matter what its color, scale, origin or pattern, a good-quality Oriental
rug never goes out of style, and it works with just about any decor. In
fact, if youíre lucky enough to have an authentic Oriental, youíll
likely be able to hand it down to your children and grandchildren ó
just as you would a piece of fine art.
are like fine art because true Oriental rugs are one of a kind,"
says Bruce Shabahang, owner of Shabahang & Sons in Milwaukee and
Waukesha. "All of the work is done by hand just like a painting.
Think about comparing a painting to a poster and itís like comparing a
handmade Oriental rug to rugs made by machine. The poster looks like a
painting, but it is mass-produced. The painting has soul and life, and
so does a true Oriental rug," he says. "Someone put time and
talent into making that rug; it can take over a year just to weave one
art of fine rug making is a process that has been practiced and
perfected by a variety of people over hundreds of years in countries
like Persia (Iran), Pakistan, Turkey and India. "They are made with
superior quality wool and organic or vegetable dyes. Because the dyes
are mixed by hand each time, each rug is guaranteed to be unique,"
The rugs are woven
in relatively the same technique, but there are many designs and types
of rugs that are aesthetically distinct from one another. One of the
most important differences in style is between city rugs and tribal
rugs. "Tribal rug designs often are improvised. These rugs are
woven freestyle by the artisans, and they reflect the culture of the one
weaving the rug. They feature bold geometric designs and patterns,"
Shabahang says. "Generally, city rugs are more sophisticated and
elegant; the artist follows a pattern when weaving."
The differences in
style may make the type of rug better suited to a certain type of decor.
A city rug might work better in a formal setting while tribal rugs could
fit into a more casual space. But it all depends on the taste of the
owner. "Either style could work in any setting. People will often
buy a rug and use it as a focal point, building the design of the room
around it," Shabahang says.
Oriental rugs can
be showcased just like art. Some owners will display them on the wall or
drape them over a table or a bannister. But Shabahang stresses that the
rugs are meant to be walked on. And, donít tread lightly.
"Despite their beauty and value, these rugs are meant to be
underfoot. The more they are walked on, the tighter the weave becomes.
Just like a fine wine, they get better and more valuable as they