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LEARN ABOUT RUGS

Glossary

Glossary

A

Acolytes
An assistant to a clergy.

Adam
A neoclassical style of architecture and interior design popular from 1765 through 1790. Some common motifs of Adam designs included oval and octagonal shapes in addition to fans, wreaths and garlands. Some rugs also copied the ceilings (designed in Adam style) of the rooms for which they were commissioned in England. The main colors used in these designs were gray, light blue and jasper.

Afghanistan
Afghanistan is situated in South Asia. The capital of Afghanistan is Kabul. Afghanistan produces handmade rugs for both its local market and exportation; however, because of the political problems over the past twenty years, there is no current information about their exportation status. Many of the rugs are exported through neighboring countries such as Pakistan. Even without exact numbers, we know that Afghanistan does not produce nearly as many handmade rugs as Iran, India or China. Most rugs made in Afghanistan are Turkoman style.

Afshan
The Persian name for the all-over layout. Afshan means scattered.

Age
The age attribute specifies how old a rug is. There are three major timelines: Contemporary, Semi-antique and Antique.

Akbar, the Moghul Emperor
The third Moghul emperor of India (1556-1605). Rug weaving was introduced to India during Akbar's reign.

Albania
Albania is located in Southern Europe. The capital of Albania is Tirana. Today, Albania has a minor rug-producing industry, which began after World War II.

Algeria
Algeria is located in North Africa. Algeria gained its independence from France in 1965. The capital of Algeria is Algiers. Rugs from Algeria have not reached the Western market yet. They are mostly woven for local use or sold in bazaars to tourists.

All-over
A rug layout with no dominant or central design. The motifs on the rug are spread throughout the rug.

All-over Shah Abbasi
Shah Abbasi and islimi motifs in an all-over layout. See Shah Abbasi and islimi.

Aniline Dyes
The first synthetic dyes used in dyeing pile materials for rugs. The first aniline dye was developed in 1850s. These dyes faded rapidly with exposure to light and water. In early 1900s they were banned in Iran. Eventually they were replaced with Chrome synthetic dyes in all countries.

Antique
Rugs over 60 years old.

Arabesque
A motif consisting of intertwining vines, branches, leaves, or blossoms. These could be woven in a geometric or curvilinear pattern. The Islimi motif is a version of Arabesque.

Armenia
Armenia is located in Southwest Asia. Armenia gained its independence from the ex-Soviet Union in 1991. The capital of Armenia is Erevan. Armenia is near the Caucasus Mountains. That is the reason the styles which have originated from this area are called Caucasian. There is still a market for the older Caucasian rugs; however, since the new weavings have not adapted their colors and designs to the Western taste, they are now produced on a smaller scale.

Art Deco, Art Decoratif, Art Moderne, Modern Movement
A style of architecture and interior design popular in 1925-1940, characterized by geometric designs and bold colors.

Art Nouveau
A late 19th and early 20th century style of art, architecture, and decoration characterized by the representation of leaves and flowers with flowing lines.

Asymmetrical, Persian, or Senneh Knot
The asymmetrical knot is used in Iran, India, Turkey, Egypt and China. To form this knot, yarn is wrapped around one warp strand and then passed under the neighboring warp strand and brought back to the surface. With this type of knot a finer weave can be created.

Average
An average rug is a rug which may have undergone or may require some minor repairs such as a few warp strands that have been repaired or are in need of repair, or a few knots and fringes that have been replaced or are in need of replacement.

Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan is located in Southwest Asia. Azerbaijan gained its independence from the ex-Soviet Union in 1991. The capital of Azerbaijan is Baku (Baky). Azerbaijan is near the Caucasus Mountains. That is the reason the styles which have originated from this area are called Caucasian. There is still a market for the older Caucasian rugs; however, since the new productions have not adapted their colors and designs to the Western taste, they are now produced on a smaller scale.

Azurite
An azure blue vitreous mineral of basic copper carbonate {Cu3(CO3)2(OH)2} used as a source of blue dye.


B

Background color
The dominant color in the background of the rug. The most widely used background colors are red, blue, beige, and yellow. These colors range in all shades and hues.

Border color
The dominant color in the border of the rug. Major border colors are red, blue, beige, yellow, and green. These colors range in all shades and hues.

Boteh (Persian for "bush")
A pear-shaped figure usually used in the field of an all-over repeat layout. There are many versions of boteh from geometric to curvilinear and simple to complex. Boteh has been thought to symbolize a leaf, a bush, a flame, or a pinecone.

