Aubusson Tapestry Rugs

Aubusson Rugs featuring Jesus and three magi

History of Aubusson Rugs

When you think of Aubusson Tapestries, you probably think of woven decorative wall hangings in European castles or the mansions of aristocrats. Though historically this was certainly the case, today tapestries are available to anyone, and Aubusson tapestries rugs are among the finest.

Aubusson rugs originated from the late 1500s and were very popular until after the French Revolution and the introduction of wallpaper. However, they made a comeback in the 1930s when artists such as Cocteau, Dufy, Dali, Braque, Calder and Picasso were invited to the town of Aubusson to use the medium of wool to express themselves.

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Today Aubusson carpets are woven from wool and synthetics, are available in a variety of sizes and usually depict green landscapes and hunting scenes. They may also possess a more abstract style. This makes it possible for you to find a tapestry that will fit in with the décor of your home, whether traditional, contemporary or somewhere in between.

Some ways you might use an Aubusson rug in your home are:

  • To create cosiness in rooms with vaulted ceilings
  • To add an elegant focal point to a room
  • To absorb sound in a large room
  • To create a feeling and richness of French living

To accent, a particular wall or piece of furniture situated below the tapestry
Whatever your reason for wanting to incorporate tapestries into your living space, the beauty and elegance of Aubusson tapestries will enhance the look and feel of your home in a truly unique way.

Handwoven Rug Care and Cleaning Procedures

Rug Care and Cleaning Procedures

For centuries, Persian rugs have been a luxury decoration in many homes. A Persian rug is a purchase of a lifetime, and when properly cared for, it will last for years to come.

Information provided here is for general care and cleaning of your Persian rug. Although Ramezani London Rugs provides this do-it-yourself procedure for care and protection of your investment, you should always contact your dealer or professional cleaner for further information.

Persian Rugs are usually composed of wool and cotton, which are very easy to clean and maintain.

  • Vacuuming
  • Rotation
  • Placement
  • Sunlight
  • Furniture
  • humidity
  • Cleaning
  • Storage
  • Padding
  • Restoration
  • Stain Removal

Vacuuming

Persian rugs should be vacuumed on a regular basis. The same vacuuming habits you maintain for the rest of your carpeting applies to Persian rugs. However, to prevent damage to the rug, never vacuum the fringe of the rug. Vacuuming the fringe can damage the fringe, the rug, and your vacuum cleaner.

Rotation

One of the most important and most neglected parts about owning a Persian rug is rotation. Persian rugs should be rotated at least once a year. However, depending on the traffic, you should rotate the rug anywhere from 6 months to 2 years.

Placement

Persian rugs are hand-woven and are very durable. However, the following should be considered when placing your Persian rug for use.

Sunlight

Sunlight is a very powerful bleaching agent and can reduce and fade your rug’s brilliant colours. Place your rug away from direct sunlight and if the light cannot be avoided, make sure it shines on the rug evenly.

Furniture

Avoid placing heavy furniture on the rug. A lightweight coffee table should not damage the rug easily; however, to prevent any damage to the rug; you should check and rotate the rug frequently. One of the most common damages to a rug is the longtime placement of a heavy object such as a dresser or an armoire without rotation.

Humidity

Persian rugs should be placed in a room that is cool and dry. Moisture may cause the dyes to bleed and also weakens the structure of the rug. Furthermore, moisture and warm air can attract termites and other insects that can seriously damage the rug.

Cleaning

Professional rug cleaning is recommended for Persian rug to prevent any damage. Since most rugs are composed of different materials and dyes, attempting to clean the rug yourself can result in damage to your rug such as colour bleeding. Professional cleaners utilise specialised equipment and detergents that will preserve your rug’s natural beauty and health. Cleaning frequency is directly proportional to the traffic.

Elegant Living RoomThe art on the walls

Storage

The best way to store a Persian rug is in its natural unfolded or unrolled state. However, should the situation arise, here are some of the guidelines to follow to prevent any damage?

