History and Origins

There is continuing confusion of reference of any carpeting that is patterned as “Oriental rug”. Many of the merchants who deal in carpets and rugs lump together both machine made and hand made rugs and call the oriental rugs. It is possible some of the sales people in these stores cannot tell the difference between the machine-made imitations and the original oriental rugs that are sold in stores. Many unscrupulous merchants are taking advantage of the ignorance of the customers about the rugs to sell to them rugs that are far below the expected standards. It is important that buyers be aware of the difference in the two kinds of rugs.

There is more confusion in that there are several hand-made rugs varieties that are not knotted by hand. It is also very easy to confuse hand-knotted rugs with the hand-tufted ones made from India and China. The tufted rugs makers use a gun like tool that punches wool strands into a canvas that is stretched on the frame. The rug’s design is made on the canvas after which the person working on it fills the pattern with appropriate wool color. Once fully piled, the rug is detached from the frame. Scrim fabric is then glued at its rear. The piles are held in place by this glue. This process may take less time than the hand knotting process that may take many days to complete. This is unlike in oriental rugs in which the yarn is knotted over warps. The tufted rugs do not have the fringe commonly found in hand woven rugs. In its place, a separate fringe is usually sewn or glued to the tuft rug’s edge. Though the tuft rug is handmade, it does not qualify to be an Oriental rug, as the piles are not knotted. Tuft rugs are easier to make than knotted ones. The tuft rug will wear much sooner than the knotted rug because, in most cases, the wool used is of poor quality. The glue that is used to hold the piles in place becomes brittle over time, and it eventually becomes loose. The resale value of these rugs can be compared with machine-made rugs. In the case of genuine oriental rugs, their value seems to increase as they age as they are made of natural materials that do not wear off especially if they are well maintained. It is very easy to confuse between the tuft Chinese rugs and the Chinese knotted ones. The Indian rugs come in a variety of qualities, patterns and colors that resemble hand-knotted rugs of less than top quality. Buyers of genuine oriental rugs should take care and avoid buying imitations that are not to the expected standards.