Antique Oushak Rugs From Turkey

Discover Distinctive Charm Of Antique Turkish Oushak Rugs


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The Decorative Oushak Rugs From Turkey

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What is an “Oushak Rug”?

An Oushak rug (spelled Ushak or Usak) is a rug from the town of Oushak. Oushak is a town located in western Anatolia / Turkey. These rugs have a rich history. They are a beloved part in the world of traditional rug weaving.

Some key aspects and features of Oushak rugs:

  • Geographic Origin: Oushak is a historic town in western Turkey. It is rich in the tradition of rug weaving dating back centuries. The town has been a prominent center for rug production. The rugs got their name from this region.
  • Design Aesthetics: These rugs feature distinctive design aesthetics. They feature oversized tribal patterns and large-scale floral motifs. The designs are more spacious and open. This is in contrast to the intricate floral patterns found in other rug types.
  • Color Palette: The rugs boast unique and muted light color palettes. These include light tones such as beige, ivory, soft gold and pale blues. The colors are subtle and harmonious. They contribute to the rugs’ timeless and elegant appearance.
  • Soft Wool: High-quality wool is used to make the carpets. That is why they are so soft and boast a lustrous sheen. The use of quality materials enhances the comfort and stamina. This making them suitable for various settings.
  • Vegetable Dyes: The rugs feature natural or vegetable dyes. This contributes to the rugs’ soft and soft color palette. This appeals to those who prefer natural and eco-friendly materials.
  • Antique and Vintage: Older pieces are collectible. They carry historical and cultural significance. They showcase the artistry and skill of the time.
  • Decorative: The rugs complement a range of interior design styles. They work in traditional, transitional or modern interiors.
  • Heritage: These works have a rich cultural heritage. They reflect the traditions of Anatolian / Turkish weaving. The patterns and designs carry historical and cultural significance. This adds depth to these handwoven creations.

These area rugs have gained global praise. People love them for their beauty, quality, artistry and unique designs. They are captivating decorative elements in the home. They add a touch of elegance to a space. Collectors value their historical and cultural significance.

More about the Oushak rug

As noted above, an Oushak rug is a handmade rug made in Oushak (Usak). The exact location is western Turkey. This specific location has a rich history of rug weaving. They date back centuries. These rugs boast soft wool and distinctive designs.

These iconic pieces boast unique soft color palettes. The have muted tones such as pale blues, ivory, soft gold and terracotta. The colors are from natural dyes and vegetable-based pigments. The designs are large scale and more relaxed.

One notable features is their weave. They are not as fine as other types of Turkish or Persian rugs. They weave employs a Turkish Ghiordes rug knot. This knot creates a dense and durable pile. The wool is high quality and provides a soft and luxurious texture.

These specific rugs have gained fame worldwide. People love them for their timeless decorative beauty.

What makes Oushak Rugs so special?

These rugs are special for several reasons:

  • Unique Color Palette: These rugs have unique color palettes. They feature soft, muted colors such as beige, ivory, pale gold and soft blues. These colors give the rugs a timeless and elegant appearance. It makes them well-suited for a variety of interior design styles.
  • Large Patterns: The rugs showcase larger scale designs. The designs are more relaxed and spacious. They stand out from the intricate patterns found in some other types of rugs. They create a sense of openness and tranquility.
  • Dyes: The older ones use natural vegetable dyes. This gives a soft and harmonious color palette. It appeals to those wanting natural eco-friendly materials.
  • Wool: The wool is high-quality, soft and lustrous. Using quality materials enhances the comfort and longevity. It makes for both functional and aesthetic appeal.
  • Older Examples: Older examples are decades or centuries old. People cherish them for their historical and cultural significance. They carry a sense of skill and artistry. Collectors and enthusiasts seek this out.
  • Adaptable: These rugs are versatile. They work in a wide range of interior design styles. They have a timeless look and feel. This allows them to adapt seamlessly with diverse decor aesthetics.
  • Cultural and Heritage: These carpets have rich cultural heritage. The designs come from historic and old artistic traditions. The historic and cultural aspect adds to the allure..
  • Investment: The best / rarest examples are valuable investments. As with many handmade rugs, their value can appreciate over time. When well-preserved and in good condition they tend to increase in value over time.