  • Vacuum the rug before storage
  • If possible, roll the rug rather than folding it. Although most Persian rugs are folded with underside exposed, some Persian rugs must be folded with the top side exposed, and please check w/ your dealer.
  • Place Odorless Mothballs (or other approved deterrents) to protect the rug against any insects. Odourless mothballs will protect the rug w/out transferring any odours to the rug.
  • Do NOT place the folded/rolled rug in a cardboard box or a plastic container.
  • Store the rug in a cool and dry place.
  • Occasionally unfold or unroll the rug, vacuum it, check it for any damage, and refresh the mothballs.

Padding

Persian rug is usually sold unpadded; however, padding helps protect your rug from slippage, dirt, and wear.

Restoration

Professional restoration is available for almost any kind of damage that may happen to your rug. Although most new rugs don’t require restoration, older and antique rugs may need to be restored to prevent further damage to the rug. To restore your rug, consult your dealer or professional restoration service.

Stain Removal

Spills are unavoidable and can damage a rug if not properly handled. Following is a guideline to handle almost any kind of spill. You may have to repeat the procedures a few times to remove the stain completely.

Sultanabad Rugs

sultanabad rugs in living room

The History Of Sultanabad Rugs

Sultanabad Rugs are renowned by their monumental scale and palatial grandeur. That scale and grandeur also apply both to their actual size and their finely detailed of decorative elements. Said elements are contrastingly small in size compared with the whole rug’s dimensions. It is an Oriental art form peppered with western design additions. These rugs came from the area of Sultanabad, now known as Arak. It is located in central Iran or Northern Persia of the older times. Though the major intervention of western influence came to it in 1883, historical documents imply that Sultanabad already played a vital role in the production of rugs as early as the 17th century. The momentum given by the boom in construction efforts occurring between the late 1700s and mid-1800s laid the foundation for this commercial venture. The region began improving upon their previous settlements. The capability to raise many sheep ultimately led to wool rug production. Though, Sultanabad rugs are just one of many famous carpet types originating from Arak; these western-influenced rugs diverged in quality from the Sarouk and Farahan carpets produced nearby. Said divergence occurred when it gained publicity in Europe. Sultanabad quickly gained a conspicuous status for its rug production, among other arts and crafts the area possesses.

Birth of Ziegler Rug

garous_ziegler_rug
A pile of fine rugs

The region’s established name for high-quality rug production led the Swiss export firm Ziegler and Company to set up shops there in the 1870s. This decision was supported by the very profitable and growing European demand for said rugs. The company gave the locals a systematic weaving industry by installing oversized looms, adding more available dye colours and modifications of the original traditional designs. This blending of historical rug features and western alterations might have encountered dissent, but economic reasons made the Ziegler rug venture a success. Sultanabad became an export processing zone whose demand reached a worldwide scope. It paved the way for Sultanabad to become a household name for grandiose homes internationally.

Ziegler’s move gave them more control over the product and its overseas profits. The firm’s start-up sponsorship, hands-on product development and exclusive marketing strategies caught the eyes of leading merchants at that time. This led to collaborations with designers from the influential Liberty of London department store and B. Altman and Company of New York. These designers mingled 1500-1600s Safavid patterns with western flavours. Hindsight tells us their recipe centred on fitting these elegant designs with new colour palettes. Their redrawing of the original designs enriched the sought after rugs with more curves. This made the word Ziegler become synonymous with Sultanabad in rug branding, denoting the best kind of antique Mahal rugs produced in Arak.

Some may claim these western suggestions tampered with the original, spontaneous course such rugs follow in its creation. Its differentiation, however, wasn’t hindered due to the ready and exclusive European market waiting for it. So even though its over-all make-up remained more or less of the same motif as the other Persian carpets, it possesses a different ring in customer-collector’s minds. Its stature is beaming before it with bold floral designs, central medallion patterns, spacious background spread, vine scroll continuity, ornate palmette lattice and proportionally wide borders.

