ART FOR THE AGES: How Oriental Rugs Are Made

How Oriental Rugs made, Believe it or not, that item underneath your feet is a true work of art. Did you know that years of craftmanship, technique, and skill are poured into every Oriental Rug? When looking at a fine hand-made rug, you’re looking at hard-earned knowledge passed down through generations.

As far as we know, Oriental Rugs originated

As far as we know, Oriental Rugs originated in Asia and the Middle East. When the technique for making knotted rugs developed, it was a breakthrough. It provided many new benefits: Sturdier rugs and a higher degree of ornamentation. It’s a little hard to pinpoint the exact beginning of carpet weaving, as unfortunately carpets are subject to deterioration over long periods of time. The earliest pile-woven carpet is said to be the “Pazyrk,” which was excavated from a grave in 1949 and is thought to have been woven in the 5th century.

Now that you’ve had a brief history lesson, let’s talk the processes involved in creating a beautiful oriental rug. First, how long does it take? Oriental rugs can take anywhere from a couple months to years to put together. The very first step is setting up the loom. The loom is a structure with two beams where the distance between depends on the width of the rug being made. Next, a “warp” is attached between the center of the beams. A warp is what will make up the rug’s foundation, and it’s typically made of wool, cotton, or silk.

The next step is making sure you get that perfect color!

The next step is making sure you get that perfect color! Most oriental rugs are made of wool. Each dye an artisan wants to use in a rug is put in separate containers, then wool is submerged in each. It takes a very fine eye to know exactly when the color of the wool is just right. The deep, dreamy colors often associated with Oriental Rugs come from submerging the wool for longer periods of time until these deep hues are achieved.

After the dying is complete, the wool is first dried, then rug artisans will coil the wool. This makes it easier to work with once on the loom. Next the artist will draw out the design, which is what guides the weavers as they work. With all these steps in place, the coiled wool is at last loaded onto the loom, and the weavers get to work.

The weaving process involves starting at the base of the rug.

The weaving process involves starting at the base of the rug. Weavers feed the wool in between the warp and tie small knots on each piece to secure it. While the weavers are securing the pile material to the foundation, they are also creating designs by alternating the colors of yarns they tie on. Typically, multiple artisans will work together to weave the rug, which requires they do so with great harmony to ensure the design comes out exactly right.

Once all the weaving is complete, the rug is washed. Then it is blocked and stretched to flatten the pile and remove wrinkles. Finally, it is dried in the sun.

But wait! The rug still needs a little more polishing. After drying, the pile is sheared to remove stray material, and the ends of the rug are knotted and secured. And after a final inspection to make sure everything is perfect, the artwork is finally complete and ready to grace a new home.

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As you can see, a LOT goes into that comfy cushion for your feet. Understanding the feats of this artistic process, it’s not surprising that Persian, Oriental, and Antique Rugs are valuable and consistently sought after. Beautiful hand-made rugs will continue to increase in value as the years go by. For now we can thank the manufacturers, dyers, spinners, weavers, designers, producers, graph makers, clippers, washers, and many more who work together to perfect this art form.

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