Brazilwood
The reddish wood of certain tropical trees or shrubs in the pea family, especially a Brazilian tree (Caesalpinia echinata) whose wood is used for violin bows and is a source of red, purple, and black dye used in early Chinese rugs.

British Imperial System
Unit of measurement based on foot and inch used in the United States and England. Every foot is equal to 12 inches and 30.48 centimeters or approximately .30 meters.

Brocading
A form of flat weaving where the foundation is patterned by colored weft strands.

Buddha (563? BC-483? BC) 
An Indian philosopher born in Nepal who developed and taught the doctrines of Buddhism after attaining supreme enlightenment at the age of 35. Also Known as Sakyamuni.

Bulgaria
Bulgaria is located in Eastern Europe. The capital of Bulgaria is Sofia. Rug weaving in Bulgaria can go back as far as the sixteenth century. Today Bulgaria has a minor rug-producing industry.


C

Cartoon
A detailed drawing on squared paper, which directs the weavers with color selection for each knot.

Casablanca
The largest city and main harbor of Morocco located on the Atlantic coast.

Catechu Dye, Cutch
A spiny Asian tree (Acacia catechu) also called Betel Palm with spikes of yellow flowers, and dark heartwood. Tannins and brown dyes are derived from the heartwood of this plant. Catechu dye was used in rugs of India.

Category
The different settings in which handmade rugs are produced. Handmade rugs are generally woven in the settings of Nomadic, Village, Workshop or Master workshop.

Centimeter
A unit of length. Every meter is equal to 100 centimeters and every inch is equal to 2.52 centimeters. Meters and centimeters are used in all countries for measuring length and width of rugs with the exception of the U.S. and England.

China
China is located in East Asia. The capital of china is Beijing. Chinese, Persian and French Aubusson designs are produced in Chinese workshops. China is one of the largest exporters of handmade rugs in the world. Market sizing data from the exporting countries is difficult to obtain, as some of the countries may not track the data or disclose it. Nevertheless, from foreign embassies, industry specialists, and magazine articles, the 1998 rug export estimate for China and Nepal is 500 million dollars. China mainly produces rugs for exportation and not for its local market.

Chrome Dyes
Synthetic chrome dyes were developed in the years between the First and Second World Wars for dyeing weaving yarns. Chrome dyes are colorfast (any dye that retains its intensity despite exposure to light and washing), and are produced in an infinite variety of attractive colors and shades.

Cinnabar
A heavy reddish mercuric sulfide (HgS) that is the principle ore (constituent) of mercury and is used as a pigment.

Coat of Arms
A Design on a shield that signifies a particular family, university, or city.

Color
In creating a handmade rug, one of the most important elements is color. Colors can be derived from natural dyes or made from synthetic dyes. All handmade rugs are identified by their background and border colors.

Color Symbolism
In the East colors have symbolic values. These traditional and religious meanings of colors sometimes affect the choice of colors used in handmade rugs. Green, for example, is considered to be a holy color by Muslims; therefore, until the end of 19th century, it was mainly used in prayer rugs.

Condition
This attribute specifies the condition of a rug from a quality point of view. The specific conditions in the handmade rug industry are Fine, Average and Worn.

Contemporary
Rugs less than 25 years old.

Cotton
The main material used in the foundation of handmade rugs.

Curvilinear
Patterns created with smooth curving lines.


D

DOBAG
A Turkish Acronym meaning Natural Dye Research and Development Project. In the late 1970s the government of Turkey began this program to improve the quality and profitability of the rug industry. The program reintroduced the use of natural dyes and traditional weaving methods.

Double-ended mihrab
A prayer niche with two opposing high points.

Do-zar (Persian)
Rugs of about 7 feet (two zars) in length and about 4.5 feet in width.

Dyes
Dyes are used in coloring pile materials such as wool, silk and cotton. There are two types of dyes: Natural Dyes and Synthetic Dyes.


E

Egypt
Egypt is located in North Africa. The capital of Egypt is Cairo. Egypt gained its independence from the British Empire in 1922. Early Egyptian rug weaving can be divided into the two periods of Mamluks and Ottomans. Even though the contemporary Egyptian rugs are of great quality, only a small number of them are exported. If we travel to Cairo today, we will see many small local rug shops trying to attract the tourists.

Ensi
A rug used in place of a door or curtain in a Turkoman tent.


F

Fine
A fine rug is a rug in excellent shape with no holes, tears, or stains and no previous repair work. Since handmade rugs are very durable, most rugs are in fine condition.

