There are three main categories of rugs which correspond to increasing technical development as well as the evolution of rugs from personal to commercial production. One is not better than another, but each category is marked by distinct artistic differences and unique charm. By examining trends and variability in color, space, design, and proportion, we are able to trace the full spectrum of antique rugs ranging from raw and emotional to polished and exacting. In doing so, we discover why there is an antique rug to suit nearly any taste.

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Nomadic carpets were woven from memory and were originally made for personal use rather than for sale. They had both a practical use (e.g., grain bags or ground coverings) and ceremonial use (e.g., horse trappings). These carpets were woven with traditional and sacred patterns handed down through generations, tracing the culture of the makers through the designs and techniques employed. Nomadic rugs tend to feature simpler, more powerful designs, open fields, and primary colors. Asymmetry and idiosyncratic design elements make up a lot of the charm we find in these rugs. The use of more primitive looms and thicker strands of wool results in a coarser weave, which also leads to more geometric designs. Nomadic rugs often contain some inaccuracies or mistakes, but these tend to give character to the rug and connect us to the individual who created it.

Examples of Nomadic rug types include Bakhtiari, Qashqai, Kurdish, Afshar, Tekke, Ersari, Yomut, Chodor, and Shahsevan.


Village rugs were largely woven by women working at home in their spare time to create rugs for sale. They tend to be marked by bright colors and a high degree of creativity, combining tribal influences with greater sophistication in trying to satisfy the market. Often village rug makers would take a traditional or popular design and rework it in a creative and unique way, leading to significant variability and a large number of unique carpets. These rugs were either woven from memory or with the aid of a drawing. Some of their appeal comes from their inexact nature relative to workshop rugs. They tend to feature more repeating patterns and are less conservative as village weavers were always on the lookout for new ideas. Village rugs are highlighted by strong colors and bold angularity, which retains a homemade individuality and a more primitive, coarser element relative to workshop rugs.

Examples of Village rug types include Kazak, Karabagh, Shirvan, Kuba, Bergama, Ladik, Mudjur, Melas, Bidjar, and Karadja.


Workshop rugs mark the advent of standardized production of rugs for commerce. These rugs were woven in an organized setting, with weavers being paid a wage to render predetermined designs. Weavers worked from a visual guide, or “cartoon” following knot for knot in a specialized pattern. These guides, combined with larger and more sophisticated looms, allowed for a finer weave and more complex designs. Workshop rugs are typified by minute ornamentation often covering the entire field, a sophisticated color palette, intricate patterns, classical themes, and faultless workmanship.

Examples of Workshop rug types include Tabriz, Sarouk, Oushak, Kirman, Kashan, and Heriz.


Every country has its own national headgear. The United States has the baseball cap, Britain is famous for the London bobby's helmet. Greece is associated with the fisherman's hat, while the beret is the symbol of France. The Israelis use the yarmulke and we usually see the Saudi Arabians in their white headdresses. Indian Sikhs wrap their heads in elaborate turbans while Russians warm their craniums with fur hats, which are of good use even at fifty Degree Celsius below zero. In Vietnam, the national chapeau is the non, or conical peasant hat. Along with the graceful silk ao dai, the non has become a sort of informal Vietnamese national symbol that is recognized worldwide.

Showcase in modern life

The purpose of repairing rare, antique or valuable rug is to restore the original beauty and physical integrity that may have been damaged by years of use. This is accomplished by recreating or reweaving portions of the carpet, either the surface pile or in the case of holes, even the underlying foundation as well. Such restoration requires enormous technical skill and precision, as well as discernment in the matching of yarn texture and color. This process requires expertise and a refined eye to match as well the original texture of the carpet so that the repair will not be detectable.

The extent of restoration that may be required in both in time and expense depends not only on condition but also on the value of the carpet in relation to the cost of the repair. A knowledgeable dealer in antique carpets with market expertise will make this decision. Such restoration can make a damaged piece usable and commercially viable once again. But ultimately the greatest reward in repairing your antique oriental rugs is the knowledge that a rare and beautiful work of art is being preserved for generations to come.