What You Need to Know About the History of Area Rugs and Carpets

Area rugs provide more than just a function and are far more than décor or an embellishment.

Handwoven rugs tell a cultural story. They make a statement with history in them that traces backward through centuries. The work of lifestyles and civilizations are, to a degree, shared in handmade artisan rugs from families and communities all over the world.

As A Form of Trade

Hand-weaved rugs were a key development in human history.

They gave nomadic civilizations something to trade in, nourishing these populations.

Remote communities that didn’t necessarily have a clear economy could specialize in rug weaving and attract merchants from all over the world.

Trade routes between Asia and Europe were built strictly for trading in textile art pieces like handmade artisan rugs.

Self-Expression for the Underprivileged

Throughout history, there’s also been a lot of benefit for the people making these woven rugs.

For rug weaving communities, they tell their stories through these products. They are self-expression, creativity, and consciousness wrapped into one.

The majority of rug weavers today, just like in the past, are women. For these women, it’s employment and an opportunity to express themselves freely while supporting their families.

Artisan Rugs in Religious Practices

The history of rugs is wrapped into religious practices, particularly in Islamic and Buddhist culture.

Persian rugs and Turkish rugs are used in prayer in Islam. Khotan rugs are used by monks in Buddhism. 

Christian followers also use antique rugs in houses of worship as a part of various religious ceremonies.

It’s only been in the past couple of centuries that artisan rugs came to represent fine art, high fashion, and interior design.

How Old Are Artisan Rugs?

The oldest rug in the work is the Pazyryk Rug, believed to date to 400 BC.

It is around this time that Persian rugs are first mentioned in writing. Rugs are often referred to in these writings as an item of value and one key in diplomacy.

Fast-forward to the 1500s, this is where Persian rugs really became items of economy-building. Throughout this time period, they were made from materials like high-quality wool, goat hair, cotton, silk, and also used natural carpet dyes to achieve the desired color.

By the early 1900s, artisan rugs had taken on so many unique styles from more traditional, indigenous images to upper-class Victorian, Scandinavian textile art, North African rugs and Morrocan-influenced patterns, and more.

Since these other historical periods, we see handcrafted rugs as something like a fashion statement. There are seamstresses and rug weavers all over the world now who actively work on some truly artistic, highly impressive creations that are displayed in homes and businesses all over North America.

There’s a rug out there for everyone. They come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, colors, patterns, and with varying degrees of craftsmanship. 

When it comes to interior design, historical rug weaving, art, fashion, and architectural patterns, see combinations of these very elements in high-quality linen rugs from ArtiPlanto. Find an area rug for home décor. Browse traditional, handwoven artisan rugs by one of North America’s top suppliers, ArtiPlanto.

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