What’s in a Persian Rug Name?

Jul 20, 2016

If you’ve ever been in the market for a Persian rug or an Oriental rug, then you probably have perused lots and lots of beautiful pieces that have very hard to pronounce names. Have you ever wondered how Persian rugs get their names? No? I’m going to tell you anyway. This makes for good cocktail party conversation. Rugs are named for the city/village in which they were made.

Ever heard of a Tabriz Persian Rug? Tabriz is one of the most popular Oriental rugs all over the world partly because Tabriz rugs are beautiful, but also because the city of Tabriz has a huge rug-making industry and exports all over. Tabriz rugs are everywhere you want to be including Palaces, Universities, Penthouse Apartments and Mansions. Tabriz also has a plethora of Persian rug designs to call its own, so it is quite possible that in a pile of rugs where no two are the same, they are all Tabrizes. Funny! Just to demonstrate, take a look at these Tabriz pieces:

A wool and silk Tabriz Persian rug woven on a foundation of silk.

A Tabriz Persian rug made of wool woven on a cotton foundation.

Being able to tell apart the various different rugs is quite maddening, but unfortunately, it doesn’t stop there. Rugs from countries that are not necessarily known for their rug-making prowess also name their rugs after Iranian cities. So, you have China, India, etc. also naming their rugs Tabriz/Kashan/Heriz/Gabbeh too. This is why it is important for you to pay attention to the country of origin when picking a rug for your home. (It is also required by law for textile producers/sellers to label the country of origin too!) China, India, and other places make some darn good rugs, and they make them in some color schemes you can’t find in Iran, so they are a great choice for your home. Country of Origin is a big factor in determining value/price for your rug, however, so you should always know this information, even if you don’t have a personal preference. Here are some pretty awesome Tabriz rugs that are not from the city of Tabriz. Can you guess who made them?

Here’s a gorgeous Mahi Tabriz made in India. The trade calls this an “Indo-Tabriz.”

Here’s a lovely Tabriz Persian Rug made in China. The trade calls this a “Sino-Tabriz.”

So, in conclusion, rugs are named for the city in which they were made or the city from which their design was copied. There is your little rug lesson for today. Go forth and be interesting.

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