How do you know if you're rug is handmade? Do you think you have an authentic Persian carpet but are not sure? Seeking more knowledge of a rug that means a great deal to you?
Oriental area carpets do not necessarily mean they are of Oriental decent. Traditionally the term Oriental rug refers to a hand knotted rug made in the Near East or Asia. Nowadays carpets are made all around the world and weavers use all types of different materials to construct the rug. Iran, Turkey, India, Morocco, and China are just a few examples of regions that have a big rug trade. While most of the Persian carpets seen today tend to be older due to the US / Iran embargo, all other countries have a booming carpet trade with the United States.
A handmade made Oriental rug consist of a foundation on which knots are woven. Usually this foundation is made of cotton but silk and wool are used as well. Then row by row a weaver or weavers knots the rug. The two basic types of knots used are the Turkish knot (symmetrical) and the Persian knot (asymmetrical). These two different knots can usually tell you what region the rug comes from, this is not always the cause though. The most common material to weave is wool, but silk, cotton, rayon and other materials are used as well. The benefit of wool is the strength and resilience it displays. These rugs can and usually will clean up amazing with near new results. They can also last for generations rather than years when properly cared for. The oldest rug in recorded history is the Pazyryk rug currently housed in the Hermitage Museum in St. Louis. Petersburg, Russia. This rug was discovered in a burial tomb in 1949 by Soviet archaeologists and dates back to the 4th or 5th century. Although this rug is an extreme example, it gives great insight to how well these rugs can be made.
A great way to determine if your rug is a handmade Oriental rug is to flip over one corner. Usually you can tell by the knots on the back side that the rug is handmade. Small little flaws in the weaving patterns will indicate handmade or machine made. While certain machine made rugs such as Karastans resembble handmade rugs, there exists a definite difference between the two. If the question of handmade Oriental rug or machine made still exists, it is best to consult a professional rug cleaner with adequate knowledge of rugs.