Rugs from India
Traditional rug making in India is commonly believed to have begun during the 1500s, under the reign of the Moghul Emperor Akbar. Like Pakistan, the industry was heavily supported by the master weavers of Iran. Consequently, techniques and styles were adopted from Persia, particularly those of the Esfahan style.
The Esfahan (also spelled Isfahan) style hails from the city of the same name, located south of Tehran. For centuries, Esfahan has been a centre of rug production in Iran (though for a while it remained stagnant) and reached its peak during the 1500s in the Safavid Dynasty, at the same time rug making was introduced to India, where it was duplicated.
This typical traditional Indian rug features a a large medallion surrounded by vines amidst a highly ornate pattern. The overall appearance of the design is perfectly symmetrical and is dominated by curvilinear lines and floral motifs. Several colours are used including turquoise, red and blue, all derived from vegetation. Some do not have a medallion, but may feature a scene that includes people and animals. The most common material used is wool, though the quality is not comparable to the wool used in other countries because it is finer and has less lanolin. As a result, it is typical that wool acquired from Indian sheep is blended wth higher quality imported wool (e.g. New Zealand).
Like many rugs, the quality of traditional Indian rugs can be distinguished by their texture and tightness of pattern. The fringe may also be examined for its careful construction.
Any description of traditional Indian rugs would not be complete without mentioning the Dhurrie. Originating in India, the dhurrie is a flat woven rug that is brightly coloured and reversible. Typically of cotton or wool, it served as the original Indian floor covering for peasants and royalty alike. Dhurries were also used as bedding and packaging.Though it is not as luxuriant as Persian carpets, they are admired for their colourful designs that retain their attractiveness even when reversed.