Rug lexicon

Persian Abadeh rug circa 1940/60

Abadeh ( Abadah )
Persian quality rug knotted in the town. The design of Abadeh rugs is influenced by the Qashgai tribe.

Abbas Shah ( Shah Abbas )
Abbas Shah I, shah of Persia from 1588-1629.

Change or variation in the color of a rug due to differences in the wool or dye bath.

Synthetic fiber.

Afshar rug, 1st half, 19th century.

Turkic speaking tribe located in Iran near Kerman. Both nomadic people and settled in villages. Afshar rugs are squariesh with geometrical design.

Town in Iran in the Heriz region. The Heriz design is often used in rugs from Ahar.

Anatolia ( Asia Minor )
The Asiatic part of Turkey (see map).

Aniline dye
Synthetic dye from coal tar.

Antique means more than 100 years old.

Arabatchi Chuval rug early 19th century.

Arabatchi ( Arabachi )
A Turkmen tribe. See examples of Arabatchi rugs.

Arak ( Sultanabad )
Arak is a central western Iranian town formerly known as Sultanabad. Well known rug types from the Arak province include Sarouk, Mahal, Lilihan and Ferahan.

Ardabil Carpets ( Ardebil Carpets )
The Ardabil carpets are a pair of twins, weaved in Persia in the 16th. century. One of the carpets are exhibited in Victoria and Albert Museum in London and the other in Los Angeles County Museum of Art. The Ardabil Carpets were created in Tabriz, Kashan or Mashad and the name Ardabil used be course they were originally housed at a large shrine in the city of Ardabil. The carpets are woven in 1539-40 according to the dated inscriptions. The foundation is of silk and the pile of wool with a knot density at 300-350 knots per square inch ( 470-540.000 knots per square metres). The size of the carpets are 34 1/2 feet by 17 1/2 feet ( 10,5 metres x 5,3 metres).

Ardebil ( Ardabil )
Town in Iranian Azerbaijan. Contemporary rug designs used in this area are influenced by Caucasian designs.

Yomut Asmalyk, Turkmenistan, ca. 1870.

Asmalyk ( Osmulduk )
Five-sided Turkmen camel trapping.

English rug. From mid of the 18th century to the first half of the 19th century hand-knotted in Axminster, Devon. Contemporary rugs are machine made with power looms.

Turkic language spoken in Azerbaijan and Iran ( Southern Azerbaijan )

Bakhtiari (Bakhktiari, Bakhtiary, Bakhtiar, Baktiari )
The Center of Bakhtiari weaving area is found south-east of Isfahan in Shahr-e-Kord in Iran. The formerly nomadic tribe has become settled. Sharh-e-Kord is the provincial capital of Chahar Mahal and Bakhtiari Province. See examples of Bakhtiari rugs.

Baluch ( Balouch, Balouchi )
The Baluch inhabit Baluchistan, a part of Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan. The Baluch pile rugs are usually small and in dark colours.

Bergama rug. Turkey, second half 19th century.

City of northwestern Turkey (Anatolia) with a long tradition for rug weaving. The design term “Bergama rug” is often used for antique western Anatolian village rugs.

Bijar ( Bidjar )
Persian rug and town in North West Iran. The Bijar rugs are very solid. Though the price for new rugs are relative high compared with other new Iranian rugs, Bijar rugs are popular among new buyers becourse of the skilled craftsmanship.

Although they are often mistaken for embroidery, brocaded designs are produced entirely on the loom, as the fabric is woven. Soft, lustrous pattern yarns are interlaced entirely by hand, and these pattern rows alternate with thin, plain-weave ground wefts.

Carpet ( Rug )
Fabric floor covering

Chahar Mahal
Chahar Mahal is a large area with ca. 50 villages between Ispahan and the Zagros-mountains. Nomads from the Lori-Bahktiari tribes used the area for their summer-camps for many centuries, probably together with a Kurdish tribe.

Chodor Chuval, West Turkestan, second half 19th century

Chodor ( Chawdor, Chowdur, Choudor, Chaudor )
A Turkmen tribe inhabiting the Khiva area of Turkestan. The field color in Chodor rugs are often a distinctive purple-brown.

Chuval ( Juval, Joval )
Turkmen storage bag with pile surface.

Rug size (Persian) – 6.6 feet by 4.6 feet or 200 x 135 cm.

Ensi ( Engsi )
Turkmen pile rug and door curtain.

