Geographically, oriental rugs are made in an area referred to as the “Rug Belt”, which stretches from Morocco across North Africa, the Middle East, and into Central Asia and northern India.It includes countries such as northern China, Tibet, Turkey, Iran, the Maghreb in the west, the Caucasus in the north, and India and Pakistan in the south.People from different cultures, countries, racial groups and religious faiths are involved in the production of oriental rugs.
An oriental rug is a heavy textile, made for a wide variety of utilitarian and symbolic purpose, produced in “Oriental countries” for home use, local sale, and export.
Oriental carpets can be pile woven or flat woven without pile, using various materials such as silk, wool, and cotton.
Examples range in size from pillow to large, room-sized carpets, and include carrier bags, floor coverings, decorations for animals, Islamic prayer rugs (sajjadah), Jewish Torah ark covers (parochet), and Christian altar covers.
Since the High Middle Ages, oriental rugs have been an integral part of their cultures of origin, as well as of the European and, later on, the North American culture.
The technique of weaving carpets further developed into a technique known as extra-weft wrapping weaving, a technique which produces soumak, and loop woven textiles.
Loop weaving is done by pulling the weft strings over a gauge rod, creating loops of thread facing the weaver.
The rod is then either removed, leaving the loops closed, or the loops are cut over the protecting rod, resulting in a rug very similar to a genuine pile rug.
There is little archaeological evidence to support any theory about the origin of the pile-woven carpet.
The earliest surviving carpet fragments are spread over a wide geographic area, and a long time span.
Woven rugs probably developed from earlier floor coverings, made of felt, or a technique known as “extra-weft wrapping”.
Flat-woven rugs are made by tightly interweaving the warp and weft strands of the weave to produce a flat surface with no pile.