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Are you familiar with the countries that make Oriental rugs?

The Orient refers to the East, and traditionally pertains to anything to the Eastern world, as well as the Middle East (also, Near East) and the Far East (in relation to the location of Europe. For English speakers, it is a common reference to the continent of Asia.

Oriental rugs have gained world wide fame because of their beauty, elegance and durability. It is believed that their production started some 1,800 years ago – maybe even earlier – and have always been in high demand in the West, especially with collectors. One commonly asked question in the rug business is, What countries make the best rugs?

While Persia, or modern day Iran, has the most enviable history of producing its world renowned rugs, many other fantastic rugs can be found elsewhere.

The truth is that though great rugs can come from anywhere, a buyer has to be more careful today than ever before as many weavers are taking shortcuts in production that can spell disaster for a rug collector and ruin for any future value. This also applies to repairs, restorations and cleaning of handwoven oriental carpets.

Here are some of the countries that make Oriental rugs:

  • Persia (Iran) – Rug production in Persia started more as a necessity than a trade. It has the longest standing history in rug making, although production has declined in recent years as a result of political and social unrest. Over time, the weaving of rugs in Persia became an art form and a way to depict tradition and history. The designs vary from city to city, and have earned the reputation of being the best in the world.
  • India – India started weaving rugs in the 16th century and is one of the largest exporters of rugs today. The rugs made here are known for their 9/9 knot count and designs that are  both traditional and modern. The wool used is usually a bit coarser than Persian rugs, which makes them heavier and very durable.
  • Pakistan – Pakistan started its rug weaving industry around the same time as India, and is also a top rug exporter today. Their hand knotted rugs are known for their high count knots and great quality. Peshawar and Bokhara rugs are some of the popular types of rugs from Pakistan that often use traditional designs and colors.
  • Afghanistan – This country has been producing Oriental carpets in the last 30 to 40 years. It is located northeast of Iran, and uses designs that are similar to Caucasian and Turkish carpets. Carpet production has declined due to the political situation in the country.
  • China – China has been producing beautiful, high quality, hand knotted rugs for centuries. Silk rug production started in China more than 4,000 years ago, while pile wool rugs is generally new in this country. More recently, production has shifted to machine woven rugs.
  • Turkey – Turkey started rug production in the 17th century and was known to produce everything from medium weave, wool pile, fine wool on cotton and silk rugs. Like China, machine made rugs are more commonly made in Turkey now.
  • Nepal – Nepal has earned its name in rug production in the last 50 years, albeit it is still a small exporter compared to other countries. The rugs are usually of modern designs, and are generally low priced because of low cost labor in the country.

Whatever country of origin you choose for the Oriental rugs in your home, Sharafi & Co can help you find the best design, quality and value for money in London.