Some well known Persian styles include: Afshar, Arak, Ardabil, Bakhtiari, Bijar, Esfahan, Farahan,Ghouchan, Hamadan, Heriz, Joshaghan, Kashan, Kerman, Kermanshah, Lilian, Malayer, Mashad, Nain, Najafabad, Natanz, Qashghai, Qazvin, Qum, Ravar, Sabzevar, Sarab, Saruk, Senneh, Serapi, Shiraz, Sultanabad, Tabriz, Tehran, Varamin, Yazd and Zanjan.

Abrash: This term refers to a random change in a particular color seen on a rug's surface. This happens by chance and becomes more evident with age. It is often due to slightly different batches of wool, dye or because slightly different techniques were employed in the creation of the dye. Abrash can be artificially encouraged during manufacture of some new rugs. Natural dyes produce random abrash, while synthetic dyes result in flat tones.

 

Afshar: A tribe of Turkic extraction living in South Persia and famed for their unique and generally small rugs, bags and trappings.

 

Agra: A city near the present border of India and Pakistan famed for great large antique carpets, including those from the time of the British Raj.

 

Akstafa: A tribal rug type/area from East Caucasus.

 

All-over design: This term refers to both bold and small repetitive designs that cover the field of a rug or carpet evenly. There is no central medallion in this type of design.

 

Amulets: Charms inscribed with magical incantations and symbols to protect and aid the wearer against evil.

 

Anatolia: The historic name of Turkey, a rug-producing country that is the bridge between Europe and Asia. Turkey or Anatolia is also historically referred to as "Asia Minor".

 

Aniline Dyes: The first synthetic dyes invented in the mid 19th Century. These dyes proved to be unstable in many cases, either bleeding or losing their color over time, inspiring the old saw, "As fleeting as an aniline dye."

 

Armenia: An independent country in the Southern Caucasus that produced legendary weavers who created extraordinary rugs and carpets.

 

Asmalyk: A Central Asian weaving used to adorn the litter on a camel during a wedding procession.

Asymmetrical Persian or Senneh Knot: A strand of wool is pulled under one warp and then over and under the neighboring warp. The ends are then pulled up to comprise the pile. Not all rugs woven in Persia use this knot. One type of knot is not better than another, though all perform well.

 

Aubusson: Fine tapestries woven in France.

 

Bahkshaish: Antique village rugs with geometric designs and a minimal quality from North West Persia.

 

Balouch: A nomadic (now partially settled or seasonally migrant) peoples living in parts of Eastern Persia, Afghanistan and South West Pakistan. Balouch weavings are interesting, generally small and very soulful.

 

Balouchestan: A stretch of land from Bam in South East Persia to Quetta in Pakistan.

 

Bergama or Pergamon: A rug-producing town in West Anatolia on the Mediterranean. Rugs are produced in small surrounding villages and sold in the town itself.

 

Beshir: A tribal weaving group/type of rug from South Turkestan, Central Asia. Many Beshir rugs and carpets were sold in a local town of the same name.

 

Binding: The binding is a further covering of wool over the selvage itself which runs down the sides of all rugs. The deterioration of the selvage is designed to act as a warning to repair the sides of the rug before it is worn away.

 

Bleed/bleeding: An area on the rug where a color has become unstable and has moved during washing into another color of the carpet causing unsightly and unintentional color variation. Often seen where a red color has bled into a surrounding ivory area. See Restoration.

 

Border: The major border refers to the frame like band surrounding the field on all sides.

 

Bordjaou: A sub-type of Kazak with a distinct design from South West Caucasus.

 

Boteh or Paisley Designs: A floral design of unknown Asian origin that gained world-wide recognition through the use of it by Paisley, a European textile designer. There are numerous meanings or interpretations of the design including a parrot, pine cone or the royal signature of an illiterate king.

 

Brocading: A weaving technique similar to, but denser than Kelim work. The pattern is created by 'floating' the design over the foundation. See Soumack.

 

Camel hair: Weaving material of a soft and of lustrous quality used primarily and sparingly in old and rare tribal rugs.

 

Carpet: Generally considered to be a pile weaving larger than 5' x 8'. See Rug.

 

*Cartoon: This term applies to a loom drawing of the proposed carpet where 14 of the carpet is drawn out on graph paper outlining knots in various dots of paint. As the weavers work a singer often sings the next knot out in song, saving the weaver the effort of constantly reading the cartoon.

