What is an Oriental rug?
The term Oriental rug is broadly used to refer to rugs that are created in Asian countries, including Iran, China, Turkey, India, and others. You might also find rugs called Caucasian rugs, which are rugs that are made between the Black and Caspian Seas in the Caucasus Mountains. Recently, countries in Southeast Asia have started exporting Oriental rugs.
An Oriental rug is not constructed by a machine. Instead, they are made by hand out of silk, cotton, or wool. While you might hear people describe machine-produced rugs that have similar designs as Oriental rugs, they are not authentic. An Oriental rug refers to rugs that are made by hand and are constructed by hand-knotting.
An Oriental rug uses patterns that symbolize a region’s history and major life events. Depending on the area and country of origin, you might find several primary motifs. The motif of your rug is a good way to tell where it was crafted.
How Oriental rugs are created
Rug-makers create Oriental rugs using several techniques. However, all fine rugs are crafted by hand-knotting. Commonly, a rug will be crafted with a flat loom. The artisan starts the rug by creating a foundation made out of wool, silk, or sturdy cotton fibers. This foundation is called the rug’s warp. The cross fibers, which are called the weft, are tied onto the foundation to form a pattern.
Fine Oriental rugs have from 16 to 550 knots per inch. The highest-quality Oriental rugs have more knots. In some cases, as many as 12 artisans might work on a single rug. Depending on the quality, design, and size of the rug, it may take from two months up to several years to finish.
Why traditional cleaning methods can damage Oriental rugs
If you have a combination of regular carpet as a floor covering in your home as well as fine area rugs, you should avoid cleaning your area rugs in the way that you clean your regular carpets.
Regular carpets are machine-manufactured using synthetic fibers. The process can create up to 15 feet of carpet each minute. The main components of regular carpets are face fibers that are held in place by plastic backing and latex adhesives.