Rug Glossary


Abadeh, Iran (əh-běh-děh)

Abadeh is a city located halfway between Isphahan and Shiraz, Iran.

Abadeh Rugs (əh-běh-děh)

Abadeh rugs are finely woven rugs. They have designs that closely resemble tribal rugs produced in Iran’s Fars Province. Abadeh rugs have cotton foundations and use asymmetric knots. Because of the materials used in the production of rugs from Abadeh today, they lack the character and charm that a true Fars Province tribal rug has.


Abrash is the natural fading or color change that occurs in horizontal bands across a rug’s field or border. This effect most often occurs in antique rugs that were constructed with hand-spun wools and dyed with vegetable dyes; more specifically in rugs that were produced before the Industrial Revolution. Abrash is sometimes considered a desirable trait and is artificially reproduced in rugs today by weavers and artisans selecting specific yarns to replicate the effect.

Acrylic Rugs and Fibers

Also known as manmade fibers or art wool, these synthetic polymer fibers are soft and lightweight, offering the appearance of wool in some cases but are substantially more resilient to moisture and mildew, static buildup and fading. These fibers are often blended with natural or other synthetic fibers to reduce production costs and are most often used in the production of bath rugs, bath mats and outdoor rugs.

Afshan Design (āf'shän)

A design used predominantly in Caucasian and northwestern Persian rugs that was derived from Persian rug designs of the seventeenth and eighteenth century.

Afshar Tribe (āf'shär)

The Afshar are a Turkic-speaking, partially settled nomadic tribal group inhabiting the southern and western regions of Kerman, Iran. Towards the end of the sixteenth century the Afshar insisted on remaining nomadic pastoralists, rejecting any idea of citizenship and subsequently spearheaded a revolt against the ruling power of Shah Tahmasp. They were consequently disbanded and relocated amongst areas of Iran. Throughout this wide spread area, the Afshar settled in and cultivated their weaving skills, becoming master weavers of quality kilims, soumacs, bag faces and pile rugs.

Afshar Rugs (āf'shär)

Because Afshar tribe encompasses such vast areas of Iran their weavings tend to share similar characteristics with many other rugs from Iran. Angular geometrically stylized patterns of flora and fauna, tulip and vase designs, medallions and geometric motifs are among some of the many different designs that can be featured using any number of different materials and colors. Some Afshar type rugs are sold in Sirjan, Iran and marketed under the name Afshar Sirjan while others woven in Shahr-e Babak are traded under the name ShahrBabak. Before the 1930s’ Afshar rugs were constructed entirely of wool from foundation to pile knots. Afterwards, cotton was introduced and the Afshar began weaving with renewed vigor.

Afshar Tribe (āf'shär)

The Afshar are a Turkic-speaking, partially settled nomadic tribal group inhabiting the southern and western regions of Kerman, Iran. Towards the end of the sixteenth century the Afshar insisted on remaining nomadic pastoralists, rejecting any idea of citizenship and subsequently spearheaded a revolt against the ruling power of Shah Tahmasp. They were consequently disbanded and relocated amongst areas of Iran. Throughout this wide spread area, the Afshar settled in and cultivated their weaving skills, becoming master weavers of quality kilims, soumacs, bag faces and pile rugs.

Afshar Rugs (āf'shär)

Because Afshar tribe encompasses such vast areas of Iran their weavings tend to share similar characteristics with many other rugs from Iran. Angular geometrically stylized patterns of flora and fauna, tulip and vase designs, medallions and geometric motifs are among some of the many different designs that can be featured using any number of different materials and colors. Some Afshar type rugs are sold in Sirjan, Iran and marketed under the name Afshar Sirjan while others woven in Shahr-e Babak are trade under the name ShahrBabak. Before the 1930s’ Afshar rugs were constructed entirely of wool from foundation to pile knots. Afterwards, cotton was introduced and the Afshar began weaving with renewed vigor. ShahrBabak circa 1940 Afshar Sirjan Antique Afshar, Circa 1890 Afshar Soumac Weave Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India --

Agra Rugs (āgrä)

Located 125 miles from the capital city of New Delhi India stands the regal city of Agra. During the sixteenth century Agra was ruled under Jalaluddin Muhammad Akbar of the Mughal Dynasty, a Timurid descendent who brought the city through a period of heightened cultural, architectural and artistic achievement. During his reign, Emperor Akbar brought Persian master weavers to the city’s jails to teach the prisoners how to weave. Afterwards prisoners began weaving using techniques and patterns they learned to create rugs with designs heavily influenced by Persian designs yet they had slightly altered coloring due to the availability of local dyes. By the nineteenth century, organized carpet weaving was well established in the city’s workshops and jails and when the city fell under British rule, many of the carpets came to be known as Agra jail carpets. The carpets eventually found their way into the European and British markets to later adorn the floors of great houses. All Agra rugs are constructed with cotton foundations and use asymmetrical knots.


An avian is a Chinese drawing room. Some Xingjian (Khotan), carpets were woven in sizes to fit in these simple rooms. Often a rug used for the exclusive purpose of fitting in an aivan will have a width that is double its length, typically 5’5” by 10’8”.

Ahar, Iran, Ahar Rugs (āhär')

A village in Azerbaijan that produces rugs with curvilinear Heriz style designs. Ahar rugs are double wefted, very stiff and very heavy. Aina Khaltas (āīna kātlās) An Aina Khaltas is a small rectangular Turkmen weaving used by Turkmen to carry mirrors. Aksai Chin Aksai Chin is an area of northwestern Tibet that includes the Trans-Karakorum Tract. It is administered by The People’s Republic of China.

 Akstafa Rugs (ŏkstŏfā)

As Caucasian Shirvan type rugs, Akstafa rugs are typically identified by their elaborate designs that include stylized peacock motifs with distinctive tail combs but may have elaborate geometric patterns as well.

Akstafa, Circa 1880 Akstafa Long Rug -- East Caucasus, Circa 1900

Alcaraz, Alcaraz Rugs (ālcārāz)

One of the many towns in Spain that between the fifteenth and seventeenth century produced hand-woven rugs with Spanish knots, wool piles, wool warps and wefts using either small or large Holbein designs. Many other designs were used as well.

Alcaraz, Spain 16th century

Alizarine Dyes (ə-lĭz'ər-ĭn)

A synthetic red mordant dye originally obtained from the roots of the Madder plant. The dye was synthesized in 1869.

All-Over, Overall Design

An All-over design is a repeated pattern that fills the field of a rug. A carpet with an all-over design will contain no medallions. (Also See Herati or Paisley)


An alpaca is a domesticated species of the South American Camelid. This animal looks like a small llama in its appearance and its wool is often used in some South American textiles.


 Also known as potash alum, it’s a white, occasionally colorless crystalline compound that is commonly used as a mordant to fix vegetable dyes. Alum is often used in the dying of wool in the production of rugs from regions of the Caucuses, Iran, Afghanistan and Turkey.

American Sarouk Rugs (sār’rōōk)

A name used in the carpet and rug trade industry that applies to rugs woven between World War I and II in Arāk, Iran that feature heavy piles, depressed warps, symmetrical knots, double-wefts of light blue coloring and cotton foundations. Almost all of these rugs were painted.

Amritsar, Amritsar Rugs (əm-rĭt'sər)

Amritsar is a city located in northwest India that is known for possessing an important rug weaving center during the late nineteenth to early twentieth century. Amritsar rugs have cotton foundations, double wefts, asymmetrical knots. Amritsar rugs have designs very similar to those found on Persian and Turkish rugs. Different dye colors were available in Amritsar towards the end of the nineteenth century therefore rugs produced with these dyes feature completely different color schemes than those found on most other Persian or Turkish rugs. Amritsar, Circa 1910 Amritsar, North India 20th Century

Antalya, Turkey

Antalya is the capital city of Antalya Province in Turkey and it’s located on the coast of the Mediterranean. Anatolia, Asia Minor, Turkey Anatolia is a region of western Asia that encompasses most of the modern Republic of Turkey. It’s bounded by the Mediterranean Sea, the Iranian Plateau, the Black Sea, the Caucasus Mountains and the Aegean Sea. Anatolian Carpets A term used to describe any number of carpets, rugs or weavings produced in the Anatolian region of Turkey.

Andkhoy, Andkhui (āngkoy, āngkuee)

A rug weaving center located in the northern province of Faryab, Afghanistan that’s known for producing Andkhoy rugs.

Andkhoy Rugs (āngkoy)

 Andkhoy rugs usually feature Bokhara or Elephant Foot motifs on red backgrounds. They tend to have a rather stiff handle and have wool warps and are double-wefted with one weft being cotton and the other wool.

Angora goat

A domesticated breed of goat that originated in the central region of Turkey and was later introduced into the United States. The dense wool of the Angora goat is often harvested and spun into soft wool known as mohair.

Angora Oushak Rugs (ü-shäk)

These heavy, hand-knotted Oriental rugs were produced in the west-central Anatolian town of Oushak, Turkey. Angora Oushak rugs are characterized by their use of soft, lustrous Angora goat wool or ‘mohair’ and their elaborate medallion patterns. (Also See Oushak Rugs)

Aniline Dyes (ān'ə-lĭn)

Aniline dyes are the first synthetic dyes. Mauvine was the first of these Aniline dyes and was discovered by William Henry Perkins while attempting to synthesize an antimalarial drug. Mauvine was introduced to Middle East carpet industries around 1870 with disastrous results. The first aniline dyes produced very bright colors of an almost garish quality that unfortunately for the industry faded quickly ending in poor quality carpets. Animal Trappings These tribal weavings function primarily as decorations for horses, donkeys and camels for various occasions. They include blankets, flank hangings and various other head and knee ornaments. (Also See Asmylak)

Antique Finishing

A procedure that changes or tones down colors and antiques rugs by using any combination of techniques including but not limited to the sun, tea or chemicals or simply laying them on the floor of the bazaar for people and animals to walk on. Antique finishing techniques are highly guarded by weavers as trade secrets.

Arabatchi, Arabatchi Rugs -- Arabachy, Arabaçı (ar”räbähchee)

Once living in Mangyshlak and along the Amu Darya River in Bokhara territory, this central Asian Turkoman subtribe was uprooted from their native land and moved to Khiva. Many Arabatchi rugs are very similar in design and construction to other Turkmen rugs and typically they have repeated stylized gul patterns and are constructed with asymmetrical knots, cotton wefts and wool warps or all wool foundations.

Arabesque Design

A complex and ornate linear design of intertwined floral and geometric figures.

Arabic Numbers and Dates Rugs can often be found with Arabic dates woven into them. The dates can be converted using the following equation: (Arabic date + 622) – (Arabic date, divided by 33.7) = European date.

Arāk (a-räk) Sultan-abad

A city located in northwest Iran that produced many of the high quality nineteenth-century rugs known as Mahal, Sultanabad, Sarouk and Farahan. These were either woven in the city of Arāk or the many villages that surround the city.

Ardabil, Ardebil (ard’bill)

Ardabil is a northwestern province of Azerbaijan that produced rugs and sumacs with geometric patterns similar to Caucasian rugs.


Republic of A land-locked, former republic of the Soviet Union that is located in the Southern Caucuses Mountains between the Black Sea and Caspian Sea. It is bordered by Georgia, Turkey and Azerbaijan; Iran. Armenia’s capital is Erevan. Armenian Rugs Armenian rugs have inscriptions in the Armenian language on them. They were produced in Armenia, Iran, Turkey and the Caucasus region and they have designs and color combinations very similar to other Caucasian, Turkish and Persian rugs produced nearby.

Art Deco

Art Deco was a popular design movement between the 1930s’ and 1940s’. Art Deco design is defined by hard-edged lines, strong colors, bold graphics and geometric shapes.

 Artemisia leaf

Artemisia leaf patterns are found in some Chinese rugs designs are from the Chinese Hundred Antiquities.

Art Nouveau

An art movement in architectural style and design defined by organic lines, floral motifs and highly stylized curvilinear forms.

Art Silk, Mercerized Cotton

A name used in carpet and rug trade to describe the artificial silk used in the production of carpets. Art silk could be composed of mercerized cotton, viscose rayon, polyester or other manmade materials with silk-like characteristics that are often substituted for silk in rugs to lower the cost of production. Arts and Crafts Rugs Arts and Crafts rug designs are a reflection of the Arts and Crafts movement of the late nineteenth early twentieth century in which designers wanted to reestablish the link between artist and craftsman, between art and industry. The movement is a reaction to the Industrial Revolution’s utilitarian approach to art. Arts and crafts rugs feature Art Nuevo style designs: organic leaf or flower patterns in warm muted color tones and clean lines.

Ashkhabad (Ashgabat) (āshkäbād)

Ashkhabad is the largest city and the capital of Turkmenistan. The majority of the population is Turkmen with a small percentage of minorities being Russian, Azeri and Armenian. Some modern rugs from Turkmenistan are woven in the vicinity of Ashkhabad where there are quite a few workshops.

Asmalyk Trapping, Asmylak (äsmäläck)

An Asmalyk is a pentagonal, heptagonal, or rectangular; sometimes “T” shaped camel flank covering that is tribal in origin. Some of the “T” shaped Asmylak trappings were produced without a backing and known as jollars. Presumably, many of these trappings were produced in pairs. Yomut Asmylak, Camel Flank Decoration Asparak (See Weld)

Asymmetric Knot -- (open to the left/right)

Also known as a Persian or Senneh knot, the asymmetric knot is created by encircling one warp with a thread and leaving the other adjacent warp to remain only partially encircled. This creates an asymmetry in the appearance of the knot and therefore its name. The term open to the left is used when the right warp is completely encircled and the left warp is only partially encircled. The term open to the right is used when the left warp is completely encircled and the right warp is left partially encircled.

At Torbas (ät tōrbās)

A Turkmen weaving designed in the shape of a horse’s feedbag.

 Aubusson, Aubusson Rugs (ō'bə-sən, -sôɴ)

Once woven exclusively in Aubusson, France, a small town located on the banks of the Ceruse River, the popularity of the designs have spread throughout the rug weaving world and have been reinterpreted in pile as well as the traditional flat weave. (Also See Needlepoint) Throughout the 17th and 18th century, under the guiding eye of Henry IV, Aubusson became famously known for its production of fine tapestries and rugs. Aubussons come in a wide range of sizes and often have cream colored grounds and rosy colored designs that are very suitable for traditional antique furnishings. Some of the hand-stitched designs include ornate floral designs, pictorial designs and other floral arrangements and figures of nature —all very in tune with neoclassical and Rocco themes. Aubusson, Charles X circa 1820 Aubusson, France, Late 19th Century Aubusson Design Axminster Loom Named after the English city of Axminster from where it originated, the loom is capable of weaving carpets many different designs and colors. Some newer Axminster models can weave at a very high rate of speed and are electronically controlled.

Ayrivan (ěr'-ěh-vān) (See Yerevan) Azad (See Kashmir) Azerbaijan, Independent Republic of (āz'ər-bī-jän')

Azerbaijan is part of the former republic of the Soviet Union and is the largest and most populated country in the South Caucasus region. It shares its boundaries with Georgia, Armenia, Iran, Russia and the Caspian Sea. The area is mostly inhabited by ethnic Azeri people and its capital is Baku. East Azerbaijan Province, Iran Azerbaijan is one of the thirty provinces of Iran located in Iran’s northwest. The province is mostly inhabited by Turkish-speaking Azeri people and it capital is Tabriz. West Azerbaijan Province, Iran One of Iran’s thirty provinces located in Iran’s northwest. Its capital is Urima. Azeri The Azeri people are a Turkic-speaking ethnic group of over 10 million that inhabit areas of north and northwestern Iran and the Independent Republic of Azerbaijan.

Bakhshaish (bak-sha-eesh)

A small village southwest of the city of Heriz in Azerbaijan, Iran, that during the nineteenth century produced rugs featuring mostly Herati and other all-over designs.


Bakhtiari (bak’tärē)

The Bakhtiari are a confederation of nomadic tribes in southern Persia that migrate twice a year between the central Zagros Mountains and the low-lying areas around Ahvaz. The Bakhtiari have also settled in numerous small villages east of the mountains around Shahr Kord, Iran.


Baku, Baqy, Baky, Baki, Bakou (bä-kōō')

Baku is a modern city located on the shore of Caspian Sea on the Apsheron Peninsula and home to more than 3 million people. It is the capital and the largest city in Azerbaijan and possesses the largest port in all the Caucasus.


Baku Carpets (bä-kōō')

Carpets from the Baku district of Azerbaijan and the surrounding area feature stylized boteh figures set against light and dark blue backgrounds. While more rarely, some Baku carpets feature other designs and artistic elements on red and yellow backgrounds. Baku carpets are structurally indistinguishable from typical Shirvan rugs with their wool pile, symmetric knots and wool foundation, yet they differ in softness and color intensities.


Balanced Plain Weave

A balanced plain weave is a uniform weave of interwoven warps and wefts. This very simple type of weave is often used as a canvas for cicims, zillis and the backing for saddle bags. In this technique both warps and wefts are visible.


Balouch, Baloch, Baluch, Balouch Rugs (bə-lōō'ch)

The Balouch are a semi-nomadic group that inhabits the Baluchistan region in western Pakistan, parts of eastern Iran and southern Afghanistan and western Pakistan. They speak a language related to Persian and are predominately Muslim. Their weavings are usually small in size (a common trait shared amongst tribal weavings) and they produce a significant amount of prayer rugs and saddle bags. Their rugs feature either dark blue, red or camel color backgrounds which give them a very archaic and somber look and are constructed with asymmetric knotting. A majority of the older Balouch rugs have wool foundations.



The bamboo symbol/icon is used in many Chinese carpets and represents long life, endurance and scholar. Its meaning references the rigidity of bamboo, in that it can bent but never broken. (Also See The Four Accomplishments)


Bamyan Province

Bamyan is a province located in the central Hazarajat region in Afghanistan. The region is home to a large population of Hazara people as well as Sadat, Pashtuns, Tartars and Tajiks. In the distant past, Bamyan was a major hub along the Silk Road.



Baotou is the largest city in Inner Mongolia; The People’s Republic of China and is an important market place for the whole region. During the mid to late nineteenth century, the area of Baotou produced a number of exquisite pictorial rugs. Suiyan Carpets often have a high thick and velvety pile and are usually found with blue, red, brown or white patterns; many of which had cotton foundations and wool asymmetrical knots.



A reoccurring symbol often found on Chinese carpets. The bat is meant to represent good luck and happiness. A grouping of five bats can be found on some rugs to and represents five-fold luck and happiness. Red bats represent widespread happiness and good fortune while bats in any combination with a swastika represent this luck 10,000 fold.


Bedouins (bědōōwĭns, bědwĭns)

Now mostly settled, these previously nomadic Arab people inhabit the deserts of North Africa, Sinai, Negev, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. They weave mostly kilims, belts and camel bags on ground looms.


Beijing, Beijing Rugs (Peking Rugs)

Beijing is the capital of China and a major rug exporting center for the West after the First World War. Beijing, gradually as time progressed, produced rugs that increased in heaviness with warps that became more and more depressed. The production of ‘Beijing’ rugs for export probably started in the 1860s’ with rugs that were rather thin with soft handles. Some designs were very similar to those woven in Ningxia and were presented against mostly blue or white backgrounds. As with all Chinese rugs, Beijing rugs are constructed with asymmetric knots on cotton foundations.


Berebers, Berber Rugs (bûr'bər)

An indigenous people of North Africa who mostly live in Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria who produce hand-woven rugs including kilims as well as pile rugs that are marketed as Moroccan rugs. Their long and shaggy pile rugs are usually very loosely woven with hand-spun wool on wool foundations. Berber rugs are constructed using a particular type of Spanish knot that is exclusive to Berber rugs alone. The number of wefts used in Berbers rugs varies from two to twenty and the designs are based on simple geometric forms that often have irregularities.


Bessarabian (Moldavian) (běsə-rā'bē-ən)

These kilims were produced in either Moldavia or Bessarabia in what is known today as Romania. Although Bessarabia and Moldavia were once separated by the Old Russian border, the kilims from both locations share similar characteristics. They both feature the same designs and the same unusual black and green color tones that were used very little in kilims from other areas of the Balkans. Their designs are very European often depicting rose bouquets scenery or floral patterns. Some were very long and narrow while quite a few others were woven in two pieces (a characteristic of Turkish influence) and most likely used as wall hangings.


Bhadohi (bähdōōē’)

Located in the Uttar Pradesh State in northwestern India, Bhadohi possesses one of the largest weaving centers in India. Bhadohi district weaving centers produce a wide range of carpets in varying qualities aimed at foreign markets.


Bid Majnūn Design (See Weeping Willow Design)




Binding is a method of wrapping the lengthwise edges of a rug in a variety of methods to prevent them from unraveling.


Birjand (bûr-jān)

An eastern city and weaving center located in the Province of Khorasan that is known for weaving floral type rugs. Birjand is also known as a market for tribal rugs of that area.


Bijar, Iran (bē-jär)

Bijar is an important rug production center located in the province of Kurdistan, in northwestern Iran approximately 50 miles from Zanjan. Bijar rugs are woven in the town of Bijar and in the small surrounding village of Halvai. Jijims and kilims are also produced by the native Afshars and Kurds from this area of Iran.


Bijar Rugs (bē-jär)

Bijar rugs are famous for their durability. They have a unique compact weave that gives them a heavy handle and a hard dense pile. They usually have an all-over repeating pattern of Herati or Minakhani pattern or medallions which are not uncommon. Bijar rugs can also feature other popular nineteenth century Persian designs. Traditionally, antique Bijar rugs are woven by Kurdish weavers and have wool foundations with symmetric knotting but most new Bijar rugs have a cotton foundation and asymmetrical knots.



Combining or mixing of two or more fibers from different sources to either reduce costs or to achieve a desired thread characteristic.



Blocking is a process by which a carpet is stretched in width or length to remove wrinkles or to adjust its shape.


Bokhara, Bukhara (Bōk-här-rä)

The capital of the Bokhara Province of Uzbekistan that has long been a center for the trade of Turkmen carpets from many different tribes.


Bokhara Design (Bōk-har-ra)

A popular design that typically consists of major and minor guls repeated throughout the field of the carpet. The Bokhara design originated in Central Asia and is found in many rugs from Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Iran. With a trained eye the origin and age of a rug with a Bokhara type design can be determined by the type of colors or materials used and the way the rug was constructed.


Bolesht, Balesht (Bōlěst’)

A small woven bag that with either kilim or pile for the front or the back and that has loops at one end for closing it. They are either stuffed and used as cushions or used as storage bags. They are common to areas throughout Iran, Afghanistan, Caucasus and Turkey.


Books (See The Hundred Antiquities)




The border is a frame that surrounds the main field of a rug. There are two types of borders, the main border and the guard border. The main border is usually a wide single frame while the guard border is a set of two to three smaller frames, each of which may or may not contain designs.


Bordjalu (Bōr-jāh-lōō)

A design used in Kazak type rugs and also a type of rug produced in the northwestern district of Hamadan in Iran.


Boteh (Bō-tě) (Paisley)

In Farsi, “boteh” means “A cluster of leaves”. The boteh motif is a pear-shaped figure that has been interpreted as either representing a leaf, a bush or a pinecone. The Boteh design has taken on many forms. Renderings of the boteh motif vary slightly from region to region yet all boteh ascribe to the similar “teardrop” shape. Boteh designs found on rugs produced in cities often feature the boteh motif in curvilinear formations while the boteh found on nomadic tribal rugs feature the boteh motif in simple geometric forms.


Braided Rugs

Braided rugs are fashioned by first braiding strips of new or used fabric (often cotton) into long ropes. These ropes are then spiraled into oval, round or oblong shapes and then sewn together.



Brocading is a technique by which a desired design pattern is not created by using knots, but instead created by the controlled insertion of supplementary weft shoots in order to create a design on the face of a textile or a flat weave. Of the many differ brocading techniques, soumac is the most well known. The soumac technique is popular among flat weaves from the Caucasus and various other areas of Iran, Afghanistan and Turkey.



A symbol used in Chinese carpets that represents marital happiness and occurs frequently with flower arrangements.


Buddha’s Dog, Lion, Fu Dog

A rare find on today’s modern carpets, the fu dog was popular icon in eighteenth and nineteenth century Chinese rugs. The fu dog is the guardian of temples and is often rendered in stone or marble. The fu dog is sometimes portrayed on rugs and often with a ball symbolizing the holy jewel.


Buddha’s hand, finger lemon

The Buddha’s hand is a symbolic fruit found on Chinese rugs that symbolizes the bringing of happiness.


Burn Test

A burn test is a method of determining the material composition of a fiber. The test is accomplished by sampling a carpet or rug fiber and burning it. When burned, wool will smell like burnt hair, cotton and art silk will smell like burnt wood, real silk will produce a weak odor and form a crunchy black ball and plastic or synthetic materials such as polypropylene will produce an acrid smell and form into a hard ball.

Camel Hair Sarab (See Sarab Rugs)




Carding is a process by which raw fibers are prepared for spinning. The process involves drawing the raw fibers across small metal teeth in order to break up clumps, remove contaminates and align the fibers. This process can either be performed mechanically or by hand. During the carding process, different fibers can be introduced in order to achieve a desired fiber characteristic or color.



A map or design on graph paper that shows the location and color of each knot. Cartoons are not universally used in rug weaving and depending on where the rug was made a cartoon may or may not have been used.



A woven oval or a long tablet found on Oriental rugs that contain a signature, inscription, date or other writings.



Carving is a technique whereby handheld carving tools are used to control the removal of carpet pile in order to achieve a desired shape, design or three-dimensional effect on the surface of a carpet. Carving is often used in Tibetan, Chinese or Indian rugs.


Caucasus, Caucas, Caucasia

The Caucasus region is a linguistically and culturally diverse area that is split into two distinctly different portions. The mountainous Caucuses region acts as a natural border between Asia and Europe. The north portion, the “Greater Caucasus”, “Major Caucasus” or “Ciscaucasus”, includes part of southwestern Russia and northern parts of Georgia and Azerbaijan while the south half, the Transcaucasus, includes Armenia, southern parts of Azerbaijan, Georgia and the majority of the mountainous attributes of the Caucasus Mountains. 


Caucasian Rugs

Caucasian rugs are produced in the Old Soviet Union between the Black and Caspian Seas. They are constructed using Turkish knots and mostly have wool piles, and wool foundations. However, a few Caucasian rugs have also been found to have wool piles and cotton foundations.


Cashmere, Pashmina

Cashmere is a fiber procured from the underbelly and neck of the Capra Hircus breed of goat. The wool is highly valued for its soft, light and silky attributes. Cashmere goats are bread in the high altitude plateaus of the Himalayas at approximately 12000-14000 feet and because of this high altitude and climate, the goat’s genetics and their diet, they grow unbelievably soft wool called cashmere. The Persian word for this type of wool is pashmina and was a popularized during the height of shawl making in Cashmere.


Chemche Torbas (kěmkē tôr'bəs)

A small woven bag used by Turkomens to carry long handled spoons.


Chain Stitch -- in Rug Construction

Chain Stitching is an embroidery technique used in the construction of rugs to create a design on the surface of a fabric using silk, wool or cotton threads. This technique creates a series of loops to form a chain-like pattern using a crochet hook or needle. By changing the colors of the threads used in the chain stitching a design can be executed. This ancient technique is used in embroideries and rugs throughout the world and currently most rugs made using this technique are made in Kashmir, Afghanistan and India.


Chain Stitch -- in Rug Repairs

Chain stitching is a technique in which many successive threads are looped around one or two warps to lock the final weft in place at the end of the rug thus preventing it from unraveling.


Chemical Dyes

These modern synthetic dyes are often used in Oriental rugs woven after the late nineteenth century. During the very early stages of chemical dye development, chemical dyes were prone to fading and running and only a limited array of colors were available. Chemical dyes produced after 1960 are available in a near infinite palette of colors that are very precise, consistent, sunfast and colorfast. Carpets produced with chemical dyes will hardly ever develop abrash and will stay vibrant for many years. However, the color permanency and the vibrancy of chemical dyes can be seen as a drawback, as the colors in chemically dyed rugs will not mellow or tone down overtime to acquire the often desired patina of antique rugs.


Chemical Wash

A technique in which rugs are washed with chemicals such as lime, chlorine, caustic soda or wood ash in order to soften or change the colors of the rug and to increase the sheen of the wool pile. A chemical wash can have some undesirable effects, such as reducing the durability of the rug or creating an irreversible removal of color.


Chichi Rugs (chē-chē)

A type of Caucasian rug known to originate from the Kuba District with designs often consisting of borders decorated with diagonal bars alternating with geometric rosettes. Chichi rugs are woven tightly with symmetric knots, wool warps and wefts.


Chobi Rugs (chō’bē)

Chob in Farsi means “wood”. Chobi rugs are hand-knotted and with hand-spun wool that has been dyed using natural plant parts and other natural dyes. They are produced in northern Pakistan and Afghanistan.


Chaudor, Chodor Rugs, (chō-dōr)

The Chodor are a Central Asian Turkomen subtribe that uses Ertmen Gul motifs in many of their bag and Main carpet weavings. Many of their pile weavings are very similar and difficult to distinguish from Yomut and Esari examples based on design elements alone. For the most part however, Chodor Main carpets are constructed on wool foundations with asymmetrical knots and feature Ertmen Gul motifs laid out in a tile-like formation that are enclosed by a diamond lattice border.


Chrome Dye

Chrome dyes are a class of synthetic mordant dyes that are used primarily in the dying of wool. Chrome dyes use a chromium compound as the mordant. They are simpler to prepare, cheaper to use and easier to match than natural dyes. They are also colorfast, resistant to sun fading and offered in a wide range of color hues. Chrome dyes help preserve the natural lanolin in wool fibers so that the durability of the wool is not reduced. The only drawback to using chrome dyes is that a rug dyed with them will not develop the often desired patina of an antique rug as it ages.


Chuval, Juval, Joval (Doshak) (chōvāl, jō'vāl)

The largest of the various kinds of Turkmen bags woven with a single face.


Cicim Flat Weave Rugs, Jajim, Jijim (Weave)

A light flat-weave used as a curtain or a blanket composed of woven color bands that are sometimes sewn together to make a larger piece. The patterns are usually created while brocading on a loom, but certain details may be embroidered later for added effect. Feathers and other unique objects may also be incorporated during the brocading process.


Cicim (Technique)                                         

A cicim is a decorative pattern woven into a balanced plane or weft-faced weave using additional thread that is generally thicker but may also be thinner than the warp or weft threads. The thick threads are used to create a raised design on the surface of the rug, while thinner threads are used to create lowered areas. These patterns are not added after the rug is completed but while the rug is being woven.


Closed Square

A symbol found on rugs produced in China as a mirror or a painting that represents riches in art or marital happiness. (Also See Open Square)



Clouds on Chinese rugs in the form of scrolling, stylized versions symbolically represent the heavens and are omens of peace.


Cloud Band

A shell shaped ornament that is often seen presented in various forms; some are compressed while some are elongated.


Cloud Band Kazak Rug

Also known as Chondoresk, Chondzoresk, “Cloud Band” Karabagh or “Dragon Kazak”, these rugs feature hexagonal medallion motifs with s-shaped figures that mimic cloud band motifs similar to those of Chinese origin.



A symbol found on some Chinese rugs that symbolizes riches. (See The Hundred Antiquities)


Cochineal (kok-neel)

Cochineal is an insect native to tropical and subtropical South America and Mexico. The crimson-colored dye, Carmine is derived from these insects


Color Bleeding or Color Run

Color bleeding occurs when rugs without stable or colorfast dyes are washed. Red and blue colors are most often affected by this, and rugs that are suspect should be tested for colorfastness ahead of time. Fortunately, it is sometimes possible to reverse color bleeding effects using a skilled professional Oriental rug cleaning service.


Colorfast Rug

A rug that has dyes that will not run or bleed when washed with chemicals or water.


Colorfast Test

A test to check if dyes used in a carpet will bleed or run. This is done by wetting different areas of the rug, positioning a white cloth over the wetted area and applying pressure. If the color transfers to the cloth, then the dye colors are not fast. Even if a carpet has colors that bleed, it is still possible to clean the carpet by using a skilled professional Oriental rug cleaning service.


Combing (See Carding)



Contour Bands

Contour bands are used in the construction of kilims and flat weaves throughout areas of Anatolia to conceal or reinforce an area where a slit has been created using the slit weave tapestry technique. Contour bands are useful in creating a defining outline between two color fields when a different color weft thread is used between the two adjoining color areas.


Coral Branch

A symbolic icon often found on Chinese rugs that represents longevity (Also See The Hundred Antiquities)


Corner Brackets (See Spandrels)




A Daoist animal figure often found on Chinese rugs that represents long life, immortality and wisdom.



A symbolic icon often found on Chinese rugs that represents autumn and longevity. (Also see The Four Accomplishments)


Curved Weft                                                  

Executing a curved weft involves beating down wefts using a metal or wooden comb in a selected area of the rug to create a gap where additional wefts are then woven to fill the area. This gap is filled with additional wefts of different colors that go back and forth in the area to create a design. The following rows of wefts are forced to curve around this filled area. This curving effect is used to execute other designs in a decorative manner. Using curved weft techniques allows for more accurate executions curvilinear designs.

Dagestan, Daghestan

Daghestan is an ethnically diverse autonomous region located in the eastern part of the North Caucasus that is home to over a dozen different ethnicities. Dagestanis famous for its pile carpets produced in Lezghin, Tabasaran, Rutul and Derbent, Dagestan’s largest city and main port. Daghestan is bounded by Circassia, Georgia, and the Caspian Sea.


Daghestan Carpets

Daghestan carpets are very similar to Shirvan, Kuba  and other rugs produced in the Caucasus region. Typically, Daghestan carpets feature designs similar to other rugs produced in regions nearby due to the large diversity of the population. A typical Dagestan pile rug will have a wool foundation, symmetric knots and either a reinforced or overcast selvage.



A tiny pentagonal bag used by Turkomens to hold a comb.



