The Origins of Soumak Rugs


Named after the town of Shemakja, where the Soumak rug was first woven, this flat-woven rug contains beautiful embroidery that will distinguish your house, and any room boasting one, from all of your friends’. For all of you history buffs out there, it can be fun to learn the back story of any proposed addition to your décor. For your reading pleasure, this is the story of the Soumak rug.

Where are they from?

The Soumak rug comes from Shemakja, a town in the Caucasus. Because of their origin, their designs are influenced by several tribal motifs common to the area. Because their country of origin is close to Turkey, they are made with a lot of the same silks that have been passed down through family lines in Turkey. This practice ensures that each rug is made from the highest quality wool, embroidered with the highest quality silk, and is not machine-made. Not only does their location ensure quality, but also originality. No two Soumak rugs are alike.

How are they made?

Each rug is hand-woven and hand-knotted from 100 percent wool and 100 percent pure silk. Something that makes these rugs unique is the weavers’ aversion to cutting excess embroidery threads. Each thread will be left hanging 2-4 centimeters from the back. Because of this, Soumak rugs are one-sided. Each rug is stiffly woven, meaning they make good floor rugs for high-traffic areas, as they won’t continually shift around when walked on. In addition to making good floor rugs, they are also used as curtains, bed covers, animal covers and bag faces. The rugs are most commonly made as large area rugs, small area rugs and rug runners. The fact that they are embroidered with silk make them ideal as decorative rugs.

What kinds of patterns do they have?

Each Soumak rug pattern is inspired by past tribal motifs. That means the embroiderer may use geometric patterns, but more often than not, small birds, in their designs. Because they have been influenced by other societies as well, some more distant Soumak patterns may include large medallions, diamonds, floral palmettes or stars. No two birds or patterns are the same though, which makes the rugs suitable for any type of décor, including contemporary, modern or traditional.

Are they popular now?

During a time of Russian governance in the Caucasus, these rugs gained popularity. There was a mass exportation at this time that caused the world to take notice of these brightly colored rugs from the Caucasus. It is believed that the exports began when Russians attempted to tap into the market that was looking for antique Oriental rugs. Because the rugs looked similar, they quickly became popular.

Still growing in popularity today, the Soumak rug is perfect for a family who needs a durable, yet appealing rug. According to the color scheme of your room, choose the color of your rug, then visit our website to check out your options.

Why did you decide on a Soumak rug for your home? Share your thoughts in our comments section below!