Rug Names And Explaining Why Area Rugs Are Called What They Are?
“How do rugs get their names” and “What do the names of the rugs mean”?
How rugs get their names and what the rug names mean are two of the most frequently asked rug related questions. For the most part, the names of rugs are based on their specific origin or type. Additionally, some rug manufacturers and dealers may create unique names to market their rugs effectively. But below we compiled a much more in-depth list of rug names and how those names were derived.
Generally speaking, area rugs acquire their names based on:
Where the rugs were made – such as the specific city / village / country or general area where they were woven.
A few example rugs that are named based on where they were woven:
- Tabriz rugs are called “Tabriz” because they were woven in the city of Tabriz which is located in modern day Iran.
- “North West Persian rugs” are Persian rugs that we know were woven in the general area but do not know the specific city or village.
- Oushak rugs are Turkish rugs that were woven / created in the city of Oushak in Turkey.
- Central Asian rugs are rugs that were woven in the general area of central Asia but we don’t have a specific location.
- Oriental rugs are area rugs that were woven anywhere in Asia.
- Moroccan rugs are rugs that were woven anywhere in the country of Morocco.
- Scandinavian rugs are area rugs that were woven in one of the Scandinavian countries.
The types of rug weaves.
A few examples of rugs that were named based on the technique of weave:
- Soumak rugs are rugs that were woven in the Soumak weaving technique.
- Hooked rugs are rugs that were created using a hooking needle.
- Needlepoint rugs are rugs that were created using the needlework weaving technique.
- The word “Kilim” just means “rug” in Turkish but when people refer to a rug as a kilim they are talking about rugs that were woven in flat weave technique.
- The word “Rya” actually means “rug” in Danish and “thick cloth” in Swedish. But when people refer to area rugs as Rya, they are talking about a specific type of Swedish rug that has a thick shag pile texture.
The design of the rug.
A few examples of rugs that were named based on the design they feature:
- Prayer rugs are area rugs that were created with the intent of being used by Muslims during prayer times.
- Tree of life rugs are rugs that feature the iconic and historical tree of life design motif.
- Mashahir rugs are pictorial rugs that feature images of famous / notable historical figures.
- Hunting rugs are rugs that feature hunting scenes.
- Souf rugs are rugs that were woven using the souf high / low pile technique.
- Verdure Tapestries are wall hanging textile art piece that depicts naturalistic themes with lush green plants
- Gonbad rugs are Persian area rugs that were woven based on the ornate dome design that are found in Mosques throughout the world.
- Herati rugs are area rugs that feature the iconic mahi / herati / fish design.
- Eagle Kazak rugs are a specific type of Caucasian rug that features the tribal Eagle or Chelaberd design.
- Ardabil rugs are a specific type of rugs that were designed based on the pattern of the famed 16th century Ardabil carpet.
Rugs named after artistic movements
A few example of rugs that are named after specific artistic movements:
- Art Deco rugs are area rugs that were woven during the art deco period and / or that fellow the art deco design esthetic.
- Art Nouveau rugs are area rugs that were woven during the art Nouveau period and / or that fellow the art Nouveau design esthetic.
- Arts & Crafts rugs are area rugs that were woven during the arts and crafts period and / or that fellow the arts and crafts design esthetic.
- Folk Art rugs are Outsider area rugs created by people who never studied art or art history.
Rugs named after specific artist’s works or after the artists that incorporated them in their painting
A few example of rugs that were named after specific artists:
- Holbein Rugs are area rugs that resemble the rugs that are featured in the iconic painting of Hans Holbein the Younger.
- Gavin Morton rugs are area rugs that feature a specific arts and crafts design that was originally created by Gavin Morton.
- Lotto carpets are area rugs that feature the same design as the area rugs in the paintings of artist Lorenzo Lotto.
- Lichtenstein Rugs are area rugs that were woven based on the artwork of the iconic artist Roy Lichtenstein.
- Picasso Rugs are area rugs that feature designs taken form the artwork of the iconic artist Pablo Picasso.
The Person or People (or company) who created the rug
A few examples of rugs that were named after the workshop, company, person or people who made them:
- Mohtashem rugs are rugs that were woven by master weaver Mohtashem in the Persian city of Kashan.
- Gashgai / Qashqai rugs are rugs that were woven by people of the Qashqai tribes of Persia.
- Marta Maas Fjetterstrom rugs are rugs that were woven at the Marta Maas Atelier in the Swiss resort town of Bastad
- Leleu rugs are rugs that were made by the iconic Paule Leleu Jules Leleu Rugs.
- Tuduc rugs are area rugs that were created by the iconic forger Theodor Tuduc.
- Bezalel rugs are Israeli area rugs that were woven in Israel and designed by art students in the Bezalel art school in Jerusalem.
- William Morris rugs are area rugs that feature the iconic arts and crafts designs created by, for or after the William Morris company.
Historical rulers that were in charge of the area at the time when the rug was created
A few examples of rugs that were named after the ruling party in the location where they were made:
The country of origin when more info is not available
A few examples of rugs that are named after the country where they were woven:
- Indian rugs are area rugs that were woven somewhere in India but we are not sure of the city or general area.