A symbolic animal often found on Chinese rugs that is meant to represent or symbolize wellbeing. Often, deer on Chinese rugs can be found carrying the Mushroom of Immortality in its mouth to represent long life and endurance.


Depressed Warps

While forming a knot upon two warps, the relative arrangement of the warps is called warp position. The position of the warps could be parallel, diagonal or horizontally relative to each other. Creating depressed warps is accomplished by pulling the first weft that passes through the alternative warps tightly, so that the warps are shifted under their adjacent warps. A rug with warps that are positioned directly on top of each other is known as having fully depressed warps.



Derbent is a major Caspian port and weaving district in Dagestan. That is comprised of several small villages and towns.  It is located in a region contiguous with the northern part of Kuba District.


Diah Dezlyk, Tutash

Small pentagonal Turkoman weavings used to decorate the front knees of a camel for special occasions such as wedding processions. (See Asmylak)


Dis Torbas (Duz Torba)

 A woven bag used by Turkomens to store salt, sugar, flour, etc.



Dhurries are kilims woven in India or Pakistan that are comprised of either cotton or wool wefts and cotton warps. In the past, dhuries in India were placed under pile rugs in the winter and as summer approached the pile rug was rolled up and the dhurrie was left in place to walk on.



An acronym of Turkish words meaning Natural Dye Research and Development. DOBAG was a project started in 1981 by German chemist Dr. Bohmer who taught Turkish villagers how to use the same traditional, natural dyes used in rugs before the Industrial Revolution. As the practice of using natural dyes was almost nearly forgotten in this region, by examining the natural dyes used in antique rugs in a specific scientific analysis procedure, Dr Bohmer was able to deduce what plants were used in the creation of the most vibrant natural color tones. He then led the charge to revitalize Turkish rug production with his findings. Many families who depended on carpet trade and manufacturing are greatly indebted to Dr. Bohmer and his research and the region has since witnessed a strong resurgence in carpet production.



Donegal is a town in Ireland in the Province of Ulster that had several rug factories. Most of the rugs produced in this area of Ireland are arts and craft style rugs.



A symbolic dragon-like figure often depicted with a fish tail and either one or two horns. The Douniu was an iconic figure featured on badges of imperial honor worn by noblemen from the Ming dynasty.


Doshak (See Chuval)


Doruksh, Qainat, Iran

A nineteenth century weaving center located in the northeast Iranian province of Khorasan.


Double Gourd

A symbol found on Chinese rugs that, with its many seeds, represents fertility. It is also a symbol formally associated with deities and immortals.


Double Interlock Tapestry

Double interlock tapestry is a technique used in kilims of Turkestan and Iran where alternating wefts of adjacent color fields are interlocked with each other at the edge of the color field and returned into their own color fields on alternate rows. Where the two wefts interlock a warp is not shared.


Double Lozenges (See Hundred Antiquities)



Double Niche

A design found in prayer rugs where the prayer niche is mirrored.


Dovetailing (See Warp Sharing Technique)




Dozars are a type of Persian rug that approximately measures 4’6” x 6’6” in size.



Not to be confused with the Douniu, the dragon is a symbolic animal found on many Chinese rugs and is considered to be China’s most revered symbol. It was the imperial symbol for many thousands of years and obviously represents power. It is believed to be the master of the elements and able to change the course of a river in a single instance. The dragon is commonly found on Chinese rugs having either four or five claws. Antique Chinese carpets featuring dragons with five claws are associated with the Emperor of China and are quite rare. Carpets that depict dragons with four claws are certainly more common, although there are many reproductions of carpets today that depict dragons with either number of claws. The dragon is represented on Chinese carpets in either a singular form as the center medallion, in the corners of the rug field, as stylized foliage with only a dragon head rendered or as two dragons facing each other chasing a ‘flaming pearl’


Drop Spindle

A drop spindle is a tool that is used for hand-spinning prepared cotton, silk or wool fibers into threads or yarn. It consists of a simple shaft and weight. Spinning is accomplished by attaching a thread to the top of the drop spindle shaft, freely suspending the attached thread and spindle, then spinning the weighted spindle with the attached thread so that the fibers are then spun into a twisted thread. As the process continues the thread will grow in length. At this point the excess thread it then wound on the drop spindle and the spinning process is repeated and more fibers are later joined.

Drugget (See Dhurrie)



Dry Rot

Dry rot is caused by keeping an area of a rug made with natural fibers excessively water saturated for an extended period of time. Most often this saturation is caused in part by allowing water from a potted plant to stand and seep into the carpet. If left untreated overtime, a fungus can develop that will attack the cellulose in the cotton fibers. The result is a rug with a weakened and brittle foundation.


Dyer’s Rocket (See Weld)

Eastern Turkestan

An area of the Greater Turkestan region of Central Asia known today as the Xinjiang Uyghur (wee-gur) Autonomous Region of the people’s Republic of China.


East Turkistan Rugs

Rugs that are woven in either Khotan, Yarkand, Ürümqi or Kashgar have designs influenced by rugs of Central Asia and China. Eastern Turkestan rugs have asymmetric knots with wool, silk or cotton used for the construction of the pile and foundation. The most popular design used in rugs from this region is the stylized pomegranate. It is used as either a medallion(s), or as an all-over pattern repeated throughout the rug field.


Eagle Kazak

Eagle Kazaks are also known as Chelarberd, Alder Kazaks, Eagle Claw Kazaks or Sunburst Kazaks. They feature stylized geometric and floral patterns and can be found with either a single medallion or several medallions. As with Cloud Kazaks, Eagle Kazaks are not from or woven by anyone namely Kazak, but are instead produced by Armenians, Azeri Turks, Georgians and Kurds.


The Eight Symbols of Buddhism, Eight Precious Objects

Auspicious symbolic icons found on some Chinese rugs that include: the wheel of law, a part of Buddhist doctrine; a conch shell, the far reaching sound of Buddhist teachings; a state umbrella or victory standard, for the victory of Buddha’s teachings and victory over hindrances; a parasol or canopy, for protection and spiritual power; a lotus flower, as the symbol for purity and accomplishment; a vase with the elixir of life, the granting of all wishes or immortality; paired fishes, as freedom from restraints, and an eternal knot, as the infinite wisdom and compassion of Buddha.


The Eight Symbols of Daoism, Eight immortals’ Attributes

These auspicious symbolic icons can be found on some Chinese carpets. They each represent an attribute associated with a Daoist immortal and together represent their omnipresent power. They include the fan of Zhong Liquan, the sword of Lu Dongbin, the gourd and staff or double gourd of Li Tieguai, castanets Cao Guojiu, the flower basket of Lan Caihe, the flute of Han Xiangzi and the lotus flower of He Xiangu.


The Eight Treasures (See The Hundred Antiquities)



Elem (ěl'əm)

An often decorated end panel found on Turkmen bags and rugs that is either woven onto one or both ends of the main border.


Elephant Foot Design

Also known as Filpa, the Elephant Foot motif is used by Esari Turkmens and throughout Afghanistan. It’s a quartered eight sided design with each quartered section featuring stylized leaves and flowers.


Embossing (See Carving)



Endless Knot, Eternal Knot

A symbolic design motif found on Chinese, Tibetan and Mongolian artifacts and rugs. The Endless Knot has many meanings with the central theme being infinite or eternal.

On Chinese rugs, the endless knot represents the infinite wisdom and compassion of Buddha.


Ensi (Engsi, Hatchili, Katchli) (ěn'zē)

An ensi is a felt or pile rug that is hung over the door of Turkmen homes. Ensi means ‘cross’ and refers to the design across the field of two vertical and horizontal bands that quarter the rug by crossing the field and intersecting in the center. The word ensi refers to the rugs purpose while katchli refers to the design. There are many exceptions to the designs found on ensi rugs however most of these rugs feature arches along the top, an extra stripe along the bottom and braided ropes on the corners at one end to fasten them to a yurt. The arch designs once lead people to believe that these rugs were used primarily as prayer rugs and perhaps they were at one time or another however the general consensus today is that they were used primarily as door covers.


Erewan, Erivan, Erevan (See Yerevan) (yě'rĭ-vän')



Esari Rugs (ěsôrē)

Among all Turkmen rugs, Esari Turkmen rugs have the largest range of designs. Typically Esari rugs have either eight sided guls repeated throughout the field, pomegranates or other designs derived from Persian or East Turkestan motifs. In trade, Esari rugs featuring Herati, Minakhani designs are referred to as Esari Beshir. Esari rugs are usually woven on a wool foundation with asymmetric knotting.


Esari Turkmen, Esari (Beshir) (ěsôrē běshěr)

A large settled Turkmen tribe that lives along the Amu Darya Valley and parts of northwest Afghanistan. Recently, many weavers from Esari tribe have settled in Pakistan and are one of the weavers of Chobi rugs in northern Pakistan.


Extra Weft Insets

In a technique similar to curved wefting, creating extra weft insets is executed by interlacing a single weft thread back and forth in one area of the design, alternating the thread between the warps until an area is built up with that thread color and then allowing the weft thread to continuing to interweave warps to the other end of the rug. This area, when beaten down, forces subsequent weft threads to curve around the built up area. This technique is used to fill in areas of a design with one particular color and allows for the execution of more curvilinear designs.


Eyerkilk, Eyerklyk, Tsherlyk (ī'ər’kĭlk) (shîr’kĭlk)

Eyerkilk and Tsherlyk are two distinctly different horse saddle covers that are woven by Turkmen tribes.

Fake Fringe

A fake fringe is a readymade fringing that is sewn onto the ends of most machine made rugs or onto antique rugs that have lost their fringes. It is not recommended to attach fake fringes to the end of an antique rug, as this change adversely affects its aesthetics and is clearly noticeable.


Farahan (fârâhān)

A village located in the Markazi (Central) Province in western Iran, approximately 30 to 40 miles northwest of the city of Arāk . The Farahan village is known for its production of finely knotted late nineteenth century rugs.


Farahan Rugs (fârâhān)

In the nineteenth century, Farahan rugs were among the earliest rugs exported to the West from the Arāk region of west-central Iran. Most Farahan rugs have repeated Herati or Minakhani designs against a dark blue field and are single wefted with asymmetrical knots on cotton foundation. They are very finely woven in rich reds, blues, greens, pastel apricots and yellows. They are considered by some to be among the finest weavings of nineteenth century Iran.


Fars (färz)

Fars is one of Iran’s thirty provinces and home to the Gashghai, Luri and a confederation of five, mostly Arabic speaking tribes called the Khamseh.


Farsi (färzē)

Farsi is the official language spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan. It’s written in the Arabic alphabet and is a part of the Indo-Iranian branch of Indo-European languages.


Fenh-Huang (Phoenix)

The Fenh-Huang a derivation on the standard phoenix found on many Chinese rugs.  The Fenh-Huang is a mixture of a stork, pheasant and peacock. Sometimes a Fenh-Huang is featured with a dragon. The Fenh-Huang is typically illustrated in five colors that represent each of the five cardinal virtues taught by Confucius: morality, faith, vigor mindfulness and concentration.



The rug field is the main body of the rug. It is the canvas where designs and patterns are presented. The field is often framed by a border and may contain an infinite array of designs, patterns and colors. The rug field may be a completely solid color or it may contain medallions. The field may contain curvilinear floral or stylistic geometric patterns or it may feature an all-over repeated design.



Filpa (See Elephant Foot Design)




A symbolic icon from the eight symbols of Buddhism that represents marital happiness and fertility. The fish symbol is often found on Chinese rugs and is often displayed in pairs,


Flaming Pearl (See Pearl)



Flat Weave Rugs

A flat weave rug is a simple pileless rug that is constructed of warps and wefts, e.g. Aubusson and kilims. There are many different techniques used in the creation of flat weave rugs, some of which include: soumac, curved weft, slitweave and interlocking weft technique.


Flowers of the Four Seasons

Flowers are often found on Chinese rugs and may occasionally represent seasons. I.e. the tree peony, spring; the lotus flower, summer; the chrysanthemum, autumn and the plum blossom, winter.



The combination of warps and wefts in piled or flat-woven rugs.


The Four Accomplishments

Also known as the ‘four gentlemen’ or ‘four noble qualities’, these symbols: a lute, a stack of books, paintings and a chessboard, are a set of four symbolic, iconic objects that appear on Chinese carpets and art work from the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). Often, these symbols are also presented in the form of flowers represented in a floral arrangement of a chrysanthemum, an orchid, a plum blossom and bamboo. In this form or ‘si junzi’, they symbolically represent the integrity and humility of the scholar.



The fringe on hand-knotted rugs is created by knotting the extended warps into a decorative edging that serves to stop the rug from unraveling. In machine-made and hand-tufted rugs, a readymade trim (fake fringe) is sewn onto the ends of the rug in order to mimic the look of hand-knotted rugs.

Gabbeh (gā’bě)

A thick hand-woven all wool pile rug that usually has a low knot density and is characterized by abstract geometric designs in primary or monochromatic colors. Gabbeh rugs were traditionally woven only by the Bakhtiari, Luri and Ghashghai tribes inhabiting areas around the Zagros Mountains in Iran. Recently, because of the popularity of these designs, they are being used in other weaving centers of India and China.


Ganja (gän'jə)

Ganja, the second largest city in Azerbaijan and an area mostly inhabited by Azeri Turks and Armenians, was named Elizabethpol during the Russian Empire (1804-1918) and as Kirovabad during the Soviet era (1918-1989). For centuries Ganja has been known for its production of high-quality carpets.



Ganja Rugs (gän'jə)

A typical Ganja rug will have an edge binding of several different color yarns wound as reinforced selvage and small geometric shapes designs arranged throughout the field. Rugs produced in the vicinity of the Ganja area closely resemble Karabagh and Kazak rugs yet Ganja rugs tend to be less floral in design than Karabagh rugs and use motifs found on Kazak rugs less often.


Ghashghai, Ghashghai, Kashgai, Qashqai, Qashqay, Qashqa'i, Qashqai, (gāshgā’ī)

The Ghashghai are a partially settled, Turkic-speaking nomadic tribe of shepherds that migrate twice a year between the summer and winter pastures around the city of Shiraz. Most Ghashghai have settled in and around the city of Shiraz and in the provinces of Khuzestan, southern Isfahan and Fars. There are many Ghashghai subtribes that include the Amaleh, Darashuri, Kashkuli, Rahimlu, Shkarlu and many others. Their weavings include carpets, kilims, bags and different animal trappings.


Ghashghai Rugs (gāshgā’ī)

Ghashghai rugs are characterized by their stylized geometric medallions, animals and flowers of different sizes and shapes throughout the field. Ghashghai carpets are usually double wefted, constructed of all wool and use either symmetric or asymmetric knotting. There are some Ghashghai rugs that are constructed with silk wefts and have very high knot counts.


Ghordish Knot (gōr’dĭsh)

Another name for Turkish and symmetric knots. (See Symmetric Knot)


Ghujeri (See Warp-Faced Patterning)



Goat Hair

The fleece or hair of a goat is used in some tribal rugs for the creation of durable warp and weft yarns and in some cases also used for binding the long sides of some tribal carpets.


Golden Afghan Carpets

Golden Afghan carpets are Afghani carpets that were produced in the late 1960s’ to early 1970s’. They were originally dyed red and purposely bleached to change their colors to yellow-gold tones.



A symbolic animal figure often found on Chinese rugs that represents love and perseverance. A flying goose stands for freedom.


Gorevan (gōrvŏn)

A town located in the northwestern province of Azerbaijan, Iran in the vicinity of Heriz. Rugs made in Gorevan are of a Heriz type and in trade the term ‘Gorevan rug’ is used to denote low grade rugs from this area.


Ground Loom (See Horizontal Loom)



Guard Border

Plain borders found on typical Oriental rugs that surround the field on all sides. Usually these bands are the same color as the background. (Also See Border, Main Border)


Gul (gŭl)

A hexagonal or angular medallion motif used in Turkoman rugs. It is often repeated to form an all-over pattern in the field.

Haji Jalili (haj-ee jôlēlē)

Haji Jalili was a master weaver and designer who owned workshops in Marand, Iran approximately forty miles northwest of Tabriz. His workshops are known to have produced some of the finest rugs of the nineteenth-century.


Hamadān, Hamadān Province, Iran, Hamedan, Hamadan Rugs (ha-ma-dahn)

Hamadān is one of the world's oldest continuously inhabited cities. It is the capital city of Hamadān Province and is located in western Iran. Hamadān possesses a market center that is constantly busy with the trade of various weavings. Rugs from Hamadān have a multitude of varied patterns and designs; from simple geometric to all-over Herati. They usually have single wefts, cotton foundations, wool pile and are symmetrically knotted.



Hand-hooked rugs are crafted by punching or latching loops of fabric, wool strips or rug yarns through a mesh using a crochet-type hook. With the mesh stretched across a frame a craftsman executes a design by following a pattern drawn on the surface of the mesh. The edges of the rug are finished using a whip stitch and occasionally liquid latex is applied to the back of the mesh to lock the strips in place.



