The Romantic Origins of Oriental Rugs

The Romantic Origins of Oriental Rugs

By definition, an Oriental rug is hand-knotted with wool or silk, made in an area that includes China, Turkey, India, and everything in between. Although different cultures and religious faiths developed their own techniques and signature styles, all are considered “Oriental rugs.”

The oldest known sample was discovered in 1948 in a frozen burial mound in Outer Mongolia near Pazryk. Believed to be from the 5th century BCE, “The Pazryk Carpet” has geometric, floral, and symbolic designs.

The fact that the person was buried with his carpet indicates the personal identification and meaning attributed to the item. The quality of this carpet demonstrates that the art of rug making had become, even by then, a sophisticated practice.

 

cyrus-the-greatOriental Rugs in History

King Cyrus the Great (circa 500 BCE) is said to have decorated his palace with carpets so intricate and so colorful that they dazzled visitors. Historians believe that artisans in the Persian and Egyptian Empires had developed weaving independently by the second millennium BCE. Evidence suggests that hand-knotted rugs existed in parts of Asia and the Middle East more than 4000 years ago. By the 8th century BCE, well-to-do families were using rugs to decorate and personalize their homes — not only on the floors, but also on the walls and even on the tables.

The Romance of Oriental Rugs

Ancient Oriental rugs weren’t necessarily made for practical reasons. As shown by The Pazryk Carpet, rugs had sentimental value. As a modern mother knits booties for her baby, the artisans of old crafted their cleopatracarpets with love to bring beauty and comfort to their families.

The vibrant colors of a rug mirrored the world around them. The symbols had personal and cultural overtones. It acted as jewelry in a time before jewels, a gift that took precious time to make, designed with a specific person in mind. The recipient of a hand-made rug likely kept it close at all times: using it during meals, prayer, and sleep.

In one believably romantic story, the beauteous and seductive Cleopatra, queen of Egypt, sailed across the Mediterranean Sea to visit Rome. In order to gain audience with Mark Antony, she had herself wrapped in an Egyptian rug of the finest texture to be presented to him as a gift. That introduction, as you may know, led to one of the most dramatic romances of all time!

Oriental Rugs Today

Because Oriental rugs developed over time from a very wide geographic area, they are named after the place where local artisans weaved them. The designs, palettes, and techniques link individual rugs to the jaipurindigenous culture that produced it, and experts can often tell at a glance where a particular rug originated. Floral or formal patterns, for example, reflect a more urban artisan, while geometric patterns indicate a rural or tribal rug maker.

Today, most Oriental rugs come from China, India, Iran, Nepal, Pakistan, Russia, Tibet, and Turkey. Persian rugs, a subset of Oriental rugs, are only made in Iran (formerly Persia). These rugs are known for a thick pile, brilliant color patterns, inventive designs, and a unique weave.

The beauty of any Oriental rug is in part tied to its link to the past — in its color, design, and originality. Although Oriental rugs have their origins thousands of years ago, little has changed. True Oriental rugs are still made by human hands practicing an ancient skill. Their romance as gifts also continue.

 

 

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Sari Silk – The Ultimate Recycled Rugs

