Oriental Rugs for a Lifetime
For over 2500 years, oriental rugs have been used in the East by nomads and villagers for warmth and beauty. More recently, in the West they have graced homes with their art and luxury, and go with any décor. An oriental rug is a purchase for a lifetime, and when properly maintained it will last for generations.
Where Does an “Oriental” Rug Come From?
Wondering where all this is done? This map shows all weaving countries we deal with.
The basic principles and techniques of Oriental rug weaving have changed little since ancient times. The materials most commonly used to weave oriental rugs are sheep wool, goat wool, silk, or cotton. Overall, most rugs are woven with a wool pile and a cotton foundation. Wool quality depends on factors such as the animal’s breed and diet, local climate and the shearing season.
Once harvested, the raw material must be spun into strands of yarn. This can be done either by hand or machine, depending on the desired outcome. Machine spun wool will be thinner and less dense; while hand spun wool has a thicker texture and consistency. The dyeing process starts with water being boiled in large vats. The correct amounts of ingredients are added to produce the appropriate colors. The dye recipes are secretly passed through generations in the family.
Rugs are woven on a loom. Looms can be oriented either vertically or horizontally. Nomadic looms are typically horizontally and are made from wood, while city looms are always vertical and made out of steel pipe to prevent any distortion of the carpets. Because of this, village rugs will have a more rustic and less perfect result, and city rugs will be much more uniform and even in their dimensions.
The weaver first ties the warp to the loom. Warp is the vertical yarn which shows the fringe. It also serves as the main structural element of the rug. The material of the warp is normally cotton, but silk, wool, goat or camel hair may also be used. Then weaver begins to tie individual knots of wool around the Warp. Depending on the origin where the rug is made, either the Turkish (Ghiordes) or Persian (Senneh) knot is used. After a whole line of knots are tied, the weaver runs another strand of cotton called the Weft, horizontally around the warp. This allows the weaver to then beat the knots down with a special comb to compress the design, and create more space for a higher knot density. This process is repeated until the rug is completed.
After the end of weaving the weaver will cut the warp to remove the rug out of the loom. The rug is then given to a shearer to shave the wool to reduce the length of the pile. Depending on the rug, the shearer will decide on the length of the pile. Afterwards, the rug is sent to be washed to remove any dirt or loose fibers, then it is placed in the sun where it is left to dry naturally.
Each rug is first thoroughly inspected for wear and stains. Then, it is vacuumed on both sides to remove all loose dirt. Next, we wash the rugs the same way it has done overseas for centuries. We wash by hand on both sides, several times with natural soap. When needed, rugs can be cleaned with a liquid enzyme wash to remove strong odors and pet stains. After each wash cycle, the rug is rinsed with water until it runs clear. Detail is given to the fringe as needed. After rugs are cleaned, they are hung in a climate controlled dry room where low heat and dehumidified air allows them to dry slowly without harming the wool. Each rug is finally vacuumed and inspected to complete the process.