These rugs are special for many reasons. They boast unique color palette and oversized casual designs. They feature natural dyes and high-quality wool. They adapt to various decor styles with ease. In addition, they have rich heritage and potential investment value.

Collectors and private consumers seeking them out. The aesthetic appeal and historical significance add to the allure.

Why do people buy “Oushak Rugs” specifically?

People choose to buy these rugs for several reasons. Their demand is attributed to a combination of unique features.

Some reasons why people may seek out and buy these specific rugs:

  • Timeless Design: These area rugs feature timeless and classic designs. The large scale patterns and open layouts are elegant. They transcend specific design trends. This makes them suitable for a wide range of interior styles.
  • Color Palette: These pieces have a light and happy coloration. It appeals to a wide range of people. The gentle hues contribute to a serene, calm and inviting atmosphere.
  • Softness / Materials: High-quality wool, gives the rugs a light look and soft feel. That is why they so decorative. The use of quality materials enhances the comfort under your feet. This makes them desirable for both aesthetic and functional purposes.
  • Culture / Heritage: The carpets have rich cultural heritage. People who appreciate cultural history are drawn to these rugs. They are pieces of history and tell a story.
  • Versatile Aspects: The designs and colors make the rugs adaptable. They work in a wide range of interior design styles with ease.
  • Handmade Artistic Quality: The rugs are handmade. The skill involved in their creation adds to their appeal. The boast attention to detail and impressive artistic skill.
  • Interior Design: These carpets can serve as focal points in a room. They tie in various elements of the decor. The classic and adaptable designs create a cohesive balanced look.

People buy these rugs for a combination of reasons. They possess aesthetic charm, cultural significance and enhance the room. People appreciate their history, investment potential and beauty. They have a lasting allure in the world of interior.

How do people decorate around Oushak rugs?

Decorating around these rugs is easier that with other rug types.

Some tips on how to decorate around Oushak rugs:

  • Select a Color Scheme: Use the colors present in the rug. These should be the foundation for your overall color scheme. Coordinate with wall colors, upholstery and other decor elements. This helps create a cohesive and balanced look.
  • Furniture: Select furniture that complements the style and colors of the rug. Neutral-colored or solid furniture pieces can work well. They can balance the intricate patterns of the rug. Consider furniture in similar tones of the rug.
  • Layering: Incorporate different textures. This adds depth and interest to the room decor. The rugs have a soft and lustrous texture. Pair them with furniture, throw pillows, and accessories that have varying textures.
  • Mix Patterns: Choose patterns that complement rather than compete with the area rug. Consider varying the scale of patterns to create visual interest. This will create a relaxed feel without overwhelming the space.
  • Define Areas: Use the carpets to define specific areas within a room. For example, place the front legs of furniture on the rug to make a fluid feel. This helps anchor the furniture. It provides a sense of purpose for the rug within the space.
  • Art and Accessories: Choose artwork and accessories that enhance the decor. Consider using pieces that pick up on colors from the rug. This may include framed artwork, decorative vases or other accessories.
  • Lighting: Pay attention to lighting fixtures in the room. Choose lights that complement the style of the rug. Well-chosen lighting enhances the ambiance of the space. It highlights the beauty of the rug as well.
  • Various Spaces: These rugs are versatile. They work well in various spaces. These include living rooms, dining rooms, bedrooms and even entryways. Consider the size and design of the rug for the most suitable placement.
  • Create a Focal Point: Allow the rug to serve as a focal point in the room. Arrange furniture in a way that draws attention to the rug. Use the rug as a starting point. Then build the overall design theme of the surrounding space.

Pay attention to color, furniture arrangement and design harmony. This creates a well-decorated space around a rug. It highlights its beauty and contributes to a cohesive look.

