Rugs fall into three main categories: traditional, transitional, and modern.
Traditional rugs include both city rugs (ex. Tabriz rugs, Qum rugs) and tribal rugs (ex. Bakhtiari rugs, Kazak rugs). These rugs feature traditional materials (natural fibers like wool and silk) and patterns (such as florals and geometric designs). If you’re looking for a classic, old-school Persian rug, traditional rugs are your category.
Do you know the origin of most fine Persian rugs?
- Origin of Persian Tribal Rugs: Bakhtiari, Bakhshaish, Borchelu, Gabbeh Hamadan, Heriz, Hussainabad, Koliai, Kurd, Luri,Mahal, Malayer, Nahavand, Qashqai, Senneh, Shiraz, Sirjan, Tarom, Wiss, Zanjan.
- Origin of Persian City Rugs: Afshar, Ardabil, Baluch, Bidjar, Esfahan, Farahan, Joshaghan, Kashan, Kerman, Kashmar, Klardasht, Lavar, Mashad, Nain, Qum, Sarab, Saruk/ Sarough, Tabriz, Varamin. These are both ancient and modern day cities.
So what’s the difference between Persian and Oriental rugs? This refers to the origin. Persian rugs are from Iran. Traditionally, the term Oriental rugs refers to rugs from China, although you often see it referring to rugs from India, Pakistan, and other countries, too. All Persian rugs are Oriental rugs, but not all Oriental rugs are Persian rugs. It’s a bit of a square and rectangle situation. However, many people use the terms interchangeably these days. You might hear someone referring to an Indian rug as a Persian rug, for example. This is because although the origin of the rug is from India, the origin of the pattern is Iranian (Persian).
Many fine rugs come from Iran (Persian), and these rugs can also be referred to as Iranian carpets, Persian carpets, and Iranian rugs. Rugs are generally referred to by the city or tribe they originate from. For example, you may see a rug referred to as an Isfahan, Nain, Qum, Tabriz, or Mashad Persian rug. The design of a rug reflects where it is made. There are many different patterns and designs that have strong ties to a particular city. For example, the famous Tree of Life design originates from Isfahan.
In short, handmade rugs do not stop at Iran. You will also find beautiful oriental rugs from China and a variety of handmade masterpieces from Afghanistan, Morocco, Nepal, Tibet, Russia, India, Pakistan, Turkey, and many other countries.
Transitional rugs are a blend between modern styles and traditional styles. A modern rug might feature bold colors and patterns that you would never even imagine on a traditional rug. A transitional rug might feature those same bold colors but use a traditional pattern instead. We actually get so many questions about transitional rugs and what they are that we made a whole blog post about the topic. If neither this page nor the blog post answer your questions, please ask us! We’d love to answer any rug questions you might have.
Modern rugs are new, bold, and adhere to their own set of rules. Modern, also known as contemporary, rugs often feature fun and whimsical designs such as paint splatters, fashionable patterns, and modern floral designs. Another perk about modern rugs is that they are often sold in multiple sizes. Unlike traditional rugs, modern rugs are not always one of a kind pieces. Does this mean that their quality is lower? Not at all! Modern rugs can still be hand-knotted and made of excellent materials. They’re just a different type of special than traditional rugs are.