Glossary

ABRASH
The word used to describe the variations in color found within a single color in an Oriental carpet. ABRASH is commonly seen in tribal nomadic rugs and in some modern reproductions. ABRASH is caused by variations in yarn diameter native to nomadic dyeing and yarn spinning, the change over to a new dye batch, and the amount of lanolin present in the wool. Generally ABRASH is desirable in tribal carpets and undesirable in urban carpets.

AFSHAR
A Turkic speaking nomadic group living mostly in southern Iran. Afshar rugs are classical examples of Persian folk art. Many small pieces are made as well as saddlebags, trappings, pillow-covers, and tent-furnishings. Clear tones of deep and medium blue, red, gold and ivory are most favored.

ALL OVER DESIGN
An even repeating design throughout the FIELD.

ANTIQUE WASH
A chemical or natural bath that tones down colors to simulate aging.

ART SILK
Short for artificial silk, it describes the use of mercerized cotton or artificial fiber that attempts to take on the appearance of silk. The fiber is very soft to the touch and is used to create the look and feel of silk without the cost. Sometimes used to deceive potential buyers.

AUBUSON
Fine flat carpets woven in France from the 15th to 19th Centuries. They were derived from Moorish weaving with the assistance of Architects and Artists of the royal court. Also used to describe modern rugs that use the same design and colors.

BACHTIARI "Bakhtiari"
The Bachtiari confederation of tribes is large and powerful, covering much of central and southwestern Iran (Persia). Small rugs and trappings are woven by migratory Bachtiaris, while large carpets of great magnificence are woven in the settled villages. The most classic pattern is the garden design of repeated squares or diamonds, each of which encloses a tree or blossom motif. Their name translates roughly as "the lucky ones".

BADAM
FARSI word for a paisley design.

BELOUCH "Baluch"
A nomadic tribe living in Afghanistan and bordering countries who weave many types of small rugs, animal trappings and tent furnishings. They favor deep tones of blue, dark brown, earthy red and touches of natural ivory. They are simply but sturdily made, entirely of wool, often with ends and edges reinforced by the use of goat hair.

BIDJAR
For many decades, the Bidjar has been called the "cast-iron rug of the East". The creation of simple peasants in Kurdistan, northwestern Iran (Persia), Bidjar rugs are closely and heavily woven with a firm, dense nap. A "double-wefted" construction is common, where the weaver in her knotting pulls alternate warps into line behind the neighboring ones, so the knots are closely stacked together at an angle rather than lying loosely side by side. This style of weaving, combined with excellent, lanolin-rich wool, creates a rug of almost unbelievable durability.

BLOCKING
The act of stretching flat and tacking down a wet rug that is wrinkled or misshapen, wetting again, then allowing the rug to dry.

BORDER
The outside area that surrounds the design of a rug much like a picture frame.

BOTEH
A rug design named after the FARSI word for immature flower or palm leaf.

BOUKARA "BUKHARA"
The capitol of Uzbekistan and the traditional trading center for Turkmen tribal carpets. Today, rugs called BOUKARA are generally commercial copies knotted in Pakistan and India.

BURN TEST
A small tuft of fibers from a rug may be burned to test for its content. For example cotton has a vegetable smell when burned. Wool smells faintly like hair. Silk smells distinctly like human hair when burned.

CARTOON
A graph of a rug, drawn by hand or computer, with each box in the graph representing a separate knot; also shows color.

CARTOUCHE
A design element in the rug which may contain a date, name or other written inscription.

CHANTED RUGS (see CARTOON)
The process of calling out colors off a cartoon in order to produce many examples of a single pattern. Since errors still enter into the weaving of each individual rug, they are never truly identical. Most city rugs are woven this way.

COVERED FIELD
Same as ALL OVER DESIGN

DHURIE
A KILIM from India. A low-cost, low durability decorative floor covering solution.

DOZAR
A rug about 4'6" by 7 feet.

DRAKHTI
FARSI for "tree of life".

ERSARI
A large mostly settled tribe of northwest Afghanistan who make both urban and tribal rugs. They are renowned for the quality of their nomadic saddles and tent gear.

FARSI
The official language of Iran (Persia)

FIELD
The inner area of a rug with a solid, central floral, or geometric design. It also contains the dominant color. See GROUND

FISH AND TURTLE
a pattern in which two fish chase each other around a globe carried on the back of a turtle. Increasing abstraction has also given it the appearance of a blossom encircled by two leaves.

FLAT WEAVE
A catchall term that describes any rug without pile. see KILIM

FRINGE
The warp ends, or strings, that extend from the end of the rug.

GABEH
A fluffy long piled rug used by nomads as a mattress. Gabeh usually have a simple colorful design often with a pastoral scene.

GHIORDES KNOT
see KNOT

GILEEM
see KILIM

GIZ (KIZ) KILIM
a kilim woven by a young girl (GIZ is Turkish for "girl") often for her dowry

GUL
Farsi word for flower, it describes the common ornaments found in Turkmen carpets. Guls are the design element often mistaken for elephant feet.

GUL FERANG
Farsi for "foreign flower".

HALAL
Something that is pure, clean and unstained.

HALI
A Turkish word for rug.

HALICILIK
A Turkish word for rug merchant.

