Glossary – Carpet Terminology
Variations of density in a color, seen in a carpet by irregular horizontal washes; caused by the wool being dyed at different times in different batches of color, which is of unequal density. Although an accidental and arbitrary process, abrash can greatly enhance the beauty of a carpet and is not a “flaw”
In referring to an Oriental Rug as Antique, the piece must be at least 100 years old
Recently produced copies of classical carpets, handwoven in India, Turkey, Nepal, Pakistan, China, Egypt, or Romania
Chemical dye, a derivative of coal-tar. First produced in the 1860’s it was used in rug weaving in the Middle East from the 1880’s. Most frequently encountered in the red-blue-purple range, the substance became known as “anil” named for the indigo plant. The colors produced by aniline dyes were very fugitive and subject to quick fading. The dye is no longer used.
For centuries Bokhara (Bokara, Bukhara) was a center of Muslim learning and spirituality and was the first stop on the silk route from China. The name Bokara was applied to any rug that was marketed in the town. These rugs were woven by the Turkoman tribes, each having their own regional characteristics. The Tribes of Turkoman are the Salor, Chodor, Ersari, Yomut, Saryk, Tekke and Belouch. Today the term Bokara refers only to commercial rugs woven in Pakistan.
A widespread pattern of Persian origin, it is formed by a fat, almond shaped motif, tapering to a curl at the top and resembling a pear or pine cone shape. It is best know as the principal motif of the paisley pattern adopted in Europe.
The process of preparing wool fibers for spinning by drawing thme across rows of small metal teeth to clean and smooth them.
Larger than six by nine feet. “Rug” though often used interchangeable, technically refers to anything smaller.
A fast synthetic dye mordanted with potassium bichromate. This, and other more recent synthetic colors, are now used in all the major rug weaving areas of the world. Although fast, the colors can be harsh.
Woven by hired labor in or near a major town or weaving center. High degrees of workmanship often produce high knot count and intricate floral designs
Cloud motif used in Anatolia, Central Asis, Persia and China. May be featured individually or interlinded to form a meandering border.
Scarlet red similar to but more brilliant that lac. It is obtained from the crushed bodies of a female insect native to Mexico and the West Indies. It was imported into Europe
The process of preparing fibers for spinning by drawing them through the metal teeth of a large comb in order to render them more parallel. Objects woven with combed yarn have a smooth, hard, lustrous surface; the result cannot be replicated mechanically
Also called a “Palace Carpet” Usually antique and woven under royal commission and larger than 20 by 30 feet.
Made in India and Pakistan , a flat woven carpet similar to a kilim, but woven from cotton rather than wool.
The area of the carpet that lies between its borders
Any carpet, rug or other textile woven without a pile. Kilims, dhurries, aubussons, needlepoints, and soumaks are all examples of flat woven textiles
The feel of the carpet
Made with short lengths of yarn that are looped or knotted around the warp threads on the loom to form a pile, which stands at right angles to the warp, The yarn is usually wool or silk.
The number of hand tied knots per square inch
A method of weaving so that the pattern is raised in relief against the ground. This technique is a form of embroidery.
A structure of four wooden pieces forming a rectangular frame. Designed to hold the warp threads under tension while the wefts are woven in place, or the pile yarn knotted. Can be horizontal or vertical, permanent or temporary
Deep red brown dye extracted from the root of the “Rubia tinctorum” plant
From the Latin for “to bite” a substance used to prepare the wool for dyeing. It will fix the dye and hold the color. Alum and iron sulfate are common mordants.
Colors that have been made from traditional botanical, mineral or insect sources. Also called Vegetable dyes.
A carpet less than 20 years old, sometimes called “modern”
The longitudinal threads fixed to the loom before weaving begins forming part of the foundation of the finished rug
The threads which cross the warp at right angles across the width of the loom also part of the foundation.