It is challenging business to categorize rugs. This is mainly due to a few reasons. First of all there is more than one way to categorize. You can categorize by technique, geographic origin, people that make it, design, color, age and usage. This quick guide intends to clarify some basic misconceptions and suggests a basic classification by not based on any one of the above but all of them. We give only basic explanations of common terms used in the rug business, therefore making it possible for anyone interested in this subject to understand rugs better. This way you can know a couple of cool things or if you are interested in buying a rug you can make a more educated decision.
Age categorization. Vintage Rugs are usually rugs younger than one hundred years old. The century limit is a milestone in the rug business and rugs older than a century old is usually belongs to the Antique Rug group. Vintage Rugs will be anywhere between twenty to one hundred years old. It is always definitely true that is a vintage rug is younger than an antique rug.
Age categorization. As mentioned above Antique Rugs are usually those that surpass the century limit. This is a generalization; not every rug older than a hundred years old is antique but no rug younger than one hundred years old will be considered antique.
Technique categorization. This term implies the rug was made by hand. There are several techniques in the making of handmade rugs. If a rug is handmade, this term implies the rug was made by hand by using one of these techniques. So we don’t actually know how a rug was made when we see this term, but we know machinery was not used in the making process.
Hand Knotted Rugs:
Technique categorization. The most important thing this term implies is, this kind of a rug has a pile. A pile is a layer of wool that you would feel if you rubbed you hand against the rug. Depending on which way you rub your hand against the rug the sensation will be like either rubbing your cat’s lovely hair in the way it comes out or opposite. This structure is formed by the ‘knots’. Knots create the pile and keep the rug together for centuries. Depending on various factors a rug may have a Very low pile, a low pile, a medium or a high pile.
Hand Woven Rugs:
Technique categorization. The most important thing this term implies is, this kind of a rug does not have a pile. It was made by strands of wool being woven into each other. So if you rub your hand against you won’t feel like your are petting your lovely cat, because if a rug is hand woven it doesn’t have a pile.
Technique categorization. The term ‘Kilim’ implies that the rug was made by a hand weaving technique. Therefore it does not have a pile, it is woven.
People that make it and geographic origin categorization. Rugs that are made in the land Turkey by Turkish people are called Turkish Rugs. There are many different regions, cities, workshops that make rugs in Turkey. However if a rug was made in one of those regions that fall under the border of Turkey, it is a Turkish rug.
Geographic categorization. Rugs that are made in Anatolia are called Anatolian rugs. Anatolia is where most of modern Turkey can be found on a map. Turkey has a small portion of its land in the European continent and most of its land in the Asian continent. Turkey’s land that takes place in the Asian continent is Anatolia. If a rug was made here, it’s called an Anatolian rug. The name ‘Anatolia’ is of Ancient Greek origin. It means ‘place from where the sun rises’ due Anatolia being to the east of Greece.
Geographic categorization. Rugs that are made in the Caucasus are called Caucasian Rugs. Caucasus is the land that reaches from the Caspian Sea in the east to the Turkish border on the west to Russia in the north to Iran in the south. There are several countries in this region which are all great rug makers. They are Russia (south of it), Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia and Dagestan.
Geographic categorization. Rugs that are made in Iran are called Persian rugs. There are many different regions and tribes within Iran that make rugs. However if a rug was made in one of those regions that fall under the current day Iran or if people that make them live in the borders of current day Iran, it is a Persian rug.
Oushak Rugs (Uşak Rugs):
Geographic categorization and technique categorization. This is a tough one mainly due to the widest misconception in the rug business that every pale rug on the phase of the earth is an Oushak rug. This is the mistake of rug merchants, because they said every pale rug they have is an Oushak as Oushak rugs are usually pale and have a great reputation. The correct information is, Oushak (Uşak ın Turkısh spelling) is a city in Turkey that has produced exquisite rugs for centuries all the way from the 16th century to the present day. Oushak rugs were made to be sold to palaces across Europe and to all the countries Ottomans traded with. When Oushak carpets became widely popular several workshops started to make rugs with the same weaving and hand knotting methods in different cities in Turkey as well as India and Pakistan.
Color categorization. Overdyed rugs are vintage rugs that are dyed in uniform colors in the recent past. Even though the rugs that are overdyed are vintage, overdyeing rugs is a recent practice. overdyed rugs come in uniform colors of blue, red, black, brown, yellow, purple, green, orange etc.
Color categorization. I feel obligated to put this term under color categorization, however in reality it would be more accurate to create a ‘condition’ categorization for this term. A distressed rug is a worn rug. If a hand knotted rug is distressed, it means the pile is worn and at some parts worn completely to the point where the underlying structure called warp and weft are visible. Color wise Distressed Rugs are lighter in colors compared to their initial condition.
Size categorization. Rugs larger than 8 X 10, 9 X 12 usually fall under this category.
Size categorization. Rugs between 6 X 9 to 8 X 10 usually fall under this category.
Size categorization. Rugs between 3 X 5 to 6 X 9 usually fall under this category.
Size categorization. Rugs smaller than 3 X 5 usually fall under this category.
Usage categorization. Rugs that work well in general living spaces usually fall under this category. An area rug rug will work well in a living room, bedroom, kitchen, hall, office and even entry for smaller area rugs.
Usage categorization. Rugs that work well in hallways or narrow spaces usually fall under this category. A runner will be 4 feet wide the widest and 8 feet or longer.