HARAM
Something that is impure, dirty, or stained.

HERATI
The fish and turtle design.

HEREKE
Hereke in western Turkey has been a center for fine weaving since the days of the Ottoman Empire. The finest contemporary Turkish rugs are still made in Hereke, as they were a century ago. Wool, silk, and metallic threads are all used. Though Hereke is in Turkey they use the Persian Senna knot in rugs made there.

HERIZ
geometric medallion rugs woven in several small villages surrounding the city of Heriz. The rugs of Heriz are large, boldly designed and firmly woven. The oversized geometric medallions were once referred to as "shield patterns" and they are usually crisply delineated against a rich red or a dark blue field, with a generous use of ivory. Large-scale "turtle-design" borders are common. . Commercial carpets bearing the Heriz design are woven in every rug-producing county in the world.

JEJIM
see KILIM

JUNGAL
A design that includes animals in a natural setting such as a forest or jungle.

JUVAL
A hand woven bag, often having a pile front and a kilim back.

KASHMIR
The name for the fancy village carpets made of silk or ART SILK in the Islamic region of India. Kashmir carpets are woven with a Persian knot and mimic the designs of newer urban carpets from Iran with an emphasis for Indian tastes for brilliant color. Coloration used in these rugs is unique to India.

KATEN
The line where the knotting of two weavers come together

KILIM (Gileem)
Any non-pile carpet, usually wool, in which the pattern is formed by the colored weft being wrapped around the warp. The word is used to describe the non-pile side of nomadic bags and saddles. Other uses include being used as a covering, curtain, or to cover the earthen floor within a tent.

KNOT
There are two basic types of knots used in oriental rugs: Persian SENNA KNOT; A fine asymmetrical knot used in fine urban and complex tribal carpets, and Turkish GHIORDES KNOT; The symmetrical knot used in most tribal carpets.

KURD
A tribal people who live in eastern Turkey, northern Iraq, and Iran. Known for their strong simple designs.

LOR (LORI)
Formerly nomadic people of southwestern Iran. They are renowned for the quality of their rugs and kilim.

MAHI
The fish and turtle pattern see also HERATI

MIHRAB
A design element in a prayer rug that represents the prayer point. It can be pointed, arched or a blunt end.

NAMAZLIK
Turkish word for prayer rug.

NIMZAR
A rug about 3 x 5 feet.

ORIENTAL
When used in relation to rugs, has come to describe characteristics of Turkey, Iran, India, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Pakistan. The modern definition excludes characteristics of China and Indochina now classified as Asian.

OTTOMAN
A powerful Turkish dynasty that ruled most of extended Persia from 1290 to 1924. It was named for its founder Osman.

OVERCAST
A term used in repairing: when the ends of a rug are coming apart, the repairer uses a concealed whip stitch to prevent further unraveling.

PARDEH
A door or curtain for a tent or a rug about 5 x 8 feet.

PILE
The plush side of the rug. Flat weaves do not have a pile.

POSHTI
A small rug about 2 x 3 feet.

PRAYER RUG
A rug or mat with a directional design that the user points to the East and keeps him protected from the ground while he prays.

SAFAVID DYNASTY
Persian Dynasty ruled by Shah Abbas from 1587 to 1628 AD.

SALOR
A Turkmen tribe famous for the quality of its rugs.

SAVONERIE
The name given to French piled carpets made until 1890 that look similar to Persian Kermans.

SENNA KNOT
See KNOT

SAROUK (SEROUK)
The factory woven carpets woven in the vicinity of Sarouk in Iranian Azerbaijan are some of the most beautiful ever made. Most were manufactured with intent to export to the United States.

SHAH ABBAS
Design element that features swirling feathers and Lotuses named for the Shah who commissioned its design. It's found in most modern urban Persian style rugs.

SHAHSAVAN
The once powerful confederation of Turkic speaking tribes living in Azerbaijan. They are decimated by military losses and now mostly make kilim.

SOUMAK
A heavy flat woven rug made with a weft wrapping technique. The oldest examples are from Caucasus near the Caspian Sea and also found throughout Turkey, Iran, Russia and other rug-weaving countries. This technique is also used in commercial rugs that are designed to look like antiques. Most traditional Soumak are made in the Caucasus region.

SWASTIKA DESIGN
Originated in China and representative of the Heart of Buddha.

TARAK
A metal comb-like hand-held tool used to beat down the knots to make the rug knotting tight.

TEKKE
The largest Turkmen tribe in the 19th century thought to make the finest rugs made in the Turkmen style.

TUMBLER
A machine used to gently tumble the rug with a slow gentle pace to remove dirt and grime from the rug foundation before cleaning.

WAR RUGS
Rugs woven by Afghan Belouchi people during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

WARP
The foundation thread that runs the length of the rug and becomes the fringe.

WEFT (Woof)
The thread that runs the width (side to side) of the rug, between the rows of knots, and helps to hold the rug together.

WILLIAM MORRIS
The English design firm named for its founder that specialized in adopting Middle Eastern designs to western tastes. Now applied to the designs used in a variety of rugs.

YURUK
The Turkish word for nomad. It is used to describe any nomad living in Turkey. The correct spelling includes special characters (double dots) over the U's.