The History of Rug Making

Persian RugHumans have been using rugs for millennia. The oldest rug known to mankind is the Pazyryk Carpet, which was discovered in Siberia and was dated back to approximately 4500 BC. It had been frozen in ice and thus maintained its pattern, fiber, and rich colors. However, evidence of rug making dates as far back as 6500 BC. Rugs have continued to be a staple in homes everywhere, and interestingly, some rug making methods have been carried over into our modern age.

Ancient History

Ancient writings and archaeological discoveries reference the art of rug making. From the earliest days of history, animal hides were used for clothing, sleeping and sitting surfaces, and floor coverings. Reeds were woven together to make mats and rugs. From archaeological finds in Mesopotamia and Egypt, it’s been established that flat weave rugs (rugs woven on looms) and pile rugs (rugs with piled wool or looped weaves) existed more than 4,000 years ago. Rugs and animal hides were often prized (and valuable) possessions.

Nomadic Era

The nomadic tribes in Asia were primarily sheepherders and appear to be the first people who produced large quantities of rugs. This was likely a result of the plentiful supply of wool, procured as part of their profession. Probably in this way, wool became the primary fiber used for rug making.

Classical Era

It is thought that Persians developed the craft of weaving and rug making into the fine art of Persian rugs. The Spring Carpet of Chosroes, which belonged to the King of Persia and was dated around 550 BC, was an elaborate creation—made up of wool, silk, gold, silver, and precious stones. It measured 400 feet by 100 feet, was said to weigh several tons, and contained elaborate springtime scenes, including flowers, birds, fruits, and green meadows.

Medieval Ages

Around 1000 BC, trade routes from Persia, Mesopotamia, and Egypt brought the art of rug making to the European continent. Wool was the primary fiber used in medieval Europe, but linen and nettlecloth were used in rugs for the lower classes. Cotton came on the scene in the ninth century and silk came along after it. Silk had been used in Asia and the Middle East for centuries, but silk production and sophisticated silk weaving techniques weren’t adopted in Europe until about the 11th century.

Modern Era

Of course, rug making was transported to America. Until the Industrial Revolution, rugs continued to be manually woven on handlooms. Thread spinning was the first thing to be mechanized, with the introduction of the Spinning Jenny in 1770. Then, in 1784, Edmund Cartwright introduced the concept of a weaving machine, which was finally adopted between 1805 and 1825, and power-weaving began. Synthetic dyes were introduced in the last half of the 19th century.

Today, we have rugs in every size, shape, style, color, and fabric imaginable, and almost every home as at least one rug somewhere. Keeping these rugs clean can still be a challenge, however. If you need professional area rug cleaning services to keep those beauties in stellar shape, just call A&C Carpet Cleaning and Restoration.