Is it the unique heavy weaving technique used by the weavers? The especial dyes from Europe added for richer colours? Is it the allure of the unseen land where they came from? Is it the merchants themselves unconsciously promoting their wares, so owners of the Sultanabad rugs bring out envy? Or is it the first owners themselves that imparted their opulent lifestyle on the rug for fellow Europeans’ eyes? Perhaps all of these are true. History shows Sultanabad rugs became rugs of the highest decorative value. Even today, interior designers, discriminating collectors and auctioneers tend to be amazed by the high prices these rugs command, all the more if the piece is an antique.

Are Persian rugs a good investment ?

Tabriz Four Season

Buying Persian rugs is not something you would do until you knew just what you were looking for. They definitely do not come into the category of impulse buys.

Investing on Persian rugs

When you are spending the kind of money that you expect to pay for a genuine Persian rug you need to know that you are going to get the genuine article and not a fake or a new modern version at the old antique price!

You can understand why the genuine rugs are expensive when you consider that all the knots are tied by hand and there are hundreds to the square inch. It can take a weaver six months to produce a 9′ x 12′ rug, and they are not mass produced.

The materials used as wool from sheep or goats [in some cases even camels], cotton, silk or even a combination of all three. Wool can come in many different qualities, but the highest quality comes from Tibet and New Zealand.

investing_on_persian_rugs
Bright living room with an antique Persian rug and wooden panel trim walls,

You will notice colour variations in the genuine Persian rug that have vegetable dyed wool as against the modern chemical dyed materials. I think the colour variations are what lend charm to the antique rugs.

Apart from the colour variations between the old and new, there is the fact that the traditional Persian rugs will have differences in their design whereas machinery produced rugs will all be exactly the same, you will not be getting anything unique.

As well as all the other benefits I have mentioned from buying Persian rugs; there is always the point that wool rugs will not burn like synthetic materials, wool doesn’t stain like synthetics and wool can shed water. Dirt doesn’t sink to the bottom of the pile of woollen carpets, unlike synthetic materials. The woollen rug is a perfect insulator in the cold weather and feels so good under your feet.

The designs come in three general categories, geometric, floral or pictorial. You will probably know what you are looking for before you even set out on your expedition for buying Persian rugs.

Whichever you choose I am sure you will love what it does for your home for many years and when you don’t need it any more it can become a family heirloom making it an excellent investment.

How to choose a Handmade Rug

persian_rug_buying_guide

Rug Buying Guide

When purchasing an Oriental rug, you have to consider its size, fineness of knots, colours, design, materials, age and condition.

Handmade

A genuine Oriental rug has been hand-knotted in one of the traditional weaving areas of the Middle or the Far East: Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iran (Persia), Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Tibet, China.
A true Oriental carpet is not machine-made, it is not made of synthetic fabrics, and it does not have a Brand name such as “Nourison”® or “Couristan”®.
Hand-tufted rugs are considered hand-made, but they are not hand-knotted! They are made using a gun and glue, and they are definitely not of the same quality.

Persian rug during restoration process

Hand-knotted rugs have imperfections on their face in the colours or design that are sometimes easy to spot (desirable). The back of a machine made a rug is quite different from the back of a hand made rug. The design is not as colourful and clear on the back as it is on the face of a machine made rug. Since the construction is different, you cannot see individual knots on the back because there are none! The fringe is also stitched to the end of the machine-made rug after it is complete.

Shape and Size

The first thing you should decide is where the rug will go in your home. The room you are considering will dictate the size and shape of the carpet. Carefully decide where your rug should be in relation to the furniture and depending on the type of room. A dining room or a hallway should be almost entirely covered. Other rooms such as bedrooms, dining rooms, family rooms, are usually easier to work with. Remember that dealers exclude the fringe when they give the size of a rug.

Budget

How much are you willing to spend?
Prices will vary according to labour, materials, quality, place of origin, style, kpsi, and rarity of design. But you can now find rugs to fit any budget. There are much more affordable than they used to be, especially on the Internet where many middlemen are avoided.

Materials

The warp and weft of an Oriental rug is usually a combination of wool, cotton and (rarely) silk. These materials have much greater durability than synthetics, but they can vary in quality, from fine and soft to coarse. Commonly seen misrepresentations of materials are acrylic sold as wool, rayon or mercerised cotton sold as silk.

