The Practical Examination a Rug

For purposes of a practical examination a rug, we should consider the  front or pile surface, the back surface, and four finishing (namely, those of the sides and the two ends). The systematic examiner is a person who investigates methodically all the details of these. As a result, he gains information of interest which  more casual observers do not notice them.


The Front or Pile Surface

Upon this surface we shall obtain the best impression of the colors and designs of our specimen for a practical examination a rug. Then, we shall best be able to investigate the type of the knot employed, whether it be a Ghiordes or a Sehna, and judge also of the quality and treatment of the pile. These are the details we should consider as our rug lies face upwards on the floor.


The Back Surface

We shall find the most convenient situation for the study of the weft for a practical examination a rug. Since here it is easily visible as it crosses the rug transversely between each row of knots. Whilst  we shall be able to determine the method of warp treatment employed. Furthermore we will be able to examine the details of weave (whether coarse, fine, close, or loose), and judge the quality of the workmanship displayed.


The Finishing

It is the custom for all Persian rugs that the weavers finish the sides of carpet with a simple overcasting or double overcasting. Whilst for other groups a two- or three-cord overcasting, or double-overcasting, is the general rule. This is the sum of the information we can obtain from this investigation for a practical examination a rug.

However, the finishing of the ends are especially worthy of notice as being the only situations in which the warp threads can be properly studied. We should study the Finishing regard to material and quality. These are hidden in the body of the rug, but they emerge in the end webs and fringes.

Persian Carpet

The distinctions between the Persian Rugs and those of other groups have already been fully discussed. Assuming that our specimen has been proved to be a Persian Carpet, the following indications may provide us with valuable clues in regard to its identity.



If a rug exhibits tones of light coloring, shades of blue, pink, and ivory, it is almost certainly a Kermanshah, a Meshed, or a modern Kirman. On the other hand, if the colors are dark and somber, then it is likely to be a Kurdistan or a Kashan. If the ground of the Field is -shaded, the piece is probably Kurdish, whilst a preference for brown is strongly indicative of the same authorship.

If a specimen displays shades of purple or magenta it is almost certain to be a Khorasan. A prevalence of rich madder red is particularly suggestive of Neyriz or Shiraz. If the tones of the reds and blues are particularly clear and rich the piece is likely to be a Shiraz, since no rugs in Persia surpass them for brilliancy and depth of color in these shades.

Two Persian types, the Gorevan and the Feraghan, are more distinctive than their fellows in their color schemes, the one with its peculiar shades of apricot, terra-cotta, brick-red, and blue; and the other with its Herati pattern in old rose-pink upon a dark-blue ground, and with the principal border stripe frequently laid in a light-green ground of a most distinctive shade.



The rugs which display an all-over Herati pattern are particularly likely to be a Feraghan or a Sehna; if a pear pattern it is probably a Shiraz, Sarabend, Herat, Khorassan, or Sehna; if a Henna flower design a Feraghan; or if the ‘Mina Khani it is almost certainly a Kurdish piece.

The rugs which have geometrical or casual designs the specimen is  Shiraz, Karadagh, Mosul, or Hamadan. Diaper and lattice work patterns are particularly suggestive of a Kurdish origin.

When a rug displays concentric medallions it is almost certainly a Gorevan. The rug which  has a central medallion with pendants is likely to be a Kashan, modern Kirman, or Kermanshah. If it has a chain medallion, it is probably a Shiraz, or Hamadan.


3.The Knot

This will be either a Ghiordes or a Sehna, and by a decision of this one simple fact the total unwieldy mass of Persian rugs is immediately divided into two nearly equal halves, and the field of our search accordingly proportionately narrowed.


4.The Pile

When a rug displays a notably close trimmed and velvety pile it is probably a Kashan, Sarouk, or Sehna. The one with short pile and harsh to the touch is likely to be a Tabriz. The rug with long pile is a Mosul or Kurdish. When the pile unevenly is trimmed, the rug is a Khorasan. If the pile is largely composed of camel’s hair the piece is almost certainly a Hamadan, or rarely, an old Mosul, or Bijar. When it is of medium length and notably soft and fleecy our specimen is particularly likely to be a Shiraz, or Neyriz.

Persian Carpet

In order to examine the back surface, we shall now proceed to turn our specimen over face downwards, and in so doing should particularly notice whether it be thick or thin, flexible or stiff.

If the rug is notably thin it is probably a Sehna, since these are the thinnest of all Persian rugs, and can often be recognized by experts by this fact alone; whilst if it is unusually thick and heavy it is likely to be a Bijar, Mosul, or Kurdistan.

If it is stiff it is certain to be modern, however much it may resemble an old rug in other ways. If it is limp and flexible it may be either a genuine old piece or a modern.


The Weft

If our specimen displays a weft which crosses between each row of knots then it is either a Sehna, a Hamadan, a Mosul, or a Kurdistan. The weft consist of fine cotton in the case of a Sehna. It consist of coarse cotton in the case of a Hamadan, and wool for a Mosul or Kurdistan. If it displays a weft which varies in the number of its crossing at intervals, it is certainly a Herat, or Khorassan.