Flat Weave
A technique of weaving where no knots are used. The weft strands are simply passed through the warp strands.

Foundation
The basic structural components of handmade rugs, which consist of Warps and Wefts.

Foot
A unit of length. One foot is equal to 12 inches or approximately 30 centimeters. Foot and inch are the measurements used in the United States and England for measuring the length and width of rugs.

France
France is located in Western Europe. The capital of France is Paris. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, France was the most important center of rug weaving in Europe. Today, French Savonnerie and Aubusson designs are copied by countries such as China, India and Pakistan; however, France itself does not have a great production any more.

Fustic
A small dioecious tropical American tree (Cholorophora tinctoria) also called old fustic or dyer's mulberry. A yellow dye is derived from its wood.


G

Geometric
Patterns created with straight lines.

Georgia
Georgia is located in Southwest Asia. Georgia gained its independence from the ex-Soviet Union in 1991. The capital of Georgia is Tbilisi. Georgia is near the Caucasus Mountains. That is the reason the styles which have originated from this area are called Caucasian. There is still a market for the older Caucasian rugs; however, since the new productions have not adapted their colors and designs to the Western taste, they are now produced on a smaller scale.

Gul, Gol (Persian for "flower, rose")
A motif in the shape of an octagon used in Turkoman rugs. Usually, one gul is repeated in an all-over layout.

Gul Farangi
A design consisting of all-over repeating naturalistic roses.

Gul Hannai
The henna flower used as a motif mainly in Persian rugs such as Farahan and Joshaghan. This motif could be used in an all-over or medallion layout. Sometimes it is arranged in a diamond format as seen in Joshaghan rugs.


H

Heraldic Devices
Coats of arms and the symbols associated with them.

Herati Pattern, Fish Pattern
A motif consisting of a flower inside a diamond and curving leaves outside the diamond which are parallel to each side. This motif is commonly used in the field of an all-over layout. The leaves sometimes look similar to fish. Many versions of Herati pattern exist from geometric to curvilinear and simple to complex.


I

Indigo
Any of various shrubs or herbs of the genus Indigofera in the pea family with odd-pinnate leaves and usually red or purple flowers. A yellow juice from the plant oxidizes to blue when exposed to air. Indigo was chemically synthesized in 1880.

India
India is located in South Asia. The capital of India is New Delhi. Rug weaving was introduced to India during the sixteenth century at the time of the Moghul Emperor Akbar. Currently, India is one of the largest producers of handmade rugs. Market sizing data from the exporting countries is difficult to obtain, as some of the countries may not track the data or disclose it. Nevertheless, from foreign embassies, industry specialists, and magazine articles, the 1998 rug export estimate for India is 500 million dollars. India only produces handmade rugs for the sole purpose of exportation.

Indo-Esfahan
A rug made in India in Esfahan style.

Iran
Iran is located in Southwestern Asia. The capital of Iran is Tehran. Until the 1930s Iran was known abroad as Persia. It is estimated that Iran produces approximately three-quarters of all the handmade rugs in the world. Market sizing data from the exporting countries is difficult to obtain as some of the countries may not track the data or disclose it. Nevertheless, from foreign embassies, industry specialists, and magazine articles, the 1998 rug export estimate for Iran is 800 million dollars. Iran also produces a large number of rugs for its local market. Traditionally, Iranians have purchased rugs as investments.

Ireland
Ireland is located in Northern Europe. The capital of Ireland is Dublin. Ireland gained its independence from the British Empire in 1921. Ireland is one of few European countries which still has a rug-weaving industry.

Islimi
A motif based on arabesque forms (intertwining leaves, stems, vines and blossoms).

Islimi Medallion-and-Corner 
The field of this design is covered with a motif called islimi which is based on arabesque forms (intertwining leaves, stems, vines and blossoms). Often the islimi motif is used in conjunction with the shah abbasi motif in which case the design could be called shah abbasi and islimi medallion-and-corner; the shah abbasi motif can be part of the medallion and also be seen in the field and the border.


J

Jufti Knot
The jufti knot can be seen in rugs of Khorasan, Iran. This knot can be either symmetrical or asymmetrical. The knot is usually tied over four warps making the weaving process faster.


K

Kalaleh
Some medallion centerpieces have two small floral extensions on the top and bottom called pendants. Each pendant has two parts. Kalaleh is the Persian name for the part of the pendant further away from the medallion.

Katibeh
Some medallion centerpieces have two small floral extensions on the top and bottom called pendants. Each pendant has two parts. Katibeh is the Persian name for the part of the pendant closer to the medallion.

