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A handmade Oriental rug or carpet is like no other addition to your home. It is a piece of craftsmanship that not only creates a special sense of luxury and comfort in any space – an authentic hand-woven rug also embodies quality and a timeless taste refined down the centuries.
Diverse in colour and style, these traditional designs have stood the test of time so they still grace homes with contemporary as well as classic interiors.
By their very nature, each of our genuine handmade rug is different and needs to be seen first-hand, but here’s a guide to the most important and celebrated types, which you will find in TC Matthews Arnotts:
Rugs hand-made using traditional methods and designs may be called Oriental rugs, Persian rugs or Tribal rugs, depending on their origin, design or the generic terms people prefer.
We stock hundreds of rugs and runners in a wide variety of colours and styles. Of the various types of hand-woven rug, three of the most sought-after are Super Kazaks, Gabbeh and Ziegler.
Ziegler (sometimes misspelt Zeigler) is a generic name for a style of Persian rug designed with a softer palette than the vibrant colours traditionally used by weavers in that empire, centred in today's Iran.
In 1883 Ziegler & Co, a textile company of Swiss origin based in Manchester, set up workshops in Arak, Iran, where Persian craftsmen produced rugs to Ziegler’s exacting standards, using wool dyed in England.
The exquisite results were highly prized in Europe and the US until the 1920s, when the Bauhaus and Art Deco movements spurred a shift to factory production of rugs and carpets.
Zeigler went out of business but its designs from the end of the 19th century were rediscovered and they've been back in vogue for two decades.
The wools are still carefully selected and dyed in England, and produced to the same designs and high standards by Afghan weavers on the North West Frontier. Many of these craftsmen have fled the Taliban.
Our Ziegler rugs are made from a heavy-duty wool, yet boast a beautiful, delicate sheen that complements their pleasingly subtle hues.
Kazak rug designs are always geometric, often complex and never flowery. They have clear, vibrant hues – greens, reds and blues – but are never harsh.
These designs originated in the Caucasus, to the west of the Caspian Sea, but most Super Kazak rugs are now woven in north-east Afghanistan by the Hazara tribe. Mongolian by descent, the Hazaras are despised elsewhere, but respected in the weaving regions of the north for their rug-making skills. Some rugs are made in weavers’ homes, but the larger pieces are produced in workshops.
Super Kazaks are hard-wearing and thoroughly practical. Vegetable dyes are used to colour their hand-spun wool.
These deep-piled rugs come in two main styles, loosely described as ‘natural’ and ‘striped’.
Originally made by nomadic sheepherding tribes in south-west Iran and west Afghanistan, the shepherds left the pile long to help insulate their black goat-hair tents in winter. They used any colour of wool available and often included tiny representations of children, sheep, goats, trees and birds, giving the their rugs a naive charm.
Afghanistan’s best weavers are producing their own more sophisticated versions that appeal to modern tastes. From Turkman tribes, these weavers are known around the world for their special double-knot technique, also called the Turkman Knot.
Natural Gabbeh rugs are made using undyed wool from native Afghan sheep,that produce a variety of grey, brown, black and beige fleeces. The result is a restrained and elegant ‘natural’ look, which is very much at home in modern or masculine settings.
The term Striped Gabbeh does not fully capture this subtle style of hand-knotted rug. These are gentle designs, predominantly of a sandy colour but with a multitude of little lines and flecks in various hues. Like ‘plain’ rugs, a Striped Gabbah can be matched with a wide variety of décor styles without their disadvantages.
All Gabbeh rugs are eminently well suited to the modern home, being tough and suitable for contemporary or antique styles.
Hamadan carpets and rugs take their name from the city in western Iran.
Made with a shiny and natural-dyed handspun yarn, they have a distinctive repeating pattern, usually geometric with different shades of red madder and indigo blue.
Hamadan are good-value and durable rugs with an attractive colour scale.
Afghan Red rugs (sometimes called Aq Chah rugs) are made using local wool and dyes in northern Afghanistan. Distinguished by their dark, warm and welcoming red tones, they tend to have a repeating octagonal (elephant’s foot) pattern.
A beautiful and rich handwoven rug, the simplicity of the Afghan Red makes it a versatile way to add a sense of luxury to a space.
All our handmade rugs are genuine, sourced via our specialist suppliers and buyers who visit industry fairs and rug merchants overseas.
Crafted from natural materials by highly skilled artisans, our handmade Oriental rugs are synonymous with quality. These enduring rugs will provide charm and comfort for decades to come.
Genuine hand-crafted rugs are proven to last for years, and they age gracefully over the long term, without losing their distinctive character.
Sweeping with a brush or mechanical carpet-sweeper is sufficient to keep a quality, handmade rug looking fresh.
Occasional vacuuming won’t harm your rug. But just as you don’t put a cashmere sweater in a hot wash, a Dyson or other high-powered vaccuum was not designed with hand-spun, hand-knotted rugs and runners in mind.