Learn More About Antique Turkish Oushak Rugs

Antique Turkish Oushak rugs come from Western Turkey. The rugs originate from the beginning of the Ottoman period. Historians attribute many of the great early rugs to Oushak. They go back as far as the 15th to the 17th centuries. We know little about the 18th and early 19th century productions.

Around 1900, the Oushak region re-emerges as a major center. This time for room-size decorative rugs. The older examples are so desirable today. They are some of the more decorative pieces. They come in central medallions, or small allover medallion. We see scattered sprays of vine scroll large scale patterns as well.

They are notable for the grand, monumental scale of the designs. The subdued palettes of soft apricots and gold tones are captivating. Their soft and lustrous wool enhances their appeal and beauty.

“Cosmopolitan” and “sophisticated” are two words that describe these rugs. The Ghiordes knot and quirky angular designs have a primitive air. The older rugs from Turkey are unique and attractive. The weavers managed to create one of the country’s most desirable rug styles. They did this without compromising to appeal to Western consumers.

The angular arabesques and motifs are similar to Persian motifs. But the Turks created them in more rectilinear manners. They wove them in unique color palettes as well. These include bold Mediterranean influenced colors and chic pastels.

These carpets became the rug of choice for top interior decorators. You see them featured in any issue of interior design magazines. They grace the floors of numerous luxurious homes and interiors.

What makes Oushak rugs so desirable?

They are not high quality rugs. But that is not what makes them so desirable. Their knot count is lower than antique rugs  made in Persia. But that is why they boast larger scale patterns.

These carpets desirable because of their colors as well. They are much lighter and “happier” in feel than rugs from other regions. If you want rugs with large scale designs and soft colors, theses should top your list.

When did rug weaving in Oushak begin?

Rug making in Anatolia began with the Seljuks in the 11th century. In the 15th century, rug factories and weavers produced them around Oushak. The origins of Oushak weaving must be between these two dates.

The Europeans embraced these 15th, 16th, and 17th century rugs. Artists such as Lorenzo Lotto and Hans Holbein featured them in paintings. During the 18th century, the quality productions of these carpets declined. This is when the rugs became much more commercial.

While the rugs use less complicated methods, they are decorative in nature. This is due to their large scale patterns and soft decorative coloration. This aspect made them sought after by trend-setters in interior design.

When were the earliest rugs woven in Oushak?

From the early Ottoman period, Oushak was a major weaving center.

Early examples (15th through 17th century) are attributed to this center.

Weaving in Oushak after the 17th century

After the 17th century, Oushak rug weaving is less well known. Some large palatial 18th century carpets are attributed to Oushak. Others are attributed to Smyrna, in the West, on the coast of Turkey.

The late 15th to 17th century star and medallion carpets started there. It is possible that the various “Holbein” carpets were products of Oushak. Oushak has a major claim to a long tradition of rug weaving. One which has continued right up into modern times.

The later rugs of Smyrna and Oushak

Later Oushak or Smyrna carpets have elements of the medallions and Stars. But those tend to be allover designs. They wove them using a much coarser or robust weaving technique. These corresponded to the large size of the carpets and their designs.

The rugs of this sort, date well into the 19th century. But these later example are in far fewer numbers. These 18th and early 19th century rugs were part of a larger production. It was a period of decline. But not in quality. Just in output. This was due to the slow-down in European market demands.

European taste moved from Oriental rugs. They started favoring the local European productions. These included European Aubusson, Savonnerie and Axminster rugs. These carpets boasted local European style.

We assume local Turkish clientele ordered the 18th and 19th examples.

What makes Oushak rugs so decorative and sought after?

It is no surprise that these floor coverings are so sought after. Their bold and embellished designs are the definition of antique style. In soft wool and muted palates, they project a soulful grace. They work with everything from mid-century modern to traditional decors. These rugs emerged in the western Turkish town of Oushak, or Ushak. Through the 15th to 16th centuries, Turkey was a hub of carpet talent.

