A change in the color of a rug caused by differences in the wool or dye batch. Strong abrash in finely woven rugs is often considered a flaw and inappropriate. Subtle abrash in tribal and village rugs is desirable as it enhances the folk art look and adds character to a rug.

Animal Trappings

Weavings used by nomads to decorate horses, camels, and donkeys. These include head ornaments, knee caps, and blankets.

Antique Wash

A procedure in which chemicals are applied to a rug to soften its colors and give it the appearance of an older rug.


A colored drawing on graph paper that a weaver follows to craft a rug design.

Caucasian Rugs

Hand-knotted rugs with boldly colored geometric designs originating from the Caucasus Mountains in southern Russia.

Chrome Dyes

Dyes prepared through chemical processing. They are more widely used than vegetable dyes because they are cheaper and colorfast.


A province of southwest Iran inhabited by nomadic peoples, including the Kashgai, Lurs, Khamseh, and Afshar. Rugs of Fars are noted because of their glowing hues and varied patterns.


A pile rug of usually coarse quality woven by tribes of southwestern Iran. Gabbehs are often brightly colored and use as designs simple geometric elements or renderings of people, animals, and landscapes.


A rug crafted by Turkoman tribes and used primarily as tent door hangings. It features a distinctive cross-shaped central design.


A highly durable Iranian rug whose field is occupied by a large geometric medallion. Rugs from the Heriz region appeal strongly to the U.S. market and are produced in several qualities, including Mehraban, Heriz, and Goravan. Mehraban and Heriz refer to the finer, more densely knotted rugs, while Goravan refers to the lowest quality.


A city of central Iran and the former capital of Persia. Isfahan has been a center of Persian rug manufacture for centuries and gained commercial prominence during the Safavid dynasty (1502-1722). Very fine rugs with intricate floral or pictorial designs are woven there.


A tapestry-woven fabric that is not as resistant to wear as a knotted pile rug.

Nomadic Rugs

Rugs woven by peoples who move with herd animals from one place to another, rather than settling down in one location. Nomadic rugs are made primarily for personal use rather than for sale. Designs are often derived from ancient tribal traditions.

One-of-a-kind Rug

An Oriental rug for which a duplicate does not exist. Examples are village, tribal, and antique rugs.


A city of central Iran that is noted for producing all-silk rugs, often in a compartment design, with extremely high knot densities.


The number of knots per 7 centimeters, or about 2.5 inches. Knot densities for Iranian rugs are based on raj. Thus, 30 raj equals 118 knots per square inch.

Saddle Bag

A special-function piece used by tribal peoples consisting of two bags connected so that it can be thrown over the back of a horse or carried over the shoulder of a person.


The term refers to rugs made during the reign of the Safavid dynasty (1502-1722). During this period, carpet design in Persia reached its zenith. Over 1,000 carpets have survived from this era, and they include the most splendid examples of Persian rug art.


A city of northwestern Iran and the capital of Iranian Azerbaijan. In the 19th century, Tabriz was the hub of the Persian rug trade with Europe and is known for having a far greater repertoire of designs than many other weaving centers. Some of the designs used today include medallions, hunting designs, prayer designs, and pictorial rugs.


A Turkic-speaking tribal group inhabiting parts of Turkmenistan, Afghanistan and Iran. The Turkomans are known for producing rugs of excellent workmanship. Most weavings are in shades of red or reddish brown. The usual design element is a repeated octagon or gul associated with specific tribes.

Vegetable Dyes

Dyes made from plants and bark, including oak bark, tea, or walnut husks. Vegetable dyes produce a harmonious color palette and tend to fade more evenly and consistently than chrome dyes.

Village Rugs

Pile rugs that are crafted by villagers and settled nomads. Unlike nomadic rugs, village rugs are woven for commerce and influenced by market preferences for size, color, and design.

© 2009 Zarnegin International Rug Corp.