Tapitological Terms

The author of this glossary, Ernst A. Swietly, together with Fritz Langauer editor of the reference book "The Handmade Carpet", is grateful for improvements and suggestions, at swietly.press@aon.at.


This directory lists around 2,000 common carpet-related terms, important places of production and trade, carpet patterns and materials, as well as current industry terminology, and explains their origin and meaning. It aims to intensify the relationship between carpet lovers and collectors and their textile companions.

However, it is difficult to translate technical words from Farsi, Turkish, Armenian, Chinese or Turkmen perfectly. These foreign languages often have different sounds, spellings and pronunciations than German or English.

Here are some striking examples to help you understand: In Turkish, there are different pronunciation variants for "A" and "I": for example, a closed and an open "A" and "I". "C" and "C'" are letters pronounced as "dj" or "tsch". A diphthong like "gh", for example, in Persian "Ghom", does not exist in German. In Farsi, "gh" is a guttural sound. In addition, the "E" is often spoken but not written in this language. In reference books, one therefore finds different spellings for one and the same sound; the same is true when transcribing Chinese, Indian or Tibetan names, places and terms. Furthermore, the spelling of many names and technical terms from the world of carpets is influenced by the phonetic language of English; for the English were the former colonial masters and most important traders in most of the countries of origin of carpets, and they helped to shape the technical language of tapestry. Thus, for example, keywords beginning with "Sh" may be classified in the index under "Sch" or vice versa. In German, many English carpet terms were adopted without hesitation in the past and are still used by experts in English spelling. In order to avoid confusion and misunderstandings, this index adheres to the most common spelling or cites alternative spellings that are congruent in meaning.

In the event of any errors, the author hopes for the understanding of the readers; he will endeavour to eradicate them in the next improved edition of this directory. He is therefore genuinely interested in any errors pointed out by readers. Keywords missing from this index, as well as vivid illustrations of carpet motifs, patterns and geographical terms, can at best be found in the encyclopaedia "Oriental Rugs" by Peter F. Stone, ISBN 978-0-8048-4373-7, which the author recommends to readers and friends of carpet science.



A. H. = Abbreviation of "Anno Hegirae"; this is the designation of the year numbers according to the Islamic calendar. Its counting begins in the year 622 A.D.; that was the year in which Prophet Mohammed fled from Mecca to Medina; see "Hedschra"! Because of the Islamic lunar calendar, a year number found in old carpets is to be converted to the Christian calendar as follows: Islamic year minus 3 percent plus 622.

Abadeh = small southern Iranian town in the northern Afshari region on the road from Isfahan to Shiraz at 2000 metres above sea level in a desert-like mountainous area. Carpets of the Shiraz and Qashqhai groups are produced there, but they are not nomadic carpets, but they are usable and good; warp and weft are made of cotton, the weft is often blue-filled, the pile is firm with 1,000 to 1,600 knots per square centimetre, the wool is hard-wearing. The pile of Abadeh carpets is not very high and tightly knotted with Persian or Turkish knots.

Abbasi carpets = products of the Safavid court manufactories from the era of Shah Abbas I (1587-1629), especially the so-called "Pole carpets" (see these), as well as good copies of these showpieces from later times.

Abbasids = Islamic caliph dynasty between 750 and 1258 AD.

Abdal = Turkmen tribe.

Abd-el-Madjid = Sultan (1839-1861), after whom the Madjid carpets were named. They are white-ground prayer rugs with ornaments that clearly show the influence of rococo in Europe.

Abhar = capital of the Iranian region of Abhar in the province of Zanjan.

Abrash or Abrasch = colour deviation in single-coloured horizontal carpet surfaces; "abr" means "cloud" in German and describes colour changes on the surface of a carpet. Abrash occurs because the wool of nomads and villagers is only dyed in small quantities. Each fleet therefore has slightly different shades of colour. Abrash can be recognised by different coloured horizontal stripes in the carpet, which are attractive if not too pronounced. In nomadic and village carpets, abrash stripes have an invigorating effect and testify to original craftsmanship; in fine, courtly products, on the other hand, abrash is a disadvantage.

Abrisham = 1st: means "silk" in Persian; 2nd: name of a city in the central district of Falavarjan in Isfahan province.

Abyssinia = In the former monarchy of Abyssinia, the states of Eritrea and Ethiopia exist today; carpets have only been produced there for their own use; it is not a classic producing country of oriental carpets.

Acanthus = spiny herbaceous plant, an ornamental motif from the hogweed, a plant from the Mediterranean region with toothed leaves. This motif originates from antiquity and is frequently used in architecture, e.g. in the Corinthian capital, as well as in carpets and savonneries; see these!

Accompanying stripes = narrow stripes within carpet borders that separate individual border bands from each other; see "Borders"!

Achaemenids = ancient Persian ruling dynasty that goes back to the legendary king Achaemenes (about 700 to 675 BC). Between the 7th and 4th century B.C., he and his dynasty detached Iran from the Assyrian and Median domains and founded the first great Iranian empire. The Achaemenids subsequently ruled the Near East, India and Egypt and only succumbed to Alexander the Great around 330 BC.

Achal-Tekke = a part of the Tekke tribe inhabiting the Achal oases around Ashkhabad and had a way of knotting that differed from the Merw-Tekke. These carpets, which are always old, are fine, short-pile, knotted with silky wool and often thin; they have a kilim base at both ends of the fringe.

Achty = alternative name for Daghestan or for carpets from the north of this region in the Caucasus. There is a neighbouring village called Mikrah. The carpets from there had Caucasian patterns and very good quality; however, they have not been produced since 1990 because they had become sober and ugly.


Acrylic = Substance chemically characterised by the acrylic group - CH2=CH-COR - such as acrylic paints. These are dyes or varnishes based on plastic dispersions. Acrylic is dyed before it is extruded into threads and spun. When this is done, acrylic is very colourfast, electrostatic and stain-resistant. It is sometimes used as a substitute for wool, but it is not break-resistant.

Adana = the fifth largest city in Turkey, located in south-central Anatolia; it is considered the place of origin of borderless kilims as well as a trading centre for Yürük knotted carpets.

Adjustment = see "Tie adjustment"!

Afghan = former and still common trade name for carpets from the north of Afghanistan. Today these carpets are called by their respective tribal names (e.g. "Ersari", "Uzbeks") or the places of production (e.g. "Aqceh", "Andkhoy" or "Shah"); see these!

Afghanistan = Central Asian Islamic Republic on the border between Central and South Asia. Three quarters of the population are Sunnis. Among all carpet-producing countries in the world, the country is one of the rising stars of the last thirty years. Many contemporary carpets from the country are genuine folk art. Carpet producers are diverse ethnic groups such as Pashtuns, Tajiks, Hazara, Beludjen and others, as well as Turkmen tribesmen. These include Ersari, Tekke, Yomud and Saryk. Due to the wars of the last decades, millions of Afghans have fled to Iran and especially to Pakistan. To provide them with work, new carpet qualities and patterns were created on the initiative of European and American wholesalers. The civil wars also led to the production of war carpets, the export of which is banned today.

