Glossary of Rug Terms #13
Every month or so, we will post a few interesting rug-related terms and their definitions in this glossary for your knowledge and enjoyment.
Always educate yourself on a topic before you make a purchase, especially with something like Persian Rugs!
These terms can help your rug-related knowledge base and help in your next purchase of an oriental rug.
Silk- Very fine fibers drawn from the cocoon of the moth Bombyx mori.
The triangular cross-section of the fibers account for the prismatic luster of silk yarn and silk fabric. Filament from the cocoon is about 1/1,200 inch in thickness and from 800 to 1,200 yards in length. Wild or tussar silk, from a variety of moth species, is collected and processed in remote areas of the Near East and Asia. Tussar silk is usually grey, but it can be brown or orange depending on the particular moth species. Tussar silk does not accept dye well. One method of distinguishing silk from mercerized cotton is to burn a very small quantity. Silk does not easily sustain a flame and forms a small ball of ash. The smoke smells of burnt feathers. Cotton burns easily and brightly and forms a very fine ash. The smoke smells of burnt paper.
Spandrel- Designs spanning the corners of a rug inside the borders.
In central medallion rugs, the spandrel is often a quarter of the medallion. The areas in either corner of a rug above a mihrab.
Art silk- A trade term for artificial silk or mercerized cotton.
Caterpillar rugs- A nineteenth-century American rug consisting of accordian-folded strips of fabric stitched to a fabric backing.
Glaoua rugs- a local merchants’ term for flatwoven rugs of the High Atlas in Morocco.
These rugs have broad stripes and zigzag designs of weft twining, with some designs worked in pile knots.
Golden Afghan- originally an Afghan rug with the Ersari gul that had been bleached from red to yellow.
Now, rugs from Afghanistan are woven in shades of yellow to satisfy this demand of the western market.
Glossary Source: The Oriental Rug Lexicon (Paperback) By (author) Peter F. Stone