you love.

Cleaning Oriental Rugs

On the subject on second hand rugs, you most likely need to consider cleaning oriental rugs if you go this route. For proper maintenance, vacuum your rug (avoiding the fringe area) on a weekly basis. As mentioned, dirt can erode the fibers of a rug. So, you should first try to avoid getting heavy dirt into the rug by not wearing shoes in the house and vacuuming regularly.

As far as wet cleaning a rug, you should not try to do this yourself. While cleaning a modern fiber rug with a household rug cleaner or machine can be done, you should avoid cleaning a handmade rug yourself.

Handmade Rugs often have special dyes that can blead with the wrong cleaner. So, if you do not have special knowledge on these chemicals, consider taking the rug into a professional.

Also, rugs take an extremely long time to dry. In professional rug cleaning businesses, they often have huge industrial fans that help properly dry Persian rugs. So, the wet wool and silk can dry properly.

Finally, washing a Persian rug properly can remove soil, spots and stains.

How Often Should I clean my Persian Rug?

With regular care, a Persian rug will last for decades. Regularly vacuum (avoiding the fringe area) in the direction of the weave.

As far as washing your rug, you really do not need to do this that often. Generally, you should consider washing your oriental rug every one to three years, depending on use. So if you have pets or wear your shoes inside, consider that you may need to wash more frequently.

Honestly, cleaning a Persian or Oriental rug can be costly. Professionals charge around $200 to $500 for every room size rug. However, keeping your Persian rugs clean protects your investment. So, most people consider this completely worth the investment.

The Value of Persian Rugs

Generally speaking, Persian Rugs have the highest value of any Oriental Rugs on the market. Indeed, Persian rugs can sell for quite a bit of money on the second hand market. As noted, the rarity and quality of these types of rugs makes them quite a profitable commodity.

What is a Persian Rug Worth?

In the past, we have sold used Persian Room Size rugs in the $1000 to $2000 range. However, the condition and beauty greatly effects the value of old Persian rugs. Also the size and color generally make a difference in the value of Persian rugs.


are known for their free-spirited and unconventional ways, and one way they express their individuality is through their eclectic home decor. Incorporating vintage and antique pieces, especially old Persian rugs, is a popular choice among Bohemians. These rugs not only add a touch of history and elegance to their homes but also serve as a statement piece that reflects their unique style.

When it comes to the value of old Persian rugs, several factors come into play. The condition and beauty of the rug greatly influence its value. A well-preserved rug with vibrant colors and minimal signs of wear and tear will fetch a higher price in the market. Additionally, the size and color of the rug also play a role in determining its value. Larger rugs tend to be more expensive, while certain colors, such as deep reds and blues, are highly sought after.

While the price range for old Persian rugs can vary, it is common to find them in the $1000 to $2000 range. However, it’s important to remember that these prices are not set in stone, as individual sellers and the market demand can affect the final price. As a Bohemian, it is essential to keep an eye out for unique and affordable pieces that resonate with your personal style. Whether you choose to invest in an expensive masterpiece or opt for a more budget-friendly option, old Persian rugs are sure to add charm and character to your Bohemian abode.

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