Today we bring you the second of a two part series on how Oriental rugs are made from our favorite Oriental rug broker, Sam Ramazani of Sara’s Oriental Rugs.
Last time we talked about how a weaver creating a pile rug works rows of knots, packing them together with a weft. As a row is finished, the weaver will go along and clip the extra material off after putting in the weft and packing it down. This is done with a special pair of scissors designed for this purpose. Then starts the next row, and this continues until the rug is finished. Working from one side to the other, knots are tied in succession until the pattern is completed.
Warp, Weft & Weave: A Life Collecting and Investing in Oriental Rugs (available now on Amazon)
While many rugs are clipped by the weaver during the weaving process, with some rugs extra yarns and threads are not clipped and instead, a shearer will be employed to sculpt the pile and reveal the pattern. This is a highly skilled position; one false move and a rug that has taken a year or more to weave can be ruined by being sheared too low. It takes years to develop this precise and exacting skill. Once a rug has been sheared, or not if it’s been clipped by the weaver, it gets “dusted,” which is a beating out of accumulated dust from the air and clipped or sheared yarns, and it’s ready to go to the wholesaler.
Occasionally, a weaver will sign and date a rug, usually at the top of the rug when it’s done. As previously mentioned, rugs can take a year or more to complete. Even though it might have taken two years to finish a rug, but the date on it will be the day it’s finished. In reality, the bottom of a rug could be two years (or more) older than the top of the same rug.
Many people believe a rug with a signature is worth more than a rug without one. A signature doesn’t change the actual value but, it can be a nice thing to have, more as a novelty. Some dealers will try to tell their clients that a rug is a lot more valuable than because of the signature, but in reality it is not.
One exception to this are rugs that are considered masterpieces. These rugs will usually have the name of the origin city and the name of the weaver on it. This is far more common in city rugs. For example, a pure silk Guhm will have the word “Guhm” woven as well as the name of the weaver. Turkish silk Hereke rugs will often have “Hereke” on them. While this is in part because weavers have pride in their work, it is primarily custom more than anything else. If you find an antique Hereke with a signature, and can add it to your collection, it is likely a piece worth owning.
Sam Ramazani is an Oriental carpet educator, appraiser, broker, and skilled repair craftsman. With his daughter Sara, he owns Sara’s Oriental Rugs in Louisville, KY, providing beautiful handmade rugs, as well as expert rug cleaning and repair.