Starting with the ancient Pazyryk Carpet found buried in a frozen Siberian burial mound some 2500 years ago, the method of creating a hand-knotted rug has changed little over time. The true art of a hand-knotted rug is in the way it’s constructed, as it is by far the most difficult method used in the creation of handmade rugs. Without the aid of glues or machinery, a hand-knotted rug is painstakingly created by a weaver following a design, knotting tufts of yarn to warp threads and cutting them one at a time by hand. Once a row of knots is completed one or more wefts are interwoven between every other warp. They are then beaten down using a metal or wooden comb to lock them in place and after the knotting is complete, the warp ends (fringes) are then tied off to prevent the rug from unraveling. A hand-knotted rug may have anywhere between 25 to over 1000 knots per square inch and as a skilled weaver is generally able to tie around 300 knots per hour, a group of weavers, each of whom working on three foot sections at a time, may take up to a year or more to complete a single rug depending on its size, the number of knots per square inch and the intricacy of the rug’s design. All things being equal, the more knots per square inch a carpet has the more valuable it is. (Also See Horizontal Loom)



Handle’ is a term used in trade to describe the flexibility, weight or the density of a rug. Depending on what materials are used and the way in which it’s constructed, the rugs handle might be described in terms such as stiff, heavy, coarse, flexible, light or soft.



Hand-loomed refers to any of the many rugs and textiles that are produced on looms operated by hand without the use of any mechanical power. This should not be confused with ‘hand-knotted’ carpets.



All hand-knotted, hand-loomed, hand-tufted, hand-hooked, needlepoint, kilim and Aubusson type rugs are considered to be handmade.


Hand-Spun Wool

Preparing wool by hand and spinning wool into threads without the aid of machinery is still practiced today in many parts of the world. The first step involves shearing sheep. Often these sheep are locally raised and the shearing is done using simple hand shears. Most sheep have different shades of fleece, so the next step involves sorting the sheared wool into piles of different colors. The sorted wool is then washed by hand in a nearby river or a tub and let to dry in the sun. Once dry, the wool is then carded by hand. This is done to remove any remaining contaminates and to also align the wool fibers for spinning. The last step involves finally spinning the wool into long threads using a simple spindle or spinning wheel. Rugs woven with hand-spun wool threads are generally more costly than rugs made with machine spun wool due to of the labor involved.

Hand-spun yarn is naturally inconsistent in diameter and when dyed, tightly spun sections will absorb less dye and loosely spun sections will absorb more. This creates variability in the thread colors. When woven into a rug or carpet the variegation in the colors of the threads provide softer designs, outlines and aesthetics—vital attributes of antique rugs.

Although some may prefer the perfection in appearance that a carpet constructed with machine-spun wool offers, there is a growing demand for rugs made in the same fashion as those produced centuries ago. The only way to achieve the look and feel of an antique rug today is by applying the same methods, employing the same materials and utilizing the same dyes used in the construction of authentic antique rugs.


Following a pattern stenciled on a canvas backing consisting of small squares, a craftsman inserts different color yarns into each square using a handheld gun or single-needle tufting tool. After the tufting is completed, latex adhesive glue followed by a cotton sheet is applied to the back of the canvas to keep the yarns secure. This cotton sheet conceals the rug design on the back.  In some cases a readymade fringe is attached to the ends of the rug for decoration.



Hand-woven refers to the many different types of fabrics, carpets, rugs and textiles that are woven using any number of techniques and devices operated by hand.


Harshang (härshshāng)

A design seen on certain Caucasian and northwest Persian rugs composed of palmettes or almond-shaped motifs with split-leaf arabesques sprouting from each end.


Hatchili, Hatchlou, Katchli (hā’chēlē, hā’chēloo) (See Ensi, Engsi)



Hazara (hā’zārā)

The Hazara are a Persian speaking people who mostly reside in the central Afghanistan Hazarajat regions of Bamyan Province. They are mostly Shia Muslim with a small percentage of them being Sunni. The Hazara people can also be found in large numbers in neighboring Iran and Quetta, Pakistan, primarily as refugees.


Herat (hě-rät')

Herat is a province located in northwestern Afghanistan that borders Iran. The capital of the province is also known as Herat and its Afghanistan’s second largest city. The city of Herat possesses a major historic weaving center. Today, most rugs produced in Herat are Baluchi and Turkmen tribal types.


Herati Design (hě-rät'ē)

Herati design is an all over pattern of interconnected blossoms that surround diamond shaped motifs. On Tabriz rugs the design is referred to as ‘fish design’ and named so for the stylized leafs in the pattern resembling fish. Herati design is popular among rugs from the Caucasus, India and China and among antique Farahan carpets and rugs from Tabriz.


Hereke (hěrēkē)

A small coastal city located approximately 60 miles outside of Istanbul, Turkey on the gulf of Izmir. Since the 1920’s, Hereke has produced many finely woven carpets using materials such as silk, metallic gold and silver colored threads. Some rugs were and are still being made in Hereke with wool pile on cotton foundations.



Located in Province of Azerbaijan, Iran, Heriz is a market and an important production center for rugs with most productions destined for the U.S. and European markets.


Heriz Rugs (hîr'ēz)

Heriz carpets are primarily room sized and feature geometric or all-over medallion designs.  A majority of both antique and newer Heriz carpets have a cotton foundation. All Heriz rugs have symmetric knotting. There are some antique all-silk Heriz rugs that are highly sought after by collectors.


Holbein Design (hōl'bīn)

During the European Renaissance artists were captivated with including Anatolian rugs in their paintings, placing the rugs alongside diplomats, kings and religious icons to symbolically represent their subject’s worldly knowledge and wealth. They spent countless hours rendering the designs in great detail and accuracy. Because these rug designs were depicted in the artists painting, the artists name became synonymous with the carpet design.  German painter Hans Holbein’s (1465-1524) painting ‘The Ambassadors’ (1533) features two diplomats surrounded by worldly objects. The painting depicts a rug with a Turkish design of large rectangular panels containing octagonal motifs surrounded by small medallions and the pattern is widely referred to as ‘large-pattern Holbein’. Holbein’s Henry VIII (1536) features another ‘large-pattern Holbein’ design. The large eight pointed star medallions found on the rug in this portrait is referred to ‘large-star Holbein’ and the design originates from Turkey. One design called ‘small-pattern Holbein’ can be seen in a painting by an unknown Flemish artist titled ‘The Somerset House Conference 19 August 1604’. This painting features a carpet of Anatolian origin with rows of octagons outlined by interlaced loops that alternate with offset rows of cross-shapes and stylized arabesques.


The Holy Mountain Rises

The ‘holy mountain rises’, is a motif found on Chinese rugs that often depicts one or three mountains rising from the sea. The mountains may have up to three peaks with the middle peak being the highest. They represent happiness and long life. This motif can often be found on pillar carpets and wall hangings found in temples and other carpets from Xingjiang.


Horizontal Loom

A horizontal loom is a type of weaving structure that is laid flat on the floor and used by weavers to create hand-knotted rugs. Because of their portability and ease of use, horizontal looms are favored by many tribes, such as the Turkmens of Central Asia, the Bedouins of Northern Africa and many other tribes from the Fars region of Iran. Weaving a carpet or rug using a horizontal loom is a very time consuming and labor intensive process that is accomplished by a skilled weaver who squats down on a wooden plank laid horizontally across the carpet’s warps. The weaver will then grab two warps and tie a thread onto them one at a time by hand in order to create the design. One drawback to using a horizontal loom is that the size of the rug is determined by the size of the loom and the size of the room it’s created in. For example a twelve foot by eighteen foot rug needs a loom that is at least twelve feet wide and eighteen feet long. And finding rooms or tents large enough to accommodate this is difficult in a tribal setting.


Horns, Crossed Horns

On some Chinese rugs a rhinoceros or a buffalo can be found having grand horns. The horns are symbolic icons from the Hundred Antiquities and they represent victory. When crossed the pair may represent stubbornness or a patient disposition.



A symbolic motif found on Chinese rugs. Alone, the horse represents fidelity; in a group of eight, courage and dignity.


Hunting Scene Design

Most carpets featuring hunting scene designs are based on sixteenth-century Safavid era Persian rugs. Carpets with hunting scene designs are popular in modern Qum and Tabriz rugs. A hunting scene design consists of stylized animals and huntsmen riding on horseback.


The Hundred Antiquities

The Hundred Antiquities is a collection of decorative symbolic icons used in Chinese cultural dress, textiles, carpets, and other forms of art the Manchu or Qing dynasty (1644-1912). The collection includes a wish granting or flaming pearl, a pair of scrolls representing culture, a set of double lozenges representing victory, an Artemisia leaf, two bound books representing wisdom, a set of interlocked copper coins representing wealth and horns representing victory or stubbornness. Additional symbols include a silver ingot representing wealth, a coral branch representing longevity and the ruyi mushroom representing immortality or long life.

Ikat (ē'kät)

Ikat weaves are common throughout the world; from Indonesia to Central Asia. Meaning to “tie” or “bind”, Ikat describes both the process and the cloth itself. The process involves a tremendous amount of skill to execute, and therefore many Ikat weaves are highly valued. An Ikat is truly a work of art, as the design is executed in the dying process before the Ikat is woven. In preparing threads for weaving an Ikat, the threads are dyed selectively by either binding them together tightly in a method similar to tie-dyeing or by covering selected areas of the threads in wax. After the dying process is complete the undyed warp threads are arranged on a loom and the dyed weft threads are passed through side to side across the warp to execute the design. The opposite is true as well, with the weave having dyed warp threads and undyed weft threads. A double-Ikat is even more complex and difficult to execute, with both warp and weft threads dyed before being woven into a design.


Indigo, Indigo Dye

Indigo is a plant that has been used for dyeing textiles and carpets throughout the Middle East brilliant blue tones for thousands of years. The dye was once entirely extracted from the Indigofera genus of plants until it was synthesized by J. F. Adolph von Baeyer (Pronounced ‘buyer’) in 1880. The synthetic version was later introduced into industrial applications in 1897 by the BASF chemical company, and has since then been produced commercially in large quantities for various applications such as dying blue jeans. Synthetic Indigo alone is an insoluble powder, so in order to get the dye to dissolve and saturate textiles, a chemical change called ‘reduction’ must occur. Special chemicals are added in a chemical process to change the synthetic blue indigo powder into the liquid white indigo dye. When textiles are dyed in white indigo they at first appear to have no change in color. It is only when the dyed textile is exposed to oxygen that the chemical change happens and the textile become imparted with the brilliant blue hues.


Interlocking Weft Technique

A technique used in the creation of flat weaves (kilims) to either prevent the formation of slits where two or more colored weft threads intersect or to avoid the sharing of a warp.


Isfahan, Iran, Esfahan (ĭs'fə-hän', ěs'fə-hän')

Isfahan is a rug weaving center and gathering place located in west-central Iran that during the sixteenth and seventeenth century was the capital of the Safavid Dynasty.  After an invasion of Afghans in 1722, the dynasty collapsed and carpet weaving suffered a major decline. It wasn’t until the 1920’ that the city began to regain its status as a major carpet weaving and production center. Currently Isfahan is famously known for its production of fine rugs based on classic Persian themes. Many Isfahan rugs made after the 1920’s are very finely woven on cotton or silk foundations with very fine Kork wool pile highlighted with silk and knot densities up to 750 per square inch.


Isparta, Turkey, Sparta

A town located approximately 130 miles north of Antalya, Turkey. In the 1920’s, workshops were established in Isparta to compete with workshops producing rugs in Iran. Many of these rugs used older Persian and Turkish patterns and were woven with asymmetric knots on a cotton foundation, but the color combinations and the quality of their wool was substandard.


Istanbul, Turkey

Once called Byzantium and later Constantinople, Istanbul is the largest city in Turkey. It has always been a market and an export hub for many different types of oriental rugs throughout history and in the beginning of the twentieth century the very important workshop Kum Kapi was established in the Armenian section of Istanbul. Kum Kapi produces some of the finest silk Turkish rugs.


Izmir, Turkey (ĭz-mîr')

The beautiful and unique city of Izmir, Turkey, lies on the shimmering coast of the Aegean Sea. Izmir is a captivating city with a long and rich history spanning thousands of years. Formerly known as Smyrna until 1922, Izmir is the third largest city in Turkey and was once a great weaving center but suffered a major decline after WWI. The city today still carries some of the same traditions in trade it did centuries ago, although not nearly as vibrantly. During the seventeenth-century a number of rugs named Smyrna were thought to have been produced in Izmir, but they were more likely to have been produced in the outlying areas of Oushak, Turkey. In the mid-nineteenth century through the early twentieth century many rugs resembling Oushak types were exported to the U.S. and Europe through Izmir’s main port. These rugs had long shaggy pile and large stylized floral patterns but showed more subdued gold, rust red and yellow coloring than a typical Oushak rug. Currently Izmir shows no signs of major carpet production, yet there is a still trading and small commercial production that exists within the outlaying areas of the city.


Jaff, Jaaf, Jaf

The Jaff are a Kurdish tribe living in Kurdistan Province in western Iran. Many of their weavings consist of hand-knotted bags with repeated diamond shape designs on them. The wool used is excellent and the colors are bold, saturated and primary.


Jaipur, Jaipur Rugs (jī'pŏŏr', jā'pŏŏr')

Jaipur is India’s second largest weaving center, its state capital, and the largest city of Rajasthan. There is no evidence that Jaipur was ever a major weaving center in the past; however it is more likely that Jaipur was a center for carpet trade and imported most of its carpets from Lahore, Agra and Persia. Recently over the last few decades Jaipur has become the second largest rug weaving center in India, producing new and innovative designs of high quality and beauty.



Jammu is the northernmost state in India and is one of the three divisions within Jammu and Kashmir which is divided into three sections: Jammu, Kashmir Valley and Ladakh.


Jollars (See Asmalyk)



Josheqan, Josheqan Rugs (jŏshē'qān)

Joshegan is a weaving center located in central Iran. The center is mostly known for its production of carpets featuring all-over lozenge patterns with geometric floral motifs. Joshegan rugs are woven on a cotton foundation with asymmetric knotting.


Jufti Knot (jŭf'tē)

A jufti knot is created by tying a thread around four warps instead of the standard two to save time and reduce material costs. This technique is sometimes performed so accurately that it is difficult to detect even by experts.



A long, flexible and glossy plant fiber that is spun into strong, coarse threads and used to make carpets, ropes, twine, baskets, fabrics, carpet pile and carpet wefts.


Juval (See Chuval)

Kallegi, Kelley (kāl'ĭgē)

Kallegi is a word in the Farsi language that is used in Oriental rug trade to describe a very wide runner. Typically Kallegi runner sizes vary from 4 to 6 feet in width and up to 6 to 15 feet in length. Also See Sarab Rugs)


Karabag, Karabagh Rugs (kār'räbä)

Rugs woven in the Karabag region of the southern Caucasus have many designs. Some notable trade names used for these designs include: Eagle Kazak, Cloud Band Kazak and Star Kazak. Some late nineteenth, early twentieth century Karabag rugs have medallions of rose bouquets that were most likely made to satisfy the market demands of Russia and Europe. Karabag rugs usually have wool foundations, symmetric knots, double-wefts and knot counts between 60 and 90 per square inch.


Kars (kärs)

Kars is a provincial capital in northeast Turkey. Because of its proximity to the Caucasus region, rugs produced in the Kars area have a structure and designs similar to Caucasian rugs, but the colors are somewhat different.


Kashan (käshān)

Kashan is an ancient oasis city located in central Iran on the edge of the Kavir-e Lut and the Qum-Kerman road. The city has a long and glorious history of producing some of the finest rugs in all of Iran.


Kashan Rugs (käshān)

Antique Kashan rugs include many different types with rugs made entirely of silk, rugs made using the Souf weaving technique and wool rugs with cotton foundations using very similar designs as American Sarouk rugs but that are more tightly woven and with much softer wool. Kashan rugs are very intricately designed some with knot counts often reaching as high as 700 per square inch.


In the nineteenth century the city of Kashan began to produce carpets made with soft merino wool and soon after, the city saw the number of rugs it produced quadruple. In trade, rugs produced in the nineteenth century are known as Mohtasham Kashan. Mohtasham was believed to be a master weaver during this time.


Kashgar (käshgär)

A city located in the Xinjiang Uyghur (pronounced wee-gur) Autonomous Region of China. There is no evidence of rugs ever being produced in Kashgar and if there were any weavings done in the past; these weavings would have been indistinguishable from other rugs of East Turkestan.


Kashmir (kāsh'mîr')

Kashmir currently refers to the India-administered state of Jammu and Kashmir which includes Jammu, Ladakh and the Kashmir Valley, the northeastern Chinese-administered regions of Aksai Chin, the Trans-Karakoram Tract, and the Pakistani-administered provinces of Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan.


Kashmir Rugs (kāsh'mîr')

Kashmir rugs are made of either silk or art silk (mercerized cotton) on silk or cotton foundation with Persian knots originating from the northern most state of Kashmir, India. These rugs are marketed through Delhi, India to the rest of the world.


Kayseri, Keysari (kī'zə-rē')

Kayseri is a medium size city located in central Turkey. Keysari is the seat of Kayseri Province and is well known for producing silk and artificial silk (mercerized cotton) rugs with silk or cotton foundations.