Afshan Mina Khani = one of many Afshan carpet patterns that goes back to the Persian painter Mina Khan. It originated in Kurdistan; it is seen there in old Sawjabalaq and Bijar carpets. It is also found in old carpets from Tabriz, Heris, Hamadan and Chehar Mahal. As it has only one or two simple floral motifs spread over the entire length of the carpet, it is appreciated by weavers.

Afshan pattern = Its basic motifs are flowers, plants and leaves; branches and flowers, animals, birds and eslimis are arranged in such a way that they neither touch nor are connected. This pattern is used especially in Isfahan, Kashan, Kerman and Tabriz. There are ten different variations of this pattern.

Afshars or Afshar = South Persian (nomadic) tribes of Turkic origin. They live in Turkey, the Caucasus and Iran, mainly in the area around Kirman and they produce village knotted rugs with often Turkmen pattern elements. The carpets are often still knotted by the women in nomad tents or on farms in Kirman province and on the edge of the great sand desert of Dasht-e-Lut, while the men devote themselves to cattle breeding. These are both nomadic and village carpets.

afshun or afshan or avshan = designation for a patterned centre field of an oriental carpet; it applies to Caucasian, Indian, Persian and Turkish products. The term comes from the Farsi word "afshan", which means "scattered" in German. It refers to stylised, rectangular calyxes or goblets on a stem surrounded by florets.

Afyon = this Turkish word means "opium". It is the name of a central West Anatolian town in Turkey and the short form of Afyonkarahisar, now called Karahisar (Turkish = "black castle"). Carpets similar to those of Konya are produced there.

Agdam = place and region in the former Soviet Republic of Azerbaijan with significant production of carpets similar to those of Cuba.

Age designation = Determining the approximate production time of a carpet is usually of great interest and high importance. In general, the older a carpet is, the more valuable it is. This is not generally true. For at every time and with every type of carpet there were and are more beautiful ones, but also worse ones. The trade likes to exaggerate. Expressions such as "antique" or "semi antique" are common there, regardless of the real period of origin. The most reliable way to describe the age is to give the approximate year of manufacture, e.g. "around 1920".

Agra = North Indian city in the west of the state of Uttar Pradesh 200 kilometres south of Delhi, once capital of the Mughal Empire, site of the Taj Mahal mausoleum. An Indian carpet manufactory existed here from the mid-16th to the beginning of the 18th century, which attempted to transplant the Persian art of knotting to India. Today, different carpet qualities are produced in Agra. No original carpets from the Mughal period have survived. Experts believe that the typical pieces from the Mughal period would have shown a combination of Persian, Safavid and Timurid elements with a mixture of Near and Far Eastern models in motifs and patterns. Under British administration, carpet production in Agra was revived by foreign manufactures who exported only to Britain and the USA. Prison carpets also originated in Agra; see these!

Ahar = city in the Heriz region in northwestern Iran. The term is a designation for fine weavings and knotted carpets or for curvilinear ornaments of Heriz carpets. Modern carpets from Ahar have medallions and coving.

Ahmenabad = once a carpet production centre in west-central India, now there is no manufacturing there.

Ainabad = village in north-west Persia producing Kurdish carpets; these are often also called by the trade name Bibikabad (see this!)

Aina-kap = woven Turkmen case for a mirror.

Ainalu or Ainullah = name of one of the five tribes of the South Persian Chamseh Federation. The word means "eye" in Arabic; see "Eynullah"!

Ajatlyjk = burial carpet on which a corpse is carried to the grave, but which is not buried with it.

Ak or Aq = old Turkish word for "white".

Ak-Hissar or Ak-Hisar = in German, the name of this carpet-making place northeast of Izmir in western Anatolia means "white castle". Handmade knotted works with geometric patterns are produced there.


Aksaray = Turkish province and city in Central Anatolia, in German "weißer Palast" (white palace), which used to be famous for its carpets.

Akstafa = 1.: City and river of this name are located in the Transcaucasus. The carpets made there belong to the Kuba, are densely knotted with Turkish knots; their formats are mostly long and narrow. 2: The "Akstafa peacock" is a geometric animal motif depicting a large bird with a strongly ruffled tail. This eye-catching motif is found in Shirvan carpets from the Caucasus as well as in other Turkish knotted works.

Akstafa = 1st: stylised peacock bird with ruffled feathers; 2nd: name of prayer rugs from the South Caucasus. The city of Akstafa and the river of the same name are located in the Transcaucasus; the products belong to the group of Shirvan rugs. They are characterised by an eight-prong medallion, a motif identifying birds that are supposed to protect the carpet owner from harm.

Ak-su = Turkish term for "white water"; "ak" means white, "su" means water. It is a geometric carpet motif consisting of nested squares with projections.

Alcaraz = site of what is probably Spain's oldest and most important carpet manufactory near Murcia. Spanish wreath and heraldic motifs as well as copies of Holbein carpets were made there from the 15th to the middle of the 17th century.

Aleppo = city in northern Syria, capital of the Aleppo governorate, today Haleb; known for its extremely fine weavings.

Algeria = North African country; its carpets are very similar to those of Morocco or Tunisia; see "North Africa"!

Aliabad = 1st: common oriental city name occurring in Iran, Afghanistan and India. The name derives from Ali Ibn Abi Talib, the son of Shiva and fourth successor of the Prophet Mohammed as leader of the Muslim community. "-abad" means "city" in Farsi. 2nd: Aliabad is known as the capital of the district of Aliabad near Keshan in Kunduz Province in Iran; the decoration of the centre field of the carpets made there is usually the Herati pattern. 3rd: Aliabad is the name of a village near Isfahan where Yalameh carpets are knotted.

Ali-Eli = Turkmen tribe.

Alinik = Turkish term for that "place where the forehead of the praying person touches the ground during prayer"; on prayer rugs this is a field above the mihrab, which often contains an inscription from the Koran.

Alizarin = dye from the root of the madder plant or dyer's red, from which numerous natural red shades are obtained; see "madder"!


Alizarin = natural dye from the root of the madder plant (= dyer's red), from which various shades of red are obtained for dyeing yarns.

Alloucha = pile carpets from Tunisia, which are white, beige, brown and grey and used to be knotted from natural wool; see "Tunisia"!

Allover pattern = trade term for a uniform fine pattern covering the entire carpet, which regularly repeats motifs or pattern combinations; see "repeat pattern" and "afshun"!

All-silk carpets = knotted works from Asia Minor, Persia and China, where pure silk is used for warp as well as weft and pile.

Alma-gül = Kyrgyz apple-gül.

Alpaca = 1.: domesticated South American ruminant llama breed; it has long silky hair used to make South American weaves. 2nd: term for wool made from the hair of alpacas.

Alpan = Caucasian village where Cuban-style carpets were made. "Alpan Kubas" show a special octagonal stylised medallion, which is considered a simplified representation of the Seichour cross or the Kasim Ushak motif. "Seichour" is the name of a village in the north of the Cuba region that decorated its carpets with cabbage roses in the 19th century.

