Ultimate Guide to Turkish Rugs

Ultimate Guide to Turkish Rugs

What is a Turkish rug?

Turkish rugs, also known as Anatolian rugs, are famous for their quality. They are double-knotted and each piece of yarn is looped twice as it makes the rug sturdier and more durable. It is produced by forming rows of loops by knotting each pair of warp threads, arranged side by side in a frame, with wool, silk or rayon threads and compressing at least one row of wefts.

With its various types such as one of its flat weavings kilim to hand-knotted rugs, these pieces turned into an industry and became the cultural symbol of Turkey in a short time. The history of these remarkably well-made, handwoven rugs are based on the weaving tradition that the Turks who migrated from Central Asia to Anatolia brought with them from their homeland. Not only they are used to cover the pile-woven floor or the wall at houses, but also for local sale and export. They are popular for the beautiful and intricate patterns, rich and naturally-dyed colors and the fabulous weaves which will continue to represent the ethnic, religious and cultural diversity and artistic language of Turkish culture.

Generally, two types of knot techniques are used in handmade carpets: Turkish knot (Gördes knot, symmetric knot) and Iranian knot (Sine knot, asymmetric knot). The Turkish knot was used in rugs which are mostly woven in Turkey (except all weavings of Isparta and some weavings of Sivas and Hereke regions), the Caucasus, and Western and Northwest Iran.

The Iranian knot is widely used in carpets woven in Central and Eastern Iran, India, Central Asia and China.

Since while producing the Turkish rugs, a double knot technique is used, even if there are abrasions, the rug is not completely untied and does not lose its pattern. However, since there is only one knot in the Iranian knot, abrasions will cause the pattern to be lost. Therefore, it is important for you to choose double knotted hand weaving for many years of use.

How to identify a Turkish rug?

In order to identify a rug as a Turkish rug, you have to check the back of it since the knots at the back of the woven rug are proof of its hand embroidery. If the rug is hand-knotted then they need to have an asymmetrical arrangement, which can be easily recognized by tying after each stitch. If you see loop marks like straight strip lines, that rug is a machine-made rug. Since machine rugs are produced by tools that process the rug automatically, there are not any knot or loop marks.

Furthermore, the hand-woven rug models always do have differences between the patterns, no matter how well the person who weaves the rug. If you see that the patterns show an asymmetrical appearance in between, rather than in complete symmetry, you can be sure that that rug is a hand-woven rug.

If the rug is machine woven, the patterns look completely symmetrical and regular. Because the pattern introduced to the machine is automatically processed in a neat appearance.

How to determine the value of a Turkish rug?

The value of a Turkish rug depends on various things. The age and region of the rug, the pattern and color of the rug, the rarity of the rug, the size of the rug (small sizes will have a wider usage area and will be demanded by more people), the condition of the rug, and how much the rug is loved by its owner, since hand workmanship and skill are completely dominated in production. All of these elements must be taken into account. In addition, all of Turkish regional rugs have emerged from the differences in which these elements are included.

For instance; using weft (Thin-Thick) according to quality is very important. Thin and thick weft threads used on the rug should be used in the number determined according to the quality. If wefts (thin-thick) are used thinner than determined, the rug will be flattened, and if it is thicker, the rug quality will be lower. This causes the quality of the rug to deteriorate.

There are some small and undetected elements that affect the carpet during the construction phase. For example, the place where the rug is being made and knotted should not be damp. If it is woven in a damp place, the loops and scarves will get wet from the humidity, which in turn, will cause the quality of the carpet to deteriorate. For this reason, care must be taken to ensure that the place where we will install the bench is moisture-free.

How much should a Turkish rug cost?

There are essential issues that you need to consider while buying a Turkish rug, since there is a vast difference in its materials, workmanship, color, dyes, weave and many other indicators of quality. Hence, the rug prices are not necessarily based on their size. The biggest influence on the cost of a rug is the number of knots per inch. Specifically, silk rugs hold 400 knots per inch. As such, in some places the square meter of the rug varies between $4000 and $6000, since the price of the rug varies depending on the number of stitches. In some rugs, 1 square meter of silk carpet has 1 million knots. Hence, the price goes up. A master of this handcraft also explains that they do weaving of different motifs and designs with distinct colors, which all changes the price of the rug.

On the other hand, wool and wool-and-cotton blends accommodate fewer knots and are relatively cheaper. Thus, a tightly woven, intricately designed silk rug is not much bigger than a sheet of paper, however may cost more than a woolen rug which is big enough to cover a living room floor. Prices of small woolen or wool-on-cotton Turkish rugs start at a 300$ and range into the thousands.

How do I know my Turkish rug is handmade?

If you want to buy a handmade Turkish rug, you have to look for three essential features of the rug. First of all, the knots at the back of the rug should not be uniform. Second of all, the fringe of the rug should look like a continuation of the rug and not sewn or glued on. Third of all, if the material is natural such as wool, silk cotton, fiber and jute, then your rug is most likely handmade.

If you would like to know more information you can check the blog post on our website, which is called “How to Tell If a Rug Is Handmade”.  


What to look for when buying a Turkish rug?

While buying a Turkish rug, it is very essential to look for seven important factors.

1- The Quality of the Rug

When it comes to "quality" in Turkish rugs, the knot density in the rug comes to mind first. For this reason, the excess knot density of the rug has been the first starting point for someone who wants to buy quality rugs. The excess of knot density is an important factor that affects the application of the pattern in more detail, which also has an impact on the average lifespan of a rug. However, knot density alone is not enough when purchasing rugs.

 Terminologically, it can be explained as the following;

The quality is the number of rows of warp wire that enters 10 cm in width and 10 cm in length in the carpet. The product of the number of warp threads in 10 cm and the number of rows of loops in 10 cm gives us the total number of loops (knots) in 1 square decimeter. In other words, the number of loops (knots) in 1 square decimeter (dm) indicates the quality of that carpet.

 2- Quality of the Wool

It is very important that the wool that is used while making the rug is pure new wool, which is used for the first time and the fibers are selected from long fleece. Synthetic fiber and poor quality wool, for example, tank wool, should not be mixed in it.

 3- The Quality of the Color

If chemical paint is used while making the rug, that paint must have very good quality since it needs to be resistant to water and sunlight. Today, it is important that the dyeing process is done in accordance with the procedure in root dyes used only in special rug production. Root dyes are generally known as non-fading and non-dyeing dyes. However, root dyes that have not been dyed properly can also fade. Therefore, the thought of having a root dyed rug just to have a quality rug is wrong. The most important difference between root dyes and chemical dyes is that root dyes have more vivid and attractive colors.

4- Pattern aesthetics and skill in applying it to the rug

Designing a Turkish rug model is a difficult, laborious and a time-consuming job that requires many years of experience and knowledge. The quality of information is very important in the designing process of a model in accordance with the rug that is planned to be woven and in the preparation of the model cardboard. Determining the desired appearance and attractiveness of the model to be woven, in which quality, in which knot frequency, and estimating the aesthetics on the rug before weaving it can only be possible with many years of experience. It is very important that the colors used are used in harmony with each other and in a balanced way. One should not look for symmetry in Turkish rugs, especially in borders.

5- Knot density and knot feature

Due to the confusion created by the term quality in the rug industry, those who want to buy a rug that has quality are generally interested in rugs with high knot density. However, the assumption that the quality of the rug increases as the knot frequency increases may not always be true. No matter how high the knot frequency is, a rug with poor wool and bad dye quality is definitely not a rug that is worth buying. Therefore, knot density should not be taken as the only indicator of a quality rug.

6- Firm guarantee

Many of these features, which play an important role in purchasing a quality handmade rug, are difficult to understand and know for the buyer. An important care should be taken to ensure that the seller company is reliable in the rug to be purchased and the company guarantee should be sought.

7- What Size Rug Should Be Chosen For Which Environment

One of the most important points to be aware of when buying a rug is the size of the rugs. If the rug is chosen in the wrong size, the rug-furniture balance in the environment is disturbed. If the rugs are chosen larger than necessary, the furniture may be lost in the environment, even if the rug is chosen small.

 How to count the knots in a Turkish rug?

Nodes per cm are counted longitudinally and transversely, and then the resulting numbers are multiplied with each other. Sometimes nodes per dm2 are counted, so 10 cm is taken as the basic unit of measurement. The number of vertical and horizontal knots per 1 meter is counted and the knot frequency in m2 is determined.

For counting, a measurement of 10 cm is taken from the bottom of the carpet in width and length. In terms of height, each node counts as a knot, but when viewed in width, only 90-degree stacks count. The result of the count is then multiplied by 100 to determine the frequency per square meter. However, bear in mind that, not all countries which produce rugs use the decimal system in their rug quality declarations. For instance, per “inch” weaving adjustment by knots is shown in both directions.

Countries such as Iran and Pakistan carry out the counting process in different ways. Furthermore, another measure is used in Tabriz carpets, which is called "Redj". In addition, China calculates the order of the knots. A wool rug has 90 knots per 30 cm in the weft and warp directions

How to tell the age of a Turkish rug?

It is only possible to understand the age of a Turkish rug by the history information woven on it. Such historical information can be found in many of the old rugs and kilims. The text used in the weaving of history also gives information about the origin of the weaver. For example, Muslim Turks used the Arabic alphabet, Christian Greeks used the Latin alphabet, and Christian Armenians used the Armenian alphabet.

On some rugs, the date is not written from left to right, but from right to left. This shows that the rug was woven by looking at the back of the original rug, which bears the real date. Hence, it should be considered that these rugs are 5-10 years younger than the woven history information.

How to tell if a Turkish rug is silk?

Silk is the symbol of nobility, magnificence and wealth. In 1950, in Kayseri and its surroundings, wool rug weavers started to use silk. The world's best quality silk is produced in Bursa and its region in Turkey. However, from Marco Polo to this time, silk has been the indispensable weaving raw material of all countries and people have traveled long distances from all the way from China to Europe to reach it.

It is made into a rope after long processes. Then it starts to be woven as a carpet. The value of silk rugs can be better understood, when considering that a 1m2 silk carpet is woven in approximately 4 to 6 months.

Silk rugs always preferred for luxury consumption since silk has the highest level of durability and brightness in this industry. Silk carpeting requires a lot of handcrafting, especially since the threads are very thin. As a result of this, the finest details in motifs are successfully reflected on the rug.

There are several ways to understand if the Turkish rug is silk or not. First of all, you have to check the knots of the rug. Hand-woven silk fabric may have slight knots and irregularities due to the natural nature of the yarn. These are its characteristics and should not be treated as errors. However, if it is made of artificial silk, the surface of it becomes smooth due to the machines.

The second method is the brightness test. If the rug and its colors are bright enough, it means that it is made up of silk since a silk woven rug, on the hand-loom is boiled with laurel soap, which softens it and creates a unique natural shine.

Third of all, the method that you can use to understand if the Turkish rug is made of silk or not, you can smell the burned piece of the rug. Normally, if silk thread is burned, it smells like burned hair since it contains protein. If you blow the flame, it would stop burning and would leave a soft ash. On the other hand, when the rayon (polyester etc.) is burned, it emits black smoke and continues to burn after blowing the flame, leaving no ash and the end of the thread hardens like a pinhead.

Where do you find a Turkish Rug online?

Traditionally, on most of the tours of Istanbul and Turkey’s other cities, you are invited to a Turkish rug sales demonstration. These demonstrations are usually led by hospitable salesmen who warmly greet you and offer a complimentary beverage; Turkish tea or Turkish coffee, which are the most favored ones. However, it is also possible to find these beautiful, eye-catching Turkish rugs on many rug selling websites. But the real question is, where do you find a good and reliable one. As a customer, you need to make sure that you buy a quality rug from a reliable website. Biev is one of the online Turkish rug sale websites that you can truly trust.

