Of all the handmade rugs from the Middle East and Asia, Turkish Rugs are some of the most detailed and long lasting. For buyers looking for an antique Turkish rug, knowing how to recognize a genuine product can be difficult. Consumers may wish to learn about the features associated with these famous rugs, so that they can make the most informed decision.
Antique Turkish Wool Rugs
Many of the antique Turkish rugs available consist entirely of wool. These rugs tend to be smaller and more rugged than many other varieties. Lamb's wool rugs, in particular, are very thick and hearty. Every component on a genuine Turkish wool rug is made from wool, including the warp, weft, and pile. Wool rugs from Turkey are not necessarily at a premium because of their precision craftsmanship, but rather for their bold colours and elaborate geometric designs. These decorative rugs typically have 60 to 130 knots per square inch, a number often referenced as a rug's "KPSI".
Antique Turkish Silk Rugs
Antique silk rugs from Turkey feature a much higher KPSI than wool rugs and can be quite large, and many collectors covet them for their intricacy and precise detailing. A high-quality antique Turkish silk rug can have a KPSI as high as 300 or even 500. A popular sub-variety of the Turkish silk rug is the silk prayer rug. Due to the lighter weight of silk, Turkish silk rugs tend to feature more curvilinear design motifs, such as floral motifs, than wool rugs do.
Antique Turkish Kilim Rugs
Another subcategory of antique rugs from Turkey is the Kilim rug. Weavers of Kilim rugs use a technique that combines cotton with either wool or silk. The weavers use cotton in the warp and weft of the rug, giving them the ability to create tighter knots than when working on wool warps and wefts. This technique also results in very soft and flexible rugs that consumers can then use as furniture covering or even a blanket.
Learning to Spot Quality Turkish Rug Features
There are several features consumers should look for when trying to find an antique Turkish rug. As a starting point, it is important for consumers to understand that all antique Turkish rugs feature natural dyes. Any rug with synthetic dyes is not a genuine vintage rug. Natural dyes tend to get brighter or more intense over time, while synthetics can change colour. Additionally, on a genuine Turkish rug, the colour down at the base of the pile is the same as the colour on the part of the rug exposed to sunlight. Another sign of antiquity to look for with silk rugs is sheen. Silk rugs become shinier over time as the durable fibres of the silk encounter tension and friction.