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Antique Oriental Rug
How to Evaluate Quality

In world of Antique Oriental Rug, "old" is relative.To the seller a rug is older, to the buyer the same rug is not so old.This situation comes about for 2 reasons.

Firstly, its virtually impossible to pinpoint the exact year in which a rug was made. Therefore, a range is more appropriate.
Secondly, all other things being equal, age means money.

Consequently many descriptive terms have evolved over years. Especially on the retail level. Today in a retail store, a rug's age may be described along any of the lines of the following table:

Antique 50 years and older

Semi-Antique 30 to 99 years old

Old 20 to 99 years old

Semi-Old 10 to 50 years old

Used 1 to 10 years old

New 0 to 5 years old.

Before Important Hints, You can also see other related pages. In each page there is specific information..

Antique Turkish Rugs
Antique Persian Rugs
Antique Caucasian Rugs
Antique Chinese Rugs
Rare Antique Rugs

Important Hints

Hint Number 1: Color

The range of colors makes a good starting point. The range that can be made using pure vegetable dyes is comparatively limited. In order to find out hint #1 on antique oriental rug, You can easily become familiar both with these colors and with the effect of time on vegetable dyes just by looking at collections of handmade antique oriental rugs in museums.

Reliable synthetic dyes were not available until the late 1920s. The aniline-dyed antique oriental rugs have deteriorated to such an extent that, there are very few of them left to confuse you. If in doubt, do the handkerchief test:aniline smells very nasty on the handkerchief.

So, if the colors are obviously timeworn, vegetable ones, you have found your first hint.

Another way of you can find out whether or not the colors in a handmade antique oriental rug,are genuinely old is with the aid of magnifying glass. The pile of old rugs which time has softened the dyes has a smooth gradation of colors from the base of the knot to the paler top of the tuft.

If, when you break open the pile, the magnifying glass reveals a mid-tone band of color approximately half way up the tufts, when you may be sure that the aging of the colors has been "enhanced" by the use of various kind of bleach applied after the rug was removed from the loom, and the rug is not genuinely old.

Hint Number 2: Type of Rug

The type of rug is also important determining age.Many varieties of rugs have only come into existence in this century. If, for example, you know that a rug was made in Pakistan it won't be an antique oriental rug because Pakistan only started producing handmade rugs after World War II. Similarly all the thick, heavy types of Indian and Chinese rugs are modern.

The Persian Qum rugs have all been made in the last sixty years or so, as have the Persian "white" Kashans. White Kashans were only made after 1920, in response to the western markets' demands for pale rugs. The pastel-colored Taba-Tabriz rugs another example of Persia's efforts to please western buyers who wanted, in addition to pastel colors, thicker rugs than Tabriz had been making.

The "Persian Design" Romanian rugs, which are made in the state-owned workshops, appeared on the scene less than 30 years ago.Leaning the types of Oriental rugs will help you to determine the age.

Hint Number 3: Size of Rug

The size of a rug can give you a hint as to possible antiquity. For instance, if the rug you are looking at was made in or near the Persian town of Heriz,it it's worth remembering that until about 1870 almost all Heriz rugs that were made were keleys.

Old and antique Persian Khorasans are also usually keleys. (If they have a design in each corner whether like a long-necked bird's head, they probably are over 100 years old)

Since the beginning of this century, far fewer keleys have been made in Persia. These sizes are now unpopular because they don't suit the layout of our western homes.

Hint Number 4: Change of Style

Changes in style of a particular type of rug can be helpful when you are trying to date it. For example, it's extremely rare for a late-eighteenth century or early-nineteenth century Isfahan to have been woven on a foundation of any material other than cotton and to have knot above 400 per square inch.

On the other hand, the fine modern Isfahans are almost always woven on a silk warp and weft an their average knot counts are considerably higher.

Rugs woven in Hamadan region also show a change of style. In the old days,in the villages of this area, the Persian weavers frequently made rugs with camel color backgrounds. Modern day Hamadans seem to use every color under the sun, expect camel.

The softly multicolored, glowing Moutesan Kashan rugs are no longer made. These days, Kashans are made in traditional style, including the white ones.

When a rug is made of silk, no matter from which country it originates, if it's antique the silk will be of a high quality. Carpets woven from straightforward cotton always have a matted look if they are antique.

If the rug you are examining is an Turkish(Anatolian) one and you want to know whether it's antique, look at the weft threads.If these turn out to be red, thats an important hint:Most of the antique Turkish have red weft threads, and their weave tends to be rather coarse(less than 100 KPSI).Coarse knotting (even as low as 40 KPSI ) is also typical of antique woven Chinese pieces.

In this case the coarser the weave, the older the rug is a very general rule.It's also worth keeping in mind that the phrase "antique style" does not mean that a rug is an antique oriental rug.

Hint Number 5: Woven Dates

Dates woven into a rug can give you a hint as to when it was made, so long as you understand them. Here i will explain you how to read them.Chronologically, the Moslem calendar begins with the year of Mohammed's flight from Mecca in A.D. 622 and is based on the lunar year.

Our Gregorian calender, named after pope Gregory XIII( who in 1582 updated Julius Caesar's calendar), is based on the solar year.So we need to do a couple of easy calculations if we want to translate the Moslem date on antique oriental rug to our own system.

