Rug Names – How Area Rugs Get Their Names and Why

Rug Names And Explaining Why Area Rugs Are Called What They Are?

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“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.

Rug Names - How Area Rugs Get Their Names and Why by Nazmiyal Antique Rugs

Rug Names – How Area Rugs Get Their Names and Why

Generally speaking, area rugs acquire their names based on:

A little more info about some of the specific rug names listed above:

Rug Names - by Nazmiyal Antique Rugs

Rug Names

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.
Rug Design Progression Over Time Of Persian Heriz Serapi and Bakshaish Rugs - by Nazmiyal Antique Rugs

Rug Design Progression Over Time Of Persian Heriz Serapi and Bakshaish Rugs

***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.

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