 

Chemical Wash: Removes 'bad' color, changes color palette or ages a rug with a chemical bath. The technique is often extremely abrasive to the wool and strips the natural lanolin out of the wool. This reduces a carpet's life-span and performance.

 

Chichi: The Chechen name given to tribal rugs and rug production in this area.

 

Chrome Dyes: Invented in the 20th Century and allowed for colorfast wool dyes.

 

Cleaning: This process differs from washing and is employed when rugs cannot be submerged due to condition problems or running dyes. In such instances the surface should be cleaned carefully.

Color-Fast: A dye that retains its original color even after years of use, washing, and exposure to sunlight.

 

Color-Run: An area on a rug/carpet where a slightly unstable dye has moved or moves. Color-run is usually exacerbated with the application of water. Running is normally seen on the white and other light areas of a rug. See bleeding.

 

Condition: A term used to describe the health and physical status of a rug including its surface and interior construction.

 

Corrosion: seen when one particular color has worn more than surrounding areas of color. An effect of relief or embossing is created when the colors that wear faster stand out against areas of the rug with more pile. Often seen in black dyes due to high iron content which causes the wool to be more brittle and thus corrode faster. It may be possible to date certain rugs as a result of corrosion.

 

Cotton: Naturally found plant fiber, it has long been used by carpet makers especially for warp threads in rugs and city carpets.

 

Creases: Much the same as Fold-Wear.

Cut: A long incision into a significant portion of a rug's body or stretching across a rug's surface. Often the two pieces are merely sewn together.

 

Dragon Soumac: A Soumac Kilim of very specific and sought after stylized design from the Eastern Caucasus.

 

Dusting: The process of removing accumulated dust caught in the middle of a rug. Dusting by hand is most effective but can be time consuming. However it is essential in order for the rug to be washed properly.

 

Engsi or Hatchli: A tribal Turkmen rug used to cover a traditional tent door.

 

Ersari: A tribal weaving group form South Turkestan, Central Asia and North East Afghanistan.

Ferehan or Fereghan: Term referring to carpets produced in a district of the same name in North Persia.

 

Field: also called the 'background'. This is the inner portion of a rug or carpet that extends from all the inner points of the border. Medallions are often set on the middle of the field. The term 'field' or 'background color' refers to the main hue of the field.

 

Flat-weave: another term for a kelim or kelim. A flat weave is created through the assembly of just the warp and weft. No knots are attached to the foundation i.e. warp or weft. The design is created through the visible part of either the warp or weft on the usable surface.

 

Fold-Wear: long lines of damage extending from the border directly into the field. This is occurs when a rug has been folded over and stepped on for some time.

 

Foundation: when the warp and weft threads meet they form the foundation. Knots are tied to the foundation and then form the pile.

 

Full Pile: a term used to describe pile in near perfect condition.Fibers are long and straight compared to wool and are used often to create selvages. See Lectures Balouch weavings.

 

Goat Hair: goat hair was often used in old and antique tribal rugs.

 

Gabbeh: In Farsi (the language of Persia), the word Gabbeh means something raw or natural, uncut or "in the rough". Gabbeh are the world's best-known coarsely woven Iranian tribal rugs

Guard-Stripe: refers to the very narrow border on either side of the main border of a carpet. See minor border.

 

Gul: means 'flower' and refers to large often-octagonal motifs.

 

Hamadan: An important rug making city and district in North West Persia. It is one of the most prolific of all rug-making districts. Hundreds of designs have originated or been reinterpreted in Hamadan.

 

Handle: The way a rug feels when being flopped and shaken. A rug with a wool warp has a very different handle than a rug with a cotton warp. A wool warp creates a very blanket like weaving. Most good tribal rugs have this quality. City rugs are harder to bend due to the cotton warps.

 

Hand-made: a term that refers to a carpet made by machinery operated by human hands. It is not to be confused with a hand-knotted rug.

 

Hand-Tufted: a fiber is 'shot' with a gun-like device by hand into hot latex backing with speed and pressure.

 

Herbal Wash: a process similar to a tea wash but employing different substances.

 

Heriz or Harris: Generally large village rugs with geometric designs from North West Persia. Older ones have wide color palette while new ones tend toward reds and blues. A collection of 30 to 40 villages are where the carpets are produced and then marketed in Heriz.

