Antique Area rugs are an indispensable interior design accessory. Grand rooms and private spaces can both benefit from the addition of a stylish old area rug. The cushiony textures, balanced proportions and carefully selected colors are the secret ingredients that can tie any interior design together.
From luxurious traditional rugs, to artful contemporary carpets, a fabulous area rug can function as an arresting conversation piece. It can stand out as a focal point or become a neutral feature that connects separate elements within a space.
Area rugs are available in every size, shape, style and color palette imaginable. Designers and do-it-yourselfers only need to jump in to experience the tremendous variety and stylistic breadth of contemporary and traditional area rugs.
The start of the weaving industry began with the domestication of animals. We used their hair (wool) that we sheared. We did not have to kill them anymore, just shear them on a regular basis. Thus, they continued to produce wool, for our weaving needs. Antique Area Rugs are just another facet of our evolution.
What did we do before we started weaving rugs? We killed animals and used their hides. We used them for warmth and floor coverings. Whatever the skins looked like was what floor coverings looked like.
Once we began to dye the wool, the commercial weaving of antique area rugs began. We produced a more colorful product and used our artistic talents to design them. First, we wove rugs for our personal use.
Then, it became an industry. This industry continues in much the same fashion even today. The term antique area rugs refers to rugs that are at least eighty years old. Limited in numbers, antique area rugs will become more rare. The twentieth century ushered in the industrial era.
From this point on, the economy became more global. This resulted in more Western influences in the Middle East. During this period, the uniqueness of the antique area rugs began to wane.
During the early 20th century, economic instability began to set in. Productions became more commercial. They also became less expensive (and as a result, far less appealing). This resulted in the degradation of the rug production throughout. Designs, colors, overall quality and appeal all took a back seat.
The manufacturers just looked to lower costs. True antique area rugs predate, for the most part, the advent of mass production. A little known fact that I would like to talk about is price. Despite the difference in quality between the antiques and new, many antique rugs might be less expensive than the new ones. The antiques have unique assets compared to their newer counterparts.
For instance, antique rugs with hand-spun wool, and natural dyes, have a more luminous surface. New area rugs will never have the patina as the antiques. New rugs have no intrinsic value. Therefore, antique area rugs, are decorative items and solid investments. Quality and imperfections are more subjective aspects for judging antique area rugs. If assessed on the basis of the wool, dyes and weaving technique, the process is fairly objective.
When talking about the drawing or style, it becomes more of an issue of taste. The same is true with “imperfections”. Dropped knots, looseness or inconsistencies in tightness are technical imperfections.
Abrashes (abrupt changes in color), sudden changes in design, or the borders / ends of the field, could be judged as imperfections. That said, they could also be deliberate changes. Therefore they are part of her or his creative expression.
Some buyers of antique area rugs may be put off by such qualities. These buyers may prefer a workshop rug. The workshop rugs were produced in the cities. For the most part, they are perfectly straight and the colors and design are consistent throughout. Others might appreciate the personality of village rugs.
Village weavers confront us every time she or he inserts a willful twist, change of color or pattern. Therefore, the weaver is alive in the antique area rugs that he or she created.
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Antique Area Rugs – Rugs are woven fabrics that are used to cover a specific area of the floor; this makes them distinct from “carpets“, a term which is generally but not invariably used to refer to carpeting that extend wall-to-wall, or are fixed to the floor; this distinction is explained further below. The origins of rugs are varied, but the method for weaving them is largely cross-cultural. For the most part and generally speaking, rugs are created on frames called looms.
To be able to reference rugs as antique, they would need to be at least 80 years or older. While antique furniture or art needs to be at least 100 years old to be able to use the “antique” precursor attribute, antique rugs need only be 80 year old. This is mostly because of the fact that rugs are used as functional decorative pieces. Since people walk on their antique rugs, there is a great chance that they will not survive as long as antique paintings.
The loom is used for constructing the rug foundation and the front facing or pile is created by tying small strips of fabric (wool, cotton or silk) onto the foundation. This process is largely unchanged since it was initially developed in the Near East centuries ago.
The vertical threads of the foundation are referred to as warps, and the horizontal lines are referred to as wefts. While all antique rugs are handmade products, modern rugs may be handmade or machine made; this has no bearing on whether or not the end product is in fact a rug.
As mentioned above, the terms “rugs” and “carpets” are basically used interchangeably in everyday language – but, traditionally, a carpet is a rug that is bigger than four feet in width and six feet in length while a Carpet is a rug that is smaller than those specific measurements. It bears repeating that within the rug industry, these terms are treated differently, but, in everyday parlance, it is perfectly acceptable to use these terms interchangeably.
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View all of our antique area rugs below – the rugs are sorted so that the longest rugs show up first: