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Abrash - A graduated or transitional change in the color of a rug - seen as darker or lighter striations of hue/value - due to differences in either the wool or dye batch.








All-over design - A term used to describe a rug without a central medallion but with a design repeated throughout the field.


Antique Finish/Wash - a chemical soaking process designed to to simulate aging by modifying color saturation and intensity Tabriz rug with arabesque design


Arabesque - Ornate curving design featuring intertwined floral and vine figures - often seen in intricate workshop rugs such as those from Tabriz, Isfahan, Nain and Qum.








Art Silk - Also called artificial silk - refers to the use of processed (mercerized) cotton as a substitute for silk.


Aubusson (Aubuson) - These fine flat-woven carpets, featuring formidable sized rugs in pastel colors with floral medallions, were produced in France from the 15th - 19th centuries.


Axminster Rug (Loom) - First produced in the 1880's, machine-made rugs were mechanically woven to a flexible cotton frame and having up to 70 colors of wool.


Baktiari (Bakhtiari) - Named for the Iranian tribal peoples who produced them - rugs noted for durable construction, typically featuring a repeated square-grid motif with a floral detailing in each grid.









  Repeated grid in a Baktiari Rug


Border Rug - A rug featuring a design on the outer rim, or border, of the rug, surrounding the field.


Boteh - A pear-shaped figure often used in oriental rug designs characteristic of the paisley pattern The boteh may represent a leaf, bush or a pinecone.










Brocade - Weft float weave used to add design and embellishment. Often seen on the kilim bands at the ends of oriental rugs


Cartouche - Oval-shaped ornament incorporated into the rug design containing a signature, date, or inscription


Carved Pile/(Map) - Design or pattern cut or "embossed" into the pile of a rug - common in Chinese and Tibetan carpets.


Chain Stitch - A crochet stitch used in rug construction that consists ol successive loops to lock the final weft in place at the end of a rug.


Dhurrie - A flatwoven rug from India, usually made of cotton or wool.


Endless Knot - A Buddhist emblem symbolizing long duration often used with other symbols.









       Endless Knot Motif


Flat-Weave - term describing any rug without (wool) pile: including Soumaks, Kilim, Verneh, Sozani, and Dhurie. (Aubuson carpets, though flat, are excluded from this category due to factors such as their complexity)


Field - The part of a rug's design surrounded by the border. The field may be blank or contain medallions or an over-all pattern.


Fringe - Warps extending from the ends of a rug which are treated in several ways to prevent the wefts and knots from unravelling.









    Typical Fringe on an Oriental Rug


Gabeh - A long-piled rug style with a simple colorful design - originally used as mattresses - that have attained recent popularity.


Gul - A medallion either octagonal or angular in shape used in Turkoman designs It is often repeated to form an all-over pattern in the field.


Handmade Rug - A rug that is either entirely handknotted (or handtufted) and usually made of wool, and which may also include the addition of silk.


Herati - Design type found in Persian carpets featuring the repeated pattern of four pinecone or leaf-like figures woven around a diamond shape - an effect sometimes noted to resemble a fish-like motif.









     Typical Herati pattern


Heriz - City on Iran-Azerbaijan border and name for the geometric medallion rugs popularized in the early 20th century. This design remains extremely popular in Europe and the U.S.A.


Hooked Rug - A hooking device pushes and loops yarn through a canvas producing either a loop hook or latch hook rug (also the loops can be sheared to create an open pile).









  Loop Pile of a Hook Rug


Jufti Knot - A 'False' knot, either Turkish or Persian, which is tied onto four warp threads instead of the normal two. This time-saving knot lessens the quality and the amount of material in a rug.






Jufti Knot

Kashmir - Upscale carpets made of either silk or mercerized cotton from the Islamic region of India - woven with a Persian knot.


Kazak - Referring to the Turkish-style rugs produced by the peoples of Kazakhstan and of that region.









  Example of a Kazak - in this case a Kilim - Rug


Kilim - A flat-woven (pileless) carpet, often reversible, in which a design pattern is formed by colored weft strings being wrapped around the warp.


Knap - the brush-like surface of the rug, created when the knot loops are cut.


Knot - the basic technique used to create an Oriental carpet: Two types of knots are used:


  • The Persian Senneh knot is a fine, assymetrical knot used in relatively complex carpets, giving them a "light" and a "dark" side.
  • The Turkish Ghiordes knot is symmetrical and gives a rug a deeper, longer-wearing pile.


Knot count - In the process of making a hand knotted rug, each strand of yarn is knotted to the foundation: The higher the number of knots per square inch - the higher the quality of the rug.


Line Count - The number of horizontal knots per linear foot. (As with knot count, the higher the number, usually the higher the quality of the rug).


Medallion - Large design element located in the very center of the rug's field - the hallmark of the traditional, symmetrical Oriental area rug. In rugs with an All-over design or a random or contemporary design format a medallion will not be displayed.












              illustration of a Medallion


Mori - The weaving technique of certain Pakistani and Indian rugs.


Natural Rug - Often refers to an earth-toned rug whose texture - sisal, jute or wool - is the identifying feature.


Oriental - referring to an Oriental rug or carpet:


". . . handmade of natural fibers (most commonly wool or silk), with a pile woven on a warp and weft, with individual character and design made in the Near East, Middle East, Far East, or the Balkans."

... as defined by the Oriental Rug Importers Association


Overcasting - the technique of rounding the wool edges of the vertical sides of a rug to prevent fraying


Patina - Term referring to the "mellowed" surface appearance of a rug - due to age or use


Persian Knot - Looped around one thread with only a halt-turn around the other thread.









                    Persian Knot


Pile - The nap of the rug or the tufts remaining after the knotted yarns are dipped.


Pile weave - The structure of knotted carpets and rugs forming a pile or nap: Wool, silk, (sometimes cotton) is knotted around the warp in a variety of techniques.


Plain Weave - The simplest interfacing of warp and weft.


Prayer Rug - Typically small, this rug features an arch motif at the top of the field - either geometric or curvilinear - depending on where it was woven.









                  Prayer Rug


Runner - A long, narrow rug, usually under 3 feet wide, primarily used in hallways and on staircases.


Sarouk - Woven carpets produced in Sarouk region of Iran renowned for their beauty. Frequently seen in lobbies of fine American hotels and estates in post-WW2 era.


  detail section of a gold Savanerie rug

Savonerie - The class of beautiful impressionist-quality pile carpets, made until 1890 in France, that have a similar appearance to Persian Kermans.


Selvage - the area between the edge of a rug and the fringe


Soumak - A flatwoven rug made from a technique that produces a herringbone effect.









Tapestry - Generic term referring to a flat-woven wall hanging characterized by rich pastoral design settings.


Tapestry Weave - Any variety of weaves where the pattern is created by ground wefts that do not run from end to end.


Tea Wash - A procedure used to soften the colors in order to give a rug the appearance of age.


Tribal Rug - A term used interchangeably with gabbeh to describe a primitive-looking or Southwestern rug.


Tufted - A process in which tufts of wool are punched through a base fabric. The underside of the base is then painted with Latex glue and covered with a backing material.


Turkish Knot - Tied around two adjacent warp threads.









Warp - Comprising the structure parallel wrap yarns run the length of the rug and are interlaced with wefts.


Weft - The yarns woven horizontally through the warps.


Weft-Faced - A rug where the weft yarns are more closely spaced than the warps.


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