Welcome to Our Monthly Newsletter!
We hope you will enjoy this month's articles.
The topic for January's Newsletter was the first in a series of articles on Oriental Rugs:
Oriental Rugs 101
Fibers Used in Oriental Rugs
Dyes Used in Oriental Rugs
Design Elements of Oriental Rugs
This month features the second part of the series:
Basic Elements of Construction
How Oriental Rugs are Woven and Finished
Popular Types and Formats
Glossary of Important Terms
If there is a topic you would like us to cover in one of our upcoming newsletters, please call us at 607-272-1566 or contact us by clicking here.
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In This Issue
Two basic Oriental Rug construction elements (with some variations) are shared by the majority of these beautiful hand woven rugs: the Foundation and the Pile.
The construction of Oriental Rugs begins first with the making of the Foundation onto which yarn pieces will be knotted to form the 2nd element of the construction of these rugs...the Pile.
The rugs are all woven by hand on either a vertical or a horizontal loom.
Oriental Rugs Construction Elements
The first of the 2 common Oriental Rug construction elements is the foundation, which typically consists of the following parts: warps and wefts.
These are the threads or cords which are wrapped around the loom and run the length of the rug. They will usually be exposed as fringes or selvages at the ends of the rug.
These are inserted along the width of the loom and are placed perpendicular to the warp threads, making a crosshatch pattern of the foundation of the rug.
A row of knots is tied onto the warp threads. One or more weft threads are then placed over each row of knots and are beaten down by the weaver to hold them in place.
When the rug is completed, the rug is usually cut from the loom and the sides formed by the wefts may have to be secured by a finishing process chosen by the weaver, usually referred to as the serging.
Depressed warps occur when the wefts are pulled tightly from either side rather than put in with minimal tension. This will displace the warps into 2 levels. This structure (an upper warp and a lower or 'depressed' warp) will be more evident on the back of the rug unless the wefts are pulled very tight and then the depressed warps may not be visible even on the back of the rug.
This type of weaving can be found in many city rugs, especially Persian ones, resulting in a more dense weave that is less flexible and should lie flat on the floor without any buckling or wrinkling (depending on the tension of the loom). These make an excellent choice for room-sized rugs in high traffic areas.
Oriental Rugs Construction Elements
To find out how the pile of an oriental rug is constructed, an explanation of knot density, how to tell if a rug is handmade, machine made or tufted, photos, and more, please continue reading here.
Oriental Rugs-Weaving and Finishing delves into the various ways these rugs are woven and then finished to produce the end product. A previous article, Oriental Rugs-Construction Elements, explored the use of warp and weft threads of yarn to form the foundation of the rugs and the types of knots used to tie pieces of yarn onto the foundation to form the pile.
A simplified explanation of the actual weaving process is explained below:
The Weaving Process for
Hand Knotted Pile Rugs
Yarns which are wrapped around a loom (either horizontal or vertical) and run the length of the rug to prepare for the weaving are called warps. Lengths of yarn are spun and plied and tied by hand onto the warps, perpendicular to them.
After a row of knots has been tied horizontally on the warp cords, one or more weft threads are then inserted across on top of the knots. The weft cord or cords will then be beaten down by the weaver across the loom with a comb to secure the knots.
Weavers will usually have on hand some simple tools such as a knife with a hook, a pair of scissors, and a heavy comb to beat down the wefts and secure the knots. A skillful weaver can actually tie between 8 and 10 thousand knots in an 8 hour working day!
The weaver often has a guide, called a cartoon, which is drawn on grid paper with colors to scale with each square representing a knot. The commercial weaving establishments rely upon the cartoon and the weavers are discouraged from making any changes. This is not the case with Village rug weavers who take great pride in personalizing their woven rugs.
The Weaving Process for Flatwoven Rugs
There are other types of hand made rugs that are often classified as Oriental Rugs. These are called Flatwoven rugs.
Flatwoven rugs do not have a pile because the weaving process does not involve tying knots. Therefore the weaving is done with a combination of warp yarns wrapped around a loom with weft yarns inserted between the warps.
To learn more about Flatwoven rugs, about color variations (abrash), and finishing processes following the weaving of oriental rugs, with photos, please continue reading here.
Oriental Rugs-Types and Formats attempts to categorize oriental rugs into some easily recognizable categories for the beginning collector.
The truth is, it is impossible to fit these rugs easily into one or another category. The study of oriental rugs invariably leads to the realization that there is never a 'never' and never an 'always!'
The rugs shown either as photos or videos in this Oriental Rugs-Types and Formats article are just examples.
Looking at the design or colors of rugs is not enough information to identify them correctly. The construction, including the type of knot, fibers used, types of dyes, etc. are all essential to determining the actual identification of an oriental rug.
These examples are only meant to stimulate your interest and encourage you to continue to study this fascinating subject.
Oriental Rug Types
Tribal or Nomadic Rugs
These rugs are typically woven by nomadic people living in portable homes. They are typically smaller pieces woven on horizontal looms for easy transport. They usually contain a limited number of colors and patterns and are usually oddly shaped and coarsely woven. The designs tend to be geometric.
Wool is the most common material but horsehair and camelhair are sometimes used occasionally for the edge and end finishing. Silk can be used at times, but only in a few knots and in limited areas.
Examples of tribal rugs are Beluch and Turkoman.
Village rugs are those woven by people living in agricultural communities. These people have more materials available to them as well as permanent looms which are usually vertical looms. Many villages continue to use horizontal looms as well.
The warps of these rugs are usually cotton with the wefts made of either wool or cotton.
Village rugs are woven in utilitarian sizes, are occasionally misshapen, and usually colorful. The quality of the weave will vary depending on the skill level of the at-home weaver. The patterns are more curvilinear than tribal rugs but still quite geometric.
Examples of village rugs are Hamadan and Heriz.
To see some examples of types of Oriental Rugs and the different formats they come in as well as a classification of these rugs by age, with photos, please continue reading here.
This article contains a list of some important terms Oriental Rug terms and some Suggested Supplemental Reading for more in-depth information.
The article can be accessed here.
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