Ersari ( Ersary )
A group of Turkmen tribes of northern Afghanistan and Turkmenistan. Ersari rugs and weavings include a large design repertoire.

Textile woven without pile. Kilims, Soumaks, Suzanis and Cicims are flatweaves. See examples of Anatolian kilims and Caucasian soumaks.

Gabbeh ‘Lion’ Rug. South Persia, Early 20th century

Gabbeh ( Gabeh )
Originally Persian tribal rug. Gabbeh rugs are coarse and woven for domestic use. Designs are simple geometric patterns or figures.

Herati ( Mahi )
A very common repeated field design which consists of a flower centered in a diamond with curving leaves located outside the diamond and parallel to each side.

Heriz Rugs are made in the Heriz district about 40 miles west of Tabriz in Northwest Iran. The Heriz rugs reflect a geometric rendering of Tabriz designs. Heriz is the market center collection point for the region in Iran in-between Tabriz and Ardabil. Heriz is one of the more important production areas for the US market. The wool is excellent and the construction is sound making hard-wearing durable carpets. Next to Bijars these are some of the toughest Persian carpets.

Safavid Isfahan rug Central Persia 17th century.

Isfahan ( Esfahan, Isphahan, Esphahan )
A city in western central Iran. The carpets from Isfahan have been famous since the 17th. century.

Jozan ( Josan, Djozan, Djosan )
Persian rug and village in the Malayer area. Jozan rugs are quality rugs of Sarouk type. Often called Jozan Sarouk or Malayer Sarouk.

Juval ( Joval, Chuval )
See Chuval

Kelleh ( kelley )
Persian rug size, a long rug with a lenght at least the double of the width.

Persian rug size, a runner.

Khal Mohammadi ( Khal Mohamadi )
Khal Mohammadi is the trade name for new Afghan-Turkmen quality rugs produced by Khal Mohammad. He is based in North Mazar-i-Sheriff and has a store there as well as in Kabul and Peshawar Pakistan.

Khotan, East Turkestan, ca. 1800.

Khotan ( Hotan, Hetien, Hotien )
Oase city of Eastern Turkestan ( Xinjiang ) in China. Khotan is thought to be the source of most East Turkestan medaillion rugs.

Kilim ( Kelim )
Slit tapestry is the technique used most frequently for the flatwoven rugs and hangings called kilims. Slit tapestry is also used for bags, pictorial tapestries, and other articles. The fabrics are usually weft-faced, meaning that the warp is covered completely; the surface is ribbed in a vertical direction. Warp yarns are those that were affixed to the loom; weft yarns are those that were interlaced with the warps.

Knots of two basic types have been used throughout Asia and North Africa: asymmetrical and symmetrical knots. The first, the asymmetrical knot, sometimes called the “Persian” or “Senneh” knot, is superb when fine design detail is desired, because these can be closely packed. Not true “knots,” each short yarn segment is wrapped around two warps, but only encircles one of these completely. Either the right or left warp may be enclosed. Asymmetrical knots predominate in Iranian, Central Asian, Indian, and Chinese production. On workshop carpets, alternate warps are often pushed behind to allow a more compact structure. This is done by alternating a heavy, stiff weft yarn with a finer, more flexible and sinuous weft. Sometimes three-weft sequences are used. These dense constructions are described as having depressed warps.Symmetrical knots are inherently more secure, and thus are excellent for coarser weaves. The pile yarn wraps around a pair of warps from opposite directions, and the ends emerge together, between these warps. In knot-making terminology, this is a “clove hitch.” Symmetrical knots are typical in Turkish and Caucasian rugs, but they also appear in some Turkmen rugs, some North African weavings, and a good many Persian village rugs. In older rug literature, symmetrical knots have been called “Turkish” or “Ghiordes” knots.

Knotted pile
Knotted structures are used for the wide range of plush pile carpets popularly known as Oriental rugs. But tribal weavers have also knotted tent bags and saddlebags, saddle covers, animal trappings, cushions, door hangings, tent girths and other articles. Sometimes knotted pile has been combined with one or more of the flatweaves.

Lilihan ( Lillihan )

Town in Iran south of Arak (Sultanabad). Lillihan rugs from the town are similar in design to Sarouks.

Malayer rug

Malayer ( Malayir )
Town south of Hamadan. The rugs from Malayer and the villages around are single wefted like Hamadans. They are popular among collectors be course of their originality. There seems to be a floating transition between rugs sold as Hamadan rugs – Malayer – Jozan rugs.

