Is There a Quality Difference Between a Persian and an Oriental Rug?
Many people talk about Oriental and Persian rugs as if they are one and the same.
They are not.
Some experts believe there’s a big difference, mainly due to how geography and politics have shaped the creation of these rugs over the centuries. Others don’t because a genuine Persian or Oriental rug is truly a thing of beauty.
Still, if you’re searching for handmade Oriental or Persian rug, it’s a good idea to know the difference as you shop.
Oriental rugs are those hand knotted only in Asia, which today is considered to be comprised of China, Iran, India, Pakistan, Tibet, Nepal, Turkey, and even Russia.
Persian rugs also are hand knotted and a true Persian rug is one created in Iran (formerly known as Persia).
A Persian rug’s design once was named after the city in which the rug was created but as the rugs rose in popularity, the designs were made elsewhere, but kept the original names. Some of the most popular designs today are Tabriz, Kashan, Mashad, Shiraz, Hamedon and Gabeh.
A Persian rug usually has a very thick pile (up to 160 knots per square inch) and its design has extremely rich color combinations, with very unique designs. While a Persian rug is an Oriental rug (Persia/Iran is a sub-area of the Orient), many people do consider a Persian rug to be the epitome of rug making.
In other words, many experts believe the Persian rug to be the better rug. They therefore tend to be more expensive than an Oriental rug.
Designs for Oriental rugs tend to represent the various traditions and customs of the region in which they are made. As an example, silk rugs made in China are characterized by Buddhist motifs. They also include an array of traditional colors.
Persian rugs also tend to be made primarily of wool (although some are made of cotton), while Oriental rugs also are made of wool, but also can be made of other natural fibers, such as the silk mentioned above.
While the designs of Persian rugs reflect the region or city in which they originated, they tend to come in four different patterns: a center medallion, an all-over layout, a one-sided layout, and a compartment layout.
Please understand that any rug NOT made in the countries named above, even if it has an Oriental or Persian rug design, is NOT an Oriental or Persian rug. Any rug made in America or Western Europe is considered to be an area rug.
You also should know that there’s a huge difference between a hand-knotted and hand-tufted rug and that to be considered a genuine Oriental or Persian rug, it must be hand-knotted. (A hand-tufted rug is one where the rug’s design is put on a canvas and a worker than fills it in with a tool that allows the worker to push the strand of wool into the canvas. Once complete, the backing is glued on the back of the canvas (because the wool design would come apart without the backing).