GLOSSARY OF AREA RUG TERMS
Abrash: A variation in the color of a rug due to differences in the wool or dye batch. The characteristic color change runs across the width of the rug, most commonly seen from the top to the bottom of the piece.
Agra: The city of Agra was one of the great rug-making centers of India. The carpets known by this name are strongly influenced by Persian prototypes and can include both center medallion and overall patterns. Most commonly, however, Agras feature highly stylized floral motifs arranged, often asymmetrically, in the field.
Asymmetric knot: A knot that may be open to the right or the left; also known as Persian or Senneh knot.
Aubusson: In contemporary usage, an 18th century French designs with a decorative floral medallion at the center with a curvilinear border elaborating the floral motifs.
Baktiari: A tribal name from ancient Persia, the Baktiari
is highly recognizable by its repeated diamond pattern in the field,
center of each diamond being richly ornamented with floral
Border: A design around the edge of a rug, surrounding the field. This configuration usually includes a wide bank with a repeating design, called the main border.
Boteh: A pear-shaped figure often used in Middle Eastern rug designs. Similar to a paisley pattern, the boteh may represent a leaf, bush or a pinecone.
Carding: The combing of fibers with wire bristle brushes prior to the spinning of a yarn.
Cartoon: A grid pattern of colored spaces on paper to guide rug weavers in the execution of a rug's design.
Field: The center part of a rug's design, surrounded by the border. The field may be open, solid color or contain medallions or an over-all pattern.
Flatweave: Any rug woven without a knotted pile or “nap”.
Foundation: The combination of warps and wefts in the body of a rug.
Fringe: Warps extending from the ends of a rug, which are treated in several ways to prevent the wefts and knots from unraveling.
Ground: The interlaced combination of warp and weft that comprises the fabric. In pile rugs, the ground is referred to as the foundation.
Guard stripe: Stripes or lesser borders on either side of the main border.
Gul: A medallion, either octagonal or angular in shape, used in Turkoman designs. It is often repeated to form an all-over pattern in the field.
Herati pattern: A design consisting of a flower in a diamond, with leaves outside and parallel to the diamond's sides.
Heriz: A Persian design typically featuring a diamond-and-square medallion at the center, with geometrically arranged floral elements in the decorative surround and border.
Isfahan: A central city in the artistic renaissance that began under Shah Abbas the Great of the Safavid dynasty. Isfahan carpets are notable for the extraordinary intricacy of their design and the opulence of their color palettes. An elaborate center medallion is generally surrounded by successive tiers of ornamentation, framed by a highly decorative border.
Jufti knot: A knot tied over four warps instead of the usual two.
Kashan: Kashan designs are renowned for their exceptional delicacy of design and refinement of execution. The most typical examples feature swirling vines and florettes, elegantly poised and balanced in their arrangement.
Kerman: Generally featuring a continuous design of small flowers, Kerman carpets were historically distinguished by delicacy and refined balance of their color palettes.
Kilim: A flatwoven tapestry-like rug.
Mahal: A traditional Persian design typified by scrolling and stylized vine, tendril, and floral motifs in the field.
Mahi: One of the most formal and imposing of the classic Persian designs, the Mahi generally features an elegant oval center medallion surrounded by concentric and highly ornamental design fields.
Medallion: The large enclosed portion of a design, usually in the center. Typical shapes are diamonds, octagons and hexagons.
Merino: Originally raised in Spain, a breed of sheep that produces very fine wool, often used in rug making in France during the 18th Century.
Mina khani: An all-over design consisting of two or more flower blossoms connected by a diamond lattice.
Moghul: An Indian design influenced by Persian originals, Moghul carpets are characterized by a configuration of interlocking medallions, generally uniform in size but much varied in color and ornamentation.
New Zealand Wool: The Romney and Penendel sheep raised in New Zealand produce the long-staple, high lanolin wool considered to be the premium fiber for high quality rugs and floor covering.
Node: One loop of a pile knot around a warp seen from the back of the rug.
Overcasting: A treatment of selvages where yarn is wrapped or interwoven with a yarn that is not part of the foundation weft. The process is also known as serging.
Pile: The nap of the rug, or the tufts remaining after the knotted yarns are clipped.
Ply: Two or more yarns spun together.
Prayer rug: A rug with a representation of a mosque or arched prayer area. Columns may be shown supporting the arch with a lamp hanging from the arch's apex.
Sarouk: A traditional Persian design with highly detailed and symmetrically arranged foliage, vines, and floral motifs.
Savonnerie: In contemporary usage, an 18th Century French design, with an open field or all-over pattern of decorative elements in the center. Borders frequently feature architectural elements with a distinct neo-classical spirit.
Shah Abbas: A classical Persian design characterized by richly ornamental medallion and elaborately detailed Rose motifs.
Selvedge: The edge warps of a rug and the foundation weft around those warps.
Soumak: A flatweave rug made from with technique that produces a herringbone effect.
Staple: The average length of fibers in a yarn.
Symmetric knot: A knot tied on two warps; also known as the Giordes or Turkish knot.
Tabriz: Located in northwestern Persia, the city of Tabriz was crossroads for trade and cultural contact with Europe. The rug-making tradition of the area is both highly refined in its artistic accomplishment and quite diverse in its design vocabulary. The most popular Tabriz carpets in today’s market generally feature an ornate center medallion with successive tiers of decorative elaboration reaching into the corners of the field.
Tapestry weave: Any variety of weaves where the pattern is created by ground wefts that do not run from end to end.
Warp: Parallel yarns running the length of the rug that creates the initial structure which is then interlaced with horizontal wefts.
Washing: A chemical solution used after weaving to soften a rug's colors and increase its luster.
Weft: The yarns woven horizontally through the warps.
Whip stitch: A stitch used to over case and lock the final weft in rug ends.
Worsting: a process by which the longest fibers are harvested from the raw wools. These select fibers are then spun into a “twist” yarn that is finer and tighter than ordinary yarns.