Sari Silk — The Ultimate Recycled Rugs
upcyclesariSome call it recycling; others think the process deserves a name with a more positive connotation. Thus, the term upcycling was born. Upcycling means taking something that would otherwise be thrown away — in this case, fabric — and making it into an even better product. In upcycling, the old parts do not equal the new whole.
Sari Silk rugs are an upcycling success story. Made from the silk that once graced the saris destined to be worn by Indian women, these rugs have become some of the most colorful, most imaginative, and most sought-after pieces on the market today. A sari is a four-to-nine-yard length of cloth, often silk, that women wrap around themselves as their garment.
sari5Upcycling Saris
The saris upcycled into rugs are typically composed of handspun silk. Since the rugs’ popularity has skyrocketed, women’s cooperatives in India have developed a cottage industry to create the vibrant silk thread that’s then used to hand-knot the fabulous rugs.
The women unravel unused saris by hand, fortify the extracted silk with cotton, wool, or other fibers, and then weave the threads into unique patterns that end up looking like pieces of art — which they are. The breathtaking creations, made entirely of this fortified sari silk, are saturated with colors and are so soft that you may find yourself wanting to leave the sofa to snuggle on the floor.
One-of-a-Kind Masterpieces
No two Sari Silk rugs are alike because of the variety of the source saris collected by the Indian women. Once the fabric has been hand-knotted into rugs, they become the one-of-a-kind masterpieces you can find at Rug & Home.
These hand-crafted works of art contain inconsistencies in their patterns and variations in their colors — elements that heighten their beauty instead of detracting from it. You will experience an infinite variety of sari1color in your Sari Silk rugs.
Caring for Your Treasures
These natural rugs are durable and will hold up for decades if you take care of them properly. Don’t place your Sari Silk rug in a place that receives heavy traffic, but do lay them on top of a quality rug pad, such as those sold at Rug & Home. You may also want to keep it out of direct sunlight.
Put your colorful work of art where it will be seen rather than trampled, such as by a corner sitting area, underneath a table or baby grand piano, or in your bedroom. Some owners love their rugs too much to walk on them, preferring instead to hang them on the wall.
Sari Silk rugs require gentle vacuuming with suction only, although you can have them hand-washed by a professional cleaner as needed.
It’s worth the little extra time and the effort it takes to care for a Sari Silk rug because they will last longer. In the end, you won’t think of them as upcycled or even recycled … you’ll just love and respect the beauty of your one-of-a-kind rug.

Lessons of the Season: Finding the Perfect Gift

Rug and Home has an array of items to choose from.  Any of these fun finds would make great gifts!Shopping for children is relatively easy. Find a plush toy or the latest game, and you’ll get the wide smile and excited hug you were expecting. Shopping for adults, however, can be a challenge. How many striped ties, golf clubs, or jogging pants does Dad really need? How many gallons of perfume, buckets of lotion, or leather gloves does Mom really need? Is that combination fingernail clipper-letter opener really the best you could do?Bright yellow birdcages make for a fun, whimsical gift.

And what about the adult children in your circle whose electronic gadgets change monthly? Buy them a new phone or music player, and it will be obsolete by the time New Year’s Day rolls around. Forget it if you want to buy them something that will make a lasting impression.Gifts can get stale. Finding the right one can be almost impossible in this day and age. Do you go to a store? Do you shop online? Do you browse a catalog? Remember when department stores had everything you could possibly want?

The best advice we got this year was to think outside the gift box. Instead of clothes that may not fit, consider an exotic, over-the-top, or creative home accessory for a different kind of present. Unlike a vacuum cleaner or toaster, a kitschy home accent piece is both personal and practical. Find a fun framed print you know they’d like or a set of throw pillows with a Warhol print in different (but matching) colors.

finding the perfect gift image7

finding the perfect gift image3Lamps are another great gift idea. They aren’t just for practical lighting anymore. There are so many new sleek, colorful, whimsical, and ornate lamps on the shelves that there’s a lamp for every kind of taste. Get Dad a new floor lamp to set beside his reading chair. Give Mom a set of lamps with silk shades for her sitting room. Grab a mismatched pair of art deco lamps for your young adult’s new living room.

Of course, you can always splurge on a new recliner, especially if you know the old one has seen better days. If you want to make the chair a surprise, bring the recipient’s measurements to the store when you shop so the salesperson can help you find just the right recliner to support his or her frame.

Whatever you buy, make sure it complements the person’s current theme. You’re always safe with brown leather and wood, which matches most every kind of space, but don’t be afraid to take chances. The better you know someone, the more outrageous you can safely venture. Just remember: you want your gift to be appreciated, not taken as a hint that they should change the entire room.

finding the perfect gift image2

Home furnishing gifts don’t have to be obvious either. Rug & Home stocks unusual items such as the latest collection of recycled wood benches, ottomans that turn into video game seats, or solid wood, hand-painted boxes that can hold all the other same-old, same-old gifts they got for Christmas this year. Your thoughtfulness will surprise them.

Art and Practicality Converge in Gabbeh Rugs

Gabbeh (pronounced “gah-BAY”) is the Farsi word for natural or raw. In this case, it describes the coarse materials used to create early tribal rugs in Persia. The Gabbeh weaving tradition dates back as far as 3500 BC. Those first Gabbeh rugs were made by nomadic women to protect tender feet and to decorate bare homes. While they were practical, they also inspired. The artisans who wove those ancient rugs infused their designs with symbols that displayed their spirit, artistic talents, and love for family. In time, certain symbols evolved to impart love, prosperity, and good fortune to their families.

