Where do rugs come from?
Have you ever found yourself deciding if you should go with the Indian rug or the Turkish rug? What does that choice really involve? We often identify rugs with the country they originated from. For example, we know that Beni Ourain rugs come from Morocco, Persian rugs come from Iran, and felt ball rugs originate from Nepal. The way these rugs are made, their materials, and their texture truly set them apart from each other. Nowadays, we still attach country names to rugs to differentiate them even if they are not exclusively made in those specific countries. More importantly, the country reflects the quality, style, and uniqueness of the rug. The rug may have certain patterns, colors, or motifs that reveal which country it is from. From West to East, let’s go on an adventure to find out more about some unique world rugs and where they originate from!
Oriental rugs from India
During the 15th, 16th, and 17th centuries, Persians strongly influenced rug-making in India. However, after India’s independence in 1947, Indians started to bring their own personal touch to their rugs. These handwoven rugs are truly unique, Each rug is a piece of art. Indian rug-makers are highly respected for their amazing craftsmanship, their keen eye for detail and creativity. Colors that are commonly used in Indian rugs include red, blue, purple, green, yellow, and black.
Felt ball rugs from Nepal
Has a colorful felt ball rug ever caught your eye? These gorgeous unique rugs typically come from Nepal. They are made of 100% wool and are perfect for winter months. The perfect felt ball rug is one made by hand by Nepali artisans. But it’s not only felt ball rugs that are made in this country. In fact, Nepal is also popular for its Tibetan rugs which have Chinese influences. These rugs are hand-knotted by talented artisans to produce unique checkerboards like designs or motifs that remind of Chinese decorative traditions.
Beni Ourain Rugs from Morocco
Moroccan rugs became popular in the West in the Mid 20th century when famous designers started embracing their bold colors and tribal patterns. Beni Ourain rugs are one type of Morrocan rugs. Beni Ourain is a group of tribes from the Middle Atlas known for neutral rugs, which traditionally used undyed wool. These rugs are the perfect addition to any minimalist’s home. Other popular rug styles from Morocco include flatweave kilim, Boucherouite rag, and Tuareg mats.
- Kilim rugs from Turkey
It comes as no surprise that Turkish rugs made our list. In fact, experts say that there are links between Turkish culture and one of the oldest handmade rugs currently displayed in Russia. This rug, known as the Pazyryk Rug is believed to have been woven around the 3rd-4th century B.C.! Nowadays, we recognize popular Turkish rugs like Anatolian rugs or kilim rugs. These rugs represent an essential part of the culture of Turkey and tell stories of the ethnic, religious, and cultural pluralism history that exists in the region.
Persian rugs from Iran
Persian rugs originated in Persia, now known as Iran. In Iran, most people are involved in the making of carpets. This can either be in terms of raising sheep, spinning, weaving, washing, repairing, or trading. Rugs dominate the market and play an important role in Iranian culture. Often confused as being just another “oriental” rugs, Persian rugs distinguish themselves in their quality, material, and patterns.
Shyrdak rugs from Kyrgyzstan
Another country with a unique rug style is Kyrgyzstan. Kyrgyzstan Shyrdak Rugs are distinctively designed to tell stories of the nomadic lifestyle of the people. They play a central part in their culture as gifts for important ceremonies and events such as weddings and other celebrations. What truly sets Shyrdak rugs apart is the unique designs and patterns they have. You will often find beautiful positive/negative visuals as well as symbolic motifs that represent the people, the land, and the culture.
Sashiko rugs from Japan
Sashiko is Japanese for “little stabs” and refers to the decorative stitching practice that dates back to the 1600s. In Sashiko, less is more. These rugs focus on simple designs and patterns to illustrate the beauty in simplicity. Traditionally, a white cotton thread is embroidered through indigo blue cloth to recall snow falling around old farmhouses.
Zapotec wool rugs from Mexico
Nestled at the foothills of the Juarez Mountain Range in Mexico is a small village called Teotitlan del Valle. It is believed that Toetitlan was one of the main homes to the Zapotec civilization, a pre-hispanic civilization that existed 2500 years ago! And thus, the Mexican Zapotec Wool rugs were born. These rugs are woven in a foot loom and display traditional Zapotec and Mixtec fretwork, idols, and animals.
Cairene rugs from Egypt
It is not only the pyramids that boast the incredible history of Egypt. Rugs have also played their part in capturing the traditions, culture, and stories of the land. Egyptian Cairene rugs are believed to have existed since the 15th or 16th century. These rugs were made mainly in Cairo. You can recognize them by their delicate geometric patterns such as large and complex star shapes, octagons, or polygonal centerpieces.
Nasia’s favorite rug: Although it’s very difficult to choose one of my Sukhi rugs (I love them all!), I would have to say my favorite is our Kalim wool rug! This rug has such a gorgeous Scandinavian / HYGGE vibe about it. It looks so warm and inviting. Kalim is also a handmade rug and I just love the braided look. I could look at this pattern for ages – it’s so captivating! This rug kind of reminds me that less is more. It’s simple and complex at the same time. We have this rug in our living room. Neutral colour. I’m always worried about staining my wool rugs but all you need to do is to wet them and then sponge the spillage with a watered-down detergent. How clever!
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