Types of Rugs
Would you ever walk all over a Da Vinci or Caravaggio painting? It makes no sense and some would call this an obscene idea because artworks are made for the pleasure of the mind and eyes. But there are works of art that are made especially for the pleasure of stepping into them. Antique Oriental and Persian hand-weaved carpets are praised as fine works of art that aim at pleasing every sense of the person that has the chance to own one of them.
Like paintings, there are countless types of Oriental rugs that are divided into different categories based on elements like age, origin, materials, design, motifs, purposes of use, symbols, and knotting techniques. If these rugs are made by skilled artisans with natural and valuable materials and are older than 60 years, they are part of the group of expensive types of carpets. Speaking about huge amounts of money, the most expensive carpet so far was sold at Sotheby for $43.8 million.
Besides of being expensive, Oriental rugs have many traits that make them different from each other. The region where oriental carpets are made includes areas that reflect unlike culture, history, and geographical characteristics. These elements have always had importance for the artistry of carpet-weaving. Tribes that live in far remote areas continue to use the same traditional techniques that they used centuries ago. They haven’t been affected by western commercial influences that brought chemical materials and dyes in the region.
Therefore, these rugs are highly wanted in western market because of their authentic traits.
The beginning of this art remains unknown, but according to experts and historians, tribes of people that lived as nomads developed weaving techniques as a solution to cold weather. Further on, they started using colors that were extracted from plants and insects in order to add more beauty to their art.
Tribal rugs were too beautiful for being used as floor coverings and at the same time they gained the attention of noble people and social classes of higher status. Here comes the next type of oriental rugs.
Carpet weaving flourished in Central Asia, Near, Middle and the Far East and major cities turned into centers for carpet weaving. Tribes named their rugs after their names while the carpets produced in urban areas were named after towns and regions. Iran, India, Nepal, China, Tibet, Syria, Anatolia, the Caucasus and many other areas created their own types of rugs and in many cases influenced each other. Traditional rugs depicted designs and motifs related to local culture and belief and images of animals were used as main symbols. Important historical and social events were depicted in carpets weaved by women, slaves or artisans in workshops. One of the main characteristics of authentic traditional rugs is they are somehow imperfect. Weavers did this deliberately because they believed that only god could make something perfect. A lot of traditional rugs were sent to Europe as gifts for kings and state rulers and Europeans started to pay attention to that unusual form of artistic expression. With the passing of time, the demand for Oriental rugs increased and Western people asked for new designs and motifs that could fit with home decoration trends.
There are some rugs that cannot be categorized because they carry traits of both traditional and contemporary design. Their purpose is to pair with home décor patterns, but without being at the center of attention. Transitional rugs can be also considered modest because of their minimalistic look.
Meanwhile, vintage rugs mark the first sign of modernism in such an ancient form of art. Just like with paintings, vintage arts were influenced by artistic movements of the 19th century. The Chinese art deco rugs are the best example of highly wanted vintage rugs.