Ningxia ( Ningsia, Ninghsia )
City in western China.

Ottoman Empire
A Turkish Empire, founded by Osman, from 1281 to 1924.

Pazyryk Carpet ( Pazaryk Carpet )
Pile carpet found at Pazaryk in Siberia. Dated to 500 B.C.

Iran map

Persia ( Iran )
Iran is often called Persia in historical and cultural contexts. And in rug trade the term “Persian rug” is far more used than the term “Iranian rug”. Iran is located in the Middle East and has borders to Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iraq, Pakistan, Turkey and Turkmenistan. See Iran map.

Qum ( Qom, Kom )
City in Iran. The carpet production in Qum has not a long tradition and began in the 20th century. See examples of Qum rugs.

Rug ( Carpet )
A fabric floor covering. Some call a rug larger than 8 by 10 feet for a carpet.

Semi-antique ( Semi antique )
Semi-antique means more than 50 but less than 100 years old.

Slit tapestry
Slit tapestry is the technique used most frequently for the flatwoven rugs and hangings called kilims. Slit tapestry is also used for bags, pictorial tapestries, and other articles.

Large Dragon Soumak Caucasus, late 19th century.

Soumak ( Soumac, Sumak, Sumac )
Intricate patterning can be done by wrapping colored yarns around the warps–usually single warps or pairs. Most commonly, rows of this pattern-yarn wrapping alternate with thin, plain-weave ground wefts. Exquisite Soumak examples come from the Caucasus, from northwestern Iran, and from a few other areas.

Area in Southeastern Caucasus. Most Talish rugs are easy to recognize be course of their long format and empty fields.

Turkestan ( Turkistan )
Turkestan is a historic region of central Asia. Western, or Russian, Turkestan extended from the Caspian Sea in the west to the Chinese frontier in the east and from the Aral-Irtysh watershed in the north to the borders of Iran and Afghanistan in the south. Eastern, or Chinese, Turkestan comprised the western provinces of China, now the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region . Southern, or Afghan, Turkestan referred to a small area of N Afghanistan. Politically, what was formerly called Russian Turkestan and Soviet Central Asia includes the nations of Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan and the southern portion of Kazakhstan.

Ushak ( Usak, Oushak )
Town in west central Anatolia. Ushag rugs have been woven in Ushak since the 15th century.

Veramin 1920

Veramin ( Varamin )
Veramin is a town near the Iranian capitol Tehran. The rugs from Veramin are easy to recognize be course of their Mina Khani designs.

Weft-substitution ( Weft substitution )
Fine designing has been done by Moroccan, Algerian, Baluch, Turkmen and Persian Afshar weft-substitution weavers; they substitute variously colored wefts as desired in otherwise perfectly plain weaves. Although there is not an easy popular label for this technique, the structure is distinctive. Like tapestry, this is a weft-faced weave: we see the warps only where they emerge at the end of a weaving as fringe.

Xinjiang ( Sinkiang, Sinjiang )
Chinese province in the western part of the country. Also called Eastern Turkestan in rug literature.

A term used to describe village rugs in western Iran which have motifs of the Khamseh, Qashqai and Lori tribes. See examples of Yalameh rugs.

Central Anatolian Yastik

A Turkish yastik is a small rug or bag for sitting against or leaning against. It can also be a cover.

Yazd ( Yezd )
A central Iranian city weaving rugs of medallion designs similar to Kermans or Sarouks. Main colors are blue, red and ivory. Wefts can be either wool or cotton and warps are of cotton only. The asymmetrical knot is used.

Zakatala ( Zakataly )
Zakatala is a small mountain city in the northern Azerbaijan in Caucasus. Zakatala rugs are all-wool and symetrically knotted.

“Ziegler” Carpet West Persia, 19th century.

Ziegler & Co. ( Ziegler )
Ziegler and Co. was a German firm based in Manchester (England) who was actively involved in both the Opium and Carpet trade. Ziegler set up looms in Sultanabad and helped start the boom in carpets from Arak (Sultanabad) province. The company exported a large number of rugs from Iran to Europe from the mid 19th century until the early 20th century. Persian rugs were designed according to western tastes. Tabrizes, Mahals and Sultanabads produced under the guidance of the Ziegler Co. are known today as the Ziegler Carpets.

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