Subtle woven colour variations resulting from the dyeing process. Abrash is sometimes considered an imperfection, but is also prized as a deliberate aesthetic. Some of the world’s most highly-prized rugs feature abrash prominently, and even machine-woven rugs have begun to emulate the effect. 

All-Over Pattern

These designs have no particular focus or central medallion, but feature a consistent pattern with a repeating motif.

Antique wash

A chemical wash procedure that simulates the aging process on new rugs for an antique feel.


The main features of Arabesque designs are intertwining flowers, branches and/or vines. 


The Iranian city of Ardabil is best known for the legendary pair of 16th century “Ardabil Carpets” which currently hang in London’s Victoria and Albert Museum and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Today, Ardabil is known for producing rugs with Azerbaijani knots, featuring lighter colours and octagonal medallions in their designs. 


Repeated square and diamond motifs, alongside fine floral detailing, often feature in rugs produced by the Baktiari nomadic group of central and south-western Iran. 


Hand-woven rugs produced by the Baluch people are typically smaller in size and feature geometric motifs and tribal designs. These typically originate from Baluchistan, a region near the Iran/Pakistan/Afghanistan border.


The extreme durability of rugs from the city of Bidjar have seen them renowned as the “Iron Rugs of Iran.”


A rug’s outer rim is known as the “border”, as opposed to the design in the middle (“field”) which it contains.


Named for the Farsi word for “flower”, a “boteh” is a design motif often compared to paisley.

Broken Branch Design

A border design that also crosses over and enters the field, giving the effect that it is not contained.

City Rugs

Rugs woven in an urban setting, often in specialised workshops, as opposed to those woven woven by tribal and nomadic groups.


Farsi classical term for a rug sized approximately 200cm x 135cm.


Dyes are a key element of the carpet manufacturing process. They can be either chemical-based for vivid colours, or vegetable-based for a more natural look.


Primarily settled in Turkmenistan, the Ersari tribes produce both urban and tribal-style rugs.


Farahan rugs are enduringly popular, featuring cotton foundation, wooden pile and natural dyes. The area of Iran they are named for is known as one of the nation's biggest centres of rug production.

Flat Weave

This weaving technique avoids knots by simply weaving weft strands through warp strands on a loom. Rugs resulting from this process are highly versatile and can be used for many purposes, including as prayer rugs or wall hangings.


Designed to prevent unravelling, a "fringe" effect is created when the warp threads on both sides of a rug are extended and specially treated.

Geometrical Design

Geometrical designs are among the most distinctive features of Persian rugs; linear, often symmetrical and based on a repeating motif of vertical, horizontal and diagonal lines. These unique patterns can often determine a rug’s age and tribe of origin.


An octagonal or angular medallion design feature, often repeated to form a larger pattern.


One of the oldest cities in the world, the Iranian regional capital of Hamadan is known for producing durable woollen rugs. These often feature vegetable dye-based colours and a single-wefted medallion central to the design.

Handmade Rug

Handmade rugs are either entirely hand-knotted or hand-tufted, generally from wool or other fine materials such as cotton or silk. They are considered superior to machine-made rugs in both lifespan and aesthetic quality.


Herati designs are very popular and have many variations, typically involving a flower centered in a diamond figure which is itself surrounded by curving leaves.


This Turkish city has been known for fine-weaving since the early days of the Ottoman Empire. Hereke rugs are considered highly collectible due to their clear patterns, precise double knots and unique colour combinations.


An Iranian village known for producing unique, sturdy rugs that feature oversized geometric medallions, often with “turtle-design” borders.


The name of this Iranian city is internationally synonymous with rugs of the very highest quality.


Rajasthan rugs, also known as Jaipur rugs, originate in the vicinity of the Indian city of Jaipur. They are typically woven with medium thick pile and allover patterns, often with prominent medallions.


All-over “lozenge” patterns and geometrical floral motifs characterise the signature rugs woven in this Iranian city.

Jufti Knot

Four wraps, instead of two, are involved in this simplified knotting technique.

Kazak Rug

Named for the Azerbaijani city, Kazak rugs feature large geometrical patterns in unusual designs, typically in dark red and blue.

Kilim (Kelim, Gelim, Gilim)

A flat, smooth rug with no pile and a pattern formed by wefts.

Khyber Pass

Forming a key section of the historic Silk Road trading route, the Khyber Pass mountains are a traditional means of passage between Pakistan and Afghanistan. 


Stands for ‘knots per square inch’-- a complex means of assessing the quality of a rug based on its reverse side, also known as “knot density.”


One of the urban centres of rug production in modern Pakistan.


A frame used for traditional rug-making by hand, in which warp and weft threads are interwoven.

Luri Rug

These unique rugs, produced on dark wool by a western Iranian nomadic group, feature bold hues of red and dramatic designs often featuring small repeating stars.


Asymmetrical knots and natural vegetable dye-based colours are the key features of durable tribal rugs originating from Mahal, in southwestern Iran.