Kelim
The most well known group of flat-woven rugs. No knots are used in creating kelims. Simply, the weft strands are woven (passed) through the warp strands.

Kellegi (Persian)
A runner of about 4 to 6 feet wide with a length of about two to three times its width. Kellegi was part of a four-piece set of rugs, which their production came to an end about 60 years ago. The four pieces were only made in Iran and were sold as sets. A complete set can rarely be found now. Many Persian living rooms were covered with these traditional sets, which included one main piece, Mianfarsh or middle carpet, of approximately 6 to 8 feet wide and 16 to 20 feet long. At the head of the room, Kellegi was placed. On each side of the middle rug, two very narrow and long runners, called Kenareh were placed. Kenareh measured between 2.5 to 5 feet wide and anywhere between 5 to 40 feet long. Food was placed on a cloth on the middle rug. The elderly and the host would sit on the headpiece, and everyone else would sit on the two side rugs.

Kenareh (Persian)
A very narrow and long runner of between 2.5 to 5 feet wide and anywhere between 5 to 40 feet long. Kenareh was part of a four-piece set of rugs, which their production came to an end about 60 years ago. These sets were only made in Iran and were sold as sets. A complete set can rarely be found now. Many Persian living rooms were covered with these traditional sets, which included one main piece, Mianfarsh or middle carpet, of approximately 6 to 8 feet wide and 16 to 20 feet long. At the head of the room, a runner called Kellegi, was placed. Kellegi measured between 4 to 6 feet wide with a length of about two to three times its width. On each side of the middle rug, two Kenareh rugs were placed. Food was placed on a cloth on the middle rug. The elderly and the host would sit on the headpiece, and everyone else would sit on the two side rugs.

Knot
Pile-woven or knotted rugs are created by knots. The two predominant types of knots are Asymmetrical and Symmetrical.

Knot Density
Knot density refers to the overall number of knots used in creation of a handmade rug. Knot density is measured in the Imperial System in square inch and in the Metric System in square decimeter.

Koran, Quran
The holy book of Muslims.

Kork
Fine wool taken from the belly of sheep.

Kufesque, Kufic
A border design originating from an Arabic script.


L

Lachak (Turkoman)
The four corner elements in a medallion and corner layout.

Lachak-o-toranj
A Turko-persian word meaning medallion-and-corner. Medallion-and-corner refers to a special medallion layout with quartered medallions in four corners of the rug in addition to the full medallion in the center.

Lapis Lazuli
An opaque to translucent blue, violet-blue, or greenish-blue semiprecious gemstone composed mainly of lazurite and calcite, sometimes used as a source of blue dye.

Lattice
A design used in an all-over layout. Lattices consist of ogives (an arch or two connected arches enclosing a space), diamonds, hexagons, octagons, or rectangles with usually some floral motif inside them. In classic Persian rugs, lattices are curvilinear and consist of ogives. The new versions are more geometric and consist of diamonds and hexagons.

Layout
The overall arrangement of motifs or objects woven into a rug.

Limestone
A common sedimentary rock consisting mostly of calcium carbonate (CaCO3), used as a building stone and in the manufacturing of lime, carbon dioxide, and cement.

Lotto
A design which appears on rugs in the paintings of Lorenzo Lotto, a sixteenth-century Venetian painter. Rugs with this design were woven from the early sixteenth until the eighteenth century and are usually seen in Ushak rugs from Turkey. Typically, they have a red field with all-over yellow branching lines or arabesque design (intertwining or scrolling branches) and sometimes a Kufi border (some form of Arabic script).

Lozenge
A diamond-like shape.


M

Madder
A Southwest Asian long lasting plant (Rubia tinctorum) with small yellow flowers, spiraled leaves, and a red root. The root of this plant was and in some places still is an important source of red dye.

Make
This attribute determines where a rug is actually made.

Maintanance
Steps taken to ensure that a rug is aging gracefully such as vacuuming, rotation, and correct wash.

Malachite
A light to dark green carbonate mineral {Cu2CO3(OH)2} used as a source of copper and for ornamental stoneware and a source of green dye.

Manganese Dioxide
A black crystalline compound (MnO2) used as a depolarizer of dry-cell batteries and in dyeing weaving yarns.

Mamluk Rugs
Rugs woven in Egypt possibly beginning in the thirteenth century until the sixteenth century with complex geometric designs and large medallions.

