A few classifications—Oriental, European handwoven, Brussels, Wilton, velvet, Axminster, chenille, ingrain, rag, hooked, straw, and fiber—embrace the entire range of carpets, both antique and modern.
To the first class belong not only the genuine antique Orientals, made through the 19th cent. and now comparatively rare, but also the modern reproductions. The materials are dyed either with traditional vegetable dyes or modern (and less desirable) aniline dyes and then woven. Many modern Orientals are washed in chlorine solutions to give an effect of age or in glycerine to simulate the luster of fine wool. Commercial methods have somewhat standardized and debased the characteristic ancient patterns, but the modern Orientals are still commercially important. Moreover, some traditional Oriental rugs are still produced, incorporating the deep, rich color and intricate patterns of Persia, the brighter hues and conventionalized figures of Asian Turkey, the simpler designs and primitive colorings of Turkistan and the Caucasus, and the symbolic ornament of China.
A limited number of European handwoven carpets, both Aubussons (tapestry) and Savonneries (pile), are now made in most Western countries. Modern commercial carpets are woven on complex and highly specialized machines, a development from Bigelow's power loom. Brussels carpet has a warp and weft of linen, with a pile of worsted yarn drawn into loops by means of wires. It is called three-, four-, or five-frame, depending on the number of bobbins carrying different-colored warp threads, which make the pattern. Tapestry Brussels is an inexpensive single-frame sort, either yarn printed or piece printed.
Wilton is made on the same principle, except that the loops that form the pile are cut as they are woven into place. Velvet is an equivalent of tapestry Brussels with the pile cut. Axminster, similar in effect to Oriental, uses unlimited colors in design made on machines that loop the tufts, one color at a time, and then interlock the weft about them. Chenille, or chenille Axminster, is made in two stages. First the chenille thread, or fur, as it is called, is made, then it is folded and ironed so that the woolen fibers are like a fringe along a cotton or linen chain. This fur is then woven into a strong backing of linen with the nap on the surface.
Ingrain, no longer widely used, is a plain-weave fabric, of two- or three-ply woolen weft on a concealed cotton warp. Rag carpets, made of used rags sewn together for warp, were first woven on household looms; they became commercially important in the latter part of the 19th cent. Hooked rugs are made of narrow strips of woolen cloth drawn by a pointed hook through a canvas foundation on which a design is indicated.
Carpets were formerly woven to protect the body from cold, to be spread on a dais or before a seat of honor, to cover a table, couch, or wall, or to form the curtains of a tent. There is evidence of the existence of handwoven carpets in antiquity. On the rock tombs of Beni Hassan, Egypt, c.2500 B.C., men are depicted with the implements of rug weaving. Other evidence of the early use of rugs is seen in the drawings on the ancient palace walls of Nineveh.
In the mountainous regions of the East stretching from Turkey through Persia and Central Asia into China, where the fleece of the sheep and the hair of the camel and goat grow long and fine, the art of carpet-weaving reached its height early in the 16th cent. The artisan worked on a handloom consisting essentially of two horizontal beams on which the warp (the vertical threads) was stretched; on the lower one the finished carpet was rolled while the warp unrolled from the upper one. The yarn for the pile, spun and dyed by hand, was cut in lengths of about 2 in. (5.1 cm) and knotted about the warp threads, one tuft at a time, after one of the two established ways of tying—the Ghiordes, or Turkish, knot and the Senna, or Persian, knot.
After a row of knots had been placed across the width of the loom, two or more weft, or horizontal, threads of cotton or flax were woven in and beaten into place with a heavy beater, or comb. The tufts, or pile, thus appeared only on the face of the fabric, which when completed was sheared to perfect smoothness. Although the hair of the camel and the goat was used in the weaving of Oriental rugs, the wool of the sheep was the essential component. Beautiful silk rugs interwoven with gold thread were also made in the 16th and 17th cent. To some degree, the quality of a carpet depends on the materials used and the number of knots per square inch of surface, which may vary from 40 to 1,000. Also produced in these regions are the geometrically patterned and flat woven rugs known as kilims.
In 1608, King Henry IV of France established weavers in the Louvre. About 20 years later an old soap works, the Savonnerie, near Paris, was converted to carpet weaving, and its name remains attached to one of the finest types of handmade carpet, now made at the Gobelin tapestry factory. Tapestries for walls and floors were made at Aubusson at an early date.