A large enclosed design, sometimes repeated, that forms the centerpiece of many Persian rug designs.

Moroccan Rug

Rugs orginating from the African nation of Morocco are traditionally woven by untrained tribal people in an informal and naive yet accomplished style that sets them apart from the rest of the world.

Nepali Rug

These rugs are typically woven from the wool of the Tibetan highland sheep in a knotting method exclusive to the area. They can be used for many purposes, including as horse saddles.

Nomadic Rug

Rugs woven according to the traditional practices of nomadic tribes in nations such as Afghanistan and Iran, often using designs and styles that have been passed down through many generations.

Pakistani Rug

Pakistani rugs were preeminent in the industry for many years, often hand-woven with vegetable dyes in the Bokhara or elephant’s foot pattern.

Pictorial Rug

Works of art that depict particular people, places or historical events in the form of hand-woven rug designs. They are intended for ornamental display, particularly as wall hangings.


Carpet surface formed by knots, which are cut and tied onto the foundation.

Prayer Rugs

Small rugs used for Islamic prayer rituals, featuring a prayer niche (mihrab) in the design as inspired by mosque architecture.


Classical Persian term for a small rug that measures roughly 90 x 60cm.


Wool produced in the Qashghai tribal territory of southwestern Iran is of exceptional quality and softness. Qashgai rugs are dyed in deep, romantic red and often feature hexagonic medallions.


“Tree of life” themes and medallion motifs are key features of the lush, high quality-rugs woven in this Iranian province.


Rugs produced in the vicinity of the Indian city Jaipur, also known as Rajasthan rugs. They are typically woven with medium thick pile and allover patterns, often with prominent medallions.


Long and narrow rugs typically used in hallways and on staircases. The length of a runner well exceeds its width, and the width is usually no more than 90cm.


The edge or side of a rug.


A natural, soft protein fibre often used in rug production, obtained from the cocoons of silkworms.

Silk Road

The Silk Road is an ancient trade route whose traditions continue today. It is key to the history of the rug trade as well as the development of world civilisation in general. The route spans some 6,000km from Java at its most easterly point through China, India, Africa and the Middle East before ending in Europe.

Saddle Bag

Term distinguishing carpet woven in sizes and designs that pay homage to saddlebags carried by camels in the Middle East.

Sarouk Rug

Rugs produced in the village of Sarouk and its surrounding area are enduring best-sellers in the West, often featuring floral and curvilinear designs on durable, tough wool.

Senneh Knot

Also known as “asymmetrical knots” or “Persian knots.” Only one of two warps are encircled in this technique.

Serapi Rug

These rugs were woven in the northwest Iranian village of Heriz between 1800 and 1920. They are very high quality with designs accentuated by geometric patterns, striking abrash and dramatic reds framed in blue and white.


Nearby settled tribes flock to bazaars in the Iranian city of Shiraz to trade the rugs named for this region. They are very durable, often geometrical in style and feature small medallion designs.


A Turkoman tribe of north-eastern Iran, known for lush wool rugs with repeating designs on a double-wefted foundation.


Shallow storage bags made by Turkmen tribes, designed to be hung from the structure of a tent.

Tribal Rug

Rugs woven by tribal groups in countries such as Iran and Afghanistan, often using designs and styles that have been passed down through many generations.

Turkoman Rug

Large, soft and geometrically designed rugs in rich colours. Turkoman rugs were originally woven by Central Asian nomadic tribes and typically produced in Pakistan and Iran today.


The carpet-weaving tradition dates back to the 15th century in this Iranian city. Tabriz rugs are often double-wefted with a Turkish knot and varying designs.

Tribal Rug

Rugs woven as a traditional cultural practice through Iran, Afghanistan and other nearby Central Asian countries.


This Turkish city has been closely associated with the art of fine-weaving since ancient times. Ushak rugs often feature medallions on an all-over pattern in soft tones with angular designs.


Major Indian city known for its role in the rug trade.

Vegetable Dyes

These are dyes derived from natural sources, such as plants or insects, as opposed to chemical-based dyes. Vegetable dyes allow for a more natural and subdued look.

Village Rug

Rugs woven in villages of countries such as Afghanistan and Iran, often using designs and styles that have been passed down through many generations.

Yalameh Rugs

Woollen rugs made by nomadic peoples of south-western Iran, typically featuring a design of three latchbox diamonds with geometric and animal motifs in the border.


The initial strands (wool, cotton or silk) of a rug, strung across a loom vertically and interwoven with the weft (horizontal) strands.


The initial strands (wool, cotton or silk) of a rug, strung across a loom vertically and interwoven with the warp (vertical) strands.


A natural fibre from sheep, often used in rug production due to its sturdy qualities and luxurious feel.

Ziegler Rug

Named for Ziegler & Co.,the Manchester-based German company who first commissioned this design in 1883. These rugs are hand-woven in Iran and feature traditional Oriental motifs in a striking, subdued manner using vegetable dye-based colours.