It is understandable to be worried about the possibility of the rug being discolored in person. However, the Biev team do their best to make sure rug colors are represented as accurately as possible.

The photos that are taken of the rugs that are presented are color corrected to match the actual color of the rug as seen in person. There may be slight variations in what you see on your computer depending on the screen’s color, contrast, and brightness. Within the product descriptions, we will also note any inherent color variations.

If the color of your new rug is not what you were expecting, Biev is happy to work with you to get you the color you had envisioned.

 How often should I have a Turkish rug cleaned?

It is advised to periodically care for your hand-woven rug to have a long-lasting and bright appearance. For this, vacuum once or twice a week in the direction where the hair is lying. Due to its delicate structure, it is always recommended to consult professionals on this matter. However, sometimes, especially for small stains, it can be easier for you to clean it at home or the prices can seem a little bit high. Therefore, if you want to clean your wool rug yourself, you can easily follow a guideline that is provided on our website to avoid damaging it. You can check the blog post that we have from this link,


 How should you store a Turkish rug?

The rug which you will store has to be clean. It is important to sweep the rug with a vacuum cleaner and remove the fluff, dust and crumbs completely. Then, the carpet should be rolled into a roll and must be tightly wrapped in the direction of the hairs on it. If the rug will be stored for a long time, naphthalene should be placed inside the roll to prevent moths. The rolled rug must be tied with a rope so that, it does not open. It has to be packed properly by putting an old sheet or cloth bag on it and stored vertically or horizontally without bending it.

If it is going to be stored for a long time, it is necessary to open the sheet and the rope so that the rug can be ventilated once a month. It is also important to renew the mothballs put inside and close it again in the same way in order to make the carpet more durable. Storing the carpet by folding it will cause fold marks and damage the rug. Therefore, do not fold it when storing.

Furthermore, when storing carpets, carpet scraps sold in the market are one of the products that will help you. Since these bags are made of air permeable fabrics, it is possible to store your carpet without getting damp and dusty. Again, it will be a very practical storage method to place the carpet that you have rolled in this bag and to store it by closing the zipper from the bottom up.

What is an Oushak rug?

Qushak rugs, which are also called us “Uşak'' rugs, are Turkish traditional rugs that use a particular family of designs, called by convention after the city of Uşak, Turkey It is one of the larger towns in Western Anatolia, which was a major center of rug production from the early days of the Ottoman Empire, into the early 20th century. These are rugs which are woven for commercial purposes in large workshops. In addition, the sophisticated versions Qushak rugs, which can also be seen on the paintings from the 16th century, have survived to our time.

Back in time, these rugs started being recognized abroad. While first-class families in Europe have their paintings painted by famous painters, Uşak rugs are used as decorations on walls, floors and tables. In some of the famous painters’ paintings Qushak rugs took place and are named after the painters such as Lotto and Holbein. Qushak rugs have gained great importance during the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent.

Anatolian muftis were appointed so that the carpets would not lose their characteristics and weaving continued under control. The patterns were designed by muralists and decorative artists and were named “the Rugs of the Palace”. Spreading from Ottoman palaces to European castles, from mosques to churches, the Qushak rugs are not just any rug, but a legend that is a symbol of respectability.

Qushak rug, which has made its mark on the history of art with its durability that defies years, takes its solid structure, which it has preserved despite years, from natural wool carpet yarn. Overall, Qushak rugs have 16 special design and motifs. The main motif of these rugs is the medallion. These were produced in the 16th century. A wide variety of rich medallion types on Qushak rugs reveal the dominance and creative power of Turkish masters. The middle of the carpet is marked with a large medallion, the corners are marked with quarter medallions, the inside of the medallions and the floor of the carpet are filled with plant decorations, human and animal figures compositions according to miniature art. The medallion on the middle axis symbolizes infinity.

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