- Chinese rugs are area rugs that were woven somewhere in China but we are not sure of the city or general area.
- Turkish rugs are area rugs that were woven somewhere in Turkey but we are not sure of the city or general area.
- Persian rugs are area rugs that were woven somewhere in the modern day country of Iran but we are not sure of the city or general area.
A little more info about some of the specific rug names listed above:
Question: What is an Aubusson carpet?
An Aubusson carpet is a specific type of area rug that was woven in Aubusson France. The antique French Aubusson rugs were made in France and will mostly be created in the flat weave technique. They were made in all kinds of color combinations which vary from soft earthy to bold and rich colors. The patterns are mainly comprised of romantic floral designs that are unmistakably European in style.
Question: What is an American Hooked rug?
American hooked rugs are area rugs that were woven in USA and were constructed using a hooking technique. To weave the American Hooked rugs, the weaver starts by getting a piece of burlap that is slightly larger than what they want their final product to be. They use a special tool that is designed to hold a thread and pull it through the burlap. They make series of loops with threads in varying lengths to create the carpet. many of the rugs were created from old textiles and clothing that were no longer worthy of use.
Question: What is a kilim rug?
Kilim rugs are basically just flat weave area rugs. Kilim rugs were generally small or long and narrow and they feature geometric and tribal patterns. They often will feature bold and rich colors.
Question: What is a Soumak carpet?
Soumak carpets are area rugs that were woven in Caucasus and employed a flat weave technique called “Soumak”. Antique Soumak rugs will appear to have a brocade look to them. The brocade look is created when the weft threads are wrapped onto the warp threads making a chain of knots. The texture is somewhere between an antique French Aubusson carpet and a Kilim rug.
Question: What is a needlepoint rug?
A Needlepoint rug refers to carpets woven in the needlepoint technique. A needlepoint rug is handcrafted and made in a flat weave design by sewing the wool threads onto a large piece of material. These designs are often very intricate and can take many months, and even years to complete.
What is the difference between rugs that are named – Heriz, Serapi and Bakshaish?
The Persian Heriz, Serapi and Bakshaish rugs are all pretty much the same thing. But rug merchants use these names to set these specific rugs from North West Persia apart based on age and look.
In a nut shell, the difference between the Persian Heriz Serapi and Bakshaish is as follows:
- Antique Persian Bakshaish Rugs – These are the oldest examples of the three (usually attributed to the rugs woven around the mid 19th century) and tend boast the most tribal and primitive rug pattern and motifs.
- Antique Persian Serapi Rugs – These are a bit younger (usually attributed to the rugs woven around the late 19th century) and tend to feature tribal geometric designs that are bit more structured that the older Bakshaish rugs. These rugs still boast larger scale and a more open approach to the design and the Serapi rugs are the ones where we start seeing the iconic anchor style central rug medallion design.
- Antique Persian Heriz Rugs – These are the youngest rugs in the group (usually attributed to the rugs woven around the turn of the 19th century though today) and tend to feature more condensed patterns. Many of the Heriz rugs will appear busier than the Serapi and Bakshaish rugs, with many featuring variations of the anchor central medallion design.
***As a side note, rugs that were woven in the same local but are older than the Bakshaish rugs are referred to as simply – North West Persian rugs – and tend to feature even more primitive and even less structured designs than the Bakshaish rugs.
More questions and answers regarding the names of the rugs
Does a rug’s name help reflect the rug’s value?
No. A rug’s name does not denote its value. There are many examples within specific area rug types that are beautiful and those that are not so appealing.
What does it mean when a rug has two origins in its name? Like – Indo Persian rugs?
When a rug is called with two country names it denotes the fact that rug design “belongs” to one country, while the rug itself was woven in a different one. For example, an Indo-Persian rug is a rug that was woven in India but features a design that is unmistakably Persian in its origin.
What does it mean when a rug is called “design”? Like Tabriz design rugs or Oushak design rugs or Moroccan design rugs?
When rugs are referenced as a design it means that while the design is very much in line with specific types of rugs or locations, the rugs themselves were actually woven elsewhere. We tend to see this more in the modern rugs than the antique rugs. As an example, if you happen to be shopping for rugs and come across an “Oushak design rug”, chances are the rug was not woven in Oushak or even in Turkey but it still showcases a design that is very much and unmistakably an “Oushak” design pattern but the rug may have been woven in Afghanistan for example.
Do the materials used influence the naming of the rugs?
In general, the materials used to make rugs do not play in naming the rugs. That said, sometimes rug dealers may include the materials in the name of the rug to set them apart from other rugs from the same origin. For example: Turkish Angora Oushak rugs are basically Turkish Oushak rugs but this specific “angora” group of rugs were created using angora wool / hair and not wool. Another example can be – Tabriz Silk Persian rugs which means that the Persian rugs were woven in the city of Tabriz and that specific grouping of area rugs were woven using silk fibers.
This rug blog post about the different names of area rugs and why and / or how area rugs get their names was published by Nazmiyal Antique Rug Gallery in Manhattan, New York City.