Colours

Some will say that natural dyes are superior to synthetic dyes, but this is not true. Although in recent years vegetable dyes have made a comeback, most rugs nowadays are made using synthetic dyes, and this does not affect their value. Synthetic dyes have been used for carpets for more than a century. They may be slightly harsher in tones, but they are often tougher than natural dyes (less fading).

Knots

carpet weaving looms

Usually, a higher knot count will mean a higher price, because the carpet took longer to weave and required more material. So the Knots Per Square Inch (KPSI) number is an indication of the value and quality of an Oriental carpet (but not the only one).
The type of knot can help identify the origin of a rug. The Turkish knot (also known as a single knot, symmetric knot or Ghiordes knot), which is typically single-wefted, is used in Turkey and many tribal groups in Persia and Central Asia. The Persian knot (also known as the double knot, asymmetric knot or Senneh knot), which is typically double-wefted, is used by some Central Asian groups.

Imperfections

Small mistakes and inconsistencies in design or colour will be found and are actually desirable. They are proof that a rug was handmade.

Authenticity

You should obtain a Certificate of Authenticity that will validate the size, age, origin, style, condition, materials and knot density, as well as the estimated retail value (for insurance purposes).

Return policy

Make sure you have a good return policy of at least 30 days, with minimal fees besides shipping.

Tribal Rugs by Turkomans

Turkman Tribal Rug weaving

History of Turkoman Tribe & Tribal Rugs 

The majority of Turkoman tribes reside in Turkmenistan. The remaining live in Uzbekistan, Afghanistan and the province of Khorassan famous for the tribal rugs, which is in northeastern Iran. Turkomans descended from the Oghuz tribe over two thousand years ago. The major weaving Turkoman tribes are Salor, Saryk, Tekke, Yomut, Arabachi, Chodor and Ersari, many of which have sub-tribes.
The dominant motif used in Turkoman weaving is a unique octagonal form known as gul. Gul is the Persian name for a flower. However, some rug scholars argue that the Turkoman gul has originated from an ancient Turkish word meaning family or tribe. Historically each tribe had its own version of gul by which the tribe was identified. The symbolic gul was used on the important weavings such as floor coverings by each tribe. Women’s jewelry also used the same tribal symbol. During the battle, when one tribe defeated another, the conqueror would take ownership of the defeated tribe’s gul and use it in its less significant weavings such as bags and other small items.
Turkoman women were generally responsible for child rearing, the care of the flocks, and weaving. The Turkoman weaving consisted of storage bags, floor coverings, saddle covers, ensis (rugs used to cover the tent entrances), prayer rugs and all other items necessary for a nomadic or semi-nomadic life. The value and importance of women greatly depended on their ability to weave to the extent that brides and their female family members would make a complete set of woven items consisting of the items mentioned above as dowry to show the bride’s skillfulness.
Men, on the other hand, were responsible for ensuring the safety of their tribe against other Turkoman tribes and adding strength to their tribe by subjugating other tribes. They were aggressive fighters searching for better land. Women were a valuable source of income because of their weaving ability; therefore, they were often taken from their tribe by the conquering tribe during battle.
Tribes’ power depended upon the number of horses they owned. Their wealth, however, depended on the number of sheep because they supplied the wool, milk, and meat. Camel and goat hair was less frequently used as raw material for weaving.
The early nomadic Turkoman traditions did not survive the constant battles between the tribes and the growing power of central governments. By the late 1800s, domestic weaving of the tribes in Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan became more commercialized as they fell under the control of Russians. After the formation of the Soviet Union, many Turkoman nomads in Turkmenistan were forced to settle and change their nomadic way of life during the 1920s.

Introduction to Kilim Rugs

what is a Kilim Flat weave

Flat Weave Rugs / Kilim Rugs 

The basis of a carpet is two sets of threads — the fixed warp threads which run from north to south, and the weft threads which are woven from east to west and separate each row of knots. The Turkish knot is knotted around two warp threads while the Persian knot is knotted around one warp thread and looped under the next in a TS’ pattern.

Each knot is tied by hand. Skilful artisans can tie about 15 knots a minute or about 8,000 a day. This means it would take the artisan more than two months to weave a carpet that is 10 feet by 6 feet and has a hundred knots per square inch. Typically, a rug of this size would be woven by several artisans working together from a chart which shows the number of knots to be tied in each colour.

WEFT-WRAPPING OR SOUMAK

kilim rugs
Kilim rugs on the market

In addition to knotted rugs, the Caucasus is known for producing Soumaks. These are pile-less carpets made with a flat weave technique of wrapped weft threads which are known as kilim rugs— a technique used throughout the Middle East. The geometric decorative elements used for the Caucasian soumaks have based the designs used for knotted carpets. A typical layout includes superimposed medallions in the form of notched stars. Typically made of wool, these Soumak carpets are strong and compact.
The majority of Oriental rugs, including those from Turkey and the Caucasus, use Turkish knots. Many Turkoman and Persian rugs use Persian knots, but Turkish knots also are common in those regions. The geographical dividing line seems to be the Caspian Sea. To the west of it, the Turkish knot is used almost exclusively. To the east, the Persian knot dominates. Lying on both sides of the dividing line, Persia uses.

How do the carpets get from Iran to the customer in the world?

The purchase of the pieces is of course art in itself: generally, when a carpet is made, it is used by the family of the weaver or is kept for a few years so when in need of money, that would become a source of income. It is often seen that when a new carpet is made the weaver is then ready to sell his old rug. They are sometimes bought in provincial bazaars, where they have to be spread out, side by side on the street, for want of space and light inside the bazaar.

Often we have to journey to remote villages and encampments and buy from the often encrusted with mud, and in need of a wash, restoration and repair. We have a team of people in Tehran, employed in washing, restoring, stretching, etc.which could take up to 3 months for each carpet.

Sometimes if a carpet has many bright colours, we would leave the rug in the sun to achieve more muted colours and since the dyestuff in a rug may vary, that is when you see an abrash which is a change of colour shade in the carpet which is quite natural in Nomadic and village carpets and can add to its beauty.

The work is not easy. We feel it is our vocation to ensure that people should be able to own carpets that they will love, and which, with care, will beautify their homes for a long time to come.

Designs of Oriental Rugs

No matter how well woven and rich in colour, the Oriental rug probably would cease to fascinate without its seemingly infinite variety of designs. Regions develop and jealously guard their own patterns and designs, passing them down from generation to generation. By studying a design, it often is possible to date a carpet and determine where it was produced.

To a certain extent, carpet-weaving areas can be divided into those using floral designs and those using geometric shapes and patterns. Floral patterns dominate in Persia and India. Caucasian and Turkoman rugs almost always employ geometric designs; when the rare floral pattern is used in these rugs, the design tends to be stylized and rectilinear. In Turkey, both floral and geometric designs are used, although the latter are more common. Chinese vintage rugs are easily recognized by patterns that include dragons, monsters or fabulous birds.
Most creatures possess symbolic meaning, and, in China, the dragon represents imperial power and also has strong associations with Confucianism. In Persia, however, the dragon symbolizes evil; in India, death. Scenes of fighting animals on Oriental carpets typically represent the struggle between good and evil.

Oriental rug bazaar
Oriental rug Bazaar

Plants, flowers, and even geometric motifs, also have special meanings. The cypress tree symbolizes mourning, as well as immortality through death. The palm and the coconut are metaphors of blessing and fulfilment. The peony symbolizes wealth, while the lotus foretells a great lineage. A universal symbol found in South America, Egypt, India and elsewhere is the geometric swastika that has been a popular border design. In China, the swastika symbolizes peace — a meaning apparently ignored in 20th-century Europe. A frequent Mohammedan symbol is the crescent which signifies faith. Another universal symbol, the endless knot, represents wisdom and immortality. Because the Prophet Mohammed spoke against the artistic representation of humans and animals, geometric patterns often dominate the designs of Islamic peoples. Although Persia embraced the Islamic Shiite religion in 7th. century, the area’s carpet-makers often continued to decorate their creations with lively animal and human figures in dream-like surroundings. On the other hand, it is quite rare to find any animal or human figures on early Turkish rugs.