Master Workshop
Master workshops are specialty workshops run by usually a well-known master designer/artist. The rug weavers are talented students who are directed by the master designer. At this setting very unique rugs are woven. Master workshops pay attention to the artistic aspect of weaving rather than the commercial aspect. Many master-workshop rugs are displayed in galleries and museums. Two of the well-known master designers of Iran are Seyrafian and Arabzadeh.

Medallion
A common rug layout where a large centerpiece called medallion is the focal point of the design.

Medallion-and-corner
A special medallion layout with quartered medallions in four corners of the rug in addition to the full medallion in the center.

Meter
The international standard unit of length, approximately equivalent to 39.37 inches. This unit of measurement is used in all countries with the exception of the US and England for measuring length and width of rugs.

Metric System
A decimal system of units based on the meter as the unit of length, the kilogram as the unit of mass, and the second as the unit of time. Meters and centimeters are units of measurement used for measuring lengths and widths of rugs in most countries except the United States and England. Every meter is equal to 100 centimeters.

Mianfarsh
A rectangular rug of approximately 6 to 8 feet wide and 16 to 20 feet long. Mainfarsh was part of a four-piece set of rugs, which their production came to an end about 60 years ago. These sets were only made in Iran and were sold as sets. A complete set can rarely be found now. Many Persian living rooms were covered with these traditional sets, which consisted of one main piece, Mianfarsh or middle rug. At the head of the room, a runner called Kellegi, was placed. Kellegi measured between 4 to 6 feet wide with a length of about two to three times its width. On each side of the middle rug, two very narrow and long runners, called Kenareh were placed. Kenareh measured between 2.5 to 5 feet wide and anywhere between 5 to 40 feet long. Food was placed on a cloth on the middle rug. The elderly and the host would sit on the headpiece, and everyone else would sit on the two side rugs.

Mihrab
A niche in a mosque facing Mecca.

Mina Khani (Persian)
An all-over pattern consisting of two or more flower blossoms connected by a diamond lattice.

Miniature paintings
Paintings in which the figures are painted on a small scale. Miniature paintings were popular in Persia, India, and Turkey even before the 16th century. In Renaissance Europe, miniatures were painted on jewelry and the interior of watch covers.

Minor border
Many rug borders consist of one wide band known as the main border or simply the border, and one or many narrower bands on each side of the main border known as the minor border or guard stripes.

Mir-i-boteh (Persian)
Multiple rows of horizontal, vertical, and diagonal small boteh.

Moharramaat, Ghalamdaani
A design consisting of vertical stripes with equal widths. Each stripe contains different or sometimes the same motifs and is a different color from its neighboring stripes. This design can be seen in Qum rugs.

Moors
Descendents of Arabs and Berbers living in northwest Africa today. In the 8th century A.D. Moors invaded Spain and built a civilization which lasted until the end of 15th century.

Morocco
A country located in North Africa. Morocco gained its independence from France in 1956 and now is a constitutional monarchy. The capital of Morocco is Rabat. Rugs from Morocco have not reached the Western market yet. They are mostly woven for local use or sold in bazaars to tourists.

Motif
Any single form or interrelated group of forms which make up part of the overall design.


N

Nap
The direction which the pile of the rug faces.

Nasser-e Din Shah
The Iranian king (1848-1896) of Qajar Dynasty who stopped the use of aniline dyes, which were not colorfast. The Qajar Dynasty was established by Agha Mohammad Khan in 1794 and ended with Ahmad Shah, the last ruler of Qajar Dynasty, in 1925.

Natural Dyes
Until the late nineteenth century only natural dyes were used for coloring weaving yarns. Natural dyes include plant dyes, animal dyes, and mineral dyes.

Neoclassical
A revival of ancient Greek and Roman styles in art and architecture in the 18thand 19th centuries, which was characterized by order, symmetry and simplicity.

Nepal
Nepal is located in South Asia. The capital of Nepal is Kathmandu. Important weaving centers in Nepal include Kathmandu, Pokhara, and Patan. Today, Nepal is among the major rug exporters to Europe.

Nomadic Rugs
Rugs woven by sheepherders who mostly live in tents and migrate from the valleys to the mountain pastures in the summer. These rugs are generally small because the rugs must be finished in time for migration.

Nomads
Tribal people who are mainly sheepherders, live in tents, and migrate from the valleys to the mountain pastures in the summer.


O

Ocher
Any of several earthy mineral oxides of iron occurring in yellow, brown, or red and used as pigments.

One-sided
A rug layout where the design is woven in one direction. Prayer and pictorial rugs fall into this category of layout.