Kazak, Kazak Rugs (kä'zāk)

Kazak rugs are woven in the southern Caucasus between Iran and Tbilisi. It is a commonly misconceived notion that people from this area are in fact Kazak. Kazaks, however, as a people, do not exist. Inhabitants of this region producing Kazak rugs are instead Armenian, Azeri Turks, Georgians and Kurds. Kazak rugs have a very soft pliable blanket-like feel to them. They have bold geometric designs of primary colors and typically have long wool piles of superior quality. A typical Kazak rug will have between 30 to 60 symmetrical knots per square inch with two to four wool wefts (some of which are dyed red), and wool foundations.


Kelley (See Kallegi)



Kerman (kər-män')

The capital of the Kerman Province located in south-eastern Iran


Kerman Rugs (kər-män')

Kerman has a long history of rug and textile production. The height of Kerman rug manufacturing began in the 1870’s when a diminishing demand for shawls in the West pushed for an increase in the production of rugs. Kerman rugs are quite ornate in design. They are constructed with cotton foundations and typically have 150 to 800 symmetrical knots per square inch.


Khalyk, Dezlyk (kälĭk, dězlĭk)

A small rectangular woven piece used to decorate a camels breast (See Asmalyk)


Khamseh (kām-sē)

Meaning “five”, Khamseh refers to a confederation of five, mostly Arabic speaking tribes living in the Fars Province of Iran. They produce rugs that are very similar to the Gashghai, Afshar and Luri tribes.


Khorjin (kôrjĭn)

A Khorjin is a double-sided saddle bag made by tribal weavers found throughout Iran, Turkey, Afghanistan and the Caucasus using a variety of techniques including hand-knotting, Soumac, and Tapestry weave (kilim).


Khotan (Soche Fu), Khotan Rugs (kôtān)

Khotan is an area consisting of small cities and villages in the region of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China. Depending on the region, Khotan rugs can vary in design and construction. They tend to share design elements similar to other rugs produced in Yarkand and other nearby eastern Turkistan oasis settlements. Khotan rugs can feature stylized pomegranates, blossoms and cloud bands and they typically have double-wefts, asymmetrical knots and wool or silk pile. Earlier Khotan carpets have wool wefts while newer Khotan carpets have cotton.


Kilim (kē-lēm', kĭl'ĭm)

A simple handmade, flat-woven, pileless floor covering made using a variety of methods including curved-weft, slitweave, and weft-faced tapestry techniques. Kilims are woven by weavers from throughout the world including Iran, India, Pakistan, Caucuses, Anatolia, the Balkans, China, and Afghanistan, South America



A carpet’s knap is the direction in which this pile lays. For hand-knotted rugs, knap direction can be used to determine which end of the rug was woven first. To test which direction the nap runs, draw your hand over the carpet surface from end to end. One direction will produce resistance and the other direction will not. The nap of the rug is in the direction where there is no resistance. The beginning of a rug is always against the nap direction.



A knot is formed when carpet weaving material such as wool, cotton or silk yarn is looped to form a binding, permanent anchor around the warp threads. When the two ends of the knot are cut, this makes the pile of the rug. There are different types of knots used in the construction of carpets and rugs, some of which include Persian, Turkish, Spanish and Tibetan knots.


Knots per Square Inch (KPSI), Carpet Density

All things being equal, rugs with more KPSI have a tighter weave density and are considered to be higher quality. A hand-knotted rug’s KPSI is just one of the many factors that determine its quality and worth. KPSI is calculated by multiplying the knots in the width and length of one square inch of the carpet.


Knotted Pile

The most durable and time-consuming weaving method in which tufts of wool, cotton or silk are knotted individually, one row at a time around one or more warps and cut to form the pile.



Konya is a city located in the Central Anatolia Region of Turkey. It is the capital of the Konya Province and is one of the leading carpet producers in the country.



A Farsi word used to describe very fine, soft wool clipped from the, shoulder, stomach and throat of a lamb. Kork is often used to weave tightly woven Persian rugs.


Kuba Rugs (kōō'bə)

A Kuba rug is a type of Caucasian rug from the northern Caucuses region. Kuba rugs are typically distinguished by their high density symmetrical knotting and depressed alternating wool warps.


Kula (kōō’lə)

A small town located in western Turkey that produces many new and antique rugs.

Kula rugs traditionally have Turkish knots and wool warps.


Kum Kapi, Kumkapi, Koum Kapi Rugs (Kōm kāp'ē)

These very fine silk rugs were woven in Istanbul in the late nineteenth century. They are praised as great masterpieces and highly valued products of Armenian workshops. They have silk foundations and symmetrical knotting used in their construction, and their designs are adaptations of classic Persian or Ottoman prayer rug designs.


Kurdish Rugs

Rugs produced by Kurds who inhabit parts of Iran, Turkey, Iraq, Syria and the Caucasus region. The rugs are usually woven on wool foundations with symmetric knots of fine wool.



The Kurds are an ethnic group of people of Indo-European origin who live mainly in Kurdistan which shares its borders with neighboring Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran.


An insect-derived scarlet-colored dye used in the dying of wool or silk. In India, Lac means “hundred thousand” and describes the amount of insects needed for the harvesting of the dye. Typically Lac is used in antique Oriental rugs of India, Kerman and Mashad.


Ladik (lâdik)

A town located thirty miles west of the city of Konya on the plains of south-central Turkey.


Ladik Rugs (lâdik)

Hand-knotted rugs have been produced in this city since the seventeenth century. The most famous of which being a group of column prayer rugs. Ladik prayer rugs are identified mostly by their use of a single or triple-arch prayer niche design (See Mihrab). Often with the triple–arch design, the central arch dominates the center. Ladik rugs are constructed with symmetrical knots and have wool pile on wool foundations.


Lahore, Lahore Rugs

Lahore is the second largest city in Pakistan and the capital of the Pakistani Province of Punjab. It is also where most of the Bokhara type rugs are produced. Designs can range from Persian to Turkmen influence. Pakistani type rugs from Lahore and nearby cities generally feature geometric tribal patterns, as much of the designs are inspired, or reminiscent translations of Turkmen type gul patterns while Persian designs are also very common and have spread in popularity throughout the area. The rugs generally have cotton warps and wefts with wool pile and asymmetrical knots. The edges may also be overcast in wool dyed in the same color as the field. Newer rugs from Pakistan can be comprised of machine spun wool, chemically washed and synthetically dyed while others are woven in the same traditional methods used for thousands of years; simply hand-knotted with vegetable dyed hand-spun wool. Today, many of the rugs from Pakistan are all wool construction from the foundation to the pile, and some feature fantastic silk inlay. Pakistani carpet factories and workshops keep close ties with Western merchants so they are able to follow changes in the market and shift their product lines to match consumer needs. The market has steadily grown an affinity for carpets from Pakistan, as production in Pakistan has been transfigured into what the market desires.


Lazy Lines

Lazy lines are noticeable diagonal lines found on both sides of Navajo rugs, on some kilim weavings and on the backs of large Oriental rugs. On large Oriental rugs it is customary that a team of weavers work together to create one rug. Often, with each weaver working on a single section of three to four feet at a time, weavers will work at different paces. In this case, wefts are not passed completely through an entire set of warps. The weaver passes the wefts through the sets of warp that he is working on only. Subsequently, when the weaver that was behind catches up with the other weavers, he puts the weft through his section only. Where these separate sections intersect on successive rows of weft threads, they create 'lazy lines'. On Navajo rugs, even though there is only one weaver working on the rug, the weaver works on different sections at a time. Between these sections, lazy lines are created in the same fashion, had there been a team of weavers working on the weaving.


Lilihan, Lilihan Rugs

Lilihan is the largest of a group of seven Armenian weaving villages near Khumein in Arāk Provence, Iran. Since the 1920’s, the designs and color combinations of Lilihan rugs are very similar to those found in Sarouk rugs. Lilihan rugs were painted in the U.S. in a similar fashion as Sarouk rugs. (See Painted Rugs)  The only difference between a Lilihan and a Sarouk rug of this particular era is that a Lilihan is constructed with single wefts and the Sarouk is constructed with double wefts.


Lingzhi (See Ruyi)




A wood or metal structure that pile and or flat-woven rugs are weaved on. (Also See Axminster and Horizontal Loom)


Lotto Design

The lotto design is Turkish rug design. It is an all-over repeating pattern of gold colored branching arabesques sprouting from palmettes arranged on a rich red ground. This design was named Lotto design because it can be seen in paintings by sixteenth century Venetian painter, Lorenzo Lotto. The design was later adopted from his painting and reproduced in some Oushak and other Turkish rugs from the early sixteenth to eighteenth century.


Lotus Flower

A floral design or motif found on carpets from around the world. According to Buddhist practice, the flower symbolizes purity and accomplishment, it is Buddha’s flower and it is considered to be the purest of all flowers.



A diamond shaped form.



The Luri are a settled, partially nomadic tribal group that can be found inhabiting areas near the Zagros Mountains in western Iran in the provinces of Char Mahall Bakhtiari, Luristan, and Boir Ahmad-Kuhgiluyeh. They speak a language related to Persian and the majority of them are Shi’a Muslim with a small percentage of them being Ahl-e-haqq. They mainly weave kilims into bags, bag faces and rugs, and their designs are influenced by many of the tribal designs from around the region.


Machine Made Rugs

Machine made rugs are produced by electrically powered looms that are often controlled by computers. A machine made rug is constructed very differently than a handmade rug. For instance, some machine made rug will have a very uniform appearance. They are often made with synthetic materials such as polypropylene, polyolefin a blend of synthetic and natural materials or all natural materials. Most machine made rugs will have a fake fringe attached to the ends, whereas in a hand-knotted rug, the fringe is actually a part of the rug and is made of the warp threads that run the length of the rug. These warp threads are tied at either end so the rug will not unravel thus creating the fringes. In machine made rugs the binding is machine stitched unlike in most handmade rugs where the edges are part of the rug made of warps and wefts sometime this is reinforced with threads known as binding or selvage.


Madder, Dyer’s Madder

Madder is a plant that has been used to dye leather, wool, cotton and silk for thousands of years. It is a species of plant that is native to Africa, Asia and Europe. The roots are harvested, pulverized and mixed with other chemicals to produce light to dark red colored dye.


Mafrash (māfrāsh)

A small bag used in tribal settings to store bedding and other personal belongings.


Mahal Rugs (Sultanabad)

Mahal rugs are produced in the Arāk region of Iran and are made in a variety of colors and designs. They are marketed under a variety of names such as Maskabad, Sultanabad and Ziegler rugs. Mahal rugs have double-wefts, wool pile, cotton foundations, and use asymmetric knots.


Mahi Design (See Herati Design)



Maimaneh, Maimana (māmmənəh)

Maimaneh is the capital of Faryab Province in northern Afghanistan. It is an area inhabited by Uzbeks who specialize in weaving all wool kilims of good quality and in various sizes. These weavers use one of the warp sharing weaving techniques. These kilims are unusual because some of their sizes are quite large which is rather rare.


Main Border

The main border is dominant band that surrounds a traditional Oriental rug on all sides. It frames the field and can either contain a multitude of designs or a solid field of color. (Also see Border, Guard Border)


Main Carpets

Main carpets are the largest of the traditional Turkmen type rugs. Because horizontal looms are used in the production of Main carpets, their dimensions are generally determined by the size of the Yurt the carpet is constructed in. Salor Main carpets are the largest, reaching approximately twelve feet in length by ten feet in width. Tekke Main rugs are generally more common and are about eight feet in length to about six feet in width with a few exceptions in larger sizes while Saryk Main carpets tend to be squarish and Yomut much narrower than most Turkmen Main carpets. The Main carpet is the type of rug that is most likely to feature tribal guls.


Mamluks (māmlŭk)

A word derived from Arabic meaning “slave” or “to own”. The Mamluk began as slave soldiers then grew in power and created the Mamluk dynasty. They then ruled Egypt and Syria from 1250 to 1517.


Mamluk Rugs (māmlŭk)

Mamluk rugs are Egyptian rugs woven between the thirteenth and sixteenth century. They are extremely rare and most are only found in museums. They have designs that mainly consist of large octagonal medallions surrounded by other octagonal motifs. Other Mamluk rugs can also be found having leaf motifs, basic centrally located geometric designs and floral motifs. Mamluk rugs are tightly knotted with wool warps and wefts.


Manchester Wool

Manchester wool is another name for Merino wool. Manchester wool was machine spun in England and imported to Kashan and used in Kashan rugs from the 1890’s to 1920’s.


Mandarin Duck

A mandarin duck is an animal symbol often found on Chinese rugs that represents marital fertility and is often accompanied by a lotus flower.


Marsali Rugs

The name Marsali is derived from the town of Maraza in the country of Azerbaijan where most of these nineteenth-century Shirvan type rugs were thought to be woven. The designs are usually characterized by repeated geometric paisley designs in a prayer rug format. Marsali rugs are some of the most tightly woven Caucasian rugs and are usually constructed with symmetrical knotting, wool warps and wool or silk wefts.


Mashad, Mashad Rugs (māshād)

Mashad is the capital of Khorasan Province in northeastern Iran. It is a large weaving center and a market place for tribal rugs from the region. The quality of the rugs woven in Mashad can vary with some rugs having fewer than 100 knots per square inch up to some of the most tightly woven rugs in the Iran at 900 kpsi. Mashad rugs are usually woven with Persian knots on cotton foundation and they have totally depressed warps.


Master Weaver

Weaving is usually done by a team of weavers. The master weaver weaves and oversees the weaving process.


Maskabad, Mushkabad (māskābād, mŭskābād)

An important market town and an administrative center of the Farahan District of Arāk and a trade name used to describe lower grade rugs of the Arāk region. Also See Mahal)


Matn (māt'n)

Matn is a word in the Farsi language that means “the field of a rug”. (See Field)


Mauveine, Mauvine (môvēn')

Mauvine was the first of the Aniline dyes. It was discovered by accident in 1856 by William Henry Perkin when trying to synthesize an anti-malarial drug. This purple color dye was used in carpet dying because it was inexpensive to produce and easy to apply. Unfortunately the Mauveine dye faded easily which resulted in poor quality carpets.



A medallion can be a large design that can be found in the center of Oriental rugs. Typically, medallions are diamond, circular, hexagonal or octagonal in shape. Medallions can also be small in size and repeated throughout a carpet’s field.


Mehriban (Hamadan District) (měrəbän')

Mehriban is a region located in the northern Hamadan district that consists of 40 villages. The rugs produced in Mehriban are usually single wefted using very good local wool and are indistinguishable from other rugs of this district.


Mehrbian (Azerbaijan District) (měrəbän')

Mehrbian is a village in the Azerbaijan province of northwestern Iran that produces carpets very similar to Heriz-type rugs.


Meimeh (mēməh)

A town located north of Isfahan and very close to the city of Josheqan. Weavings from this town use designs similar to those found in rugs from Joshegan. In trade, some of the better quality rugs with Joshegan designs are called Maimeh.


Melas, Milas (mēlās)

A southwestern Turkish region and city located on the southwest Aegean coast of Turkey that was once a major center for prayer rug production in the eighteenth and nineteenth century.


Memling Gul

An octagonal shape motif that encompasses a diamond surrounded by hooks shaped geometric patterns. The Memling Gul was named after fifteenth-century Flemish artist Hans Memling and his paintings that depicted this carpet design.


Mercerized Cotton (See Art Silk)



Merino Wool (Also see Manchester Wool)

Merino wool is harvested from a breed of sheep known as Merino. It was often imported from England to Iran. It is very soft and fine and closely resembles the texture of cashmere. Merino wool is exceptional at taking dyes and will not distort dye colors.



Merv is an ancient site in Central Asia located near what is known today as Mary, Turkmenistan. Over many thousands of years the site has been known as the city of Alexandria, Achaemenid Satrapy of Margiana, and Antiochia in Margiana and has been occupied by many different people including Arabs, Mongols, Turks and Uzbeks. Merv has a very long history and was once a major stop along the Silk Road.


Mihrab (Prayer Niche) (mērŏb)

A mihrab is a design that can be found on prayer rugs. It is a thought to be modeled after mosque architecture and is typically placed at the top of a prayer rug to indicate the direction the rug should be pointed during Daily Prayer. The prayer rug’s mihrab should be pointed towards Mecca.


Millefleures (mĭl'flōrs)

Millefleures is a particular type of design used in Mogul rugs from India The design dates back to the seventeenth century and consists of many perfusions of small flowers connected by a lattice of very fine vines The design is also very popular among Gashghai and Kerman rugs of nineteenth-century Iran.


Minakhani Design (mī'n’kānē) 

Minakhani design is a design of two or three types of blossoms that are connected by a lattice of vine work. In older rugs featuring the Minakhani design, the blossoms are connected. Minakhani design is commonly found on Veramin, Kerman and Kurdish rugs.


Minor Guard Border

The minor guard border is typically surrounds the main border of traditional Oriental rug designs and it is usually about one to four inches wide. The minor guard border can be solid in color or it may contain any number of designs.


Mirboteh (mĭr’bō-tě)

A Mirboteh is a design that consists of very small repeated Paisley patterns. Mirboteh designs were popular in nineteenth century rugs from northwestern Iran. The design is popular with new rugs being produced in India.


