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A History Of Rug Making

handmade rugs persian rugs rug history rugs traditional rugs wool rugs

Rug Making is an ancient art form that goes back many centuries, some say many thousands of years BC.

Currently, one of the oldest known rugs was found in 1947 by the Russian archeologist Sergei Ivanovich Rudenko. The "Pazyryk carpet" was placed in the grave of a Skit’s prince, in Pazuluk valley, mount Altai, south Siberia. This carpet is dated from 5 century BC.

Image below: The Pazyryk carpet found by Sergei Ivanovich Rudenko. Source:

In the medieval period dating from about 470 A.D. to 1200 A.D., carpets and rugs became used as to style homes. Wool was the most predominant type of material used, with silk also a common fabric used.

Initially developed to protect people from the elements, strands of wool were woven together to create a product that provided warmth.

After this initial practical use, rug weavers began using colour from herbs and vegetable dyes to create stylish patterns, mythical figures and cultural symbols on the rugs.

Traditionally, rugs were made from wool and silk. Hand knotted pile rugs, (a unique traditional rug making technique still in use today) made from thousands of knotted strands of material, became, and still are, a highly respected art form, symbolising culture, civilisations and religions. In many handmade persian rugs, regions can be identified from colours and patterns used in a rug.

Image below: Prayer rug, Anatolia, late 15th to early 16th century, with "re-entrant" keyhole motif. Source:

Prayer rug, Anatolia, late 15th to early 16th century

Since the 20th century, synthetic fibers such as polyester, nylon and acrylic has been used to provide more affordable alternatives.

Many countries have been involved in the rug industry, and today each have their own specialities.

Middle eastern countries such as Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iran produce large quantities of hand made rugs, whilst Nepal and Turkey are also among the finest producers of hand crafted carpets.

Countries such as India and China also produce fine handmade rugs and also trade large amounts of machine made rugs using a variety of materials.

Scandinavian rugs are a popular style, as contemporary interior design pieces, as are many rugs from Turkey and Nepal.

Rug Making has been an integral part of cultures around the world for many thousands of years, and will no doubt continue to be in the years to come.


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