Als-ed-din Mosque = Mosque in Konya, site of the oldest preserved Seljuk carpets.

Altai or Altay = Inner Asian region named after the Altai Mountains there. There was already a highly developed culture of animal-breeding farmers there 2000 years before Christ. After the Second World War, the oldest oriental knotted carpet to date, the "Pazyryk", was found in an ice grave in the excavation sites there, along with many other art treasures; see this!

Alti Bolaq = carpet production company in the Afghan Andkhoy region near Turkmenistan; Turkmen Ersari carpets in red, indigo and white were produced there.

Alum = a potassium aluminium sulphate, a salt used as a mordant in yarn dyeing.

Alum = colour stain made from aluminium sulphate, occasionally also from potash sulphate, used in yarn dyeing.

Alum = potassium aluminium sulphate, a mineral or double salt used as a mordant in dyeing.


Amadabad = name for Indian gold and silver brocaded carpets.

Amalehbaft = this term for carpets is used by Zollanvari for one of its carpet qualities; "Amaleh" in this context means "family work".

American Sarouk = At the end of the nineteenth century, a buying boom began in the USA, centred on carpets produced in and around the city of Sultanabad, now Arak. The knotted works supplied in rough quantities to the USA went out of fashion there again in the seventies of the 20th century and were sold to Europe, where they fetched considerable prices in the last two decades of the twentieth century; see "Sarouk"!

Amoo-Oghli, Abdol Mohammad or Amuoghli, Abdul Mohammed = Well-known Persian carpet designer and maker who moved his carpet manufactory from the Persian part of Azerbaijan to the Persian pilgrimage city of Mashad at the end of the 19th century to meet the growing demand for carpets there for the tomb of Imam Reza. He was a member of one of those carpet dynasties that produced Safavid-style knotted works with new floral designs and the utmost delicacy, including for palaces of the Persian ruling dynasty of Pahlevi between the two world wars. Amoo-Oghli products are similar to the famous Ardebil carpets, although smaller in size than these, they have more borders and twice the knotting density. The Amoo-Oghli manufactories reached their peak in the 1920s and 1930s. Mohammed Amoo-Oghli died in 1938; his manufactories were continued by his brother Ali Khan Amoo-Oghli; his son Ali gave up the business in the 1950s; see "Mashad"!

Amritsar = Translated from Sanskrit, the name means "Lake of Immortality". The city of over a million inhabitants in the state of Punjab in northwest India is the centre of the Sikhs. Carpet production began there around 1860 to employ unemployed shawl weavers. As in Agra, carpets were also made in prisons there. The earlier carpet production brought pieces with their own character. Today's carpet production is small.

Amrullah = a village in the northwest of Iran.

Amu Darya = river flowing into the Aral Sea in Turkmenia; former name "Oxus".

Amu-Daria area = see "Darya"!

Amulet = object worn as a means of protection against evil magic.

Anatol = general name for Turkish carpets; comes from the former name for the western half of Asia Minor.

Anatolia = Asian part of Turkey, founded in 1923 by Kemal Atatürk, the "Father of the Turks". "Anatolia" coincides with the geographical term "Asia Minor" and refers to the peninsula between the Mediterranean and the Black Sea with the continental connection to Asia proper. The population there is mainly composed of Turkoman, Yuruk and Kurdish people; Armenians and Greeks also produce carpets there.

Andkhoy = town in north-central Afghanistan, near the border with Russia. It is a collection point and trading centre for rugs made in the region, especially those made by the Ersari. Most of these pieces are based on Turkmen designs in variations of red, indigo and white; they are made with asymmetrical knots. Today, the flavour of light-coloured carpets also comes into play here.

Angora = 1.: Name of the ancient city of Ankyra and so-called Sultan carpets. In the vicinity of the city, coloured plants such as yellowberry and madder were and still are cultivated. 2. spinnable hair of rabbits, especially of a Turkish goat breed, whose wool is the origin of mohair, a long, coarse and shiny fibre; see "mohair"!

Aniline or aniline dyes = component of coal tar; it is produced during the extraction of coke and was the starting product for the production of chemical (= synthetic) dyes, which have also been used since 1823 as an alternative to natural dyes for dyeing carpet yarns. From 1860 onwards, synthetic carpet dyes became widespread throughout the Middle East. The founder of aniline dyes was A. W. Hoffmann. Aniline comes from "anil", a term formerly used in Portugal for the blue natural dye indigo.

Animal carpets = knotted works in which animal motifs and designs predominate as decoration; these are e.g. Persian and Indo-Persian knotted and woven works with the reproduction of a multitude of animals within the carpet field; this also includes hunting carpets; see these!

Animal ornaments = Nomadic carpets also include knotted or woven animal harnesses or animal ornaments put on animals on festive days, weddings or processions; examples are asmalyk, okbash, dizlik and kneelers for camels.

Animal symbols = Especially nomadic and village carpets show stylised animal symbols, because animals are an important source of food for nomads and farmers. Chickens with spread tail feathers, camels with high legs, defiantly curled paired rams' horns are often seen. Animal heads are also among the animal carpet motifs. On the other hand, lions, tigers, eagles and dragons symbolise power and domination; the phoenix symbolises long life and immortality because, according to fable, it rejuvenates itself by burning itself from its own ashes. Crabs often appear in borders of Caucasian carpets; turtles on carpets also symbolise longevity and divinity; the butterfly is a symbol of vanity and flirtation.

Ankara = Turkish capital in central Anatolia. Although long-haired animal species whose hair is ideal for carpets, such as Angora goats, were once bred there, the carpets produced there have not achieved any significance on the market.

Anno Hegirae = in German "Jahr der Hedschra"; see under "A. H."!

antique carpets = age designation for knotted and woven works that are older than 100 years. Such carpets are duty-free within the EU. In trade, carpets from before 1900 are called "antique"; see "age designation"!

antique finish = there have been and still are attempts to make knotted and woven carpets look older than they actually are by chemical surface treatment or by exposing them to strong sunlight with a more restrained colour palette. Such attempts are frowned upon.

antique(si)ering = the attempt to make new carpets appear artificially old and thus more valuable than they actually are. Means to achieve this are, for example, laying out new carpets in the blazing sun or on busy streets and washing them in wood suds. There are numerous ingenious methods in this regard, which are rarely recognisable to the layman.

Apadana = large audience hall within the ancient palace of Persepolis in Iran.

Appliqué = sewn-on or embossed pattern made of materials different from the backing material.

Aqceh = town in northern Afghanistan, near the large city of Shibergan. The carpets common there are often of raw and loose quality, showing "Filpa" or "Bukhara" patterns. They are offered in the bazaar two days a week. In Aqceh and the surrounding area, higher quality carpets are also produced today, which correspond to today's western tastes.

Arabachi = name coming from the Turkish "arabaci", in German "driver of a wheeled vehicle; a Turkmen tribe from the Amu Darya region in Central Turkestan; main carpets containing the Tauk Nuska oil are attributed to them; see this!

Arabbaft = carpet woven by Arabs, composed of "arab" = Arabic and "baft" = woven.