Mirzapur, India (mĭr’zäpûr)

Mirzapur is a city located 60 miles southwest of the city of Varnasie on the Ganga River in the Indian province of Uttar Pradesh. Since the 1960s, Mirzapur has been one of the largest centers for producing hand-tufted and hand-knotted rugs.


Moghan Rugs (mō’gān')

Moghan rugs are long narrow rugs that are woven mostly by Azeri Turks living in the southern Caucuses in the Republic of Azerbaijan bordering the Iranian Provence of Azerbaijan. Most Moghan rug designs consist of repeated variations of Memling Gul patterns. The structure of Moghan rugs varies. Some Moghan rugs are constructed in a similar fashion as Karabagh, Shirvan or Kurdish rugs with wool foundation and symmetrical knotting.


Mughal Empire, Moghl (mō-gŭl', mū-gŭl')

The Mogul Empire was a vast empire that ruled the majority of India from 1526 to 1858.

The empire was established by Babur, a descendant of both Timor and Genghis Khan. Under the Mughal Empire, carpet trade flourished between the seventeenth and eighteenth century.


Mughal Rugs

Mughal rugs were woven during the rule of the Mogul Dynasty in what is now modern India and Pakistan. Mogul rugs are constructed using cotton, silk and very fine Pashmina (See Cashmere). They are usually made with asymmetric knots and have a cotton or silk foundation.



Mohair is a very soft, silk-like yarn that is made from the fleece of the Angora goat. As an Angora goat ages, the hair increases in diameter and coarseness and so most carpets are made with the coarse hair from the older goats while garments are made with the softer, smaller diameter fleece from the younger goats. (Also See Angora Oushak Rugs)



Moldavia is an area located in Eastern Europe. It is situated on the river Danube and it is bounded by the Dniester River and the Prut River.


Moldavian (Bessarabian Kilims) (běsə-rā'bē-ən)

Most Bessarabian kilims are designed with European rose bouquets, pictorial designs, floral or geometric designs on dark brown or black backgrounds. They are typically long and narrow and constructed of wool throughout. They are usually marketed through Bazaars in Istanbul.



Mordant is a Latin word that means “bite”. In Farsi, mordant is known as “dandaneh”. A mordant is a chemical substance that is used in the process of dying wool, cotton or silk. It chemically locks the dye to the material so that is wont run. This is known as fixing. Mordants can be used before the dyeing process by itself and it can also be used in the dye bath or after the dying process to fix the dye. Certain mordants are used for different types of fibers and for specific dyes. These dyes could be either chemical or vegetable based. For example, if the red dye Madder is used, which is a natural dye, the mordant Alum is used. Also, with all things being equal, using a dye with different mordants will result in completely different colors.


Morocco, Kingdom of

Morocco is a country located in North Africa. It is bordered by the Western Sahara and Algeria. Its largest city is Casablanca and its capital is Rabat.


Moroccan Rugs

Moroccan rugs can be divided in to two types; those from the city and those from the outlying area. The city workshops of Fez, Marrakesh, Rabat and Casablanca produce a rug with designs closely resembling those found on rugs from Anatolia. The rugs are generally coarsely woven and have wool foundations and symmetrical knots. Rugs from the outlying areas are tribal in appearance and are produced by Berbers.



A motif can either be a single design element or it can be included in a repeated pattern.


Mushroom of immortality (See Ruyi)



Musical Stone

A symbol found on some Chinese rugs that means good judgment or luck.

Nahāvand (nāhāvān)

Nahāvand is an ancient city located in the Hamadan District of Iran. Nahāvand rugs are constructed in ways similar to other weavings from the Hamadan District, with single-wefts, symmetric knotting and cotton foundations.


Nain, Iran, Nain Rugs (nān)

Nain is a town located in the edge of the great Kavir-e Lut dessert (Lut Dessert) east of Isfahan, Iran. Since the 1930s’, the town has been known to produce very fine, tightly woven hand-knotted carpets. Most Nain rugs resemble those of Isfahan and are predominately dark or light blue, tan or ivory in color. They are constructed with asymmetrical knots and have wool piles and silk highlights on cotton foundations.


Najafabad (nāhjāfābād)

Najafabad is a town located west of Isfahan, Iran. The rugs produced in Najafabad closely resemble rugs produced in Isfahan but are not constructed with silk foundations or as finely woven.


Namada, Namad (nāmādā, nāmād)

A Namada is a felted wool or cotton rug.


Namazlik (nāmāzlĭk)

A term used for prayer rugs produced by Turkmen tribes.


Natural Dyes

Natural dyes can be considered any of the dyes derived from plants or animals. Some examples include madder roots, grape leafs, walnut husks, pomegranate skins, indigo, and weld as well as some insect derived dyes such as lac, and cochineal. Natural dyes are commonly used in conjunction with mordents.


Navajo Blankets

Navajo blankets are hand-woven textiles such as shoulder blankets, ponchos or other garments woven before the 1880s’.


Navajo Rugs

Navajo Rugs are hand-woven flat weaves woven after 1895 that were meant to be used on the floor. The earliest Navajo rug designs were actually based on designs used in sand paintings and other designs found on tribal Persian, Turkish and Caucasian rugs. The rug designs were given to the Navajo by traders so Navajo weavers could create rugs that were appealing in order to increase sales to tourists. These rugs were also available in catalogs.


Navajo Transitional Rugs

Textiles that were produced from 1868 to 1900 by the Navajo tribe, that show a transition between blankets to rug production. Navajo Transitional Rugs have a very pliable handle similar to that of a blanket but are coarsely woven and heavy, sharing characteristics comparable to rugs.


Needlepoint Rugs

Rugs made by stitching different colors of wool, silk or cotton yarns to a canvas using a needle. Needlepoint is a common technique used throughout the world to produce a variety of different rugs and textiles. Most of the needlepoint rugs produced in the last 20 years are from China and use a variety of different stitches.


Nepal, Nepalese Rugs

Nepal is a landlocked country located in South Asia. The country is bordered by India, and China. Today most of the rugs marketed as Tibetan rugs are woven in Nepalese workshops by Nepalese weavers and Tibetan refugees. They use a variety of contemporary and traditional Tibetan designs and weave rugs in a variety of qualities using Tibetan knots, with wool or a combination of wool and silk pile on cotton foundations. The majority of the wool used in Nepal is imported from New Zealand and Tibet and hand-spun in Nepal. Most Nepalese rugs use synthetic dyes but some vegetable dyes are used as well.



Nicholas is the name of a rug producing company. The name is now used in trade to denote rugs produced in China in the late 1920’s and 1930’s. These rugs were usually produced in the Tianjin region of China. Most Nicholas rugs are designed in either an Art Deco or Art Nouveau style.


Ningxia, China (nĭngshô ) (Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region)

A region located in northwestern China bordered by the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, Shaanxi and Genus provinces that was previously part of the province of Gansu. Ningxia was probably the first region where carpets in China were first knotted.


Ningxia Rugs (nĭngshô)

These antique rugs feature backgrounds in mostly yellow or brown and traditional Chinese motifs in blue. Ningxia rugs have a very soft handle as they are usually loosely woven. Ningxia rugs are constructed with asymmetrical knots on cotton foundations.

Okbash, Igsalyk (ŏkbāsh)

An Okbash is a small pouch-like rectangular bag with tassels on each side and loops on the top. They are woven by Turkomens and used to either cover the ends of tent poles or as spindle bags.


Open Square

A symbol found on some rugs from China that means victory or good judgment in matters of state. (Also See Closed Square)


Orchids and Magnolias

A few instances of these flowers have been used in rugs from China. They symbolize humility, moderation and refinement. (Also See The Four Accomplishments)


Oushak, Uşak, Ushak (ü-shäk)

A large town lying east of Kula in western Turkey, well-known as one of the most important carpet manufacturing centers in western Anatolia. Since the fifteenth century, and perhaps long before, rugs produced in Oushak have been credited with having influenced many of the classic Turkish rugs found within museums and the many designs found repeated throughout other areas of Anatolia. This would include Holbein, Lotto, Star, Saff and Double-niche prayer designs. From the late eighteenth century to early twentieth century, Oushak rugs were made mostly for export to the United States and Europe. These rugs were made in a variety of designs and color combinations and at the moment are very popular with designers because of their colors and casual aesthetics. They are usually loosely woven with symmetric knots, hand-spun sheep or Angora goat wool on wool foundations.


Oxidation of Wool

The oxidation of wool in the pile of a carpet is caused by several factors including the type of dye and the method of dying used in the processing of the wool pile threads. When exposed to the elements the dyes will deteriorate the wool fibers and cause the fibers to erode. Sometimes this erosion leaves an often pleasing three-dimensional effect similar to carving. The erosion is most prominent in areas of the rug’s pile that were dyed in the colors brown, black or green.


Painted Rugs (See Sarouk, Modern)



The Paisley design is a kidney or droplet shaped design motif of Persian origin (Also See Boteh)


Pakistan, Islamic Republic of

Pakistan is a diverse and culturally rich country located in South Asia. It is bordered by Afghanistan, Iran, India and The Peoples Republic of China. More than 60 different dialects are spoken among these people of mostly Muslim faith.



The palmette is an ornamental design that is shaped like the palm of a hand, hence the name. The design has been used in Persian rugs since the sixteenth century and was probably derived from Egyptian or Chinese lotus flowers.


Panderma (Bandirma)

Panderma is a Turkish town located on the northeast coast of the Sea of Marmara. From the late nineteenth to early twentieth century, hand-knotted, silk, wool and cotton rugs in Persian floral designs were produced in the city of Panderma and marketed under this same name in the West.


Pashmina (See Cashmere)



Pazyryk Carpet, The

The Pazyryk is the oldest hand-knotted carpet in existence. The carpet was made sometime between the fourth and fifth century B.C. and was discovered in 1949 in Pazyryk, Siberia frozen in permafrost in a burial mound in near fully intact condition. The Pazyryk Carpet has a surprisingly tightly woven structure with of 227 symmetrical knots per square inch. It is currently being displayed at the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia.



A symbolic fruit found on some Chinese rugs that symbolizes the Daoist belief in long life and immortality.



A symbolic icon found on some Chinese carpets that symbolizes purity and truth.


Peony, Tree Peony

A common flower found on many rugs, the peony represents wealth and nobility and on Chinese rugs represents spring. (See Flowers of the Four Seasons)


Persian Knot

Another name for the Asymmetric or Senneh knot.


Persian Rugs

Persian rug weaving dates back thousands of years. It is full of rich traditions and great history. ‘Persian rug’ loosely defines the thousands of rug types and kilims that are produced throughout Iran. Persian rugs utilize a number of varying designs depending which tribe or city produced it but generally, most Persian rugs feature  a central medallion or all-over patterns like Herati or Minakhani or Boteh surrounded by a border. Persian tribal rugs tend to be more geometric of all wool construction while Persian rugs made in the cities and villages tend to be more floral and constructed with silk, wool or cotton.


Peshawar Rugs (peshāwar)

Peshawar rugs are produced in northern Pakistan or Afghanistan and they are usually woven by Afghani weavers who mostly use vegetable dyes and hand-spun wool. (See Chobi Rugs)



The phoenix is a symbolic icon used on Chinese rugs that is used either as the emblematic crest of the empress or used as symbol of peace, wealth and luck.



A carpet’s pile is the surface of the rug that is composed of tufts of wool, cotton or silk or other materials. In hand knotted rugs pile created by the repeated knotting and cutting of threads that are attached to a backing or warps secured by wefts.


Plum Blossom

A plum blossom is a flower found on Chinese carpets that is a part of the Flowers of the Four Seasons.


Polonaise Carpets

Sixteenth and seventeenth century rugs produced in Isfahan workshops and other cities of Iran that were once thought to have been produced in Poland hence the name Polonaise. They usually have a silk and metallic thread pile and were given as gifts to foreign dignitaries.



A pomegranate motif can be found on antique Esari Beshir Turkmen prayer rugs and other rugs from the East Turkistan area of China. The pomegranate can symbolize the prosperity of one’s offspring or descendants.


Prayer Rugs

A small rug used by Muslims for Daily Prayer. Prayer rugs usually contain a mihrab at the top that indicates the direction the rug should be pointed so the worshiper can pray towards Mecca.


Prayer Niche Design (See Mihrab)

Qashqai (See Gashghai)



Qom, Iran, Qum (kŏŏm)

A city located 90 miles south of the capital of Tehran, Iran and home to the shrine of Lady Fatima Maesuma, sister of Imam Reza. For Shi’a Islam, Qum is the second holeyest city in Iran after Mashahd.


Qom Rugs, Qum Rugs (kŏŏm)

Since the 1920’s the city of Qom has been a producer of many different types of finely woven pile rugs. Currently Qom is noted for its production of tightly woven silk rugs with knot counts as high as 600 per square inch. Other Qom rugs are found with wool, silk or a combination of wool and silk pile and have either a cotton or silk foundation. The knots are typically symmetrical.


Qazvin, Kazvin (kāz-vēn')

Qazvin is a city and marketplace for rugs from the Province of Qazvin which is located 100 miles northwest of Teheran, Iran, Iran’s capital city. Rugs from this area, from the 1920’s onward, closely resemble rugs made in Kashan in both their design and materials.


Quchan, Guchan Rugs (kěch'ən)

Quchan is a city located 80 miles northwest of Mashad in the Provence of Khorasan. Most of the rugs that are woven and sold under the trade name ‘Quchan’ are woven in villages near the city by people of Kurdish decent. These Kurdish people were uprooted from their native land in western Iran and moved to the east by Shah Abbas during the Safavid Dynasty (1501-1722). Now settled, the Quchan produce rugs that are interesting because the weaving techniques appear Kurdish in origin while the designs  and color palettes resemble tribal rugs from Balouch and Turkomens of the Khorasan Provence.

Ravar, Lavar Kerman (rāvār)

Ravar is a township located in the northern region of Kerman Province, Iran and is known for weaving the best Kerman type rugs. In trade, antique rugs from Kerman Province that were woven before 1910 are called “Ravar Kerman”.



Rajasthan is a state of the Republic of India that shares its borders with Pakistan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab.


Reinforced Overcast

Reinforced overcast is the most popular type of binding in which the sides of the rug that are weft overcastted are encircled with additional wool or cotton.


Reinforced Selvage

A carpet or rug with a reinforced selvage will have its selvedges fortified with additional cotton or wool threads to extend its durability and strengthen its structure.


Romanian Kilims

In the Oltenian region of Romania kilims with designs of realistically drawn flowers, leafs and animals are woven by working the wefts to form curvilinear designs. In these particular kilims, the wefts are not at right angles to the warps but instead curved in order to portray the subject figures more realistically.



A runner is a long narrow carpet that is typically placed in an entry or hallway.


Rug of Ardebil

There are currently two examples of these rugs. One is displayed at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and one at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA).

Because these rugs are actual historical documents, and because they’re from a mosque in Ardebil where Shah Ismail is buried, the rugs are considered by some to be some of the greatest carpets of the world. Some scholars believe that these rugs could have been woven in the city of Kashan because of the woven inscription on it that reads:


“I have no refuge in the world other than thy threshold. There is no protection for my head other than this door. The work of the slave of the threshold Maqsad of Kashan, in the year 946.”



The Ruyi is also known as the Ruyi Scepter, the lingzhi or the Mushroom of Immortality, is an S-shaped design found on Chinese carpets and within the borders of some Eastern Turkistan carpets. The ruyi is a long stalked mushroom that grows in the mountainous regions of China. And according to legend, the mushroom grows in abundance on ‘the islands of the immortals.’ For Chinese rugs, this symbol is associated with the Hundred Antiquities. The mushroom can sometimes be found portrayed in the hands of Daoist and Buddhist deities. In the Daoist belief, the symbol means “long life”.


Ruyi Scepter (See Ruyi)

Saryk Turkmen (särk)

The Saryk are Turkmen tribal people that inhabit areas of Turkmenistan. They are related to the Tekke and the Salor tribes and they weave torbas, chuvals, tent bands ensis and Main carpets which are somewhat similar in design and construction to their Tekke and Salor relations. A Saryk rug will typically have a wool pile that is highlighted with cotton or silk and will be woven with symmetric knots, ivory-colored warps and ivory or gray-brown wefts. The rugs feature alternate warps that are slightly depressed giving Saryk rugs a heavy handle. Saryk rugs will also have gul designs similar to those found on Tekke and Salor weavings but will have slightly different coloring and designs. The gul will often have cross-shaped figures located in the center and the colors will be more browns and rust reds. Some Saryk bag faces will have gul motifs similar to other Tekke and Salor, but the bags will have slightly different coloring and will have symmetric knots. The Saryk are also weavers of ensis that have similar designs and are constructed in the same fashion as other Saryk weavings.


Saddle Bags

Saddle bags are two hand-knotted or flat woven bags that are attached together. The bags are often thrown over the back of a domesticated pack animal and used to carry every day possessions.


Saff, Saf, Saph

Saff are long narrow runners that are often found in mosques and used by worshipers during Daily Prayer. They have multiple prayer niches in a row and can accommodate several worshipers at a time. This design is used in a variety of rug producing locations including Turkey and East Turkestan.