Oghuz
A Sunni Muslim Turkoman tribe of Central Asia that later Turkoman tribes, the Seljuks, Ottomans have descended from.


P

Pakistan
Pakistan is located in South Asia. The capital of Pakistan is Islamabad. As with India, the art of rug weaving in Pakistan began during the reign of Akbar Shah, in the sixteenth century. At the present time, Pakistan produces handmade rugs specifically for exportation. It is the fourth largest exporter of rugs in the world. Market sizing data from the exporting countries is difficult to obtain, as some of the countries may not track the data or disclose it. Nevertheless, from foreign embassies, industry specialists, and magazine articles, the 1998 rug export estimate for Pakistan is 250 million dollars.

Pardeh (Persian)
A rug size of approximately 5x8 ft or 5.5x9 ft. The Turkoman name is Enssi. Enssi is a rug used in place of a door or curtain in a Turkoman tent. Pardeh also means curtain in Persian.

Pattern
The way lines are used to form shapes on a rug. In the rug industry, pattern is divided into the three categories of Curvilinear, Geometric, and Pictorial.

Pendants
Small floral extensions at the top and bottom of the medallion (centerpiece) in a medallion layout.

Persian, Asymmetrical, or Senneh Knot
The Asymmetrical knot is used in Iran, India, Turkey, Egypt and China. To form this knot, a small piece of yarn is passed under and over one warp strand, and then passed under the neighboring warp strand and brought back to the surface. With this type of knot a finer weave can be created.

Pictorial
A pattern portraying people and animals.

Pile
The material (fiber) used for weaving rugs. The main pile materials are wool, silk and cotton.

Pile Weave
Pile weave or knotted weave refers to the method of weaving used in most rugs. In this technique the rug is woven by creation of knots.

Prayer Rug
One directional rectangular rugs of approximately 3.5x5.5 ft. Prayer rugs historically have been woven for Muslims to pray on. They still serve this purpose, and are also used as regular rugs. The usual design of a prayer rug is a mihrab (the prayer niche constructed in a mosque wall that indicates the direction of Mecca).
Programmed Handmade Rugs 
Programmed or continuity rugs are handmade pile rugs of popular classic Persian or other traditional designs, which are woven in a variety of shapes, color combinations and sizes in workshops. This great innovation has allowed customers to buy handmade rugs in the design of their choice in their desired shape, color combination and size rather than what is available. from the construction point of view, programmed rugs are of the same quality as one-of-a-kind rugs, and they require the same amount of hard work and time to weave.

These rugs were an innovation which was developed about twenty years ago (a very modern innovation relative to the long history of handmade rugs) in response to our modern lifestyle. Historically, in the East, handmade rugs were the only form of furniture. People sat on them, ate on them and slept on them, so there was no need to match a rug to any furniture, and in Europe, handmade rugs were luxury items mostly custom-made to fit the size of a certain room and match its furniture. However, today Western furniture is popular all over the world, and handmade rugs are no longer custom-made for an elite group. Today, most people, whether in the East or West, want to purchase a rug that will fit the size of a particular room and match their existing furniture. In order to respond to these modern needs, programmed rugs were invented. Because their design is not one-of-a-kind, they are generally more affordable, but again, as explained in Style, rugs of the same region often have similar designs, colors and construction. Therefore, even two one-of-a-kind rugs could be very similar.

If one is looking for a collectible antique or semi-antique rug, then programmed rugs are not for them. However, if searching for a quality decorative rug at a relatively lower price that would perfectly match one's furniture and fit in particular room, then programmed rugs are a great option. Also, with programmed rugs, one can find matching sets in different sizes and shapes.


Q

Qajar Dynasty
A dynasty of Iranian kings beginning with Agha Mohammad Khan in 1794 and ending with Ahmad Shah in 1925.


R

Rhubarb
Any of several plants of the Rheum family, especially R. rhubarbarum, which have edible long, green or reddish, acidic leafstalks. Yellow to copper-red dyes are derived from the leaves and used in rugs of China and India.

Romania
Romania is located in Eastern Europe. The capital of Romania is Bucharest. Rug weaving in Romania can go back in time as far as the sixteenth century during the reign of Ottoman Empire. A large number of Romanian kelims are imported to the US.

Runner
A very long and narrow rectangular rug. Most runners in today's market are between 2.5 to 3 feet wide and 6 to 20 feet long, and in some cases even longer. They are used as coverings for hallways, stairways, and entrances. For this reason, they are also called Corridor rugs.


S

Safavid Dynasty
An Iranian dynasty beginning with Ismail I in 1501 and ending with Shah Sultan Hussein in 1722.

