The history and process of carpet creation are impressive and certainly worth exploring for anyone who owns (or would like to own) a piece.
HISTORY AND ORIGIN-True Oriental Style Carpets hail from the Middle East and Asia, where the origins of rug-making can be traced. Countries known for producing high-quality, hand-woven rugs include India, China, Iran, Morocco, Tibet, Turkey, Pakistan, and Egypt. Generally speaking, rugs made in Europe or America (also known as the Western World) are machine-made, rather than traditionally hand-woven.
Oriental Style Carpets are heavy textiles, made for a variety of utilitarian and symbolic purposes. These rugs are produced for home use, local sale, and export. Oriental Carpets can be woven flat with little or no pile (density), or they can be woven with heavy pile and intense thickness. Oriental Rugs are made in a geographic area known as the “Rug Belt.” This belt stretches from Morocco through North Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia, and Northern India. Sometimes, Oriental Style Carpets are referred to as “Islamic Carpets,” since the Rug Belt includes many predominantly Muslim Countries.
The term Oriental Area Rug is used for convenience. The word “Oriental” has no specific meaning when it comes to traditional carpet weaving in the Rug Belt.
LITTLE KNOWN RUG HISTORY-Though the beginning of carpet weaving remains unknown, the earliest surviving carpet fragments are spread over a large geographic area. Experts believe traditional woven rugs developed from early floor coverings, starting as flat-woven carpets with no pile whatsoever and expanding into the culture we recognize today.
The oldest existing texts referring to carpets are preserved on clay tablets from the royal archives of the kingdom of Mari, which existed during the second millennium BC. There are also documented records of carpets used by ancient Greeks, most famously in Homer’s Odyssey.
The oldest known hand-woven rug is almost completely preserved. It was discovered by Sergei Rudenko, a Russian archeologist, in the late 1940s. The carpet was part of grave gifts buried in Scythian burial mounds in Siberia. The carpet was dyed with plant and insect dyes, with fine weaving in symmetrical knots and an elaborate pictorial design.