Safavid Dynasty (1501-1736)

The Safavid Dynasty is believed by some to be one of the greatest empires in Iran’s history. Throughout the sixteenth and seventeenth century under the rule of Shah Abbas, the exportation of many fine Persian rugs to Europe was established and soon after, the love affair with great carpets from Iran was quickly cultivated.


Salor Turkmen, Salor Turkmen Rugs (sā'lōr)

The Salor are a Turkmen tribe that inhabit areas of Turkmenistan. They are closely related to the Tekke and Saryk tribes and are weavers of Main carpets, tent bands, ensis, chuvals and torbas. The Salor are traditionally regarded as one the oldest and most distinguished of the Turkmen tribes.


Salor rugs are marked by their completely depressed warps, wool foundations and asymmetrical knots open to the left. Most rugs labeled ‘Salor’ are from the early nineteenth century or earlier, before the defeat of the Salor Tribe (Salors) by the Persians.


Samplers (Wagireh)

A sampler is a small rug that includes a partial design of the border and field of a full sized rug. It’s used to create a full size rug by extrapolating the designs. Weavers from the Caucasus and other parts of Iran during the late nineteenth and twentieth would use these small rugs instead of graph paper.


Sanandaj, Kurdistan, Iran -- Sanandaj, Senneh Rugs (Sinne, Senna) (Sanandağ) (sěn'ə)

Sanandaj is the provincial capital of Persian Kurdistan and it is located approximately 100 miles northwest of Hamadan in a fertile valley near the Zagros Mountains. The city was once known as Senneh. Rugs from this area are still referred to as Senneh rugs. The rugs are woven primarily by the Kurdish population inhabiting the area.


Modern Senneh rugs are single or double-wefted, symmetrically knotted and have cotton foundations with alternate warps that are not depressed to deeply depressed. Senneh rugs range in size from small mats to room-sized floor coverings.


Antique Senneh rugs are always single-wefted on silk or cotton foundation. Antique Senneh rugs woven on silk foundation are some of the tightest woven rugs in Iran and some of the finest in all of Persia, typically having 400 to 1000 knots per square inch. Some antique Senneh rugs have silk warps dyed in seven different colors known as rainbow warps. The uniquely dyed warps give the fringes of the rug a pleasing and colorful appearance.


Senneh kilims are produced in areas close to the city and have cotton or silk foundations. The kilims have herati designs that are nearly identical to those found on pile rugs from the same area. The kilims have a curved weft structure for a better execution of their curvilinear designs. This is seldom seen in other kilims from Iran. Some of the best kilims from the turn of the century were woven in this area and have silk warps, herati designs and may or may not have prayer niches.


Sarab, Azerbaijan, Iran -- Sarab Rugs (sār'āb)

Sarab is a town located in northwest Iran in East Azerbaijan Province. The town is known for its production of fine runners and “kallegi” that are usually double-wefted with wool foundation and have a particular camel-colored background. In trade these runners are referred to as ‘Camel Hair Sarabs’. Contrary to popular belief the runners are not made with camel hair, but are made with sheep wool and the camel color is obtained by dying the rugs with walnut husks.


Saraband (Saravan, Sarawan) (sār'ə-bānd')

Saraband is a district located twenty miles southwest of the city of Arāk, Iran. It was at one time known to weave rugs with a design known as Saraband. The design is a multitude of miniature repeated paisleys on light red madder background. Occasionally a Saraband rug with this pattern will have a blue or ivory-colored background. The classic Saraband rug has symmetric knots, a cotton foundation and blue-colored double-wefts. The rugs vary in size and can be found in room, runner and kallegi sizes. Rugs with Saraband designs were very popular with Indian rugs from the 1980s’ and 90s’.


Sarouk, Sarouk Rugs (sār’rōōk)

Twenty miles north of the city of Arāk lays the small village of Sarouk. Many of the double-wefted, tightly woven rugs that were produced in this region after the end of the nineteenth century to preset day are known in trade as Sarouks. Many antique Sarouks were produced in room sizes and feature deeply depressed alternate warps and medallions. Over time the designs became more and more curvilinear as weavers gained proficiency in weaving.


Sarouk, Farahan Rugs (sār’rōōk)

The term ‘Sarouk Farahan’ refers to the first generation of Sarouk rugs woven before1910 in the Arāk region of Iran. Most of these rugs had medallions and were double-wefted, asymmetrically knotted and were made with local hand-spun wool.


Sarouk, American Rugs (Painted Rugs) (sār’rōōk)

After the First World War through the 1940s’, Sarouks became popular in America as tastes in home décor changed. During this time four different grades of Sarouk rugs were produced that carried the Sarouk name, with the finest grade, the so-called ‘Royal’ Sarouk having around 325 knots per square inch, a heavy pile, light blue wefts, deeply depressed alternating warps, asymmetrical knots and cotton foundation. Often these Sarouk rugs would have a deep red, almost maroon-colored background that was later removed in a bleaching process in several large processing plants in New York. The term American Sarouk was then later adopted for these altered rugs.


During this time, many other types of rugs were imported to New York from Arāk (Sarouk), Kashan, Kerman, Mashad and regions of Hamadan to be processed in the same fashion. The chemical bleaching left many of the rugs with washed-out coloring and in order to rectify the problem, manufactures in New York had the faded red areas in the rug designs subsequently re-dyed in New Jersey by hand. With these particular rugs the pile colors are usually darker than the colors found on the back and over the years some of the painted areas on the front can appear mottled and blotchy due to the paint fading and the original colors becoming exposed.


Selvage (Selvedge)

The selvage of a rug usually involves two or more sets of warps that are secured to the body of a rug with the wefts woven through them to prevent the edges from becoming unraveled.


Sevan Kazak Rug, Shield Kazak Rug (sĭv'vän')

The Sevan Kazak is a popular design used in Kazak rugs from the nineteenth to early twentieth century. The design consists of a large and broad centrally located anvil or cross-shaped medallion. Sevan Kazaks are known to have been woven by Armenians in areas near Lake Sevan but in all likelihood, as with the many other Kazak type rug designs, they were probably woven by different ethnic groups inhabiting a wide area of the southern Caucasus.


Senneh Knots (See Asymmetric Knot)



Serapi Rugs (sə-rä'pē)

Serapi is not a location. It is a trade name used for the finest quality antique rugs from the Heriz district. Serapi rugs are characterized by their saturated colors and multiple shades of the same colors used in the same motifs, their depressed warps, finer design details and tighter weaves.


Shah Abbas

Shah Abbas was the ruling king of Iran from 1588 until his death in 1629. During his reign he brought the Safavid dynasty and the country of Iran through the greatest period in Persian carpet history. During this time the Persian Empire saw a period of calming national unity and a rise in the level of fine art, commerce and trade. In 1598 Shah Abbas moved his capital to Isfahan. There he built several mosques, the grand palace of Aali Gapo and a massive workshop devoted to turning out some of the finest Persian carpets. He hired the most skillful weavers and artisans from around the land to make these carpets and he filled ever inch of floor space in his palace and the mosques nearby with fantastic carpets of exceptional quality. Many of the carpets were constructed of all silk and had gold and silver threading. These carpets were only made for his court, nobles, rulers and visiting ambassadors. These carpets were treated as any fine treasure and are in different museums all over the world today.


Shahsevan (shô’sĭv'vän')

The Shahsevan are a collective of ethnically diverse tribal groups that were once entirely nomadic. They are Turkic-speaking Shi’a Muslim believers who it is believed were brought together by Shah Abbas during his reign. Today the majority of the Shahsevan have settled in and among the villages and broad areas of northwestern Iran. A small minority still migrates. Their weavings include rugs and kilims as well as small bags, packing bags and animal trappings.


ShahrBabak, Shahr Babak Rugs

The ancient city of ShahrBabak is located in Kerman Province approximately 150 miles west of Kerman. The city is a marketplace for Afshar tribesmen much like Sirjan is to the south. Traditionally rugs from ShahrBabak have highly stylized geometric depictions of birds, animals, people and flowers. The rugs can feature medallions, all-over repeating boteh or ornate and intricate floral patterns such as vase and millefleures. Much of the border designs are in direct relation to those found on Farahan and Bakhtiari carpets. Newer ShahrBabak rugs typically have cotton warps and wefts with older examples having wool foundations. ShahrBabak Rugs are fine and tightly woven with a closely clipped, rather soft pile.

Shield Kazak (See Sevan Kazak)



Shiraz (shē-räz')

Shiraz is the capital of Fars Province in Iran and is the name of the marketplace as well as a generic name for the weavings from this province.


Shirvan, Shirvan Rugs (shûrvän')

Shirvan is an area of the Greater Caucasus located east of the Ganja area which includes the city of Baku. Most of Shirvan is inhabited by Azeri Turks. Shirvan rugs are finely woven and they have a shorter pile than most Kazak or Karabag type rugs. They are often prayer rug size and are constructed with wool warps and wool wefts. Rugs produced after the 1900s’ have warps and wefts that are either all cotton or a blend of cotton and wool. Shirvan rugs can be found with repeating boteh and other motifs commonly found on other Persian and Caucasian rugs. There are a wide variety of Shirvan rugs that are named after the small villages in which they are produced. Marsali, Maraza and Kerimov are a few of the village names attributed to Shirvan rugs--each of which share similar designs and construction techniques with other Shirvan rugs.


Silk Road

With origins tracing back to 3000 B.C., the Silk Road was monumentally influential in opening up trade between Europe and Asia. The Silk Road, much of which is still in use today, a vast network of interconnected trade routes that spreads more than 6,000 miles across parts of South Asia, China, Persia, and the Mediterranean. Most noted for the trade of fine silk from China, the Silk Road was also vital for many other tradable commodities including hand knotted rugs.


Silver Ingot

The silver ingot is a symbolic Icon that can be found on Chinese rugs that represents wealth. The silver ingot is associated with the Hundred Antiquities.


Single Interlock Tapestry (See Warp Sharing Technique)



Sirjan, Kerman, Iran (sûrjān)

Sirjan Kerman is a city in the Kerman Province of Iran and a market place for Afshar rugs. Some Afshar type rugs are called Afshar Sirjan because the Afshar tribesmen from the surrounding areas would sell their rugs in the city of Sirjan.


Sivas, Turkey (sĭv'väs')

Sivas is the provincial capital of Sivas Province in Turkey and is one of the larger cities in East Central Anatolia. During the nineteenth century weaving centers in Sivas were important in the manufacturing of carpets with adapted Persian carpet designs. Most rugs from Sivas have cotton foundations and pale coloring compared to Persian rugs. Before 1915 the rugs from Sivas were woven mostly by Armenians in the Sivas city workshops. Many of them were pictorial carpets that were symmetrically knotted and resembled rugs from Tabriz. The villages around Sivas still produce prayer rugs with wool foundations that share similar features as other prayer rugs from around Anatolia. In Sivas it is not uncommon to also see tribal rugs woven by Kurdish nomads being sold there.



Slitweave is a technique used in the production of flat-weave rugs. In this technique, blocks or areas of colors are separated by a slit between them. A slit weave is executed by returning the weft around the last warp where the two colors meet. The colored weft returns around the warp back to within its own colored area and then beaten down with a metal or wooden comb to cover the warps. The same is repeated on the adjoining color section, leaving a slit or gap in between the two color fields. The slit left between the colors is typically very short as having large slit would only stand to weaken the entire rug. In finely woven kilims these slits are practically undetectable.


Smyrna (smûr'nə) (See Izmir)



Soche Fu (See Khotan)



Souf (sōōf)

Souf is a rug construction technique in which a three-dimensional effect is created with the combination of flat weave and pile. In this technique the background areas are flat woven and constructed of the warp and weft of the rug, while the designed portions are raised by knotting wool, silk or cotton yarns onto the warps. The design and type of yarns used varies depending on where the souf rug originated. The souf technique can be found on some antique Kashan rugs, on the ends of some modern Tabriz rugs, on tribal rugs woven by the Balouch, Afshar and Shiraz tribes as well as on many other tribal weavings.


Soumac (sōō'māk)

Soumac is a technique used in the creation of certain flat weave rugs. It is also the name of a type of rug that features this technique used in its construction. The technique involves looping a yarn thread over one or two warps followed by one or two wefts and by changing the color of the yarn a design is executed. Wool is most often used in creating a soumac type rug however silk or cotton may also be used as well.  This technique is used throughout the world and is popular in many of the rugs from Iran, Afghanistan and the Caucasus region.


Spanish Knot

A Spanish knot is a particular knot formation that can be found on antique Spanish rugs. The knot is created by knotting threads around a single alternate warp.


Spandrels, Corner Brackets

Spandrels are the designs that fill the corners of the rug field.


Spindle Bags 

Spindle bags are woven by Turkmen for a variety of different purposes. They are found in a multitude of different sizes and used in the everyday activities of these people.


Spinning Wheel

There are many different types of spinning wheels from hand operated to machine driven, all of which follow the same principal of spinning prepared fibers in to threads.


S-Spun Thread

S-spun yarn is a yarn thread that has fibers twisted in a clockwise direction. The opposite of which is Z-spun thread.


Star Kazak Rugs

Star Kazak rugs are highly sought after by collectors. The Star Kazak rug often features two or three eight sided star-shaped medallions surrounded by angular hooks and other geometric shapes in primary colors against an ivory background.


Star Oushak

A Star Oushak carpet will have either four or eight lobed medallion motifs surrounded by other medallions of either square or diamond shape. Made of naturally dyed hand-spun wool these sixteenth century rugs are beautifully designed and highly collectable.



Suzani is a word from the Farsi language meaning “needle work”. Suzani refers to both the embroidered fabrics and the embroidery technique. Suzani embroidered fabrics often feature flowers or blossom and leaf forms that are either naturalistic or highly stylized. Suzanis are mostly created by Uzbeks in Central Asia for dowries and the market but the technique and embroideries are also popular in Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan and other Central Asia countries. Common cotton fabric is most often used for the backgrounds however colored silk has also become a popular fabric choice.


Sultanabad, Soltan-abad Rugs (See Mahal Rugs)



Sultanabad (See Arāk)



Symmetric Knot

Also known as the Turkish knot, symmetric knots are created when a weaver takes different colored yarn threads, wraps them around two adjacent warps and pulls the thread ends through the middle of the warps to the surface of the rug using his fingers or a small hook tool with a knife at its end. The weaver will then cut the ends of these knotted threads with the end of the hook tool or a knife to create the rug pile.

Tabatabai Tabriz Rugs (täbätäbī, tä-brēz')

Tabatabai is a trade name used for the type of rugs produced in the workshops in the city of Tabriz, Iran. These rugs feature medallions or hunting designs in pastel colors. They have very heavy handles and are constructed on cotton foundations. These were mostly likely made specifically for the U.S. market from the 1970s’ through the1980s’.



Tbilisi is the capital of Georgia in the Middle East Caucasus region.


Tabrīz, Iran (tä-brēz')

Tabriz is the capital of East Azerbaijan Province and is the fourth largest city in Iran.


Tabrīz Rugs (tä-brēz')

Tabriz rugs are usually double-wefted on cotton or silk foundations with symmetrical knotting. The pile is usually all wool, all silk or a combination of wool and silk. The tightness of the weave varies with market demand, therefore the knot density of Tabriz rugs tends to vary widely anywhere from 90 to 600 knots per square inch. Tabriz carpets can be found in any shape including oval, round or octagonal and their patterns and colors vary as well, depending on the market demand.


Tafresh, Iran Tafresh Carpets

The city of Tafresh is located in the Markazi Province of Iran and is known for producing carpets that closely resemble rugs produced in the Hamadan villages nearby. A typical Tafresh carpet will have rounded medallions and fairly naturalistic floral figures. Tafresh carpets have cotton warps, cotton wefts, wool pile and Persian knots.


Tainaktsha (tānŏkshô)

A Tainaktsha is a large horse blanket that is woven by Turkmen from all regions. It is constructed of flat-weave or pile.


Talim Design System (tālĭm)

The Talim Design System is a method in which a group of weavers receive their commands from a master weaver who reads aloud the instructions written in a special written language from a long and narrow document line by line. The master weaver instructs the weavers, telling them in very direct and unmistakable terms exactly what color threads to use and were to use them. This system is used in India, Pakistan and Kashmir.


Talish, Talysh (tä-lĭsh')

The Tallish inhabit eastern areas of Republic of Azerbaijan in and around areas of Lenkoran, Astara and Lerik as well as across the Iranian border in the province of Gilan by the Caspian Sea. They speak an Indo-Iranian language called Talish however many of them are bilingual speaking also Russian, Farsi and Azeri. The term Talish is used in trade to describe the rugs made by the Talish and others from these regions of Azerbaijan. While variations on Talish carpet designs do exist, a common Talish rug design will have ivory colored borders with medium-sized rosettes alternating with four floral-shaped figures and have a solid dark blue field. Talish rugs are tightly woven with wool wefts and cotton or wool warps.


Tauk Noshka Gul (tŏk nôshkā)

A Tauk Noshka is an eight-sided gul design indicative of Arabatchi carpets. Often this design pattern is found repeated throughout the carpet field in major and minor medallion sizes, each of which contain red and ivory quadrants and intricate center designs.