Safflower
A yellow dye is produced from the orange flowers of safflower (Carthamus tinctoria). This dye may have been used in some early rugs of China, India and Tibet. The flowers also produce seeds, which contain oil used for cooking, cosmetics, paints, and medicine.

Saffron
A plant (Crocus sativus) with purple or white flowers with orange stigmas. The dried aromatic stigmas are used as food coloring, cooking spice, and dyestuff. Saffron may have been used to dye some early rugs of China, India and the Balkans.

Samarkand
A city in Uzbekistan, which was used as a market place for rugs, and it is also known as the oldest city of central Asia.

Semi-antique
Rugs between 25 to 60 years old.

Shah Abbas
The Iranian Shah (1588-1629) of the Safavid Dynasty (1501-1722). The art of rug weaving reached its peak during his reign.

Shah Abbasi All-over
Shah Abbasi and islimi motifs in an all-over layout. See Shah Abbasi and islimi.

Shah Abbasi Medallion-and-Corner
A design consisting of a circular or diamond-shape medallion filled with Shah Abbasi motifs with Shah Abbasi pendants. If there are corners, then the corners will also be filled with Shah Abbasi and islimi motifs. The field also contains Shah Abbasi and islimi motifs. See Shah Abbasi and islimi.

Shah Abbasi motif
A group of palmettes that can be seen in all-over and medallion layouts as well as in borders. This motif is frequently seen in rugs of Kashan,Esfahan, Mashad, Nain, and in rugs of countries which copy Persian styles such as India, China and Pakistan.
Sheikh Lotfollah's Mosque
A famous mosque in Esfahan, Iran built during the reign of Safavid Dynasty (1501-1722). One very common rug design is based on a large round medallion resembling the tile (mosaic) work of the interior of the dome of the Sheikh Lotfollah's Mosque.

Sheikh Safi Medallion-and-Corner 
Sheikh Safi who was an ancestor of the Safavid dynasty lived in the 14th century. Sheikh Safi medallion-and-corner copies the dome of Sheikh Safi's shrine located in the city of Ardabil in northwest of Iran. The Sheikh Safi medallion is surrounded by 16 leaf-like pendants; two lamps are also connected to the medallion, one to the top and one to the bottom. The corners look very similar to the medallion itself. This is also the design of the two famous Ardabil carpets now located in the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Los Angeles County Museum.

Silk
Comes from the cocoon of silkworms. Because it is an expensive fiber, it is less frequently used as a pile material in handmade rugs than wool.

Size
This attribute refers to the measurements of a rug. Handmade rugs are made in different sizes and shapes. Only rectangular shapes have been assigned standard sizes because most handmade rugs are rectangular. Size is a very important factor in pricing a handmade rug. Therefore, understanding the units of measurement used in determining the dimensions of a rug are important. The length and width of rugs can be expressed in both the British Imperial System (feet and inches) and the Metric System (meters and centimeters).

Soumak
A group of flat-woven rugs where no knots are used in the weave.

Spain
Spain is located in Southern Europe. The capital of Spain is Madrid. Spain is the oldest European producer of handmade rugs. Today, Spain is one of few European countries, which still produces handmade rugs. However, because only a limited number of rugs are produced, very few Spanish rugs reach the foreign market place.

Spandrels
The four corner elements in a medallion and corner layout.

Style
Style could be defined as the way different motifs, colors and patterns give character to a rug.

Sumac
Any of various small trees of the Rhus family with compound leaves, clusters of small greenish flowers, and usually red, hairy fruit. The wood of the sumac tree may have been used as a yellow dye in rugs of China.

Swastika
An ancient design shaped by a cross with four equal arms which bend at right angles. This design, which could also be a religious symbol, is used by many cultures. In some cultures it represents the sun. Swastikas are frequently used in the field and border of rugs. A version of swastika became the official symbol of Nazi Germany in 1935.

Symmetrical, Turkish, or Ghiordes Knot
The symmetrical knot is used in Turkey, the Caucasus and Iran by Turkish and Kurdish tribes. It is also used in some European rugs. To form this knot, yarn is passed over two neighboring warp strands. Each end of the yarn is then wrapped behind one warp and brought back to the surface in the middle of the two warps.

Synthetic Dyes
Dyes made chemically beginning in the mid-nineteenth century for dyeing weaving yarns used in rugs.