First, you divide the Moslem date by 33. Next Subtract the resulting number from the Moslem date.Then add 622.For example, if the moslem date on a rug was 1190, the arithmetic would be as follows:

1190 / 33 = 36(rounded off to the nearest whole number)

1190 - 36 = 1154

1154 + 622 = 1776

Just to make sure that a date is the original one put there by weaver, carefully examine the wool and the weaving around it.If a date has been falsified, it's usually the second numeral from the left that is altered, adding 97 years to a rugs apparent age, encouraging you to believe that is an antique oriental rug.

Antiques directly involve us with the past and reassure us about the future.Besides, in a practical way, we can reason that if a rug has lasted for more than a hundred years, it must be a good one.

How To Check
The Condition of Antique Oriental Rug

Before buying an antique oriental rug or old carpet, it's very important to check its condition.


First of all, check to see if the antique oriental rug is rotten, or cracking, as the trade describes it.To do this, lay the rug on its face and look at the back to see if there are any light colored patches.

If there are, these could be the first signs of mildew, so you should pay special attention to them as you proceed with the test.Fold the carpet across first in one direction and, after testing it, again in the other direction.

Listen carefully as you twist the rug gently but firmly, gripping it in both hands.Stop the instant you hear any staccato splitting sounds.They are the foundation threads snapping as the rug breaks up.I have never knowingly sold an antique oriental rug that was cracking, i would strongly suggest that you never buy one.

Do remember to ask the dealer's permission you begin test;if he won't let you to do it, don't buy.

After a carpet has passed the cracking test(if it fails, forget it),the next step is to feel the material.

Silk should not be brittle, no matter how old it is.It should always feel soft and smooth.

Wool , on the other hand, will vary considerably with age.As wool grows older, its lanolin content becomes depleted, and although a woolen rug that has been polished by the treat of stockinged feet may look like silk, it will feel quite firm and sometimes even bristly.


Another clue is the appearance of the knots when seen from the back of the antique oriental rug. Old knots will have been flattened out and slightly polished as the rug was being walked on.

Breaking open the pile on the face of the rug can help you to know whether or not it is an old piece, for no matter how thoroughly the rug may have been cleaned, the cotton foundation threads will have become discolored, often a yellowish gray, if the rug is very old.


A quick and easy way to spot repairs is to run your hand over both to front and the back of the antique oriental rug. Mended areas feel rough and bumpy. If you then look very closely, you will see the extent of the rug.Not all bumps are made by repairs. They could be due to a patch of uneven clipping of the pile.

However if the rug is an old one, 9 times of out 10 you will find that the bump is due to a mend. The technique of weaving is relatively simple and is, therefore, quite simple to repair.

If the work has been done by a professional who takes pride in the job and who uses correctly dyed and appropriately weathered wools, then you should not allow small repairs to bother you. When the wools have not been weathered, the coloring of the repaired areas can change over the years so that they really begin to show.

If you have any doubts about the quality of the reach an agreement with the dealer. If this should ever happen the repair would be redone for you free of charge.

Wear Patterns

Aside from actual holes or repairs, it's also important to notice the wear patterns on handmade antique oriental rug. They should be as even as possible so that the pile is approximately the same length over the whole face of the rug.

As usual there is an exception, those parts of the pattern where the wool has been eroded by acid in the dye. Black and dark brown are the two colors which you will frequently find eaten away like this, producing and embossed look. Sometimes this happens to rugs that are only 20 years old.

A useful test is to pick one of the knot from the back with a pin (do remember to ask for permission or send e-mail to dealer if you will buy online). Then, smooth out the knot and, as you release it, notice how fast it curls up again.The faster the curl, the older the rug.

A similar test is to draw out a weft thread and soak this in a glass of water for a day or two.When you take it out of the water, if the weft is old it still won't be straight, if it's not so old, it will be.

Painted Pieces

It also helps to be aware that many old, worn rugs are painted to restore their colors and designs. This can be a good solution than the cost of repiling would be more that the rug is worth, I would not advise you to buy an expensive an antique oriental rug that has been painted.

In some cases, paint is used to create a whole new design, so that when you compare the design on the face of the rug with the one on the reverse side, you may discover that they don't match up.The handkerchief test can be most useful in detecting painted pieces.

Reduced Rugs

When you are buying an old or antique oriental rug, do check to see that it's all there. A lot of old pieces have been reduced.This means that the fringes and borders are cut off when they become worn, a process which costs far less money time than doing a reweave.

If the rug is not expensive, reduction is not something to worry about. However if you are paying a high price, then i feel that you should at least getting the entire rug.

Looking carefully at the overall design will soon show you if the patterns is lopsided or if the side border fail to match up with the end ones. Telltale color at the base of the fringe, just where it meets the rug,is a sign that the ends of the rug have been reduced.

When rugs are originally washed to clean them, small amounts of excess dye may have stained the warp threads beneath the pile as the dye was being flashed away.

If the side cords seem newer than the rest of the rug, they have probably been replaced. This doesn't matter at all if the reason they were renewed was because they were worn out.

Finally, it's worth remembering that oriental rugs are works of art.Posters are designed to have an instant appeal. Fine paintings, on the other hand, need time to be fully appreciated. In the same way, the longer you look at good rugs, the more you will see in them and the more beautiful and meaningful they will become for you. This is true whether the rug or carpet is one year or one hundred years old.

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