The History of Rugs

Oct 10, 2022 | Area Rugs

History of Rug Making

What is The History of Rugs?

Throughout the years rugs have served different purposes. They have been used; to warm cold flooring, as blankets, as decoration, to show prestige and class, and also as prayer.

Originally, rugs were crafted from any natural materials such as reeds, grasses, camel, sheep, and goat hair. When civilizations formed, rugs became more readily used as decorative art showcasing one’s prestige and class. In many cultures rugs became highly valued and were placed in tombs of royalty. Archeologists have found remnants of rugs in tombs in Egypt and Mesopotamia dating back thousands of years.

Oriental Rugs

The term Oriental is derived from the Latin word Orient meaning “East”. Oriental rugs are prevalent from various countries. Each country developed their own rug styles using different techniques, patterns and materials. Evidently, Oriental rugs are well known as being valued in the quality of craftsmanship and materials used to create them. These rugs have been established and cherished heirlooms for centuries. Learn more about Oriental Rugs.

Rug Weaving Oriental Countries
World's Oldest Known Rug

First Known Rug

The Pazyryk carpet, is the oldest known surviving hand-knotted oriental rug. This rug was crafted around 500 BC and discovered in the Altai Mountains in Siberia in 1949. Also, the Pazyryk was excavated from the tomb of prince Altai. It was well preserved from the ice that encompassed it. The rug displays evidence of an extremely advanced and intricate technique with rich colors. This rug is now displayed in the Hermitage Museum in Leningrad, Russia. Learn more about this rug at Ottawa carpet cleaners.

Rugs in Europe

According to Bashir carpets the first introduction to Oriental carpets in Europe began in the 11th century after the Crusades. Then, Venetian traders further introduced carpets in the 15th and 16th centuries. These carpets were used as table coverings, on church altars, and as wall hangings. Oriental rugs, at this time, were only placed on the floor in royal palaces and castles, such as seen in the painting of King Henry VIII. Henry VIII is cited by Bashir carpets as having influenced the English interest in imported Oriental rugs. Then, in the 16th and 17th centuries the English began to use their own embroidery patterns to produce rugs. As time went on more individuals with wealth possessed area rugs and began using them on the floors.

King Henry the 8th Loved Rugs

Rugs In America

Before North America was settled by Europeans native cultures and tribes had long developed techniques of hand crafting rugs and blankets. Unlike the Oriental rugs of the Near East, Navajo rugs were crafted to resemble traditional styles of Mexico and the Southwest. Many of these textiles were woven on a frame with a shuttle creating colored threads into geometric designs. Learn more about Native American Rug Making.

Native American Rugs

The first colonists to Massachusetts brought imported rugs from Europe. However, during the Revolutionary War, England put tariffs into place preventing Americans from importing rugs. Early American women began hand-hooking rugs. According to Oysterponds Historical Society; these rugs were practical items to warm the floors. They were crafted from burlap sacks or scraps of wool and rags. After the Revolutionary War, by the late 19th-century, it became popular for wealthy Americans to import rugs and carpets from Europe and the Middle East. Subsequently, the carpet makers of Persia and Asia Minor became an expansive export industry.

Native American Rugs

Atiyeh Brothers Portland Rugs

Azia Atiyeh emigrated to America from Amar El-Husn, Ottoman Syria in 1897. Originally, Aziz worked in Pennsylvania as a rug supplier, buying Oriental rugs and linens from New York importers and reselling them to peddlers. By 1900, Aziz decided to move West and opened his business in downtown Portland in 1900.

History of Rug Making

Two years later, his brother George joined him. Their display of Persian rugs won a Gold Medal at the City’s Lewis and Clark Exposition in 1905. Then, at the Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition in 1909, Atiyeh’s won a Grand Prize. Also, they were awarded the Grand Prize for the finest exhibit of Oriental rugs at the 1915 Panama Pacific Exposition in San Francisco and the Panama-California Exposition in 1916.

History of Rug Making

Aziz moved to New York City in the 1920’s to establish a wholesale rug importing operation. He traveled to Kerman, Persia (now Iran) to set-up their own looms for weaving rugs. The Atiyeh rugs produced, called Kerman DeLuxe, are considered the finest made.

History of Rug Making

Hand woven rugs today are still crafted with the tools and basic process used thousands of years ago. Today’s genuine Oriental rugs are hand-knotted with fine and natural materials. These rugs are durable and sustainable. Hand-woven carpets are praised for their artistic value and are still sold in large quantities today. Professional carpet cleaners help preserve these rugs. No matter what kind of rug you have, keep it clean and well-maintained with the help of professional carpet cleaners.

History of Rug Making