Arabesque = stylised, abstracted leaf or flower vine ornament, in Islamic art a decoration; it was developed from the Greco-Roman vine ornament by intertwining with forked leaves; mostly arabesques are used in carpet borders as an endless round or spiral pattern with split leaf ends.

Arabs = term for the members of Arabic-speaking peoples living in Saudi Arabia, the Arab Emirates, Jordan, Syria, Iraq, Egypt and largely also in North Africa. They are all not major carpet producers.

Arak = former name of the central Iranian industrial city of Sultanabad, capital of the province of Markazi. The carpets traded here are called Saruk or Sultanabad.

archaic luxury carpets = knotted works made in the epoch from 1250 to 1400 AD, which originated in the Mongolian Khane and Timurid epochs; their narrow borders are typical.

Ardabil or Ardebil = city in the northwest of Iran with its own carpet production, which enjoyed a high reputation, but has changed greatly in quality in recent decades. Today, the city in the Iranian part of Azerbaijan is only a carpet trading centre for knotted works with 120,000 to 180,000 knots per square metre.

Ardebil carpets = two large Persian carpets: one measuring 10.34 x 5.20 metres, kept in London's Victoria & Albert Museum; the other in the Los Angeles County Museum; the latter lacks the main border and consists of several pieces, thus being a fragment. Both carpets were probably made for the great mosque in Ardebil by Maksud Kashani in Tabriz and bear an extensive dedication inscription and signature. According to this inscription, these carpets were made at the beginning of the Safavid period from 1539 to 1540 and are the oldest Persian knotted works whose age and place of origin are known precisely.

Ardekan = Iranian town in the province of Yazd, situated 60 km from the city of Yazd between Kashan and Isfahan, where classical Persian carpets with a high knot density were made, which is why they were considered the cradle of the noble, restrained Persian. Today, low-priced carpets with a Keshan pattern come from there, often offered as "Keshan". "Ardakan" is translated as "holy place" or "clean place".

Ardjumand = carpet manufactory in Kirman; it was particularly active in the first decades of the 20th century.

Armenia = country in the Russian-Iranian-Turkish border region. Armenian carpets are known for their numerous inscriptions, mostly in unique Armenian script. In the Armenian capital Yerevan there is a school for carpet weavers, designers and repairers as well as for the creation of modern carpet designs.

Armenibaft = carpets woven by Armenians; "armeni" means Armenian, "baft" is Persian and means woven.

Arraiolos = town in Portugal, place of origin of carpets made there by needlework since the 16th century. Their original designs, relatively roughly drawn floral and animal models, are based on models from Persia and Anatolia; later motifs have a more European character.

Arshyn or Cheirak = Persian measure of length, also called Zer, has about 104 centimetres. "Cheirak" means "a quarter"; Zar-o-Cheirak is therefore 1.25 square metres in Iran. Today, carpets measuring 122 x 80 centimetres are called by this name; see also "Units of measurement"!

Art Deco = French-international style form from the period 1925 to 1940, which was shown in architecture, furnishings, clothing, jewellery, paintings, carpets and various everyday objects. Avant-garde artists introduced this style in Paris in 1925. Prominent representatives included Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró, Fernand Léger and Ivan de Silva Bruhns. The style extended to hand-knotted and machine-made carpets and particularly captured the luxury sector in the European West and the USA. Important Art Deco producers were positioned in England, the Netherlands and Germany.

Art Moderne or Art Décoratif or Modern Movement = see "Art Deco"!

Art Nouveau = interior design style that developed in the last decade of the 19th century and influenced architecture, graphics and home furnishings. The aim was to return to the high quality and manufacturing standards of down-to-earth craftsmanship. Characteristic of the style was the exuberant use of plant forms - twigs, vines, leaves and flowers - in the exterior design of all objects. Outstanding examples of Art Nouveau carpets were products by Sir Frank Brangwyn from Great Britain, Gallén-Kallela from Finland and Victor Horta from Belgium.

Artificial silk = since the end of the 20th century, artificial silk or "viscose" has also found its way into carpet production, especially in China and India, replacing natural silk. Today, the English term "bamboo silk" is also often used for viscose carpets.


Arts-and-Crafts = British design period that led to reforms in the arts, especially in product design from the mid-19th century to about 1920. For Britain, this was the "golden age of carpet culture". The aim of the movement was to create a link between solid craftsmanship and progressive industry. In the carpets made in England and Ireland, a stylistic combination of Persian hand-knotted art and modernity was sought. The motifs focus on serpentine and curvilinear designs with simplified floral patterns like those from English gardens.

Ashik = see "Dagdan"!

Ashik Göl = a Göl formed of toothed or stepped diamonds; these may also be concentrically shaped.

Ashik or Ashik = the name comes from the Turkish word "asik", in German "knuckle"; it is a jagged diamond, an ornament found in Turkmen carpets, often endlessly repeated by the Yomoud in Nastalik carpets as a filling of hexagonal patterns; they are the smallest carpets made in pairs to decorate the knuckles of a camel in the wedding caravan.

Ashkabad = the capital and largest city of Turkmenistan, located on the Silk Road between the Karakum Desert and the Kopet Dag mountain range. The name means "city of love" or "city of worship"; it houses the first Baha'i temple on earth; mainly Turkmen carpets are traded in the Altyn Asyr bazaar in Ashkabad.

Ashkhaneh = capital of Maneh and the Samalqan countryside in North Khorasan province near the northeast corner of Iran.

Asia Minor = mountainous area in the south of the Black Sea, bordered by the Mediterranean Sea in the west and south, politically it forms the main part of Asian Turkey. Its population is a mixture of Greeks, Kurds, Turkmen, Armenians, Israelites and European minorities. It has made history in ancient times, as it was home to notable Greek and Persian cultural and religious centres, e.g. Pergamon, Christian apostles passed through it and the famous West Anatolian (Anatolia = "Land of the Rising Sun") carpet creations; the second important carpet knot, called the Gördes or Senneh knot, originated here.


Asmalik or Asmalyk = pentagonal or heptagonal hangings to decorate the flanks of wedding camels or horses, which were always made in pairs, formerly also incorrectly called Osmolduk.

Assyn = a measure of 114 cm, still used today in Tabriz for carpets of the Heriz area, a square of assyn is therefore 1.30 m².

Asylum carpets = knotted works with two pointed gables (mihrabs), one(s) in each longitudinal direction, which are not considered prayer rugs. They are made in Asia Minor mainly by girls as a gift for their future groom. They take their name from the meaning that anyone standing on such a carpet enjoys the right of asylum and is under the personal protection of the master of the house. Turks call such knotted works odzhalik.

asymmetrical knot = see "Persian knot" or "Senneh knot"!

At-chechi = long knotted or woven horse belt.

At-djoli or Tainaktscha or Konaktscha = large polygonal knotted or woven horse blanket.

At-torba = feed bag for horses.

Aubusson = knitted French carpet from the Baroque period, a flat weave for luxurious demands. The name comes from a central French town with intensive tapestry production. This reached its peak under the French King Louis XV (1715-1774). The artistic models were largely derived from well-known painters or Chinese and Turkish models.

