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Real Oriental Rugs

Arabic magician on the flying carpet

You would wonder why they are real. The answers is that none of arabic magicians would be able to fly most of the carpets that have overwhelmed our apartments.
But seriously, we need to point out that we will consider to be real only those rugs that are created by patient hands of women of oriental countries. The accent in this statement is not as much stressed at "women of oriental countries" as at "hands", for the hand-made carpets have one feature that no machine can replicate.
That is, the principal difference between the real rug and something that looks like one by its form, texture and material is, generally, in the main technological point and, accordingly, the facture element: the real oriental rugs pile is fixed on the base threads with a knot, and that is done not by a machine but human fingers.
A machine rugs cannot tie the knots. The pile of a machine made "oriental rug" is simply stuck between the base and the wefts. Thus, talking about oriental rugs, we are going to forget for a while that there are rug-like products made out of syntethics and even "real unmeltable wool".

Rugs are being bought not only for home, for family. Withing the last ten years many western corporations have refused of using artificial rugs and bought the hand-made oriental rugs. Clients that come to the lawyer office feel more trust towards the owner of that business when they see that the company can afford to spend $200 000 for a oriental rug in the reception. The same with the hotels. Some swindlers use that fact that a carpet makes clients feel more trusting. It is much easier to roll a oriental rug and move it to a new place of performance that to pay for an expensive office's rent. Bank all over the world buy oriental rugs along with canvas and when they have hard for the primary business times, they exhibit their property, making money with that. While great masters' canvas cost up to $9 million on auctions, ancient carpets sometimes may cost up to $1-2 millions. Rug of Great Mogols' age (XV century) cost not less than famous "Sunflowers" by Van Gogh. One of the largest collections of silk rugs belongs to Lufthansa company. Large collections also belong to Austrian and German banks.

In the United States there are two month long trainings held for expensive oriental rugs' buyers. On that kind of training people learn how to avoid overpaying. The price of a oriental rug is a summ of labour and art put in it. The approach for defining the first component by multiplying the approximate cost of local labour force by the amount of months necessary for carpet manufacturing is incorrect. Aesthetic value, ornament complexity, wool used and dyes used should also be considered.
For non-specialist it is hard to learn all sides of the matter even on completion of the trainings. Real oriental rugs are expensive. People all over the world buy them only in those places where they trust the seller or the place. An American can fly thousands of miles in order to buy a oriental rug from a seller in London, who many years ago was recommended to him by his father, for the latter had bought something in the same oriental rugs shop.

Here you can find some tips to help you tell the difference between a handmade rug and a machine-made imitation.

This discussion concerns only rugs made with 100% wool as the pile material:

  • If a rug has a pile of polypropolene, polyolefin, or a pile made of a blend of synthetic polymers and wool, it is all but certainly a machine-made rug.
  • If a rug is identified as "a Belgium Oriental", or as having been made in Belgium, Italy, or elsewhere in western Europe, it is all but certainly a machine-made rug.

This comparison picture shows, at the same scale and resolution, a brand-name 3' x 5' machine-made rug next to a 3' x 5' handwoven Tekke from Turkmenistan:

Note the strong visual differences between the machine-made and handmade rugs. In particular, the back of the machine-made rug is very different in appearance from the back of the handmade rug. The design is not nearly as colorful on the back of the machine-made rug as it is on the face (view).

The construction of the machine-made rug is very different from the handmade oriental rugs. There is an overstitch pattern across the whole back of the machine-made rug. You cannot easily distinguish individual knots on the back of the machine-made rug because there aren't any - the overstich construction is what holds the pile material in place. The fringe is clearly applied to the end of the machine-made rug after it's complete, whereas the fringe of the handmade rug is actually made up of the warp strings that come out of the end of the handmade rug.

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