By the 1900s, Oushak became the stand-out center with their decorative rugs. Their subtle warm color tones, are favorites of top home decorators. They are adaptable and have soft textures. These pieces are magnificent. They capture the primitive design style in such a beautiful way.

Persian motifs and arabesques project the soulfulness of history. The overall effect is nothing short of breathtaking. These are the sort of examples that steal the spotlight in any room. They compliment changing design trends with their timeless style.

All this changed after the middle of the 19th century. This is when the center became a major producer once more. This was the great revival period in Turkey and Persia.

Expanding middle class, in Europe and USA, rekindled the demand. Like many other historical centers, Oushak rose to meet these demands.

How did Oushak rug design evolve?

Some major revival of the “greatest hits” emerged. They feature iconic designs from their heyday, in the Ottoman period. Some “copies” feature adaptations, of Star and Medallion designs. But times and tastes had changed. That’s why Persia took the lead in new production for the western market.

It was the floral designs of Persian type. Both in medallion and allover formats, that took over the market. It was designs of this type, that the Turkish weavers began to develop. They adapted to this new demand for room size decorative carpets.

They competed with the ZieglerMahal or Persian Sultanabad productions. This was during the late 19th century revival in Persia. But the colors are softer and more delicate. The lustrous, silky wool, is the hallmark of the best of these carpets.

When did western demand for Oushak rugs come back?

Western appetite for the rugs increased in the later 19th century. But the number of weavers active in Oushak could not meet this new demand. The manufactures had to turn to the village weavers in surrounding areas. These weavers had maintained a continuous weaving tradition for centuries.

Village weavers produced, for the most part, smaller rugs with strong tribal feel. They created bold geometric designs and rugged kinetic drawings. They used large knots and all-wool foundations.

When weavers merged into the town Oushak industry, they adapted. Their tribal traditions became part of the new productions. This was when they wove more “Persian” large-scale decorative carpets.

It was easy to fuse tribal traditions with existing Oushak productions. It was an extension of the earlier Turkish large-scale production. This explains how the late nineteenth and earlier twentieth century began.

The tribal geometric approach to the design

The feeling of these designs is geometric. Many observers may not recognize the floral quality of the designs. This geometry comes out in the angular vine-scrolls. Some of which became actual zigzag designs.

Photo of large antique oushak turkish rug nazmiyal nyc

Antique Turkish Angora Oushak Rug

The bold tribal geometry is basic to later room-size Oushaks. That said, they remained one of the most elegant rug types in the market.

The colors and soft texture of Oushak wool rugs

Soft look and feel is due to two factors – their dyes and their wool. The soft warmth of the palette, relies on terracotta’s, cinnamon and gold. We see delicate blues, grays, greens, saffron and ivory as well. The wool is lustrous, silky and gentile (even more in “Angora Oushaks”).

The appeal of Oushak rugs

The appeal is the result of a marvelous balance of opposites. They contrast between monumental and delicacy. They are bold and subtle. They are both classic urban and village tribal.

Only few productions can pull off such a captivating look. The credit goes to the Oushak weavers and designers. We credit complexities behind the development of these carpets as well.

The earliest woven Turkish rugs

Fragments discovered in Istanbul date to the ninth century CE. They are rare but not well-preserved. But substantial pieces from the 13th century survived.

A mosque in central Turkey, housed Seljuk period rugs. These date to the 11th though the 14th centuries. These examples boast fine coloration, weaving and pattern designs. All of which, the Seljuks are well known for.

The designs of Oushak Rugs

Motifs include flowers, tendrils, leaves and geometric patterns.

We see Kufic designs, stylized Arabic script, in some carpets. For the most part, in carpet productions after the advent of Islam.

These carpets tend to be quite large. This is due to the large structures in the Middle East.. The medallions resemble designs used on Ottoman manuscript covers. The Persian rendering are attributed to Tabriz artisans. Some of these weavers were brought to Istanbul during the 1470s.