Auctions = public life auctions of products as a way of buying, of transferring ownership through personal participation, via telephone or internet. In the course of a game of exchange between several interested buyers (bidders), the price of the item for sale is outbid by each other. The last remaining highest bidder is awarded the contract by the auctioneer. Carpet auctions have become a sought-after way of selling carpets in the recent past. Bidding begins at the call price; the result of the bidding process is the final hammer price. Fees and taxes are added to this.

Austro-Oriental Trading Co = Austrian carpet production and trading company that maintained branches in Vienna, Berlin and Constantinople and purchasing agencies in Iran and the Caucasus. It was intensively active in Albania and was bought out by OCM, London, at the beginning of the 20th century.

Avanos = small town in Cappadocia, Turkey, the capital of Nevsehir County in central Anatolia.

Avyon = Turkish town with carpet production.

Awn hairs = These hairs in the coat serve as protection against wetness and mechanical influences; between them are short, curled soft woolly hairs, these protect against cold. In the thinner summer coat, the awn hairs predominate.

axial design = a carpet drawing that is symmetrical from one side to the other, but not from the top beginning to the bottom end of the piece.

Axminster = small town in the south-western English county of Devon above the River Ax. It was there, around 1755, that a loom was invented for high-quality carpets, which aroused great interest among the English nobility. Axminster carpets are high-quality flatweaves made of 80 to 100 percent wool. They are knotted with asymmetrical knots; the warp is made of wool, the wefts are usually made of flax or hemp. A distinctive feature of original Axminster carpets is red cotton woven into the edges on their underside. The carpet designs are very floral, similar to savonneries. (See these!)

Aydin = County town in the western Turkish county of Aydin on the Aegean coast.

Ayvacik = town and county in the north-western Turkish province of Canakkale on the Aegean Sea.

Azerbaijan or Azerbeijan = one of the oldest settlement areas of mankind at the crossroads of ancient caravan routes. The country is located in the south-east of the Caucasus Mountains, west of the Caspian Sea, divided by the Araxes River into the Republic of Azerbaijan in the north and the Iranian province of Azerbaijan in the south. The centres of Azerbaijani carpet production are Kuba, Karabagh, Shirvan, Shusha and Baku. Significant cultural and artistic influences in Azerbaijan come from the distinctive rock carvings in Gobustan (Qobustan), from the monuments and murals of the fortified city of Shusha, and from the jewellery art that is native to the region. Azerbaijan has huge deposits of oil and natural gas, which contribute to the economic rise of the country.

Azeri = proper name of Azerbaijanis, a Turkic-speaking ethnic group, some of whom also live in Persia, and for a young (made from 1990 onwards) high-quality type of carpet from Turkey, made with hand-carded virgin sheep's wool and pure vegetable dyes.

Azilal = Berber tribe in the Moroccan Atlas, also the name of a mostly high-pile, shaggy carpet type with diamond or line patterns that originally served as sleeping rugs for nomads and shepherds.


Babaheydar or Baba Haidar = village west of Isfahan in Persia; medallion carpets with both one and two wefts are made in this village.

Babaseghal or Babasequal = an Ersari tribe in Afghanistan between Andkhoy and Aq Chah.

Backhausen = Austrian textile company that has written carpet history since 1880. With production facilities in Hoheneich and Schrems in the Waldviertel and headquarters in Vienna, it produced valuable fabrics and hand-knotted carpets. In 2012, in the wake of the global financial crisis, it got into financial difficulties and was sold to BHN-SILEO GmbH together with all its old patterns.

Badghiz = province in western Afghanistan with carpet production.

Baghshayesh or Bakhshayesh = carpet-producing town in the northwest of Iran in the province of Azerbaijan, about 30 kilometres north of the city of Heris; Bakhshayesh carpets belong to the Heris type group, have high pile, good wool, and the patterns show fresh colours. Antique carpets of this type are very popular, especially in the USA, because of their originality.

Baghshi or Bakhshi = Turkmen tribe.

Baharlu = 1. small place in the agricultural district of Chaharduli in the Kurdish area of Iran. 2. a Turkic tribe within the Chamseh Conveyance in southwestern Iran. Their carpets usually have symmetrical knots; see "Chamseh"!

Bahluli = Group of symmetrically woven Baluch carpets from eastern Persia and western Afghanistan marketed under this name. Experts assume that they are village carpets of the Bahluli tribe. The colour of their field ranges from aubergine to deep purple to reddish brown; there are also rich orange to pinkish tones, which is unusual for Baluch. Older specimens are natural dyes, younger ones are synthetics with occasionally unsuccessful results; small fields may be undyed camel hair.


Bahluri = Iranian place in South Khorasan.

Bakhtiari or Bactiari = name of the most important nomadic or semi-nomadic tribe of Iran or name of their carpets. The tribe lives south of the Zagros Mountains or west and south of Isfahan. Today it is largely sedentary, belongs to the larger group of the Luri or Lori and speaks Persian; it produces mainly large-format carpets that also contain urban motifs and have two wefts. The rugs are mainly made by the sedentary population. Soraya Esfandiari, first wife of Shah Reza Pahlevi from 1951 to 1958, was a Bakhtiari.

Baku = in German "Stadt des Windes", capital of Azerbaijan. Its carpet production is low today, in the recent past and present it has been or is being promoted by the state. The boteh is a frequent motif of Baku carpets. See also "Saliani" or "Sal'yany"!

Balikhesir = university town, capital of the province of Balikhesir in the Marmara region, located in the south of Turkey.

Balkan carpets = oriental knotted works, which were produced in the south-eastern Europe - Romania, Bulgaria, Albania, Macedonia, Greece, Serbia, Croatia, Hungary - traversed by the Balkan Mountains, which were occupied by the Turks after 711, according to oriental models for their own needs. They are mostly substandard commercial carpets whose designation "oriental" was long disputed. Most Balkan carpets were influenced in design by the former Ottoman occupation of this region. Common names for Balkan carpets are Albanian, Bessarabian, Bosnian, Bulgarian, Romanian and Yugoslavian. There were such carpets from Bulgaria and Romania until 1990, as well as kilims from Serbo-Croatia, even artificial silk carpets from Hungary.

Ball carpets = designation for Anatolian carpets showing the typical chintamani pattern; this consists of three spheres and two wavy lines; it probably originated in China; see "Transylvanian carpets" and "chintamani"!

Baluchen or Beludjen or Beluchi = see "Beludj"!

Bamboo = plant often depicted in Chinese carpets, a Taoist symbol; in general it means great stamina, the ability to yield without breaking.

Bamboo silk = see "artificial silk"!

Banat = a Romanian province and a place of origin of kilims, mostly in slit technique; the kilims have stripes or geometric medallions and signal Turkish models.

Bandirma or Panderma = 1.: Turkish harbour town in the bay of the same name in the southern part of the Sea of Marmara in the province of Balikeshir on the route from Izmir to Istanbul. Until the Second World War, Gördes prayer rugs and Ottoman court carpets were made there, mostly with wool on a cotton ground. Many of them have been artificially aged and falsely sold as genuine Gördes prayer rugs or Ottoman court carpets. 2nd: Designation of Turkish carpets from the city of the same name; they show diverse patterns that are strongly influenced by Persian models.

