There isn’t any question about the wonder of Oriental carpets. Achieving this beauty with the use of design and color can only be described as an art form. The truth is this art form dates back to the 15th century. With Oriental rugs the use of color and design often creates a work of art that is quite different than what one might have expected. It may seem that this is an unplanned effect but in actuality Oriental rugs are in fact an art form that is very determined by symmetrical patterns and designs and the repetition of these patterns.

Traditional Oriental rugs date back to the 15th and 16th centuries at the time traditional weaving occurred throughout Asia, China, India, Turkey, and Iran. There was even some weaving that took place in Egypt and Spain. After some time, different regions around the globe developed their own distinctive designs and styles in their rug making. These styles and designs were a consequence of the materials that were available, the types of dyes available, and the culture and beliefs of the carpet weaver. Rug making not only made a functional item it was and still is regarded as an art form.

The art form of oriental rugs comes with several different elements including mathematics, Islamic art, and spirituality. Patterns utilized in Oriental rugs are not just a whim but rather in accordance with the beauty of numbers and the divine origin of the Islamic doctrine which believes multiplicity is an expression of unity.  There is no question the beauty of these carpets is tied to creative talent and design but it is also very dependent upon the quality of the yarn that is used to make the rugs. The rugs are a combination of knots, rows, and wefts which are part and parcel of the weaving process.

After the weaving is finished the pile yarn is visible on the surface of the carpet. It is in this pile that the design, pattern, and color can be found. So despite the fact that an Oriental carpet is two dimensional in appearance it is in fact three dimensional in structure. There are two types of rug knots that are widely used. The Turkish or Ghiordes knot and the Persian or Senneh knot are the two most popular knot forms used. Due to the fact that all Oriental rugs are based upon sequence of knots being repeated these two knots can be found in many handmade Oriental rugs.

The repetition of the knots coupled with color and design produce the traditional patterns that most of us are familiar with. The pattern consists of a three characteristics – the unit, repetition, and organization of a system.  For the Oriental design to work it has to have symmetry that enables the pattern to have meaning through change and invariance. By varying with the pattern where symmetry is anticipated repeating patterns can be transformed into wonderful artworks.

Oriental weaving uses four fundamental symmetries in repetition to form its patterns. These symmetries are due to how the knots are initiated. This symmetry in design is completed using border patterns. There are 7 different combinations that are employed in Oriental rugs. Field patterns are then combined with the symmetrical repetitions to form the two dimensional patterns that we have an understanding of on Oriental rugs. You will find 17 different systems that can be grouped to form the appropriate patterns.

The Four Oriental carpets are a complex art form which has been practiced for thousands of years. The beauty we have all come to enjoy and value is really greater than skin deep.

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