What Are Oriental Rugs Made Of?
Oriental rugs always use natural fibers, and any rug containing synthetic material will invariably have been machine made.
The only exception to this rule in the occasional use of very small quantities of gold or metallic thread in some workshop and master workshop items. Wool, cotton, and silk are the main materials, although goat and camel hair are sometimes used by nomadic and village weavers.
Wool The best and most widely used rug making material.
It is soft, durable, and easy to work. However the quality varies considerably and not all wool is suitable for rug-making. Good carpet wool needs to combine softness with strength and springiness., otherwise the rug wears out quickly and fails to return to its original shape if it is creased or depressed. Unless one has followed the rug-making process through from clipping to completion, the only way to assess the quality of the wool is the “feel” of the item and the reputation of the individual weaving group.
Cotton Normally only used for foundations.
(The main exception to this rule is Kayseria, in Anatolia, which produces rugs with mercerized cotton piles normally marketed as “art’ silk.) Cotton is grown in most rugmaking countries in the East- particularly in India and Persia – and is in plentiful supply.
Silk Produced by the larva of a species of moth commonly called the silkworm.
It is native to China and has been cultivated successfully in a number of countries, including Iran, Turkey, india, and the Soviet Union. The finest silk for rug-making traditionally comes from China and an area around the Caspian Sea. This latter region produces a type referred to as rasht silk, which is generally regarded as the best silk in the world.