In 1685 the revocation of the Edict of Nantes scattered skilled Protestant carpetmakers over Europe. Centers of weaving were established in England, first at Kidderminster (1735) and later at Wilton and Axminster. Cheaper, more easily manufactured floor covering soon came into demand, and the making of ingrain, or reversible, carpets began at Kidderminster. The weavers of Flanders had made a loom that produced a pile by looping the worsted warp threads, and this loom, although guarded, was copied by a Kidderminster weaver; soon many looms in England were making Brussels carpet. Axminster was England's headquarters for imitation Oriental, or tufted-pile, carpet.
Until about 1840 all carpets were made on handlooms with such devices and improvements as could be operated by hand or foot power; then Erastus Bigelow's power loom (first used in 1841), which made it possible for carpets to be mass produced, revolutionized the industry. Although handmade rugs are still produced in some countries, e.g., Turkey, carpet manufacturing has become a highly mechanized industry, notably in the United States, Great Britain, Canada, Belgium, and Japan.
In North America the Navajos and other tribes have for generations produced substantial rugs without pile, woven somewhat in the manner of tapestry on simple handlooms. In the palaces of Montezuma remarkable floor coverings were found that utilized the plumage of birds. The primitive use of rushes or straw has survived in the form of Chinese and Japanese mattings.
See W. von Bode and E. Kühnel, Antique Rugs from the Near East (tr. of 4th rev. ed. 1970); G. Robinson, Carpets and Other Textile Floorcoverings (2d rev. ed. 1972); J. Moshimer, The Complete Rug Hooker (1975); E. Gans-Ruedin, The Splendor of Persian Carpets (1978).
A carpet is any loom-woven, felted textile or grass floor covering. The term was also used for table and wall coverings, as carpets were not commonly used on the floor in European interiors until the 18th century. The hand-knotted pile carpet probably originated in Central Asia between the 3rd and 2nd millennium BC. Carpet-making was introduced to Spain in 10th century by the Moors. The Crusades brought Turkish carpets to all of Europe, where they were primarily hung on walls or used on tables. Only with the opening of trade routes in the 17th century were significant numbers of Persian rugs introduced to Western Europe.
A hooked rug is a simple type of rug handmade by pulling strips of cloth such as wool or cotton through the meshes of a sturdy fabric such as burlap. This type of rug is now generally made as a handicraft.
On a knotted pile carpet (formally, a supplementary weft cut-loop pile carpet), the structural weft threads alternate with a supplementary weft that rises at right angles to the surface of the weave. This supplementary weft is attached to the warp by one of three knot types (see below) to form the pile or nap of the carpet.
The warp threads are set up on the frame of the loom before weaving begins. A number of weavers may work together on the same carpet. A row of knots is completed and cut. The knots are secured with (usually 1 to 4) rows of weft.
There are several styles of knotting, but the two main types of knot are the symmetrical (also called Turkish or Ghiordes) and asymmetrical (also called Persian or Senna).
The importance of carpets in the culture of Turkmenistan is such that the national flag features a vertical red stripe near the hoist side, containing five carpet guls (designs used in producing rugs).
Child labour has often been used in Asia. The Rugmark labelling scheme used throughout Europe and North America assures that child labour has not been used: importers pay for the labels, and the revenue collected is used to monitor centres of production and educate previously exploited children.
Wool and wool blended with synthetic fibers: Wool has excellent durability, can be dyed easily and is fairly abundant. When blended with synthetic fibers such as nylon the durability of wool is increased. Blended wool yarns are extensively used in production of modern carpet. Wool is relatively expensive.
Nylon: This is the most popular synthetic fiber used in carpet production. Nylon can be dyed topically or dyed in a molten state (solution dying). Nylon can be printed easily and has excellent wear characteristics. In carpets Nylon tends to stain easily because it possesses dye sites on the fiber. These dye sites need to be filled in order to give Nylon any type of stain resistance. As nylon is petroleum-based it varies in price with the price of oil.
Polypropylene: This polymer is used to produce carpet yarns because it is cheap, although it is difficult to dye and does not wear as well as wool or nylon. Large looped Berber carpets made from this fiber are usually only suited for light domestic use and tend to mat down quickly. Berber carpets with smaller loops tend to be more resilient and retain their new appearance longer than large looped Berber styles. Commercial grade level-loop carpets have very small loops, and commercial grade cut-pile styles are well constructed. When made with polypropylene (also called Olefin) these styles wear very well, clean easily and are suitable for areas with heavy foot traffic such as offices. Commercial grade carpets can be glued directly to the floor or installed over a 1/4" thick, 8-pound density padding. Outdoor grass carpets are usually made from polypropylene.