Banyai carpets = the name of a type of mechanically knotted carpet. Their rather complicated production method was developed by Dr. Maurus Banyai in Vienna around 1910, achieved finenesses of 50,000 knots per square metre and seven times the performance of hand-knotting. The special feature of this type of carpet or the machine developed by Banyai is that it produced real knots in the Smyrna style. In addition, there were "Banyai tongs" which fed different coloured pile threads to the knotting machine. In the Technical Museum in Vienna there is a model of the Banyai carpet weaving machine that was used by Knüpfteppich Industrie GesmbH in Vienna-Alsergrund to produce Banyai carpets; it had been manufactured by Webstuhl- und Webereimaschinen Fabriks AG in Jägerndorf, now Krnow, in the Czech Republic. Despite mechanisation and low labour wages, the carpets were relatively expensive and therefore not competitive.

Baotao = see "Paotou"!

Bar Mazid or Barmazid = mountain village in the Ghazni region of Afghanistan, inhabited southwest of Kabul by Tekke Turkomans; they make full wool carpets with double wefts and Tekke patterns.

Barber's pole border = denotes a common border pattern; a twisting pole with diagonal strokes is the guild sign of barbers in England.

Barley = type of grain that serves as a natural beige dye for dye works.

Base weave = knotting base of a carpet, thus the warp with weft.

Baseri or Basiri or Basseri = a Persian-speaking tribe in southern Iran belonging to the Chamseh Confederation; they produce carpets usually with asymmetrical knots.

Basmakci = carpet-producing town and county in the western Turkish province of Afyonkarahisar. From there come large contemporary full-wool carpets in Caucasian patterns with finenesses of about 120 knots per square inch, equivalent to 744,000 knots per square metre.

Basra = city in southern Iraq; commonly used as the place of origin of white-ground Anatolian carpets.

Basselisse = tapestries knitted on horizontal flat looms; see these.

Bazaar = oriental market where all goods of human need, from basic foodstuffs to luxury products, from handicraft products to medicines, are offered for sale, called "soukh" in North Africa, "carsi" in Turkey.

Bazaar carpets = pejorative term for carpets as they are offered on an oriental market as cheap mass-produced goods for uninformed tourists.

Bedouin = nomadic Arabs inhabiting the deserts of North Africa and Arabia. They raise flocks of sheep and camels and their weavings are often made of goat hair, especially for their tents and space-dividing curtains, upholstery, bags, animal jewellery and small objects; bright colours are common.

Behang = blanket or hangings for pack animals and mounts, often also called "trapping".

Behsud = town in the west of Kabul in Afghanistan; the Hazara live there, who make rather coarse kilims, mostly with stripes; today also the so-called "Kazaks".

Beijing = capital of the People's Republic of China, where the first Chinese carpets were made around 1860. Intensive carpet production began in 1880 and lasted until 1920; then it largely shifted to Tientsin. The best Peking carpets imitated old palace, court and temple carpets; the more popular Peking carpets had a blue main field with designs and borders in leather brown, white or gold colours; the motifs included Buddhist and Taoist symbols, occasionally mixed in the same piece and without regard to their meaning. Beijing carpets were and are predominantly knotted with asymmetrical knots; Beijing continues to have modest carpet production with densities between 200,000 and 300,000 knots per square metre.

Beludj = means "cock" or "cockscomb" or tuft of hair". The Beluchen are a people inhabiting the border area between Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan, collectively called "Baluchistan". In summary, the hand-knotted carpets of the settled Beluj nomads are called "Beluj"; they are sold in Iran (Khorasan), Turkmenistan and Afghanistan (Herat) in varying quality, mostly in smaller sizes with 100,000 to 200,000 knots per square metre = 155 to 310 knots per square inch. Beludj carpets usually have double wefts and predominantly symmetrical knots. Their traditional colours are dark brown, dark blue, orange-red, dark red and black.

Belujistan = Mountainous Asian country now largely in Pakistans between India, Afghanistan and Persia up to the Gulf of Saudi Arabia. It is the least developed carpet area within a wildly rugged and desert-ridden region where nomadism has not yet been overcome.

Berber = former Moroccan nomadic tribes originating from three main tribes; today they are part of that population of Morocco which mainly lives in the Atlas and Rif mountains and produces traditional, thick, shaggy sleeping rugs rather long than wide with diamond and line patterns, so-called Berber rugs.

Berber knot = a carpet knot as used by the North African Berber tribes in the Middle Atlas in Morocco. The Berber knot wraps two warp threads twice. At the front of the rug, the pile threads peek out from the loop of the knot in two different directions; it can also be used in combination with the symmetrical knot (see this!). The material input for the Berber knot is greater than for the symmetrical or asymmetrical knot, but it is more durable than these.

Bergama = county town in western Turkey in Asia Minor, about 100 kilometres from Izmir, which was founded in 280 BC as "Pergamon". Pergamon is now an ancient ruined city where the Pergamon Altar had stood, which is now exhibited in the Berlin Pergamon Museum. Various carpets are made in this Turkish county, such as Yagcibedir, Yuntdagh, Yüncü, Karakecili, Kozak, which used to be marketed under the collective name Bergama. Many patterns are common for Bergama carpets; often the name "Bergama" is used for carpets of various origins.


Berlin carpet = early, ancient dragon & phoenix animal carpet, possibly a fragment, of a larger Anatolian carpet discovered in a central Italian church in 1886, but which may have been made as early as the 15th century. It is exhibited in the Islamic Museum in Berlin and is similar to the Marby carpet (see this!).


Beschir = the name means "bringer of good news". It refers to a place in Western Turkmenistan on the Darya River in Western Turkestan, where a sub-tribe of the Ersari live; their designs are dominated by Herati rosettes, Mina-Chani flower meadows and medallions in the main colours red, blue and beige, intermixed with yellow; warp and weft are made of wool. Geometric Beshir prayer rugs are particularly well known; antique pieces are sought after by collectors. All in all, they are elegant knotted works whose field often glows in wonderful yellow.

Bessarabia = a region in western Russia, Moldavia, Ukraine and the Caucasus, often ignored by experts and literature, where both flatweaves and knotted carpets are produced, but which are rarely the focus of attention. The weavings mostly come from Russian state workshops; earlier they came from workshops of aristocratic landowners, where work was mostly done for their own use, hardly ever for the open market. They began in the late 18th or early 19th century; most of the preserved Bessarabian textile products date from the period between 1850 and the end of Soviet Russian hegemony. The patterns are mostly coarse, with powerful colours and large floral motifs; for example, cabbage blossoms and other colourful flowers in exact rows or in cartouches, inside and outside central medallions. Occasionally they resemble those of French aubussons and savonneries; often there is a mixture with down-to-earth folk patterns. Inscriptions on Bessarabian kilims are mostly in Cyrillic.


Beyshehir = Turkish place where early Seljuk carpets have been found.


