Tell the Difference between a Handmade Rug and a Machine-Made Imitation.

Excerpt: Real Oriental Rugs

This discussion concerns only rugs made with 100% wool as the pile material:

  • If a rug has a pile of polypropolene, polyolefin, or a pile made of a blend of synthetic polymers and wool, it is all but certainly a machine-made rug.
  • If a rug is identified as “a Belgium Oriental”, or as having been made in Belgium, Italy, or elsewhere in western Europe, it is all but certainly a machine-made rug.

This comparison picture shows, at the same scale and resolution, a brand-name 3′ x 5′ machine-made rug next to a 3′ x 5′ handwoven Tekke from Turkmenistan:

Note the strong visual differences between the machine-made and handmade rugs. In particular, the back of the machine-made rug is very different in appearance from the back of the handmade rug. The design is not nearly as colorful on the back of the machine-made rug as it is on the face (view).

The construction of the machine-made rug is very different from the handmade oriental rugs. There is an overstitch pattern across the whole back of the machine-made rug. You cannot easily distinguish individual knots on the back of the machine-made rug because there aren’t any – the overstich construction is what holds the pile material in place. The fringe is clearly applied to the end of the machine-made rug after it’s complete, whereas the fringe of the handmade rug is actually made up of the warp strings that come out of the end of the handmade rug.

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