Learn these tips and tricks and you too can identify Oriental rugs.
1. If it was woven before World War 2, it is neither a Qum nor a Nain.
2. Hamadans (made in several hundred different villages in N.W. Iran) are tied with a symmetrical (Turkish) knot, have cotton warps and wefts, one row of wefts between each row of knots, and often are finished on one end with a simple fringe and the other with a webbing and no fringe.
3. Tabriz is the only Persian city-carpet woven with the symmetrical knot (except for a rare Turkbaff Mashed). The use of the Turkish knot in Hamadan and Tabriz is explained by the fact that Tabriz was once the capital of the Ottoman (Turkish) Empire and its predominate population is of Turkic people.
4. Pakistani “Bokharas” are on cotton foundations. Their Turkmen prototypes are woven on wool foundations except for some very new pieces.
5. Many of the tribal and village rugs from southern Iran have multicolored or “barber pole” selvages, such as Qashqa’is, Kamsehs and Afshars.
6. Quite often Afshars are in squarish sizes. They can be tied with either symmetrical or asymmetrical knots.
7. Cochineal, a dye derived from an insect, is a red color with a bluish or purplish hue. In Persian rugs it is found only in Kermans and Masheds and occasionally in Afshars—all of which are made in eastern Iran.
8. Karabaughs are the only Caucasian rugs in which cochineal is commonly found.
9. Cochineal is often found in old Indian rugs.
10. Modern Indian rugs usually can be distinguished from, say, Pakistani rugs by their very heavy body and stiff handle, their fat weft threads, and the fact that their selvages are added after the rugs are woven and are not an integral part of it.
11. Manchester Kashans were made around the turn of the century in Kashan, Iran with the same wool now used to make, for instance, Pakistani Bokharas- that is, machine spun wool from Marino sheep. They can be identified by their very soft wool pile and by their single-wrapped magenta silk selvages.
12. Turkmen rugs are tied with asymmetrical knots. The exception is Yomuds, most of which are tied symmetrically. Occassionally one sees Tekkes that have a few rows of symmetrical knots just inside their selvages.
13. Bidjars are the heaviest-bodied rugs in the known universe and can often be identified on that basis.
14. Armenian Immigrant Rugs are those brought out of Armenia after the breakup of the Soviet Union by immigrants and merchants. The strongest clues that a rug falls into that category are full pile and hanging devices sewed to the backs of rugs, usually small, cloth loops. Strangely, the full pile of these rugs often is accompanied by severe damage to the foundation: holes in the body of the rug and eroded corners.
15. Old Turkish rugs can be distinguished from other tribal rugs by the fact that their wool weft threads are not twisted.
16. If it has synthetic dyes, it positively was made after 1865. If its dyes are natural, it may have been made any time in the past 3,000 to 5,000 years.
17. It is possible to confuse Lillihans with Hamadans. Often both have Sarouk-like designs and both are single-wefted rugs on a cotton foundation. However, Lillihans are woven with an asymmetrical knot, and Hamadans with the symmetrical knot.
18. In design, Hamadans and Kurdish rugs often are very similar. But Kurdish rugs are made on a wool foundation and Hamadans on cotton.
19. Qashqa’is are most often made with red or pink wefts.
20. Romanian rugs most often are woven with light blue wefts.
21. Karadjas, almost alone among all the Heriz District rugs, are single-wefted.
22. Sennehs are not woven with the Senneh (asymmetrical) knot. Rather, they are tied with the Turkish (symmetrical) knot.
23. Like Hamadans, Baktiaris most often are woven with the symmetrical knot and are single wefted. It is quite possible to confuse them. But if the rug in question wears a lot of rather strong yellow, most likely it is a Baktiari.
24. The most curvilinear of all the Heriz products is that from Ahar. Ahars are exceptionally heavy-bodied as well.
25. The most curvilinear of all the Hamadan products (in fact practically the only curvilinear Hamadan) is from the village of Borchalou. Often Borchalous are made in Sarouk-like designs and feature the color black.