T

Tibet
Tibet is part of China, and it is located in southwest of China. It is bordered on the south by Nepal, Bhutan and Burma, and on the west by India. There is evidence of commercial rug production in Tibet from the late eighteenth century. Recently, rugs have been customized in Tibet and woven using traditional techniques and designs and vegetable dyes in a way similar to DOBAG of Turkey (a Turkish acronym meaning Natural Dye Research and Development Project).

Tibetan Knot
In Tibet, a distinctive rug-weaving technique is used. A temporary rod which establishes the length of pile is put in front of the warp . A continuous yarn is looped around two warps and then once around the rod. When a row of loops is finished, then the loops are cut to construct the knots.

Toranj
The Persian name for medallion, the centerpiece in a medallion layout.

Tree-of-Life
A motif consisting of a tree with a trunk, branches and leaves which covers the whole rug. The tree could be very realistic or so abstract that it may not resemble a tree. Also, this motif is generally one-sided.

Tunisia
Tunisia is located in North Africa. The capital of Tunisia is Tunis. Tunisia gained its dependence from France in 1956. Rugs from Tunisia have not reached the western market yet. They are mostly woven for local use or sold in bazaars to tourists.

Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan is located in Central Asia. Turkmenistan gained its independence from the ex-Soviet Union in 1991. The capital of Turkmenistan is Ashgabad. The rugs from this country are known as Turkoman.

Turkey
Turkey is located in Southwest Asia. The capital of Turkey is Ankara. The earliest Turkish handmade rugs date from the thirteenth century. Many examples of Anatolian rugs can be seen in European paintings from 1350 to 1450. Rugs have been woven in Turkey for at least as long as they have been in Persia. Even though Turkey does not export nearly as many rugs as Iran, India or China, it is still considered a large exporter of handmade rugs. Market sizing data from the exporting countries is difficult to obtain, as some of the countries may not track the data or disclose it. Nevertheless, from foreign embassies, industry specialists, and magazine articles, the 1998 rug export estimate for Turkey is 150 million dollars.

Turkish, Symmetrical, or Ghiordes Knot
The Symmetrical knot is used in Turkey, the Caucasus and Iran by Turkish and Kurdish tribes. It is also used in some European rugs. To form this knot, a small piece of yarn is passed over two neighboring warp strands. Each end of the yarn is then passed behind one warp and brought back to the surface in the middle of the two warps.

Turmeric
A widely cultivated tropical plant of India (Curcuma tinctoria) with yellow flowers and an aromatic root. It is used as a spice and yellow dye.


U

Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan is located in Central Asia. Uzbekistan gained its independence from the ex-Soviet Union in 1991. The capital of Uzbekistan is Tashkent. The rugs from this country are known as Turkoman.


V

Village Rugs
Rugs made by villagers. In village settings, usually all family members or the women of the family are weavers and their home is their place of work. More variety of styles are woven by villagers than by any other weaving category.


W

Warp
Vertical strands of fiber which stretch from the top to the bottom of the rug and knots are tied to them.

Weave
The technique used in weaving. There are two major weaving techniques: Pile Weave and Flat Weave.

Weft
Horizontal strands of fiber that are woven through the warps. They are added before and in between the rows of knots to secure the knots in place.

Weld
A European plant (Reseda luteola) with long spikes of small, yellowish-green flowers. A yellow dye is derived from the stalks, leaves, and flowers. This plant is also called Dyer's Rocket.

Workshop
A sophisticated setting where weavers work as employees, and very skillful weavers can eventually become master weavers and receive widespread recognition and financial rewards. Workshops are far more sophisticated than nomadic tents or village settings. They have more sophisticated tools such as large permanent vertical looms and use a large variety of dyes. Also, rug weavers usually work from a cartoon (a drawing laid out on squared paper) or work under the supervision of a master weaver who calls out both the weaving and the color of each knot. As a result of this sophistication, workshop items are technically very exact and can be produced in variety of sizes including very large sizes.

Worn
A worn rug is a rug which may have discoloration, fading, insect or foundation damage. However, rugs with no damage and only extensive pile wear are also considered worn. Worn rugs, even though are worn, should not be dismissed because similar to fine and average rugs, they can still have a very good resale value. Some are even considered valuable antiques.

Wool
The coat of sheep. Wool is the most frequently used pile material in handmade rugs.


X

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Y

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Z

Zar
An outdated Persian unit of length about 1.04 to 1.12 meters or 41 to 44 inches.

Zar-o-nim (Persian)
A rug size of about 3x5 ft, or one and a half zar in length.

Zell-i sultan
A design consisting of all-over repeating vases with floral arrangements. An example of this design can be seen in Qum rugs.