There are many terms specific to the rug and carpet industry. Sometimes it can be confusing to understand what they mean in plain English. We have listed many common terms below, and with their definitions. We hope you find this list helpful! If you’d like to suggest any additional terms, contact us!
ABRASH: Ac change in color in the field and border due to differences in wool or dye batches. The color change extends across the rug, weft wise. Abrash is more likely to occur at the top of the rug, as beginning yarn batches are used up, than at the bottom of a rug.
ANTIQUE WASH: The application of chemicals to a rug to soften colors and simulate the appearance of an old rug.
ARABIC NUMBERS: Dates are sometimes woven into rugs using Arabic calligraphy.
ASYMMETRIC KNOT: The Persian (Farsibaff)or Senneh knot. This knot may be open to the right or to the left.
AUDIENCE RUG, TRICLINIUM: In certain Islamic countries it was customary in important dwellings to arrange rugs in the main chamber as shown.
BORDER: A design around the edge of a rug and enclosing the field. The border usually includes a wide band of repeating design called the main border.
BOTEH: A pear-shaped figure often used in oriental rug designs. It has been thought to represent a leaf, a bush, or a pinecone. The boteh figures are characteristic of the Paisley pattern.
CHEMICAL WASH: The application of chemicals (Sometimes lime, chlorine compounds, or wood ash) to a rug to soften colors, soften the wool, and increase the sheen of the pile. Harsh chemical washes are cited as the cause of weakened or embrittled fibers in some old rugs.
CHROME DYES: A group of modern synthetic dyes that are used with a mordant of potassium dichromate. These dyes are fast and non-fugitive.
DECORATIVE RUGS: Contemporary hand-made, knotted pile, or flat woven rugs woven in factories from cartoons. Most of these rugs are designed for the Western market and produced for export. The term may also describe some older, large commercial carpets such as those known as Heriz, Serapi, Mahal, or Agra.
DHURRIE, DURRIE: A flat woven carpet of India, usually made of cotton.
DURRIE: An alternate spelling of DHURRIE.
DOUBLE-FACED: A rare type of Persian pile rug that has been woven with pile surfaces on both sides, each side presenting a different design. These tugs are reversible. They are noted as rare and novel demonstrations of the weaver’s technical skill rather than as beautiful or artistic productions. Some early ry rugs were knotted on both sides. Double knotting may also refer to the jufti “double” knot.
DOUBLE-KNOTTED: Another name for double-faced.
GABBEH, GABA, GABEH: Coarsely woven rugs from southwestern Iran, sometimes made of undyed wool.
GARDEN CARPET: A design originally thought to represent the layout of a Persian garden with flower beds and streams. The term now refers to any rug that includes rectangular compartments, each containing some floral or botanic motif.
GOLD WASHING: The process of bleaching red rugs to produce shades of yellow.
HERATI PATTERN: A design, usually repeated, consisting of a flower centered in a diamond with curving lanceolate leaves located outside the diamond a parallel to each side.
JUTE: A fiber from the stem of the plant Corchorus capsularis. Jute has been used in the pile of rugs from India.
ORIENTAL RUG: An indefinite term. Originally, this term applied only to hand-knotted pile rugs woven in the Near East and Asia. In current usage, the term includes all hand-knotted pile weaves used as rugs, regardless of origin, as well as many of the flatwoven rugs of the Near East and Asia. “Persian rug” is sometimes used incorrectly as a synonym.
OVERDYEING: The use of two different natural dyes on the same fiber to achieve some other color. The most common example is blue overdyed with yellow to produce green. Other examples are red overdyed with yellow to produce orange and dark brown overdyed with dark blue to produce black.
PRAYER RUGS: A rug with a representation of a mihrab or payer niche. Columns may be shown supporting the arch and a lamp may be shown hanging from the apex of the arch. A double prayer rug is one showing a niche at either end as a mirror image.
PUSHTI: A Persian mat or pillow about 3×2 feet (Ix0.6 m.).
RUNNER: Any long, narrow rug, generally less than 3 ½ feet in width.
SADDLE BAGS: Two bags or pouches connected so that they can be thrown over the back of a horse or donkey. The outside faces may be piled while the inside faces are flatwoven, Typically, a pair of bags is about 2×4 feet (0.6xI.2m.). Often only one bag face surface survives.
SALT BAG: A bag of distinctive shape that may have a pile face. It is used to store salt or grain.
SHAG RUG: Any rug with long, shaggy tufts. More formally, a rug with a pile at least ¾ inch (2 cm.) in length.
SHED: The opening formed through the warps when alternate warps were raised to permit the shuttle and weft to pass through the warps. There is one shed for each set of warps, depending on whether even-or odd-numbered warps are raised.
TRICLINIUM, AUDIENCE RUG: In certain Islamic countries it was customary in important dwellings to arrange rugs in the main chamber as shown.
TUFTED RUGS: Rugs of wool or synthetic yarns inserted by hand or machine in a cotton backing and then clipped. The back of the rug is coated with latex to lock the yarn in place and additional fabric backing is provided. Such rugs are commercially produced in China and the Philippines.
UNDERLAY, PADDING: Material placed under a carpet or rug to protect it from fiction with the floor and to provide resiliency and insulation. Common underlays are made of jute or hair (felted), urethane (bonded scrap or unbonded), and rubber waffle. Special underlays are manufactured to prevent area rugs from slipping over wall-to-wall carpeting. Quality or underlay may be measured in weight per unit area.
WASHING: Rugs may be washed in chemical solutions to soften (Bleach) colors and to increase the luster of fibers.