Tekke Turkmens (těkē)

The Tekke are a Turkmen tribe closely related to the Salor and Saryk tribes that reside in southern Turkmenistan. Tekke weavings are among the most numerous of all the Turkomen tribes. Their weavings include: Main carpets, torbas, chuvals, asmalyks and ensis. Tekke Main carpets typically feature repeating major and minor guls across a madder red carpet field. Antique Tekke rugs have wool foundations and asymmetrical knots.


Tent Bands (Jolami) (Ak Yup)

A tent band is an incredibly strong souf or piled hand-woven textile that is used to bind the structure of a yurt or tent. The tent bands can measure up to 60 feet or longer in length and a foot or smaller in width. They are mostly attributed to weavings of Tekke and Yomut tribes.


Three Fruits

On some Chinese rugs, the grouping of the three fruits: peach, Buddha’s hand and pomegranates represent a wish for happiness, long life and male children.


Tianjin, China (t-än'jĭn')

Tianjin is the sixth largest city of the People's Republic of China and has been a major rug production center since the 1900s’



Tibet is located in southwest China. It’s bordered by the Chinese provinces of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Yunnan, Sichuan, and Qinghai to the north as well as Bhutan, Nepal, Myanmar, India and Nepal to the south. The population consists of more than 30 different ethnic groups, of which the Tibetan people account for more than 90 percent. Most of Tibet is part of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau; a region with an elevation of more than 13,000 ft. known at the “roof of the world.


Tibetan Knot

A knotting technique unique to Tibet, Nepal and India whereby a metal rod is laid across the front of a set of warps, different colored threads of wool, silk, or cotton yarn are looped around the rod then around two warps, a weft is inserted between the alternating warps to secure the loops and the loops are either cut or the rod is removed to leave a looped pile. With this technique a weaver can create a near infinite number of designs and compositions by changing the size of the rod to create different size loops or pile heights, or by changing the yarn type or color.


Tibetan Rugs

Even though traditional Tibetan rugs in some instances have used designs similar to Chinese rugs, the color pallets and the structure compositions of these two rug types are completely different. Traditional Tibetan rugs are constructed using a knotting technique called Tibetan knotting. This technique is unique only to Tibetan, Indian and Nepalese rugs. Tibetan weavers are also known to weave saddle bags, Tiger rugs and meditation rugs.


Timurid Dynasty (1370 - 1526)

A Central Asian dynasty which vast empire included all of Central Asia, Iran, Afghanistan and large portions of Pakistan, India, Mesopotamia and Caucasus.

Many designs found on Turkmen rugs are derived from designs popular during the dynasty.  


Torbas (tōrbās)

A Torbas is a smaller version of the Chuval (Joval) bags woven by Turkmen.



An ornamental covering or harnesses for horses, camels and other domesticated pack animals. (See Asmylak)



The Tree-of-Life design is used throughout the rug weaving world.  Many interpretations have been entertained as the design connotes different ideas and meanings. One of such interpretation is that the tree represents the connection between the paradise above, the world of man on earth and the world below. This design is often found in Balouch, Gabbeh, Kurdish, tribal rugs as well as other rugs from Isfahan, Tabriz, and Kerman.


Tribal Weavings

Tribal weavings are woven by tribes that can be found inhabiting many areas throughout the world. Many of these tribes were once entirely nomadic but because of governmental pressure and politics a number of them have been forced to settle in and around cities and towns. Many tribal weavers sell and trade their rugs, bags and kilims in the cities. These weavings are often named after the tribe that wove them or for the city in which they are sold. They weave to utilize the wool, reaping more money for the wool if it is spun and woven rather than selling the raw wool alone. Tribal weavers do not solely weave for profit; weaving is the backbone of much of their culture and heritage that has been passed down through generations. 


Weavers mostly weave on portable horizontal looms and weave rugs and kilims in weft-face, soumac, slit-weave, brocade, knotted pile or other techniques in yurts, rooms and tents while utilizing the natural materials readily available to them. They hand-spin the wool sheared from their own flocks and they extract the dyes from local plants.


Because most tribal designs are passed from generation to generation and are executed without the use of design paper, the designs stay fairly geometric or rustic and no two rugs are woven exactly alike. The weavings tend to be small in size because they weave on horizontal looms, and in order to weave a large rug, the weavers would require a large loom and a large area which is not readily available in a tribal setting.



Tunisia is a country located in North Africa that is bordered by Libya and Algeria.


Tunisian Rugs

Most of the weaving done in Tunisia is influenced by Anatolian designs and color schemes influenced by Berber carpet color palettes. Most of the modern carpets coming from Tunisia are produced in the cities of Nabeul, Bizerte, Sousse, Sfax and Gabes and Gafsa, with Gafsa producing a substantial part of the colorful animal figure kilims. Most of the rugs produced in Tunisia are kilims. Finding early examples from earlier than 1881, before Tunisia became a French protectorate, is difficult.


Turkish Knot (See Symmetric Knot)


Turkish Rugs

The term ‘Turkish rug’ is broad and could encompass any number of the thousands of different rugs and flat weaves from around Turkey. Patterns, construction techniques and materials all vary greatly from region to region. Most Turkish rugs are highly sought after for their rich warm colors, intricate designs and traditional motifs.



Turkmenistan is a country located in Central Asia that is bordered by the Caspian Sea, Afghanistan, Iran, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan


Turkmen, Turkomen

The Turkmen are a collection of many tribes. They inhabit the many geographic regions and pastoral settings of Central Asia as well as in and around the major cities and states of Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, certain areas of Pakistan and areas of north and northeastern Iran.


Turkmen Rugs

A Turkmen rug can be considered to be anyone of the many thousands of rugs made by the many numerous tribes of Central Asia. This would include the Tekke, Salor, Saryk, Esari and Yomut tribes, as well as many others.


Uighers, Uyghur (wē'gŏŏr)

The Uighers (pronounced wee-gur) are an indigenous people living in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China. They are of Turkic descent, their religion is Islam and their culture closely resembles that of Central Asian people rather than Chinese.


Usak, Ushak (ü-shäk) (See Oushak)



Uzbekistan, Republic of Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan is a Central Asian country that was once part of the Soviet Union. It is bordered by Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.



Ürümqi is the capital and the largest city in the Xingjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of the Peoples republic of China.

Wagireh, Vagireh (See Sampler)




Warps are the threads in weavings that run perpendicular to the wefts and run lengthwise. In hand-knotted rugs, knots are tied to the warps and then cut to form a pile. The fringe of hand-knotted rugs is created by knotting the warps that extend from the ends of the rug. This is not only decorative but practical in securing the edges to prevent them from unraveling. In flat-woven rugs the wefts are often manipulated using a variety of different methods when crossing the warps to create a design to give the weave a specific characteristic.


Warp-Faced Patterning, Ghujeri

Warp faced patterning is a technique used in the creation of flat weaves or tent bands. Unlike other textiles that use single colored warps as the frame for the designs, the warps in these weaves are multiple, multicolored and are used to execute the design. Textiles woven with this technique are strong and robust which is ideal for tent bands. The technique involves weaving the textile so that one of the colored warps where it is needed for a particular part of the rug design are allowed to show on the surface of the rug and the warps not needed for the design are floated on the back of the rug. The wefts in this type of weave are not visible, and this technique is limited to textiles of one foot or less in width because of problems with warp tension.  Kilims woven with warp faced patterning are usually created in strips of one foot or less across first, and then attached together. This technique is used throughout areas of Persia and Afghanistan and Central Asia. In Central Asia this technique is known as Ghujeri.


Warp Sharing Technique, Dovetailing, Single Interlock Tapestry

Warp sharing is a technique used in the construction of flat-weave rugs whereby weft threads of adjoining different colors are returned around a single warp once they reach the edge of the desired design. This technique creates a solid interlocking between the two areas and a distinctly blended and raised outline where the two areas intersect.

When this technique is used, the result is a reversible rug. Warp sharing is used throughout areas of Persia, Thrace and Afghanistan.


Weeping Willow Design

The weeping willow design is found on Persian rugs--particularly early rugs from Bijar, and rugs woven in the villages of Arāk, Malayer and Hamadan. The weeping willow design is a combination of willow, cypress, poplar and fruit trees and has been adopted by many rug producing countries. The weeping willow design is often very rectangular or angular; suggesting that the design has tribal origins however, much like the Minakhani design, it is probably Kurdish.



Wefts are the threads weavers pass alternately between warps. In hand-knotted rugs, weft threads are used to secure knots. In Soumac rugs, Navajo rugs and kilims, wefts are used to render designs by changing the weft thread’s color.


Weft-Faced (Tapestry Weave, Weft-Faced Patterning, Weft-Float Brocade Technique)

Weft facing is a common weaving technique used in the construction of flat weave structures throughout areas of Central Asia, and it describes any flat-weave structure in which the weft threads form the surface and the warp is more or less unseen. In this technique, several wefts are used to execute the design in the construction. These wefts are dyed different colors and interlaced between warps leaving only one of the colored wefts to remain showing or ‘floating’ on the rug surface, while subsequent wefts not needed, at the point of weaving the design, remain hidden or ‘floated’ on the backside of the weave. These wefts are tightly woven and beaten down using a metal or wooden comb to cover the warps. By alternating which weft is brought to the surface, the design is executed. This technique is used throughout the rug weaving world to create flat weave rugs, tent cloths, bags and saddle bags and the ends of some knotted carpets.


Weft Overcast

Weft overcastting is a method of binding whereby the wefts encircle a single or bundle of warps to strengthen the edge of a carpet.


Weld, Dyer’s Rocket, Asparak (Esperek) (Reseda Luteola)

Weld is a plant used as a source for brilliant yellow dye and is known by other names such as Dyer’s Rocket in Europe, and Asparak or Esperek, in Afghanistan. The plant is native to parts of Iran, Afghanistan, North Africa and the Mediterranean, but has subsequently spread through parts of Europe as well. Many carpets and rugs from Iran, Turkey and Afghanistan are dyed in some of the best yellow hues with this dye and when combined with the blue dye obtained from woad or indigo, a strong green dye is formulated.


Whip Stitch

A whip stitch is a hand stitching or binding method that is used to finish the edges or to join two sections of a flat-weave.


Wish Granting Scepter (See Ruyi)



Wish Granting Pearl (See Pearl, Hundred Antiquities)




Wool is a fiber that is derived principally from animals of the Caprinae family, particularly sheep. Other mammalian animals such as llamas, alpacas, camels and cashmere or angora goats can also produce wool, each of which having different characteristics and used in different forms of textile production.


Xinjiang, China (shē'nĭng'jyäng')

Currently Xingjiang is a claimed territory of the Republic of China and also an autonomous region of the People's Republic of China. Xingjiang is also one of the many thousands of cities that used the Silk Road for the trade of commodities.

Yak Hair

In the Himalayas, at elevations of more than 14,000 feet, the yak, with its long woolly hair is comfortable among the mountainous tundra and ice deserts. The soft cashmere-like wool from the yak is highly praised and is spun into yarn to make textiles and carpets with warm colors and spirited designs.


Yalameh (yāl'əmə)

Yalameh is a trade name used for the rugs produced by Persian villagers and the Ghashghai tribesmen in an area south of Abadeh, Iran.  Yalameh carpets tend to have more yellow and green colors in their designs which are largely unused in carpets originating from the Fars areas. Yalameh rugs have foundations of wool or cotton with symmetrical or asymmetrical knots and a more regular pile texture than other rugs from the Fars area.



Yarkand is a city located in East Turkistan that currently has no known organized weaving practices. There are antique rugs allegedly from this area that are indistinguishable from other rugs of East Turkistan.



A Yastik is a small Turkish pile rug woven as a pillow cover. The sizes typically range from 1’4” by 2’4” to 2’ by 3’6”. Yastik rugs are a favorite among some rug collectors.



A Yatak is a very thick, coarsely knotted shaggy Turkish rug that was allegedly woven to be used as a bed.


Yazd Iran, Yazd Rugs (yāzd)

Yazd is an ancient oasis city with a long and industrious history of textile and carpet production. Yazd is located half-way between Isfahan and Kerman on the border of the Kavir-e Lut desert. Yazd has a long history of textile and carpet manufacturing. Rugs woven in this area have designs, colors and construction techniques that are very similar to Kerman rugs.


Yerevan, Erevan, Iravan, Erewan, or Ayrivan (yě'rĭ-vän')

The capital and largest city of the Republic of Armenia


Ying Yang

A motif found on carpets from China that represents balance. The dark half ‘yin’ represents the female force—earth, moon and darkness, while the lighter side ‘yang’ represents the male force—heaven, light and sun.


Yomut Turkmen (yo-mōōt)

The Yomut are a Turkmen tribe living on the south eastern shores of the Caspian Sea and along the lower banks of Amu Darya River. Their weavings include chuvals, Main Carpets, ensis, bag faces and asmalyks. Yomut rugs are constructed using both symmetric and asymmetric knotting on wool foundation.


Yuruk (yûr’ŏk’)

Yuruk rugs are not related to any specific location or ethnic group. Rugs labeled as “Yuruk” refer to rugs hand-woven by Kurds and other nomadic people of Turkey.



A yurt is a type of portable tent that is designed to be broken down and carried on the backs of camels or yaks. The yurt is used by nomadic Turkmen and other tribal people inhabiting Central Asia. The yurt is often circular in shape, covered in a felt or canvas material and is supported by a wooden frame that is bound with tend bands. The felt made from the wool gathered from the flocks that accompany the tribesmen throughout their migratory journeys while the wooden structure is often obtained though trade.

Zābol (zä'bŏŏl)

Zabol is a city located approximately thirty miles from the Afghan border in Sistan and Baluchistan Province, Iran. Zabol is a production center and market place for some of the Balouch rugs woven in Iran.


Zagros Mountains

The Zagros Mountains are the largest mountain range in Iran and Iraq. They are home to a vast number of rug weaving tribes and span the entire length of the western and southwestern Iranian plateau and end at the Strait of Hormuz.


Zanjān Province, Zanjān Rugs, Zenjān (zān'jān')

Zanjān is a province in northwestern Iran that is home to people of Azeri ethnicity. Many of the rugs named “Zanjān” are made in several villages lying outside of Zanjān along the Kazvin-Zanjān road and have characteristics similar to Bijar rugs but are generally considered to be of lower quality. Zanjān rug designs are often very similar to the designs found on other carpets from the surrounding area. They are tightly woven with Persian or Turkish knots and have wool pile, cotton warps and cotton or wool wefts.


Zara (zârô)

Zara is a region located East of Sivas on the Kizilirmak River. A few Rugs were produced in this Eastern Central Anatolia area in the late nineteenth century.


Zeyher, Zeyhur (zā-hûr)

A Zeyhur is a type of Caucasian rug from the Kuba District in Azerbaijan. A typical Zeyhur rug design consists of large repeated “X” shaped figures, two tone coloring of either blue and light blue or red and rose colors without outlines. Some Zeyhur rugs feature European-style floral figures that were most probably made for the Russian market.


Zieglar and Co., Messrs: at Arāk

The Zeigler and Co. is a British firm of Swiss origin that produced many of the Persian carpets originating from Arāk during the late 1800’s to just shortly before the end of World War II. Zieglar and Co. employed people from the local town and those from the surrounding villages and supplied them with ready dyed yarn and wagirehs of repeating designs. Zieglar and Co. controlled about 2,500 looms in the area and produced some of the most sought after Persian carpets. (Also see Mahal Rugs)


Zill al-Sultan Design

The Zill al-Sultan design, meaning ‘shadow of the king’, is a pattern of repeated vases, flowers and birds in honor of the Zill al-Sultan, Masud Mirza who governed Yazd, Fars, Kermanshah, Mazandaran and Isfahan during the nineteenth century. He was a Qajar Dynasty prince who although was next in line to succeed the throne, was unable to because his mother was not of royal blood. An insignia was created for him, or as the story goes he created it himself. This insignia is the Zill al-Sultan design and is replicated in the rug pattern. Masud Mirza conceded to political pressures and surrendered much of his governorship of Iran yet remained governor of Isfahan until his forced resignation in 1888. The design is inspired by his legacy can be found on many rugs throughout Iran including rugs from Yazd, Tabriz, Isfahan, Khorasan, Abadeh, Arāk and Qum.



Zilli is a weaving technique used in kilims throughout Anatolia by Turkish weavers inhabiting areas around Konya, Sirrihisar, Canakkale and Mut. The technique involves wrapping extra wefts (typically thicker than the warps or other wefts in the rug) over two, three or five warps at a time with two or three rows of ground weft in between them. This technique is used to fill-in areas of the weave in a more efficient manner rather than weaving wefts in between alternating warps. The design is in turn ‘floated’ upon the warps of the rug leaving some warps exposed. Each extra weft thread returns within its own field and typically runs parallel with the other wefts in the weave and perpendicular to the warps. However, in some special cases these thick weft threads are woven in a more difficult manner, diagonally crossing the warps.


Z-Spun Thread

A yarn with fibers twisted in a counter-clockwise direction. The opposite of which would be S-Spun thread.