Bezalel = name of carpets produced in the Bezalel School of Arts in Jerusalem between 1906 and 1931. They were produced by Jewish weavers and show traditional ritual motifs from the Old Testament and conventional Persian patterns; see "Jewish-Israeli carpets"!


Bhadohi = city in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh near Mirzapur and Benares in the "Indian carpet belt", one of the centres of the Indian carpet industry; Bhadohi is the only Indian city from which an actual comparison of modest household living costs with the wages of carpet workers is available.


Bhawalpur = in the Indian Punjab region, this name used to refer to small (nomadic) carpets from southern Afghanistan and Balujistan patterned with stripes.


Bhutan = country between Tibet in the north and India in the south; carpets are woven there by Tibetan refugees who fled to Bhutan after the Chinese conquest of Tibet in 1959.


Bibikibad or Ainabad = this place is in the Hamadan region of Iran. There, independent, durable carpets of the Kurdish type have been hand-knotted for centuries, resembling Malayer carpets. They are thick, usually patterned throughout and covered with Herati and Boteh motifs; they are characterised by small, scaly, hooked drawings and bold colouring in red, blue and green. In Bibikibad, Turks and Persians live side by side; their carpets have partly Turkish (Ghiordes) and partly Persian knots, a typical mixture of two cultures (see also "Ainabad"!).


Bidganeh = 1.: a high-quality species of Bijar. 2nd: village in north-western Iran.


Bidjar = well-known north-western Iranian carpet town in the province of Kordestan on the trade route from Hamadan to Tabriz; its main population is Kurdish. The carpets produced in and around Bijar, mostly in homework, are extremely strong and robustly knotted, warp and weft are made of cotton, the pile is made of wool; the Herati pattern is predominant, with small rosettes standing in rhombs, often as a central medallion; red and blue shades predominate.


Bijov = ancient carpet town in the Caucasus, near Lake Caspian, west of Baku. Here nomads knotted abstract patterns in the Shirvan design, especially with animals, which gives them an archaic look; naturally dyed wool on wool with main and many secondary colours, giving the carpets a muted, harmonious play of colours.


Bilverdi = place in eastern Azerbaijan in the Heris region, east of Tabriz, as well as origin of one of the types of Heriz rugs with symmetrical knots and simple wefts.


Bir(d)jand = rapidly growing East Iranian provincial capital of South Khorasan on the old Silk Road, close to the border with Afghanistan; it is known for its abundant deposits of natural dyes such as saffron or barberry, for its carpets mostly in light blue, and for opium smuggling. From the beginning of the 20th century, carpets were produced in Birjand on an industrial basis. Before the Second World War, carpets were made there with jufti knots, which affected the quality of the pieces.

Bird carpets = knotted carpets with motifs reminiscent of birds, mainly produced in Western Anatolia (Ushak) and often exported to Transylvania; see "Transylvanian carpets".

Bird Ushak = In the 17th century, the first knotted carpets with strictly stylised geometric depictions of birds were made in the region around western Anatolia's Ushak; they are sometimes mistakenly called leaf motifs. Only a limited number of examples of this type of carpet exist, with very variable quality. There are no new bird uchaks.

Board weaving = old weaving technique by means of which narrow, longer textile bands with patterns are produced; the technical prerequisite is a narrow square (wooden) board with holes through which the threads are drawn, as well as a pattern idea.

Bochtsche = rare envelope-like folded square Koran or mirror bag of the Turkmen nomads, mostly made by the Jomoud tribe.

Bodjnurd = East Iranian place and area with carpet production by Kurds.

Boehmer, Dr. Harald = Initiator of a return to natural colours and traditional carpet patterns that led to a new generation of carpets.

Bokhara or Bukhara = old, glorious Turkmen city in Central Asia situated at the intersection of several caravan routes to India, Persia and China. It has belonged to Uzbekistan since 1920 and is a collection point for knotted items made by the Tekke Turkmen from the surrounding steppes, which come onto the market under the overall term Bochara or Bukhara. It is therefore a collective name for a wide range of nomadic carpets (Tekke, Saloren, Saryken, Yomoud and Ersari) traded in Bukhara.

Border = designation of the frame-like finish, concerning the lower and upper attachment and finish of a knotted or woven work; this is a delicate area that is the first to show damage in the course of a carpet's life, also called weaving border or selvedge. In nomadic rugs, these points are often decorated with elaborate and intricate interlacing, from which one can see the love of folk art. This additional decoration is not included in the measurements of the format. In the Orient, borders are made in special border weaving workshops, e.g. by "board weaving".

Border = pattern accentuating the edge or hem of fabrics, made at the same time as the fabric, or ornament framing the central part of a carpet or textile. There are single and multiple borders. They separate the inner field of a carpet by perfect borders -- between which a stripe usually runs -- from the edge of the carpet. Tibetan carpets usually lack a border. Persian carpets usually have one main border and two secondary borders, thus three parts. It is important that the border is finely coordinated with the carpet's inner field; in more recent times, the proportions between borders and ground have shifted. Border forms are often a zigzag pattern symbolising flowing water and thus eternity, the meander (derived from the West Anatolian river Meandros) thus winding serpentine; derived from this are the key border and the "running dog" (see this!).

Bordjalu or Bordschalu = village south of Tbilisi near Lambola in the Caucasus; carpets with often strictly geometric, open patterns and coffered central fields in the colours of the mountain landscape of the Caucasus are produced there; kochanak patterns with fringed diamonds are common there.

Borudjerd or Borujird = place with market centre in northwestern Iran for the carpets of the surrounding area. Production of Yalameh-style knotted carpets with simple wefts and symmetrical knots. They usually have dark red designs on a dark blue field.

Boteh or Mir-i-Botah or Botaly or Bothe-e-Mir = the Persian word means "flower" in German. It is a floral almond-shaped motif in a curved teardrop shape similar to a six with the tip projecting or bent to the right or left; one of the most common oriental carpet designs, especially in Persia with names as varied as palm-tip, pear, flame, almond, cone, seal, crown jewel or flea design; it symbolises, among other things, long life or the power of princes who sealed documents or judgments with this sign. The boteh is interpreted as a cypress, palm tree, foliage, crown jewel or the sacred flame of Zoroaster.

Bou = Turkmen tent decoration ribbon.

Boucherouite = a Moroccan spotted rug that developed due to occasional wool shortages in the country by recycling old fabric and wool remnants and has recently become one of the most fashionable, sought-after types of rug in the North African country.

Brand names = names of outstanding carpet companies that have rendered outstanding services to the production, wholesale and treatment of oriental carpets, e.g. Ziegler & Co, OCM or PETAG.

Brocade = fabric reinforced with metal threads, often made of silk; see "brocade".

brocading = a weave or use of an additional pattern-forming weft thread in knotted carpets or as an insertion in flatweaves. This is an ornamental weft technique originating in France, in which the ornamental insertions are only carried over part of the width parallel to the ground weft or even deviating from it; metal-covered yarns are used for this purpose in carpets; the brocaded areas lie somewhat lower than the dominant pile; the ornamental threads have only a decorative purpose. Most brocaded carpets today come from Isfahan, Keshan and Hereke; pile carpets (see these) are early examples of the brocaded technique.

