A Brief Dictionary of Rug Weaves
The world of oriental rugs is accessible to everyone. Finding a piece for your home is as simple as stopping by and perusing our inventory until you find the exact size and style you are looking for, and we are always happy to help! However, if you have stopped by our firehouse or have searched for rugs online, you will occasionally come across certain terms and phrases you may have never heard before. “Oushak,” “Bessarabian,” “Kilim” – what do all these strange words mean? As with any long-standing form of art, beneath the surface there is a whole world of history and knowledge which can take a lifetime to learn. But, as a visitor to our blog, it is unlikely you plan to spend your life in this business, so we have developed a means by which we hope to shorten your road to mastery. Below are five of the most commonly used names for popular rug weaves you will hear in our store and throughout the oriental rug scene, as well as links to photos of examples of these in our inventory. Enjoy!
Flatweave rugs do not have a pile (the knotted top of a rug that gives them their height), and as a result they are substantially lighter than most other rugs. You will likely notice how thin they are. Do not be deceived, these rugs are very, very durable. In fact, because of the weave style the top of the rug is not so easily crushed underfoot, and so you will avoid the formation of flat areas or paths you might see in other rugs. Plus, they are one of the only types of rugs that are reversible!
At our particular store, these types of rugs are some of our bestsellers. Their name comes from their place of origin, Oushak, a region that used to lie just south of Istanbul in Turkey. Their style has earned them a reputation as one of the finest types of oriental rugs. Made of the highest quality wool, they have a beautiful washed out look and colors all across the spectrum from green to ivory to bronze to saffron. The design is typically geometrically based around a center medallion with smaller medallions scattered throughout. Our mascot, Kula, is known for choosing the some of our most beautiful Oushaks in her picks of the week!
These rugs always stand out in a stack. Often thick and fluffy, their soft texture and fun patterns make for a pleasant addition to any space. They can range from loud, vibrant, bold colors to subtle, sophisticated whites and greys. Morocco has been a hub of beautiful rugs since ancient times, and it continues to deliver the same results today.
Soumak rugs most likely originated in the Shirvan region of the Caucasus. Today, however, they are primarily made in large large weaving districts in India. They are different from most rugs because the unique weaving techniques used to create them means, like flatweaves, they have no pile. As a result, these works of art are more closely related to a tapestry that you might hang on a wall.
Transitional rugs are designed to evoke elements of both traditional and contemporary designs, taking the best of both worlds to create a unique blend of comfort and functionality. They often incorporate bright colors and simplistic shapes of newer trends alongside the flowery, detailed work common in rugs of a more ancient tradition. The result? A pleasant, disparate style popular with rug-lovers of all tastes.
We hope you enjoyed this brief glimpse into some of the history and terminology behind the world of oriental rugs. If you have any further questions, we are always happy to help however we can, and check our blog again soon for new words to add to your rug toolbox!