Islamic Prayer design rugs were important as well. Examples feature patterns and colors common to the Ottoman-period.

The history of these rugs

The history of Turkish Oushak rugs is full of fascinating aspects. Apparent coincidences of destiny make up fascinating stories. Rug weaving is a part of the cultural history in Anatolia.

Master weavers created rugs in present-day nation of Turkey for centuries. As one ruling dynasty gave way to the next, rug weaving continued. The surviving 15th century carpets, are attributed to Oushak weavers.

For centuries the Turkish people have been practicing this craft. Turkish weavers are responsible for developing styles and techniques. They developed a large array of traditional patterns. We see these patterns in area rugs from across the Oriental world. To this day.

What is the most famous type of Turkish rug?

Oushak is one of the most famous and significant style of Turkish rugs. Town of Oushak became an important center of Turkish rug production. This began in the early years of Ottoman rule, around the 13th century.

Model Wrapped In An Oushak Rug by Nazmiyal

The Beauty Of Oushak Rugs – Model Wrapped In An Oushak Rug

Western demands for the exotic Oushak and Eastern Turkey rugs

Antique Eastern rugs in old Western paintings include rugs woven in Oushak.

This small kernel of information is quite significant. It shows the European attitudes toward Oriental rugs. This plays an important factor in the history of the craft. In the late Middle Ages, it serves as proof that these pieces were in vogue.

European lords were keen to own these exotic treasures. They were status symbols and a sign of wealth and discerning taste.

Demand come from Europe as well as within Turkey. The production of these works became an important commercial enterprise. But by the 17th century, European tastes had changed. Wealthy Europeans began to purchase and favored designed and woven in Europe.

The French Aubusson rugs and Savonnerie carpets made it more significant.

The Ottoman Empire demands fuel to rug production in Oushak.

The ornate patterns of French rugs fit with better with European aesthetics. This development is quite notable. It proves the Ottomans fueled 18th and 19th century Oushak productions.

Naturally, this influenced on the styles produced in Oushak. Turkish customers wanted traditional less glitzy carpets than Europeans. This remained the status quo for more or less a hundred years.

Things changed during the industrialization of the mid 19th century. We this most in Europe and the United States. With this new world social order, a middle class began to emerge for the first time. Tastes shifted once more. People had renewed their interest in exotic Oriental furnishings.

Worldwide spike in demand for Oriental rugs and carpets from Turkey

By the late 19th century, Oriental carpet demand was higher than ever. Workshops across Persia and Turkey produced carpets on a much grander scale. They were weaving exciting pieces. Many featured new designs. They aimed at appealing to the huge volume of these new Western consumers.

In the town of Oushak weavers begun to take note of the new designs. Especially those produced by their Persian counterparts. The antique Persian rugs featured floral motifs. These productions were a hit with Western audiences.

This approach and ancient weaving traditions made Oushak important. It was “the” center for rug production during this time. This legacy of these rugs is significant. That is why they grace many affluent homes across the world.

Oushak adopts floral motifs of Persian rugs to meet stylistic demands

The boom in demand influenced the designs of the productions. They adopted more of the floral motifs in Persian rugs. The Turkish weavers altered their style in a less direct way. They began to bring village weavers into the urban production centers.

The demand increased for Turkish carpets. But there weren’t enough traditional trained Turkish weavers to meet the demand. People trained in traditional ways and methods were brought to relieve the burden.

But these village rug weavers produced carpets that were less refined. Hence, the large scale designs, and the less refined knotting than in other pieces.

A happy accident, or a result of an ingenious master plan. The end result was a new and exciting style of area rugs. Floral and tribal, understated and visceral. These productions represented a merge of a variety of tastes. Large-scale historical and cultural developments combined as well.

This is a millennia old craft. One that held a special status to the Turkish people. The weaving of these area rugs became important worldwide. This is due to the fact that the demand was so high and sought after. These productions left their mark on the interior design all over the world.

Look at our photo gallery with pictures of antique Turkish Oushak rugs

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