The Warp

A rug which has all the warp threads level, i.e. equally prominent on the back surface, then it is either a Feraghan or Hamadan. It may be also Joshaghan, Karadagh, Kurdistan, Mosul, Sehna, or Shiraz. If alternate warp threads are depressed, then it is probably a Gorevan, Neyriz, or Joshaghan, or rarely a Kurdistan.

A rug which displays a warp of cotton, the piece is either a Mashad, Sarabend, Kashan or Sarouk. Also, it can be Sehna, Tabriz, Feraghan, Gorevan, Kirman, Kermanshah, Khorassan, Herat, or Joshaghan. If it displays a warp of wool it may be either a Bijar, Karadagh, Herat (generally cotton). Moreover it may be Joshaghan (usually cotton), Kurdistan (rarely cotton), Neyriz, Mosul (rarely cotton), or Shiraz.



Whwn the weaver finish the sides  with a double overcasting in short lengths of different colored wools, the appearance resembling a barber’s pole. Then the rug is certainly a Shiraz or Neyriz. Whilst if small tufts of wool project at intervals from the sides, then this identification is absolutely confirmed. If the rug shows colored end webs, then it is a Shiraz, or Neyriz, or more rarely a Kurdistan, or Gorevan.

Persian Carpet

How can I know if a rug is handmade for examination of a Rug?

The hand-knotted carpets, even the coarse and little-worked ones, have a clear design, while in the machine-made ones, the motifs are often blurred.

In handmade carpets, fringes are the continuation of the warp threads and consequently, they come out of the artifact and are natural.

In handmade rugs, the reverse design is sharper than the right one. Instead, in industrial ones, the motifs on the back are usually blurred.

In the handmade carpet the selvedge (the edge) often consists of 4-5 warp threads. And the edge covered with a wool yarn of the same color as the outer frame.


How many types of Persian rugs are there for examination a rug?

The place of origin and the name of the tribe of the semi-nomadic or nomadic populations give the name to the mat. The large and ancient production centers are better equipped and served, for the creation of finer carpets. Today, these centers, or the large Iranian cities, have become, more, the gathering place. In other words, a “bag” of every type of carpet.

The most important city of carpets production are: Esfahan (Isfahan), Tabriz, Nain. Also, Qum (Ghom), Kashan, Kerman, Kashmar, Tabas, Birjand, Mashhad, Senneh, Ardebil, Bijar, Araq, Ferahan, Saruq and many other Iranian centers.

Those of tribal production are: Bakhtiari, Qshqai, Beluci (Baluch), Kurds of Kurdistan, Kurds of Khorassan (Quchan). Also Turcomans, Afshari, lori, Shah savan, Boir ahmadi and many other nomadic tribes scattered across the vast Iranian territory.


What are the components of an oriental rug?

An oriental rug is basically composed of warp, weft and pile. Thus the warp and the weft form the supporting fabric and the pile the model of the carpet. There are, depending on the type and origin of the carpet, raw materials from various materials. The vector, also weft and warp, consists of cotton, while the hair (pile) consists of high quality wool or silk. In pure silk carpets, on the other hand, all the components consists of silk fibers. The warp threads are arranged along the carpet and end up mostly like a fringe on the edge of the same.  At the intersection points on the pile nodes are formed, which then form the visible surface of the carpet.


What are the main criteria for determining the value of a rug for examination a rug?

Normally, we can determine the difference in value between two similar mats by the different density of the knots. You can measure the density of knots in number of knots per square meter. However, knot density is not the only argument to measure the value of oriental rugs. It is also important to know materials which they consist. And how good the quality of the wool is for example. Furthermore, with silk carpets, the real silk content is of great importance for the value of the carpet. However, it also depends equally on the treatment or the beauty of the finished model. There are many different factors for the value of a rug that we must take into consideration.


How can I determine the approximate number of knots per square meter on my carpet?

If you want to calculate the number of knots of an oriental carpet per square meter, you need to choose a spot on the back of the carpet. Then you need to count the number of knots on a 1 cm line horizontally and on a 1 cm vertical line. These two numbers must be multiplied together. Therefore we have the approximate number of knots per 1 cm ². To reach the number of knots by 1 m, this result must now be multiplied by 10,000. If you want more precise result, then obviously consider the nodes over a distance of 10 cm for example. In this case we only need to multiply the result by 100.


My carpet has slight irregularities; do I have to worry about its quality?

You don’t have to worry about the quality of your rug. Slight irregularities are very normal in original and handmade rugs. Most of our carpets do not come from mechanical processing and may therefore differ slightly. Different lengths of fringes, a slightly deformed shape or variations in design or color are common in handmade rugs. These small ” flaws ” do not affect the value of your carpet in any way. But they show once again that you have purchased a unique and original piece.

Persian Carpet


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