Oushak, or Ushak, rugs are beautiful works of art that originated in the small town of Oushak, Turkey near the beginning of the Ottoman Empire. These rugs are most often purchased as antiques or antique reproductions.
Nomadic rugs, Oushak rugs feature a blend of Persian and geometric stylistic influences. These rugs typically are made of wool and have a characteristically loose weave that is the result of coarser knotting. These rugs feature stunning colors such as apple green, teal, gold, pumpkin, peach, and orange. They are known for their distinct color palette- Oushak rugs are famous for bright colors and primitive, simple geometric designs.
Often, these rugs display a central medallion or smaller medallions all over the body of the rug. They might even have vines or stars scrolling along the face. Nowadays, Oushak rugs are highly sought after and excellent for modern and traditional interior design schemes.
The history of Oushak rugs begins in the 15th century in Anatolia or Turkey. During the Ottoman Empire, the city of Oushak became a major rug manufacturing center. The design of the rug reflects the values of the period in which it was woven.
The rugs that were created from the 15th to 18th century in this style are now highly desired by collectors and museums. The other rugs of that time period were typically woven in dark blues and reds, which is what really makes Oushak rugs stand out- the use of unconventional colors is part of their charm and elegance. Oushak carpets are the most prominent design from Turkey and were quite popular until the end of the 18th century.
The rugs that continued to be made after this period were typically manufactured for the upper class in Eastern Europe, as most consumers were more interested in rugs of European origin. Then, in the late 19th century, the European market became interested in Persian rugs and they were sought after again. It was harder to find weavers of Oushak rugs when they became popular again in the 19th century due to the limited number of weavers familiar with the style. The Oushak economy had become a niche market because the style of weaving had not been passed down as it was no longer a viable way to make a living.
Luckily, when the designs became sought after once more, the market began to expand again, which is why you can still purchase Oushak rugs today. Nowadays, reproduction Oushak rugs are made in Turkey, India, and Pakistan. This rejuvenation of the Oushak economy resulted in a change in design- the rugs began to feature floral patterns.
Due to the fact that most Oushak rugs are woven very loosely with a low knot count, they do not possess the longevity of Persian rugs. Older Oushak rugs need special, constant care and repair maintenance. This should be done by professionals in the rug repair industry. Never vacuum an Oushak rug with the beater brush extension.