Oriental Rugs Glossary
Machine made: A rug constructed on an electrically powered machine, now usually computer controlled.
Mafrash: The smallest format Turkmen single-faced bag which, like chuvals and torbas, has a flat-woven hack, usually in undecorated plain weave, and 1oop fastenings. The word mafrash, it should he noted, appears in various Central Asian languages to describe different types of woven hag. Among the Shahsavan of the Caucasus and northwest Iran, for example, it refers to a large multi-sided bedding hag or woven 'trunk', usually in the sumak technique Some examples of all three types of single-faced hag retain long, free-hanging side-cords and side-tassels.
Madder: A powder extracted from the root of a Rubia plant used to make red natural dye.
Manufactory: Made by hand in a factory.
Mahal: A name which is probably derived from the village of Mahallat in the Arak region. The term is also frequently referred to carpets from this region that have a medium weave and knot count, are woven on cotton foundation, are double wefted and use the Persian knot. Although these rugs are of average quality, please remember that the design and color combination are more important than knot count in terms of how much a rug is worth. Current trends among interior designers for carpets with all over patterns and soft colors have recently boosted the price of Mahals. Very soft and lustrous wool is frequently used.
Mahi: In Persian Mahi means "fish". The term refers to the Herati pattern which at times can resemble a fish eye design.
Mamluk Carpet: A group of carpets woven in Cairo Egypt from the 13th to the early 16th centuries. They were woven in the Turkish traditions and most are large format rugs with an octagon medallion in the center. Tiny geometric motifs surround the medallion creating an almost kaleidoscopic effect. Main colors are red, yellow, blues and greens.
Manchester Kashan : A Persian Kashan rug using Australian wool which was spun in Manchester England. These Kashans were woven between 1890-1930s and typically depict floral motifs on a deep red background.
Marasali : A village in the Shirvan region in the Caucasus in which high quality 19th century prayer rugs were woven. Main design in Marasali rugs is a mihrab decorated with bright and colorful botehs.
Mashad : A city and a major rug weaving center in northeast Iran. Oriental rugs production began in the late 19th century and most rugs from this region are large with a deep red background. Mashad Rugs are double wefted and woven on a cotton foundation. Frequently, Mashad carpets have very traditional Persian designs and include a rounded center medallion with a vase in each one of the rug's corners.
Medallion: The large enclosed portion of a design, usually in the center. Typical shapes are diamonds, octagons and hexagons.
Mazarlik(Turkish): A Turkish carpet with representations of trees and houses. Some belive such carpets are used to enfold the dead when carried to a cemetery.
Memling Gul: A commonly used diamond shaped medallion surrounded with small hooks. It is named after the Flemish artist Hans Memling who painted rugs with this motif.
Merino: A breed of sheep producing very fine wool. The merino was first raised in Spain. Australian merino wool is used in some rugs from Iran and India. "Manchester" is merino wool processed in Manchester, England.
Milas: A southwest Turkish town with a tradition of carpet weaving as early as the 17th century. Antique Milas rugs are usually small and include prayer rugs with diamond shaped mihrabs, rugs with columns occupying their fields and rugs with vertical panels. Currently, except for the surrounding villages, there is no contemporary rug weaving in Milas.
Mina Khani: An allover design consisting of a flower surrounded by a diamond having flowers in each one of its corners and repeated throughout the field. Curvilinear designed Mina Khani is commonly found on Veramin rugs.
Moghan: A region located in the southeastern part of the Caucasus and is known for large 19th century rugs depicting memling guls. Rugs were usually woven on a wool foundation and had a length which was twice as their width.
Mir boteh : A design of small rows of botehs throughout a field.
Millefleurs: Small flowers make up the pattern throughout the rug's field.
Mihrab(Persian): The prayer niche in a mosque represented by the arch in a prayer rug.
Mordant: From the Latin 'to bite', the term describes a substance used to prepare wool or silk for dyeing. The mordant attaches to receptor sites on the surface of protein fibers and makes a chemical bridge between the dyestuff and fiber. The most common mordants are alum and iron sulfite. Madder and the yellow plant dyes require a mordant, whereas indigo does not.
Mori: A term describing the weave of certain Pakistani and Indian rugs, specifically the absence of warp offset in these rugs.
Mughal Carpet : A term referring to rugs woven in India during the 15th-18th centuries while the Mughal dynasty was in power. This was the golden age of carpet production in India. Themes were based on the Safavid weavings in neighboring Persia and many Persian weavers were employed by the courts in Lahore, Agra and Fatehpur Sikri.