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.

 

 

Advertisements

Kannapolis New Arrivals

If you have been into the Kannapolis showroom recently, then you have seen and felt the comfort of our newly arrived Comfort Designs leather sectional.  This sectional, like other models available from this brand, can be customized in a variety of leathers, but we love this piece just the way it is!

Tell us what you think of this room!  We would love to know your opinion!

Image

 

Three Tricks of the Trade

Handmade Rug Edition

Not to toot our own horns too loudly, but the entire R&H team knows a great deal about rugs. After all, owners Rakesh and Dolly Agarwal have been in the rug business for over 25 years, and they share their passion and knowledge with all team members. That knowledge includes plenty tricks of the trade.

While the tricks aren’t trade secrets guarded as heavily as the famous Kentucky Fried Chicken recipe (Remember when the national news followed its relocation in 2009 via a locked box handcuffed to its personal security guard?!), it’s likely you may not have heard them before. So, we thought we’d take this chance to share three insider tips!

1.  Put your rug on ice: Well, sort of. A great thing about hand-knotted rugs is that they’re made of wool fibers, which are resilient and can literally bounce back! If, over time, your furniture has left indentations on your rug and you’d like to get rid of them, take an ice cube and gently rub it over the depressions. You can use your fingers or even a brush as well once the areas are a bit moist to loosen the fibers and get them to fill the space again. Of course, you don’t want to soak the areas. While wool is naturally mold resistant, a saturated rug is never a great idea.
Continue reading

Rugs Made With the Earth in Mind

Today, Earth Day turns the big 4-0! It seems that awareness about the impact we have on our environment is now at an all-time high. And one could argue that it’s at the very least in part due to the campaign’s presence over the years. We see this increased awareness first-hand at Rug & Home, as the majority of the rug manufacturers we work with are taking the “greening” of their company and products very seriously—in some cases, even taking green to the extreme!

While we’re certain we could point out 40 eco-attributes about the companies we work with and products we carry in honor of Earth Day’s major birthday milestone, we realize that would be a pretty long post. So, we’ll share just 4 overarching ways in which these items and companies are eco-friendly and link you to their websites so you can read more about their efforts…

The Use of Natural & Sustainable Fibers

Continue reading