Modern families can grace their homes with those same sentiments with a beautifully hand-knotted Gabbeh rug from either India or Iran. Since both hand-weavers and modern manufacturers incorporate the emblematic characters found in early Gabbeh rugs, you can find the symbols on all-wool hand-tufted rugs and even in the synthetics used in machine-made rugs.

Each character woven in a Gabbeh rug has its own unique meaning. Some of the most common symbols found on today’s Gabbeh rugs include:

  • The Cypress Tree stands for life after death.
  • The Lion boasts of honor and victory.
  • A Camel is a common symbol for wealth and happiness.
  • Peacocks are holy birds that symbolize the spiritual nature of man.
  • The Dog serves as man’s protector, saving him from his own misdeeds and harm from others.
  • The Cock represents the devil; it’s woven into rugs to protect the owner from outside evil.
  • A Comb suggests cleanliness and brings wishes of health to the family.
  • The Hourglass reminds the family that time passes for everyone.
  • A strip of Clouds sends happiness to the family.
  • A Pomegranate is the ancient symbol of abundant wealth.
  • The Tree of Life, one of the most common symbols, expresses the belief in eternal life.

The characters are woven as small geometric shapes, caricatures of the symbols they portray. On some rugs, they are lined up in no particular sequence, bringing a wealth of wishes to the bearer. Other rugs focus on a primary wish, such as the popular Lion Gabbeh rug that contains one or two bigger lions surrounded by smaller lions in a horizontal pattern, ideal for a family of warriors. Gabbeh symbols may be also woven into a larger pattern made of a floral motif. In these rugs, you may have to look closely to see the artistic symbols imbedded in the overall pattern.

No matter which kind of Gabbeh rug you purchase, the original thoughts and heart-felt symbols can bring an aura of love and good intentions to your home. You may recognize the symbols and be able to interpret their meanings, but even if you can’t, a Gabbeh rug has an uncanny way of snuggling up to your heart and making you feel good somehow. Perhaps it’s the ghosts of the tribal Persian women who loved and cared for their families, or perhaps it’s the actual resonance of the symbols themselves.

Truly One-of-a-Kind Gifts for the More Discerning Ladies on Your List

If you struggle to come up with a new gift idea for your girlfriend, wife, best lady friend, sister, mother, mother-in-law, grandmother, aunt, or any other female in your life, then this blog’s for you!  Our designers have picked out some of their favorite items, to give and to receive.  These gifts will make you look like spent days researching and hours selecting the perfect item for that special lady – it’s an almost guaranteed way to close out the year with some extra brownie points!

Unique Gift Idea #1: Not-So-Ordinary Vases

Every woman can use another vase, but with these, it will seem like so much more – it will seem like a work of art!  Frosted glass, etched ridges, and multi-colored glass add style and sophistication to these vases that will look great with or without any flowers (although, hand delivered with the flowers is a sure-to-win-her-over touch that we HIGHLY recommend!).  Plus, there are dozens more to choose from, so you’re sure to find one that fits her taste and personality to a tee.

Large Blossom Vase $58

Small Round Vase $32

Callie Vase $48

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Easy and Inexpensive (All Items Under $299) Ways to Get Your Home Holiday-Ready!

The holidays are just around the corner and, as your eye scans through your house, you start to enter into panic attack mode seeing the bare walls and floors, and colorless table tops.  There just doesn’t seem to be enough time or money in your decorating budget to get your house holiday-ready before the guests and *gasp* your MOI (mother-in-law) arrives!  We are here to tell you that, fortunately, that’s not true!  We have some easy and very inexpensive ways to fill-in all of those spots that seem like empty holes in your home.

Solution #1: Add Florals and Greenery to Tabletops to Brighten Up the Place

The easiest way to add a sense of cheeriness to any room is by bringing in plants to brighten up the space.  However, live versions require maintenance between watering and picking off dead leaves, but life-like florals and greenery are the perfect alternative!  We have a large selection of extremely reasonably priced arrangements (the ones below are under $150!) that will bring joy to your home through the holidays and all year round.

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