The terms Persian and Oriental rugs are often used interchangeably, but this isn’t always appropriate. Persian rugs can be classified in a wider category known as Oriental rugs as they are created in Asia. However, true Persian rugs are crafted only in Iran, formerly known as Persia, and are quite different in construction from Oriental artworks.
The designs and motifs present in Persian rugs often depict their city of origin. They typically feature all-over patterns, central medallions on one side and are usually symmetrical. However, Oriental rugs feature curvilinear designs with motifs of flora and fauna. Some rug designs may show landscapes like lakes, mountains, and fields. Design colours also differ, with Persian rugs boasting warm tones, while Oriental rugs use contrasting colours which emphasise texture.
While both rug types are hand-knotted using looms, Persian rugs have higher knot counts and feature asymmetrical Senneh knots. In contrast, Oriental rugs feature denser piles and smaller knots tied in Ghiordes knots which are symmetrical.
These two rug types share common materials but differ slightly. Sheep wool is common in Persian rugs, as is kork wool from Rayen goats and camel hair, which are often combined with cotton elements. Oriental carpets are woven using wool but also silk, wool and often have a higher cotton concentration.
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