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The History of Rugs
Rugs have been made since 3000 BC. They have played a great role in history. There are many stories about rugs in the ancient world.
Carpets have had a magical appeal since Scheherazade first told the story of Aladdin and his flying carpet. For thousands of years, Oriental carpets have inspired literature, art and music. Since its inception by the nomads in Turkey and Mongolia, rug making has developed into an art-form that has survived centuries of political and religious upheaval. The traditional art of rug making is a common thread that ties many different cultures together.
Nomad tribes started weaving rugs to make earthen floors warmer. They wove the hair from their camels, sheep and goats to form rudimentary rugs.
The rug of Pazyryk is thought to be the oldest known carpet. At 300 knots per inch, rug making was well-established by that time.
The Greek classic called “Agamemnon” mentions rugs.
By now, the rug making process has been well established for three thousand years.
When Islam spread throughout the Middle East, rug making became an art-form and depicted the culture’s spirituality and defines the economy.
The Arab invasion of the Caucasus brought Islamic beliefs and the art of rug weaving to the region.
13th and 14th Century
The Crusades brought the appreciation of carpet weaving to Europe.
In 1277, King Louis IX spread the rug’s furnishing popularity throughout France.
jesus, the Virgin Mary and the saints were depicted in rug motifs for the first time.
Owning an Oriental rug in Europe was then seen as a great status symbol.
Noblemen and women had their portraits painted with their Ottoman or Turkish rugs in the background.
The stature of rug making in China began during the Manchu Dynasty, which is also known as the Qing Dynasty.
Rug making flourished in the Middle East during the rule of the Safavid Dynasty.
Encrusted with jewels, the Ardebil carpets were the best known of the time. Ardebil carpets now reside in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.
The Persian rug-weaving industry almost became obsolete in 1722 when the Afghans invaded Persia.
The Mughal emperor, Akbar started making rugs in India by bringing Persian weavers from Kashan, Isfahan and Kerman.
Rugs were considered too precious to put on floors; instead they were used to adorn tables, chests and walls.
In 1570, rug weaving was introduced in England to replicate Persian carpets.
In 1608, Henry the IV set up carpet production at his palace at the Louvre in Paris.
Floral motifs, Christian symbols and coats of arms were integrated into the designs.
Great Britain had control of India, which changed the design and manufacturing processes in that region.
Carpet manufacturing took off in Europe. Workers were paid by the hour instead of by the rug.
Dutch paintings portrayed numerous uses for rugs, including as foot carpets, table carpets, cupboard carpets and window carpets.
Worldwide mass production made rugs available to almost everyone, not just the wealthy.
The Communist takeover in China changed the rug-making industry. Almost all rugs made in China are mass-produced in factories.
The oldest known rug, named the Pazyryk rug, was found in a frozen tomb in 1949.
In the 1980s, an embargo against Iran diverted major export business to China, India and Tibet.
From 1930 to 1990, almost all carpets used synthetically dyed wool.
In the 1990s, there was a trend to use naturally dyed wool in hand-knotted Oriental rugs.
In 2003, when the embargo against Iran was lifted, semi-antique carpets became available for export worldwide.
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