For centuries, the Pazyryk rugshave been retained in Russia's Hermitage Museum as a testimony to its quality. They have been much sought after through the centuries. We know from inventories that Henry VIII owned several hundred rugs, some of which are depicted in his many portraits.
A good quality rug should last for generations and should be considered as an investment for the future, instead of a ‘use and discard’ item. There is quite a choice out there in terms of price, quality, and material. Now the question is, how do you determine the quality of a carpet?
Here are a few quick pointers to assist you:
Hand-knotted Vs Tufted Vs Machine made
Before we move to the knotting etc, it is important to identify if a carpet is hand-knotted (each knot tied by hand on the foundation), tufted (made by sticking the fibre to a base using a machine), or machine-made (stitched on a power loom). The price and age for the 3 differ significantly, hand-knotted being the costliest and one that will usually last the longest.
Understand your knots, threads, and warps
The more knots in a rug, the higher quality it is.
Knots determine density and durability; a high knot rug is long-lasting as it is made from tightly-woven threads. It can withstand foot traffic without incurring some form of wear or tear as early as the others.
You should also check the rug's pile by wiggling your finger on top of it. Denser the better as it will not wear off easily.
A rug can reveal much about its history
Most carpets and rugs can be classified by how they were woven - hand or a small loom produced by a wandering tribe, part of a cottage industry in a village, or created by a professional or workshop.
Vintage rugs and carpets were woven during the mid-20th century until the 1970s.
Antique rugs – classified as over 80 years old, were woven in cities, towns or villages. The designs of these carpets display distinct histories and traditions. The quality here is well varied based on the raw material and vegetable dyes used. City carpets were more often woven for nobility or commissioned and commanded a much higher value.
Rugs of modern times were woven in settled environments, the looms tended to be erected within the home and the rugs were woven with a drawn design.
Natural dye, rich color
Around 1860, synthetic dyes were introduced. So, many collectors do not prefer having rugs woven after that date because the colors and details of natural dyes are not present.
It is possible to tell if a rug has been dyed naturally by the color changes within certain colour-forming visible bands called abrasions. The reason for this is that each batch of colored fabric has a different saturation level.
Pay heed to the extent of rug refurbishment
Antique rugs require care and attention, as with any piece of art.
Rugs that have been refurbished to a high standard can look and perform better, but ensure that they aren’t overly restored. A well-maintained antique carpet, however, can last for several more years.
Rug storage best practices
To store rugs, roll them inward from the bottom. It is best to roll rugs so that the pile faces the outside when storing it, to have a well-maintained foundation.
The Carpet Cellar is a renowned curator of carpets and rugs of a wide variety. Our timeless pieces of carpets narrate a story of specific historical art and culture. We offer certified antique carpets, modern designs, kilims, durries, and much more.
For top-quality rugs and other hand-knotted marvels, get in touch with us Today.