Polyester: Polyester Also known as "PET" is used in carpet manufacturing in both spun and filament constructions. After the price of raw materials for many types of carpet rose in the early 2000s, polyester became more competitive. Polyester has good physical properties and is inherently stain-resistant because it is hydrophobic, and, unlike nylon, does not have dye sites. Color is infused in a molten state (solution dyeing). Polyester has the disadvantage that it tends to crush or mat down easily. It is typically used in mid- to low-priced carpeting.
PTT: PTT (Polytrimethylene terephthalate) polymer, also called Sorona or 3GT (Dupont)or Corterra (Shell), is a variant of Polyester. Lurgi Zimmer PTT was first patented in 1941, but it was not produced until the 1990s, when Shell Chemicals developed the low-cost method of producing high-quality 1,3 propanediol (PDO), the starting raw material for PTT Corterra Polymers. PTT is similar to Polyester, but its molecules have a "kink", similar to a spring, that makes the fiber more crush resistant, resilient, and easy to clean. PTT also does not have dye sites, and is inherently stain resistant because color is infused in a molten state. Carpets made with PTT dry quickly and are resistant to mold.
The binding in woven carpet is usually cotton. and the weft is jute.
The hand-knotted pile carpet probably originated in southern Central Asia between the 3rd and 2nd millennium BCE.
The earliest surviving pile carpet in the world is called the "Pazyryk Carpet", dating from the 5th-4th century BCE. It was excavated by Sergei Ivanovich Rudenko in 1949 from a Siberian burial ground where it had been preserved in ice in the valley of Pazyryk. The origin of this carpet is attributed to either the Siberian Turkic groups, Scythians or the Persian Achaemenids. This carpet is 200 x 183 cm (6'6" x 6'0") and has 360,000 knots/m².
The earliest group of surviving knotted pile carpets was produced under Seljuk rule in the first half of the 13th century on the Anatolian peninsula. The eighteen extant works are often referred to as the Konya Carpets. The central field of these large carpets is a repeated geometrical pattern. The borders are ornamented with a large-scale, stylized, angular calligraphy called Kufic, pseudo-Kufic, or Kufesque.
The geographical regions where Turks have lived throughout the centuries lie in the temperate zone. Temperature fluctuations between day and night, summer and winter may vary greatly. Turks-nomadicor pastoral, agrarian or town-dwellers, living in tents or in sumptuous houses in large cities-have protected themselves from the extremes of the cold weather by covering the floors, and sometimes walls and doorways, with carpets. The carpets are always hand made of wool or sometimes cotton, with occasional additions of silk. These carpets are natural barriers against the cold. The flat woven kilims which are frequently embroidered are used as blankets, curtains, and covers over sofas or as cushion covers.
In general, Turks take their shoes off upon entering a house. Thus, the dust and dirt of the outdoors are not tracked inside.The floor coverings remain clean, and the inhabitants of the house, if need be, can comfortably rest on the floor. In the traditional households, women and girls take up carpet and kilim weaving as a hobby as well as a means of earning money. Even technological advances which promoted factory-made carpets could not hamper the production of rug weaving at cottage-industry level. Although synthetic dyes have been in use for the last 150 years, hand made carpets are still considered far superior to industrial carpeting.
Turkish carpets are among the most sought after household items all over the world. Their rich colors, warm tones, and extraordinary patterns with traditional motifs have contributed to the status that Turkish carpets have maintained since the 13th century. Marco Polo, who traveled through Anatolia in the late 13th century, commented on the beauty and artistry of the carpets. A number of carpets from this period, known as the Seljuk carpets, were discovered in several mosques in central Anatolia. These were under many layers of subsequently placed carpets. The Seljuk carpets are today in the museums in Konya and Istanbul. It is very exciting to imagine that we may be looking at the very same carpets that Marco Polo praised in the year 1272.
Turkish carpets in the 15th and 16th centuries are best known through European paintings. For example, in the works of Lotto (15th century Italian painter) and Holbein (16th century Germanpainter), Turkish carpets are seen under the feet of the Virgin Mary, or in secular paintings, on tables. In the 17th century, when the Netherlands became a powerful mercantile country, Turkish carpets graced many Dutch homes. The Dutch painter Vermeer represented Turkish carpets predominantly to indicate the high economic and social status of the persons in his paintings. Turkey carpets, as they were known, were too valuable to be put on floors, except under the feet of the Holy Mother and royalty.
