Oriental rugs are some of the most beautiful floor coverings in the world, but did you know that true Oriental rugs are only hand knotted in Asia? They come from areas all over the continent, including Iran, India, Pakistan, China, and Tibet. While rug weaving may seem like a simple job, it has been perfected over thousands of years, making your Oriental rugs as much works of art, as they are home decor.
The art of carpet weaving has been around since ancient times. The craft was probably started simply as a way for nomadic peoples to cover the earthen floors in their tents. From there it evolved into the art form that we see today. Most estimates place hand knotted rugs as being at least 2500 years old, dating back to Cyrus the Great in Persia. In 1949, Russian archaeologists discovered the oldest known knotted rug in existence in the Pazyryk Valley in Siberia. The cold had frozen and preserved the rug, allowing scientists to place its age at between 2400 and 2500 years old. While these are the oldest remains of knotted rugs, their origins are probably even older.
Oriental rugs are known for their rich patterns and color combinations as well as their thick pile. Many rugs feature animal or plant designs that have extensive symbolism behind them. While nowadays it is more common to see plants decorating your rug, there are still many that feature animals, as well. Deer, camels, and butterflies are all popular choices for animal patterns. Even the choice of the rug’s color can have meaning behind it. A rug dominated by yellow may represent power and glory, while a rug with extensive red coloring is meant to represent happiness and joy in the home. In past times the rugs were woven with these messages to mark events like marriages and births, and to bring good luck to families.
While rug making has been practiced all over Asia, it is generally considered that Persia, which is now present-day Iran, is and has been the cultural and artistic home of the craft. The art of carpet weaving reached its peak in Persia in the 16th century, as the Persians created a court workshop for rug making, and traded extensively with contacts in European countries. The Persian rugs were of outstanding quality, many times using silk and even gold threads to add to their value. Unfortunately, this golden era for rug weaving ended after the Afghan invasion of 1722 and did not pick back up in force until the 19th century. At the end of the 19th century, some European and American businessmen had even set up shops in Persia to facilitate trade with their homelands.
Today, rug weaving is one of the most widespread crafts in Asia. Oriental rugs are world renowned for their rich colors, fantastic designs, and the quality of their workmanship. If you are interested in decorating your home with one of these beautiful rugs, check out our wide selection of the very best in Oriental rugs.