As their name suggests, most Oriental rugs originate in Asia and the surrounding regions. These rugs are typically made by hand by artisans in these areas and are designed to depict an event, tell a story or communicate a motif to those who see them. Most Oriental rugs are made from silk, wool or cotton. While some machine-constructed rugs may be referred to as Oriental, only the handcrafted versions of these floor coverings are considered highly valuable and prized as adornments for homes and offices.
Counting the KnotsProfessional rug appraisers use the number of knots per inch in your Oriental rug to estimate its value. Quality rugs typically feature knot counts of between 16 and 550 knots per inch. Oriental rugs with higher knot counts typically require much more work on the part of the artisans who create these practical works of art and can command much higher prices on the market.
Different Patterns for Different RegionsOne of the most accurate ways of identifying the provenance of an Oriental rug is by examining the motifs and patterns included in its design. Different regions traditionally use classic patterns to communicate various ideas:
- Lilies represent spirituality and purity in Persian carpets; tulip patterns, by contrast, are intended to signify prosperity and wealth.
- In Chinese rugs featuring dragons, the number of claws displayed can provide valuable clues as to the value and provenance of these items. Five-clawed dragons are strongly associated with the ruling class in China and were reserved for the emperor only beginning with the Ming dynasty. Four-clawed dragons represented the nobility, while the original three-clawed dragons were used by all other classes in the Chinese hierarchy. Rugs made after 1912, however, were not subject to these rules.
- Lamps are representative of youth and renewal and were often incorporated in Indian designs intended for newlyweds or wedding presents.