Anyone who enters a mosque has to take off his/her shoes. The mosque is the common house of a Muslim community, therefore, shoes are cast off before the door. Moreover, the ritual of prayer requires the faithful to kneel and touch the ground with one s forehead in humility before God. There are no chairs or benches in a mosque, only carpets. A Turkish mosque is often covered from wall to wall with several layers of carpets.
The Turkish carpets have exuberant colors, motifs, and patterns. No two carpets are the same; each one is a creation from a new. Because traditionally women have woven the carpets, this is one art form that is rarely appreciated as being the work of a known or a specific artist. Nevertheless, the Turkish women silently continue to create some of the most stunning examples of works of art to be distributed all over Turkey and the world.
The Persian carpet is an essential part of Persian (Iranian) art and culture. Carpet-weaving is one of the most distinguished manifestations of Persian culture and art, and dates back to the Bronze Age.
The earliest surviving corpus of Persian carpets come from the Safavid dynasty (1501-1736) in the 16th century. However, painted depictions prove a longer history of production. There is much variety among classical Persian carpets of the 16th and 17th century. Common motifs include scrolling vine networks, arabesques, palmettes, cloud bands, medallions, and overlapping geometric compartments rather than animals and humans. This is because Islam, the dominant religion in that part of the world, forbids their depiction. Still, some show figures engaged either in the hunt or feasting scenes. The majority of these carpets are wool, but several silk examples produced in Kashan survive.
The art of weaving developed in the region comprising Pakistan at a time when few other civilizations employed it. Excavations at Moenjodaro and Harappa - ancient cities of the Indus Valley civilization - have established that the inhabitants used spindles and spun a wide variety of weaving materials. Some historians consider that the Indus Valley civilization first developed the use of woven textiles.
Carpet weaving may have been introduced into the area of present-day Pakistan as far back as the eleventh century with the coming of the first Muslim conquerors, the Ghaznavids and the Ghauris, from the West. It can with more certainty be traced to the beginning of the Mughal Dynasty in the early sixteenth century, when the last successor of Timur, Babar, extended his rule from Kabul to India to found the Mughal Empire. Under the patronage of the Mughals, Indian craftsmen adopted Persian techniques and designs. Carpets woven in the Punjab at that time (often called Lahore carpets today) made use of motifs and decorative styles found in Mughal architecture.
During the Mughal period, the carpets made on the Indian subcontinent became so famous that demand for them spread abroad. These carpets had distinctive designs and boasted a high density of knots. Carpets made for the Mughal emperors, including Jahangir and Shah Jahan, were of the finest quality. Under Shah Jahan's reign, Mughal carpet weaving took on a new aesthetic and entered its classical phase.
At present, hand-knotted carpets are among Pakistan's leading export products and their manufacture is the second largest cottage and small industry. Pakistani craftsmen have the capacity to produce any type of carpet using all the popular motifs of gulls, medallions, paisleys, traceries, and geometric designs in various combinations.
Oriental carpets began to appear in Europe after the Crusades in the 11th century. Until the mid-18th century they were mostly used on walls and tables. Except in royal or ecclesiastical settings they were considered too precious to cover the floor. Starting in the 13th century Oriental carpets begin to appear in paintings (notably from Italy, Flanders, England, France, and the Netherlands). Carpets of Indo-Persian design were introduced to Europe via the Dutch, British, and French East India Companies of the 17th and 18th century.
Although isolated instances of carpet production pre-date the Muslim invasion of Spain, the Hispano-Moresque examples are the earliest significant body of European-made carpets. Documentary evidence shows production beginning in Spain as early as the 10th century AD. The earliest extant Spanish carpet, the so-called Synagogue carpet, is a unique survival dated to the 14th century. The earliest group of Hispano-Moresque carpets, Admiral carpets (also know as armorial carpets), has an all-over geometric, repeat pattern punctuated by blazons of noble, Christian Spanish families. The variety of this design was analyzed most thoroughly by May Beattie. Many of the 15th-century, Spanish carpets rely heavily on designs originally developed on the Anatolian Peninsula. Carpet production continued after the Reconquest of Spain and eventual expulsion of the Muslim population in the 15th century. 16th-century Renaissance Spanish carpet design is a derivative of silk textile design. Two of the most popular motifs are wreaths and pomegranates.
