Oriental Rugs Glossary “A”

Abrash: A change in color in the field and border due to differences in wool or dye batches. The color change extends across the rug, weft-wise. Abrash is more likely to occur at the top of a rug, as beginning yarn batches are used up, than at the bottom of a rug.

Afshar: A Turkic speaking nomadic and partly settled tribal group in Southern Persia with summer pastures in the mountains south and west of Kerman; they are weavers of excellent pile and kilim rugs. Afshar rugs – very collectable.

Agra: The capital of the Moghul dynasty in north central India which reached its golden age in culture, architecture and carpet weaving during the 16th and 17th centuries. From 1850, an organized structure of workshops began being established in Agra, weaving large oriental rugs in square formats which were designed with all over floral patterns. Structurally Agra rugs have a cotton foundation, are double wefted and use the asymmetrical knot. Some cotton rugs were woven as well.

Ahar rugs: Heriz style carpets NW Iran Azerbaijan.

Ahura Mazda: Pre-Islamic god. Zoroaster fire temples Yazd.

Aimaq: West Afghan group of tribes/clans.

Akkoyonlu: “People of the white sheep” historical central asian Turks.

Akstafa rugs: Caucasian rug type distinctive bird with tail comb motif.

Alcaraz: An important Spanish rug-weaving center which flourished during the 15th to the 17th centuries.

All-Over Design: A pattern which is repeated throughout the field. No central medallion is present. A herati pattern is a good example for an all-over design.

Amritsar: A northwest Indian city known as an important weaving center for rugs during the late 19th early 20th centuries. It was very prolific during this period due to the strong demand for carpets in the United States and Europe. Amritsar rugs have cotton foundation, are double wefted and use the asymmetrical knot. Very good quality wool is used. There are many designs employed and include Persian 16th-17th century classical motifs as well as patterns from other Indian and Turkish cities.

Anatolia: The Asian (as opposed to the European) area of Turkey.

Andkhoy: Afghan turkoman rug type.

Aniline Dye: Dyes which are derivatives of aniline – produced from coal tar. These were invented in Europe in the 1850’s and by the 1870’s were widely used as inexpensive alternatives to vegetal dyes.

Antique Finish: A modern washing procedure that tones or antiques the rug.

Animal trapping: Weavings used primarily as decorations for horses, donkeys and camels. They include blankets and various head ornaments.

Aqcha: Afghan steel backed postwar rugs.

Arab: The name given to various unrelated sub-tribes in south and east Iran.

Arabesque: A very popular design in oriental rugs consisting of scrolling (or intertwining) vines, flowers, buds or branches. Arabasques can be either floral or geometric in nature.

Arak: Many high quality rugs were woven in this city and province in northwest Iran. Most Arak rug production took place in the late 19th century when European companies commissioned large oriental rugs for the European market. Rug weaving centers include those of Mahal, Sultanabad, Sarouk, Lilihan, Ferahan and Saraband.

Ardebil Carpets: A pair of palace size Persian rugs woven on silk foundation with about 300 knots per square feet. The two were produced around 1535-1540 and are currently housed in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art respectively. These rugs which many consider to be the pinnacle of Persian weaving, had the original dimensions of approximately 34ft x 17ft.

Armenian rugs: A group of rugs with Armenian inscription which were woven in Iran, Turkey and the Caucasus. Many were produced in the Caucasian town of Karabagh in the 19th century.

Art Silk: artificial silk, normally made with mercerized cotton.

Ashkhabad: Turkmenistan city and home of the modern “5 year plan factory turkoman”.

Assadabad: Hamadan Area herati designed rugs with nicely small central medallion.

Asymmetrical Knot (Persian knot): One of the two major knot types used in oriental rugs – the symmetrical knot being the other. Both knots usually wrap around two strands of warp. The Persian knot (also termed Senneh) can be either looped over a warp on the left and opened up to the right or it can be looped over a right warp and opened up to the left. This knot is in contrast to the Symmetrical knot (Turkish knot) which wraps around both warps and opens up in between the two.

At joli: horse cover

Aubusson: A center of French Aubusson rugs production which began in the mid 17th century. At first, Aubusson rugs woven were based on Turkish models but from the mid 19th century, designs began competing with those of the English. Many tapestry woven rugs were woven in the 18th and 19th centuries and generally those have designs of flowers and bouquets and architectural motifs.

Asmalyk: Camel-flank hangings, presumably always made in pairs. The most usual form is pentagonal but there are some rare heptagonal examples known. Large rectangular weavings by the Salor with _ indented “T’ -shaped compositions are also presumed by many Turkmen experts to have served the same function. Rectangular weavings without specific ‘T’ -shaped compositions but which do not seem to have had backs, are often called jollars and are presumed by some writers to have also been used as camel-flank hangings.

Ayatlyk: funerary rug

Azerbaijan: Straddling Iran and the Caucasus this Turkish-speaking province could be the most important rug weaving area in history.

Azo dyes: Synthetic dyes introduced about 1880 including Ponceau 2R, Amaranth and Roccelline. Many of these dyes have a tendency to run.

Adras: type of handmade semi-silk fabric.

Aina gul: (Turkmen), literal translation – mirror with horns, pattern seen in some small Turkmen weaving such as chuvals or mafrash.

Ak Chuval: (Turkmen), literal translation – white chuval, a type of chuval with horizontal bands of pattern in pile and flat woven bands of plain weave, the elems are usually woven in pile with a white background colour, hence the term “ak chvual.”

Arabatchie, Arabatchi: A tribe of Turkmen, weavings are distinguished by a knot that is open left and often there is cotton in the wefting.

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