 

Holes: obvious breaks in the mesh created by the warp and wefts.

 

Indigo: one of the most intense and efficient sources of the color blue. See Natural dye lectures.

 

Isphahan: A distinct floral carpet type from Central Persia woven in the city or nearby villages. Small Isphahans are often woven on a silk foundation with a very high knot count. Serafian was a master weaver who wove in Isfhahan and who normally signed his carpets with his name in the pile.

Karabagh: a tribal rug type reputably woven by Armenian weavers in the rug producing region of the South East Caucasus.

 

Karachopt: a sub-type of Kazak of specific design from the South West Caucasus.

 

Karadja: a village in North West Persia where carpets of a particular geometric design are woven.

 

Karagashli: a tribal rug type/area where fine, thin pile rugs originate in North East Caucasus.

 

Karapinar: Central Anatolian village that has produced some great weavers and rugs.

 

Kashan: a distinct floral rug from Central Persia with mostly red fields and navy blue borders. Blue wefting is common in older Kashans.

 

Kazak: also known as Cossacks, a rug producing tribal group from the South West Caucasus that has created what is among today's most collectible rugs

 

Kelim, Kilim, Flat-weave and Tapestry weave: warp and Weft are interlocked thus creating color and design. Kilims are characterized by a thin 'tapestry' like feeling. They were created by nomadic tribes for their own use and were not highly considered until relatively recently. Bold design and color as well as the weaver's spontaneity are good reasons to enjoy a kelim.

 

Kerman: a fine floral rug type from the city of Kerman in South East Persia

 

Keyserie: a floral rug from an urban weaving center in North East

 

Anatolia Khamseh: A tribal rug type woven by the 'Turkic' tribes of Southwest Persia. The word means five.

 

Knotted: this is the traditional way an Oriental rug or carpet is woven. If in any doubt ask the store or dealer to specify unequivocally on paper that it is hand-knotted rug or carpet. Knots are painstakingly tied to the warp and weft. Using different color wool creates the design.

 

Kuba: a tribal rug type as well as a producing town from the North East Caucasus. These fine weavings were reputably woven by Armenians.

 

Kurdish/Kurds: A tribal group of people who generally inhabit Kurdistan a geographic area located primarily in Persia, Iraq and Turkey. Kurds have created some of the most creative of all tribal rugs. They are becoming increasingly sought-after and collectible.

 

Lavar Kirman: a fine floral rug type of a particular age, weave type and stylization from the city by the same name in South East Persia. They are generally much older than Kermans.

 

Lenkoran: a tribal rug type from South Caucasus.

 

Lori Pambak: a sub-type of Kazak rugs with a distinct design from the Caucasus.

 

Luri/Lori: a tribal weaving group of South West Persia and the plains of Veramin, North Persia.

 

Macrame: a unique technique of twisting the fringes at the end of a rug into a latticework. This is usually seen on Caucasian rugs.

 

Mahal: a carpet type as well as producing area in Central Persia. It can refer to a particular quality range and often have pale blue wefts. See Ferehan.

 

Malayer: A sub-type of village Hamadan from North West Persia characterized by little vertical white lines running from the top to bottom of a rug and seen best on the reverse.

 

Medallion: a round or cloudlike motif resting in the center of a carpet's field.

 

Medium-Low Pile: a term used in the trade to designate that while a carpet has been used it is still serviceable and usable.

 

Melas: rugs originate from this town on the Aegean Sea in Western Turkey.

 

Meshad or Mashad: Capital of the Khorrasan province in North Eastern Persia where Afghanistan and Central Asia meet. Meshad is well known for large floral carpets often in deep burgundy palettes woven with both Persian and Turkish knots. Amoghli was a famous master weaver who worked in Meshad and produced stunning rugs.

 

Mordant: the meaning of the word is 'to bite'. During the dying of wool the mordant is a salt that binds the dye to the wool.

 

Moths (damage): moths are the natural enemy of all woolen creations. They attack rugs normally from the reverse but the damage is seen always on the front. Areas of the pile seem to completely 'bald' with no rhyme or reason. An expert on mothproofing should immediately treat the affected rug.

 

Mughal Rug: rugs and carpets woven during the reign of the Mogul Kings of Iran and North India. The term refers not only to an age but also stylistic similarities.

