A genuine handmade rug is an intricate complex work of art mostly because a lot of detail goes into its creation. The most intriguing aspect about handmade rugs is that they reflect the advanced skills of craftsmen that are passed on through generations of perfecting the art of weaving. Moreover, the rugs reflect the culture of the region where they are made. Even the patterns you find in a handmade rug are not by chance; they represent different characteristics of the natural world or human nature. Isn’t it amazing how a rug serves many purposes?

The various types of handmade rugs include:

  • Flat weave
  • Hand-tufted
  • Knotted

Historical Background Of Handmade Rugs

The art of handmade rugs dates back for centuries and the process, for the most part, has remained unchanged over the years.  While the exact origins are still unknown, some of the earliest rugs that were discovered were made several thousand years ago in the Central Asian Plains. Nomads first made them to cover their animals before they were used as a blanket or to cover the floor.

Originally, handmade oriental rugs were fabricated manually on a simple loom, and the material of choice included sheep’s wool. In later centuries, weavers opted for the less expensive alternatives such as cotton, flax and synthetics. For the more expensive wall rugs or tapestries, they used silk. 

Geographical Origins of Traditional Handmade Rugs

The name given to a handmade carpet commonly bears the name of the place and/or ethnic group where it came from. A weaver captures this identity through the traditional motifs and colorings used in the rug design. The most well-known and mentioned styles include:

  • Caucasian—handmade rugs, from the southern, eastern, and northern areas of this famous mountain range, consisting of geometrical patterns, curvilinear animal figures and various patterns
  • European—handmade rugs, such as Oriental and Indo-Persian, that made their way into the continent after the Crusades and centuries later, by trading with Dutch, British, and French East India Companies.
  • North African—originated in Morocco, Tunisia, and Egypt and characterized by geometrical patterns and bold colors
  • Persian—with weaving and dying techniques that have passed through the generations, this type of handmade rug boasts of floral elements and background colors that signify the many factors of life.

Meanings Behind the Colors & Motifs

Every stitch of a handmade rug tells a story on behalf of the weaver. Understanding this narrative involves deciphering the meanings of the symbols which, in turn, connects the rug’s recipient with the weaver’s story, community and society.

For example, some of the most depicted symbols used in Moroccan rugs include:

  • Bird - said to carry baraka, a sort of divine power believed to bring good luck
  • Checkerboard - refers to dizzy spells and celestial experiences, maybe religious trances
  • Cock - urges prayer and announces sunrise
  • Crab or Spider- the overlapping X figures with eight “legs” meant to ward off evil

Regarding Persian rugs, weavers will incorporate the following illustrations into their designs:

  • Eagle in flight - good fortune
  • Leopard - bravery
  • Cypress tree - life after death

As you can see, every thread, color, and illustration are woven into a handmade rug to convey a story or a meaningful message. 

Getting a rug that captures history, culture, origin and traditional weaving techniques is not a simple task. They are rare, and you need the right expert to help you find an authentic handmade rug. Visit us at Sussex Homes where we have specialized in providing our clients with a wide array of handmade rugs to fit a variety of preferences.

Discover Our Handmade Collection of More Than 10000 Hand-Woven Unique Rugs!