Persian Rugs & Carpets Overview

Persian Rugs and Carpets
Persian rugs and carpets are made in various styles and come from a wide area of the world.
A brief History of Persian Rugs and Carpets
If a rug or carpet was made before the 1890s, it may well have originated from as far away as Uzbekistan and will be classified as 'Antique Persian'. After that time, as Russia conquered many countries, rugs and carpets from these areas are known as 'Caucasian'.  Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union at the end of 1991, rugs and carpets from this area are now named after the individual countries from where they originate, Azerbijan and Uzbekistan for example.
Persian Rug and Carpet Types
There are four main types of Persian Rugs and Carpets, made in different ways with different materials and designs. The value of any of these will depend on the design, colours, quality of wool and the number of knots used.
Workshop Rugs (also known as City Rugs) - Primarily located in cities or larger towns, workshops are staffed by designers and rug makers. A designer choses the design, colours and wools and then passes them to the rug maker to produce the item. Designs are often based on exisiting antique rugs from many different areas, but will usually be made using colours that are popular at the current time (blues were popular in the Victorian era for example). 
Master Workshop Rugs - Persian (and Oriental) Rugs from Master Workshops are often very expensive and will be of top quality. Very fine wools, a mixture of wools and silk, or pure natural silk are used to create beautiful designs which have been created by famous designers.
Village Rugs - As the name suggests, these are made in villages, by families. They are based on unique memorised traditional designs which are passed down from generation to generation and are usually made using double knots. As long as quality vegetable dyes and live wool (see below) have been used, village made rugs can command a very good price.
Nomadic/Tribal Rugs - As for village rugs, the designs for these are made from memory and passed from generation to generation. Depending on the location and climate, colours and designs will vary and you'll often find things included in the design that are personal to the designer - a pet dog, a member of the family, or an important event perhaps.
Materials Used
The price of a rug depends heavily on the design, the quality of materials, the number of knots used and the condition. Wool quality is very important, the best quality is taken from live animals and is known as 'live wool'. Similarly, natural silks are preferred to synthetics.
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