 

Nap: this term refers to the direction in which the pile falls. 'Going with the nap' means running one's hand with the smooth direction of the pile. 'Against the nap' refers to pushing against the surface of the pile in the rough direction. Nap is created by the downward stroke of cutting the wool fibers once a knot has been completed and the weaver's wants to free the ball of yarn used for that knot in order to execute other knots. The knife is held over the yarn and cut with a downward stroke. All the downward cuts together cause the fibers to slant downward and cause the smooth and rough side of the pile. Light reflects differently onto each side of the rug. It is reflected easily off the smooth side making it look lighter while being absorbed into the dark side making it appear darker. This effect can be counterbalanced by the use of lighting in a room.

 

Ninghsia: a style of antique rug from Western China.

 

Oriental style: a rug or carpet woven generally by a machine to imitate a hand-knotted carpet.

 

Oushak: a rug type and producing city in Western Anatolia. This rug style is much in demand today.

Overcast: Overcastting is a loose sewing technique where an area or end of a rug has been secured. This prevents further deterioration of losses to the rug

 

Oxidization/Oxidized: See Corrosion.

 

Paint/Painted: the changing of an undesirable color or covering by masking it with dye after the rug was woven. The 'paint' comes out over time especially after washing.

 

Pile: wool is knotted around warp threads creating pattern and color. Wefts are inserted between the rows of knots. The surface one stands on or touches on a rug is considered to be the pile.

 

Qashgai: a Turkic confederation from South West Persia of nomadic and currently seasonal nomads that weave sought after rugs.

 

Qum: an area not far from Teheran. Weaving here is a relatively new occurrence but has become well known today for the fine quality rugs woven there including pure silk rugs of silk pile and warp threads.

 

Ram's horn motif: an interesting symbol seen frequently at the tops and bottoms of central medallions in both geometric and floral carpets.

 

Reduced: a method of avoiding a costly repair by cutting out a large damaged section of a carpet and rejoining it with the non-damaged portion of the rug.

 

Repairs: the practical maintenance of a carpet ensuring that its basic structure is maintained. This is distinct in a subtle way from Restoration.

 

Repiling: Re-knotting the foundation of a carpet where either there has been wear or a hole. See Rewoven/reweaves.

 

Reselvaged: Where the selvage has worn away and a new selvage has been created.

 

Restoration: the arduous and artistic rejuvenation of major damage or wear to a carpet.

 

Rewoven/reweaves: a process in which worn areas of a carpet have been re-knotted by tying the correct colors around the warp and wefts. The idea is to recreate a pattern and professionally restore the carpet back to health.

 

Rot: where a rug or carpet has been exposed to continued water or damp and the fibers including warp and weft have lost their strength. When pressure is applied to the carpet the carpet disintegrates. Often hard to detect but when the pile is doubled over on itself and is squeezed a popping sound may be heard.

 

Rug: generally considered to be a pile weaving smaller than 5 '0 x 8 '0.

 

"S" designs: seen mainly on very old tribal rugs generally pre-1850. Interpretations exist which suggest they may represent an old peace icon.

 

Salor: once the dominant of all the Turkmen tribes who lived on the Eastern Shores of the Caspian Sea. The Salor people wove rugs and bags.

 

Sarouk or Sarough: these carpets originate from the village of Sarouk in Arak. Antiques were of high quality, but later in the 20th Century generally degenerated and were woven in surrounding villages as well. A much heavier type was created up to the mid 20th C that had burgundy tones. This became very popular in the United States. Today, all over the world those Sarouks are known in the trade as American Sarouks

 

Saryk: a tribal weaving group/type from Central Asia.

 

Selvages: refers to the sides of rugs/carpets where the warp threads have colored wool wrapped around them. The sides of rugs have a bumpy line. This is the selvage edge.

 

Senneh or Seneh: This town, the capital of Persian Kurdistan, produces rugs and kelims of soft colors and exceptional quality.

 

Serab: a village rug often employing camel hair colors from Northwest Persia near the Caucasus. Wonderful runners with quirky Caucasian design elements and wide camel color borders are made in the Serab region.

 

Serapi: a large, sparsely designed 19th Century geometric village carpets from Northwest Persia.

Serviceable: a term used to describe a carpet that although old, is still useable and can be washed and cleaned with little or no adverse effect to the rug.

