Oriental rugs can be either thick and rich, with high yarn content, or of the flat-woven variety. Both types will be high in artistic content, most often with striking multi-colored patterns featuring representational designs and motifs. The typical range of colors can go from black to soft yellows, pastel pinks, reds, peaches, apricots, greens, and blues. This is by no means an exhaustive list of colors for they can be created in many others as well.
Oriental rugs were originally hand-woven in China, but are now being made in Romania, Iran and India as well. These represent a good value as labor costs have remained low. The most expensive ones are woven from silk, less expensive ones from wool. They provide warmth and beauty and bring interest and luxury into every room in the house. Their amazingly resilient and durable qualities make them perfectly suited for heavily traveled areas as well as seldom-used living areas.
Oriental rugs blend extremely well with either traditional or contemporary furnishings. For those on a limited budget, machine-made reproductions look amazingly similar to the more expensive hand-knotted originals. For example, a modified Jacquard loom weaves in such a way so the design shows on both the back of the piece and the surface. This technique makes them look strikingly similar at a fraction of the cost.
Authentic pieces are all hand-knotted of wool or silk and can be quite costly. Oriental rug designs have come from countless localities: Morocco, China, northern Africa and southern Russia. The patterns and colors used in any design are based primarily on the religious and cultural influences of the original tribe, town or province. Each region will produce a unique artistic style which serves basically as their signature.
Quality is determined by such things as the type of knot used, pile depth, closeness of weave (number of knots per square inch), the fineness of the yarn, type of yarn, richness of the color, fastness of the dye and degree of artistic expression in the pattern and design. For an idea of the difference between an original and a reproduction, an ancient Persian carpet displayed at the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art is said to have 2,500 knots per square inch. The finest machine-made reproductions today have approximately 68 tufts per square inch-one tuft being equivalent to one knot.
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