In 1608 Henry IV initiated the French production of "Turkish style" carpets under the direction of Pierre Dupont. This production was soon moved to the Savonnerie factory in Chaillot just west of Paris. The earliest, well-known group produced by the Savonnerie, then under the direction of Simon Lourdet, are the carpets that were produced in the early years of Louis XIV's reign. They are densely ornamented with flowers, sometimes in vases or baskets, against dark blue or brown grounds in deep borders. The designs are based on Netherlandish and Flemish textiles and paintings. The most famous Savonnerie carpets are the series made for the Grande Galerie and the Galerie d'Apollon in the Palais du Louvre between c. 1665-1685. These 105 masterpieces, made under the artistic direction of Charles Le Brun, were never installed, as Louis XIV moved the court to Versailles in 1688. Their design combines rich acanthus leaves, architectural framing, and mythological scenes (inspired by Cesare Ripa's Iconologie) with emblems of Louis XIV's royal power.
Pierre-Josse Perrot is the best-known of the mid-eighteenth-century carpet designers. His many surviving works and drawings display graceful rococo s-scrolls, central rosettes, shells, acanthus leaves, and floral swags. The Savonnerie manufactory was moved to the Gobelins in Paris in 1826.
The Beauvais manufactory, better known for their tapestry, also made knotted pile carpets from 1780 to 1792. Carpet production in small, privately owned workshops in the town of Aubusson began in 1743. Carpets produced in France employ the symmetrical knot.
Knotted pile carpet weaving technology probably came to England in the early 16th century with Flemish Calvinists fleeing religious persecution. Because many of these weavers settled in South-eastern England in Norwich the 14 extant 16th and 17th century carpets are sometimes referred to as "Norwich carpets." These works are either adaptations of Anatolian or Indo-Persian designs or employ Elizabethan-Jacobean scrolling vines and blossoms. All but one are dated or bear a coat of arms. Like the French, English weavers used the symmetrical knot. There are documented and surviving examples of carpets from three 18th-century manufactories: Exeter (1756-1761, owned by Claude Passavant, 3 extant carpets), Moorfields (1752-1806, owned by Thomas Moore, 5 extant carpets), and Axminster (1755-1835, owned by Thomas Whitty, numerous extant carpets). Exeter and Moorfields were both staffed with renegade weavers from the French Savonnerie and, therefore, employ the weaving structure of that factory and Perrot-inspired designs. Neoclassical designer Robert Adam supplied designs for both Moorfields and Axminster carpets based on Roman floor mosaics and coffered ceilings. Some of the most well-known rugs of his design were made for Syon House, Osterley Park House, Harewood House, Saltram House, and Newby Hall. Six of Axminster carpets are known as the "Lansdowne" group. These have a tripartite design with reeded circles and baskets of flowers in the central panel flanked by diamond lozenges in the side panels. Axminster Rococo designs often have a brown ground and include birds copied from popular, contemporary engravings. Carpets will forever be associated with the town of Kidderminster in Worcestershire, United Kingdom. This was the heart of the UK carpet industry throughout the industrial revolution. Even now, a large percentage of the 55,000 population town still seek employment in this industry.
Carpeting is an attached floor covering made of a heavy, thick fabric, usually woven or felted, often wool, but also cotton, hemp, straw, or a synthetic counterpart. Polypropylene, commonly called Olefin, a very common pile yarn, as is nylon. It is typically knotted or glued to a base weave. It is made in breadths of 12 or 15 feet (2m, 3 m or 4 m outside the USA) to be cut, seamed with a seaming iron and seam tape (formerly it was sewn together) and affixed to a floor over a cushioned underlay (pad) using nails, tack strips (known in the UK as carpet rods or stair rods, when used on stairs), (gripper) or adhesives, thus distinguishing it from a rug or mat which are loose-laid floor coverings. For environmental reasons, the use of organic wool, natural bindings, natural padding, and formaldehyde-free glues is becoming more common. These options are almost always at a premium cost, though with no sacrifice to performance.
In the UK carpets are still manufactured for Pubs & Clubs in a narrow width of 27" (0.69m) and is then sewn to size. Carpeting which covers an entire room area is loosely referred to as 'wall-to-wall,' but carpet can be installed over any portion thereof with use of appropriate transition moldings where the carpet meets other types of floor coverings. Carpeting is more than just a single item; it is, in fact, a system comprising the carpet itself, the carpet backing (often made of latex), the cushion, and a method of installation. 'Carpet tiles' are squares of carpet, typically 0.5 m square, that is melted into high-density vinyl that can be used to cover a floor. They are usually only used in commercial settings and are affixed using a special pressure sensitive glue, which holds it into place while allowing easy removal.(in an office environment, for example) or to allow rearrangement in order to spread wear.
Modern carpeting is often attached to the floor (or stairways) of a building and, when considered permanently attached, would be part of the real property which includes the building.