Roaring Rug Stories from All over the World

Roaring Rug Stories from All over the World
  • Opening Intro -

    They’ve been beautifying our homes since time immemorial, but one still isn’t certain about their origin.

    Findings indicate that woven floor coverings have been around since the Neolithic Age.


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This information should be helpful in uncovering some facts about the history of rugs, which in all probability, dates back to around 7000 B.C.

History’s Mysteries

Of course, there are several theories shrouding the origin of rugs. As per one theory, rugs and carpets were invented mainly to cater to the rough nomadic populace and their everyday necessities. The origin could have resulted from the need to avoid direct contact with the ground.

Early rugs were thick and very tightly knotted to shield nomadic tribes from adverse climatic conditions. This was a very practical thing to do as besides protecting the nomads, the rugs also protected their herds of animals, which were valuable for their hides.

Another theory states that although carpets and rugs were invented thousands of years ago, it was because of the settled tribes that they evolved as objet de art. People belonging to these tribes had made rugs a permanent part of their home décor. Rugs had become especially important during celebrations and festivals, making them an essential part of people’s lives.

Needless to say, ancient carpets weren’t as aesthetically appealing as they are today, because they were crafted with the intention to serve very basic needs. But as they have evolved over centuries, they have become more of a luxury product which cannot be afforded by all. The rugs that we see today are decorative, colorful and thematic. They come in various shapes and sizes and are used to add a touch of grandeur to homes. Besides the change in their utility, they have also evolved in the way they are manufactured and transported.


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The Curious Case of the Pazyryk Carpet

One of the oldest samples of woven floor covering, said to date back to 5th century B.C., is the Pazyryk Carpet. It was discovered in 1949 in the grave of a Scythian prince in the Pazyryk Valley in the Altai Mountains, Siberia. The discoverer Sergei Rudenko believes the sample to be a product of the Achaemenids. However, whether or not it is an actual Achaemenid creation or a nomadic one with Achaemenid influence is still a matter of debate.

The refined artistry of the carpet serves as a testimony to the craftsmanship of that period and reveals that even though carpets and rugs did serve as a means to insulate people from harsh climates, they were also woven to adorn and enhance homes to make them look welcoming.


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The Origins

It is difficult to confidently pinpoint a particular region where the carpet might have originated due to the gradual spread of the art of carpet weaving over time. Specimens of carpets dating back to ancient times have been unearthed from all over the world. Evidence collected so far points to carpet weaving being practiced extensively in the Middle East, known as the cradle of carpet weaving, in the 2nd and 3rd century B.C.

However, as people from Turkmenistan migrated to the west, and from the Caucasus, Persia, Anatolia, to the east in China and India, the range of this art form was extended to the natives of these places. Today, we know these locations as the Oriental Carpet Belt.

As far as Islamic influences are concerned, it was under the Seljuq and Ilkhanate dynasties that carpet weaving became a thriving business. It gained impetus when a mosque built by Ghazan Khan in Tabriz, in northwestern Persia, was covered with beautiful Persian carpets.

Carpet and rug weaving designs and techniques underwent several changes throughout Persian history and gained immense popularity until the Mongol invasion of Persia. After the invasion, this art began to grow again during the Timurid and Ilkhanid dynasties. As depicted in miniature paintings belonging to this era, the carpet designs confirm the development of this industry at that time.


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The Business As It Is Today

While rugs and carpets were handmade earlier, today the picture is completely transformed. They have become a big business and are now mainly manufactured using hi-tech machinery and equipment. This has worked as a boon as well as a bane.

Even as technology has made production quicker, it has also made it easy to manufacture fake versions of the originals. And although hand-woven carpets are available too, they are exorbitantly priced as they require a great deal of time, hard work, attention to detail and finesse to be made.

A lack of proper patenting and branding has resulted in the misuse of original designs, motifs and patterns which makes it easy for black marketers to imitate the art of that era and create cheap copies only to be passed off as genuine products for high prices. Apart from that, use of low quality raw material at the production stage makes their durability questionable.

About a year ago, it was reported that Iranian rug exports have witnessed a sharp decline, thereby putting the future of this industry in Iran in doldrums. In 2012, the exports were down by around 17%. The economic downturn and the sanctions imposed by the US have been held as two chief reasons for this.


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While rugs make for an exquisite addition to homes, care needs to be taken while selecting them. The carpet’s rich history and journey to modern times lend to it a character that few other home décor items can boast of. This is why originality is vital to this industry. Handmade or machine made, it is always advisable to purchase rugs from reputed sellers to avoid unpleasant surprises.

Author Bio: Lori Wagoner is a freelance writer currently associated with and often writes about a variety of things such as DIY, hospitality, fashion, and tech. You can catch her on Twitter @LoriDWagoner.

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