 

Seychour: a Caucasian tribal rug type/design with a distinct fine thin pile. There is a town of the same name.

 

Shahsavan: a tribal rug group from the Southern Caucasus and Northwestern Persia who historically wove rare and interesting rugs. The name means 'Lover of the Shah.'

 

Shiraz: the capitol of Fars Providence in South Persia. Rugs here are woven by nomadic and semi-nomadic tribes living near the city.

 

Shirvan: a village where either fine rugs were woven or sold in East Caucasus.

 

Soumac Kelim: Refers to a technique of further embroidering a kelim. The name and technique is believed to have originated from the town of the same name between the Black and Caspian Seas. It is an original technique that is complex and very time-consuming.

 

Stable: same meaning as color-fast.

 

Stain Treatments: the cleaning agents and techniques used to remove the visual effects of staining from the surface of the rug.

 

Stains: hard-to-remove material that is the result of food, pet mess or other discoloring and dirty agents which fall onto a carpet's surface.

 

Strip: removing 'paint' or changing the color with a chemical wash.

 

Sultanabad: refers to large, antique carpets much in demand with unusual color palettes and distinctive designs which were woven late in the 19th Century and early 20th in this Central Persian town.

 

Symbol: an artistic imitation or invention that is a method of revealing or suggesting the immaterial.

 

Symmetrical, Turkish or Ghiordes knot: a strand of wool is wrapped around two neighboring warp threads and is drawn together to comprise the pile. The story of the famed Ghiordian knot that could never be undone and had to be cut received its name from this source.

 

Tabriz: a city in North West Persia near the border of Turkey and the Caucasus where floral carpets of note are created. Numerous people of the city are of Turkish origin. Haji Jalili was a famous master weaver from this city and his carpets are highly desirable.

 

Talish: a tribal rug type/area from the South East Caucasus.

 

Talisman: an object held to act as a charm to avert evil and bring good fortune.

 

Tea wash: covering a carpet after it was woven with a heavy concentration of tea to "antique" it or cover bad colors. It is not a permanent process, and over time the tea-dye will unevenly fade. It is hard to correct this problem and a carpet may suffer a rosacia like effect over time as the tea is released in different quantities form the surface.

 

Tekke: an off-shoot of the Salor, the Tekke of West Turkestan in Central Asia became the largest group of the Turkmen and is famous for their extremely fine rugs.

 

Tinting: also called painting. Worn areas of a rug are colored using either inks or magic markers. Color is rarely permanent and can come off over a long period of time.

 

Trappings: a term referring to the useful items created within textile societies. These societies created most of their tools from textiles, including bags for utilitarian purposes and equipment used with horses, camels and other livestock.

 

Tufted: all the work is executed by machine. The process is similar to hand-tufted, except all the work is executed by machinery.

 

Turkestan: refers to an area comprising 5 autonomous former Soviet republics east of the Caspian Sea and North of Afghanistan. The famous oasis towns of Buhhara and Samarkand are there. Numerous rug producing tribes, including the Tekke and Yomut Turkmen who are famed for their weaving prowess, settled there.

 

Turkey: a famous rug-producing country east of Greece. It is also referred to by its traditional name Anatolia, which means land of the rising sun.

 

Washing: The complete submersions of a rug in water in order to remove all dust as well as accumulated matter in the middle and on the surface of the rug.

 

Wear: A term used in the trade to designate how much of a pile surface has been used and worn down.

 

Warp: The foundation threads of a rug that are strung from the top to the bottom of a loom. In Persian and Oriental rugs, the knots are tied on the warp threads, which also form the fringes at the ends of the finished rug.

 

Weft: The foundation threads of a rug that are strung across the width of a loom. These threads are passed through alternate warp threads after each row of knots is tied. They serve to secure the knots in place and also form part of the sides (selvedges) of the rug.

 

Wool (sheep): used by humans for thousands of years to make not only carpets but clothing and shoes as well as many other types of objects. Wool is often dubbed the miracle fiber.

 

Worn: a term used to describe that a carpet has had significant use.

 

Youmut or Yomud: one of the main Turkmen tribes from Central Asia, West Turkestan and Northeast Persia who weave rugs often with a deep aubergine background color.

 

Ziegler Mahal: a 19th Century European Company that was instrumental in designing and sponsoring the creation of unique, sought-after large carpets.