Oriental rugs have long been a symbol of luxury and wealth. As you look for Oriental rugs in Atlanta, consider this interesting history of the Oriental rug and some of the meaning behind common design choices.
An Eastern Tradition It’s commonly understood that Oriental rugs, by their truest definition, come from Asia. Countries like China, India, Iran, Russia, Turkey, Pakistan, Tibet, and Nepal are the largest exporters of rugs in the world. The difference between Persian and Oriental rugs really has to do with where they’re made. The rugs are virtually the same, but Persian rugs are specifically made in Iran—which was formerly known as Persia. The Persian rug will also have a distinct kind of pile and knot that sets it apart from an Oriental rug.
A Quick History
Carpet weaving is an ancient art form. It existed in Iran as far back as 500 BC, according to rugs that have been tested for age and dated by scientists. Who first started making these pile-and-weave rugs is ambiguous, and archeological evidence is sparse on the subject. It is clear that there has been a steady evolution of weaving, however, and of different types of woven design and piling for rugs. It is thought that the most basic early forms of these woven rugs were rough in comparison to their current likeness, made by nomadic people—but that the more ornate versions developed as people began to create long-term settlements.
Meanings and Symbols
Oriental rugs can be made simply for the pleasure of the colors and patterns, but oftentimes the more traditional designs are stitched together with meaning. Certain types of Oriental rugs have their own traditions for color and pattern choices, such as the floral Aubusson rug with soft pastels and ivory colors. Usually the symbols used will hold meaning to the origin of the rug, such as the bamboo plant of China designating wealth and honor. If you’ve noticed a great deal of red in Oriental rugs, this is because the color is meant to be a symbol of happiness and joy. Some symbols are easy to guess, such as the dove representing peace. Some are more obscure, like a tarantula as a symbol meant to prevent bad luck, or a crab that represents invincible knowledge.
In more traditional Oriental rugs, the dyes come from natural sources like plant materials and insects, such as indigo, madder, sumac, pomegranate, and larkspur. Synthetic dyes have created a broader scope of color options, but within high end rug making circles, there’s debate over which methods are able to create the most vibrant colors and results. One type of dye over another may be less relevant to your decorating than style, color, and how well it coordinates with a room. However, the traditionalist can always learn more about classical dyeing techniques and sources.
For more information on Oriental rugs in Atlanta, whether for repair or if you’re in search of a new rug for your home, you should talk to an expert in the area about what options are available to you.
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