Turkish prayer rugs are characterized by rich and minutely detailed decoration. Found on all prayer rugs is the arched mihrab, or prayer niche, which is pointed to Mecca when the rugs are used in prayer. As for the designs , certain themes reoccur throughout the history of carpet design, such as the Persian garden which were already famous in the time of Marco Polo: they have provided inspiration for carpet designer’s right down to modern times. Another example in the famous Isfahan can put in V&A which inspired William Morris with most of his designs.

Introduction to Oriental Rugs

During the past century, the Oriental rug has become valued throughout the world as a work of art. Because of its rich history, colour and design they can performs magic, transforming interiors into extraordinary spaces. The term, Oriental rug, traditionally has been used to describe hand-knotted rugs from the East. The process typically involves stretching warp threads on a loom and knotting the pile to these threads. To a large degree, the precision of the design depends on how tightly the rug has been knotted and how short the pile has been cut.
The rug’s density, or number of knots per square inch, can be a useful indicator of the fineness and durability of the rug — the more knots the better. A superb Oriental rug may have more than 500 to 1,000 knots per square inch. Historically, the great carpet-producing areas include Persia, Turkey, the Caucasus and Turkestan. Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nepal, India and China also must be added to the list, under Arab influence, Spain, Morocco too, has produced hand-knotted rugs of distinction.

Rug History

Although there are references to carpets by early Greek and Arab writers, just when the first Oriental rug was woven is unknown. In 1949, a Russian archaeological expedition to the Altai mountains in southern Siberia excavated a royal burial mound that contained a miraculously preserved frozen carpet, Known as the Pazyryk carpet, it was used as a saddle cover approximately to 2500 years ago, the rug dates from the 4th or 5th century B.C. and is the earliest-known surviving example of a hand-knotted carpet.
One theory is that the technique of knotting carpets was begun by the nomadic tribes of Central Asia. These tribes produced small rugs typically decorated with geometric motifs inspired by plant and animal forms. For the nomad, the rugs were both decorative and utilitarian, serving as floor covers, wall hangings, curtains and saddlebags.
Because the nomadic carpet-makers were forced to dismantle their looms and move on whenever their security was threatened by natural elements or human foes, their creations may contain irregularities in weave, selvages and design. The nomads are credited with spreading the art of carpet-making to new lands and peoples.
Some of the greatest carpet-making centers developed in Persia and Turkey. Describe the Spring Carpet of Chosroes. This rug was woven of wool, silk, gold and silver. It was studded with precious stones.

Oriental Rug History
Stack of Carpets in Istanbul City, Turkey

The period from the 16th century through the first half of the 18th century is known as Persia’s golden age of rug making. A number of carpets survive from this era and are recognised for their harmony of colours and originality of designs. There are reference to the Italian travellers Marco Polo described the area’s carpets, with their geometric designs and animal figures, as the most beautiful in the world in 1271. Turkish rugs appear frequently in the paintings of well known artists. In fact, German artist Hans Holbein the Younger (1497-1543) painted the geometrically patterned rugs so often that they came to be known in the West as Holbein carpets. It was primarily through Italian merchants that the Oriental rug became recognised and valued in Europe. Venice early established itself as a major trading trader with the East. Venetians spread Oriental rugs along their narrow streets, hung the rugs from windows and used them to decorated their gondolas.
By the early 16th century, Oriental rug collections could be found in the great courts of Europe, including those of Catherine de Medici and Charles V. The Lord Chancellor of England, Cardinal Wolsey, is reported to have purchased 60 Turkish carpets from a Venetian dealer to furnish his palace at Hampton Court.
Western interest in Oriental rugs waned during the 17th and 18th centuries. But after the great exhibition of 1891 in Vienna, Europeans had renewed enthusiasm for the carpets. Americans soon followed suit. Western importers began asking the carpet-makers to modify dimensions, and sometimes colour and design, to satisfy the tastes of Europe and the Americas. In the 20th century, the appeal of the Oriental rug continues to grow.