The Difference Between Persian and Oriental Rugs

As you search for a Persian or Oriental rug for your home or business, you’ve no doubt noticed that the terms Persian and Oriental tend to be used interchangeably when it comes to these rugs.

So you may be wondering if there’s even a difference between them.

Our answer? There is a difference matter because the history of a rug and the country of its origin are integral to the workmanship as well as the design of the rug.

In fact, knowing the difference between a Persian and an Oriental rug is of particular importance if you’re looking for an antique rug.

In a nutshell (and by the strictest of definitions), an Oriental rug is one that is hand-knotted in Iran, Asia, China, Russia, India, Turkey, Pakistan, Tibet, and Nepal.

March2_OrientalRugExhibition A museum exhibition of Oriental rugs in Warsaw, Poland.

As for Persian rugs, these also are Oriental rugs, but they are made only in Iran (the former Persia).

Many Persian rug designs actually hold the names of the cities in which they originated (a Tabriz design, for example). The designs’ popularity grew over time and even though the patterns now are made in different cities, the designs have retained the names of their city of origin.

A Persian rug also tends to have a thicker pile than an Oriental rug (up to 160 knots per square inch) and has extremely rich colors woven into their unique designs.

Persian rugs also are considered to be of higher quality than an Oriental rug, although hand-knotted Oriental rugs today also are of exceptional workmanship.

A Persian rug is made by many skilled artisans, who work hundreds of hours on one rug. A 9’ x 12’ foot rug, for example, can take as long as 14 months to complete, with four to five craftsmen working on the rug for up to six hours a day.

Oriental rugs also offer beautiful workmanship, designs and colors, particularly silk Oriental rugs. While you may think the silk would be too delicate, these rugs are incredibly sturdy (although they do require a bit more care than wool rugs). Silk Oriental rugs do diverge from their Persian cousins in that they tend to use more traditional Buddhist designs and often use a palate of blue, yellow and apricot for their colors.

To learn more about the difference between Persian and Oriental rugs, visit Behnam Rugs’ Dallas showroom and we’ll be happy to take you around and show you the differences. Give us a call at 972-733-0400.

Image by Vert (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons