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Oriental Rugs vs. Persian Rugs


As important as the construction is to the rug, its origin is just as integral to the design, history and workmanship of the rug.

Often Oriental and Persian rugs are referred to interchangeably. However, there is actually a difference and “rugophiles” are of the opinion that it is a very big one. Others, not as concerned with the geography and politics of rugs, tend to lump Persian and Oriental area rugs together. But it’s good to know the difference so you understand what sales people are referring to while you're shopping, particularly if you are looking to buy an antique rug. Knowing the distinctions between Persian and Oriental rugs will help you test sales people’s knowledge as well.


Rug regions of the world

Oriental Rugs

By the strictest definition, Oriental rugs are carpets hand knotted only in Asia. Iran, China, India, Russia, Turkey, Pakistan, Tibet and Nepal are some of the biggest rug exporters.

Persian Rugs

Persian rugs also are Oriental rugs but they are made only in Iran (formerly known as Persia). An authentic Persian rug or carpet is hand knotted. Persian rug designs were once named after the city in which they were created. As their popularity increased, these patterns became produced elsewhere and kept their original names. Tabriz, Hamadan, Gabbeh, Heriz and Dubba are some of the most popular designs that have kept their regional namesakes. Characteristics of a Persian rug include an unusually thick pile (up to 160 knots per square inch), extremely rich color combinations and unique designs.

Many semi-antique rugs that have never been used are now entering the marketplace due to lifting the embargo against Iran in 2003. These rugs sat piled thousands high in warehouses until now.

Shop Oriental RugsandPersian Rugs

Read about Understanding Rug Namesnext.

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