Brussa or Brusa = see "Bursa"!

Buddha knot = a pattern element, also called "fate knot"; a self-contained ornament without beginning and end.

Buddhism = religion and philosophy of life preached by the Indian prince Siddhartha, who was given the honorary title Buddha (the enlightened one), in the 6th century AD in Benares with the main aim of overcoming the sufferings of the world; Buddhism is most widespread in East Asia and India.

Buddhist symbols = eight motifs derived from early royal Indian symbols and used in solemn ceremonies such as royal coronations. In Buddhism, they represent the auspicious offerings made by the gods to Buddha Shakyamuni after his enlightenment. They are the precious parasol, the golden wheel, the victory banner, two gold fish, the treasure vessel, the lotus flower, the conch shell and the endless knot. They serve as motifs in Chinese carpets. See also "Taoist symbols"!

Bünyan = a suburb of Kayseri where carpets with floral oriental designs are made; many of them are Turkish prayer rugs like Gördes or copies of Persian prayer rugs, including Saphs with the pile made of mercerised cotton.

Burdur = city in western Anatolia where carpets are produced according to Persian models but with modern colours; their fineness is 140 knots per square inch, which corresponds to 903,000 knots per square metre; the asymmetrical knot is used, the warp is made of cotton.

Burl fabric = (carpet) fabric with pile-forming loops = burls.

Bursa = the name of Turkey's fourth largest city, ancient Prusia, centre of Turkish silk production and trade; the city is located in western Turkey, near the Sea of Marmara. Around 500 BC, two priests from China are said to have secretly brought the first silkworms here in walking sticks. Silk production then began in Istanbul and Bursa. Bursa or Brussa carpets are no longer produced there today; they are considered inferior because of their short-shorn pile and stiff base fabric, which only feigns strength. At present, silk heerkes are made there in small quantities.

Bustard = bird motif on Turkmen carpets, said to bring protection to the owner.


C. E. = these initials in the signum of carpets are the abbreviation of "Cezaevi", which means prison; it shows that the carpet in question was made in a prison or penitentiary.

Caesarea = see "Kayseri"!

Cairene = floral or Mamluk carpets attributed to the city of Cairo in Egypt ("Cairo carpet") and made between the 15th and 17th centuries. They were made with asymmetrical knots in S-spun (clockwise) and Z-spun (= counter-clockwise) yarn.

Cal = Nomadic carpets, e.g. kilims and brightly coloured, coarsely knotted carpets, are produced in the area around this town in south-western Anatolia.

Caliph = spiritual and temporal leader of Islam; see this.

Call price = see "Auctions"!

Calligraphy = the art of calligraphy, which is cultivated particularly intensively in the Orient because pictorial representations of people were and are mostly forbidden in Islam. It experienced its heyday at the founding of Islam; it was considered the most important form of artistic expression. Arabic calligraphy was developed from the Nabatacan script, a family of Semitic script forms that was transferred from the ancient Phoenicians to the Greeks and ultimately into the Latin alphabet.

Camardi = town in central Anatolia where carpets are knotted under the name "maggots"; they are prayer rugs with a red central field.

Camel wool = cold-protective knotting material for carpets, but less elastic than sheep's wool, difficult to dye and sensitive to moths; it is only used for camel-brown knotting e.g. in Hamadan and Sarab.

Canakkale = Turkish city on the Dardanelles with carpet production.

Cardboard = in the context of carpets, this term means a knotting pattern that has been drawn or pasted with all its details on a cardboard and according to which the knotter can make an intricate pattern. Each small square pre-drawn on the cardboard corresponds to a knot; its colour is also pre-drawn.

Carding = process of making wool suitable for spinning by combing and washing; the wool is pulled through a series of metal teeth called a carding brush. Wool carded by hand is often called "hand-spun".

Care & Fair = well-known organisation of German importers that wants to prevent child labour and take initiatives to improve the education of children in the countries of the Orient.

Carpet = floor covering, wall hanging, household item or decorative object woven or knotted from animal hair, plant fibres, man-made fibres or silk; knotted or looped decorative textiles make pile carpets, woven, embroidered, brocaded decorative textiles make pile-free carpets or flatweaves. The term comes from the Greek word "tapes" or the Latin "tapetum", which means blanket, hanging or covering. In Persian, carpet is called "farsh", in Turkish "hali", in English "carpet" or "(pile)rug" depending on size, format and type of use.

Carpet back = Experienced carpet lovers always look at and feel the back of a carpet before buying it. There you can see not only the pattern of the front, but above all the type of weave, the number of warp and weft threads and the type of knots. Any repairs can also be seen in this way.

Carpet beetles = Besides moths, beetles are among the animal enemies of carpets. They are 2 to 5 millimetre large, broad-oval bacon beetles of the genus Anthrenus, brightly banded on a dark background; there are also other beetle species that damage carpets. Not only the beetles, but also their larvae destroy carpets, because they eat woollen textiles and carpets.

Carpet colours = Many varieties of oriental carpets get by with four to six colours. However, knotted works are known that have up to 25 different colours. The profession of dyer was a "noble art" in the Orient, which passed on its professional secrets only in the male tribe. Therefore, after the advent of chemical dyes, many dyeing secrets were lost and had to be painstakingly restored through research in more recent times. One of the secrets is the quality of the water used for dyeing. Mountain waters on volcanic soils are considered the best dyeing water; water containing lime is said to make the colours appear stronger. The secret of dyeing also includes the type and quantity of additives to the dyeing water.

Carpet documentation = list of all carpets of a collector by documentation in the form of photos, purchase contract, information about seller, carpet type, format, fineness, date of purchase, purchase price, current replacement price, state of preservation, certificate, place of origin, any inscriptions or signatures. This helps to determine damage caused by fire or burglary and accelerates insurance claims.

Carpet dynasties = Families who, in several successive generations, have rendered outstanding services to the preservation and dissemination of oriental carpet culture through new designs or a return to traditional patterns. They include, for example, the Mohtashem, Ateshoglou, Amoo-Oghli, Hadji Djalili, Habibian, Miri, Özipek, Cinar, Shirinyan, Zollanvari families, the German designer Jan Katt or production sites such as Hereke and Kumkapi.

Carpet ends = This is the term for the attachment of the lower and upper fringe sides of a carpet. Nomadic, but also village carpets show kilim attachments there, often with patterns. The loosely hanging fringes (chain ends) are often woven into tassels or plaits and show the weavers' love for their newly completed pieces; they should therefore be carefully guarded and not removed. The ends are the first to show signs of use, so they should be protected and preserved by sewing the braids in place, otherwise rows of wefts can easily come loose.

Carpet experts = experts in carpet science (tapitology) with years of experience, certified by the courts and officially certified, who advise laymen, insurance companies or banks on the valuation of knotted and woven works. They prepare expert opinions on the age, origin, fineness, state of preservation, motifs and patterns as well as prices and other quality characteristics of carpets. They charge fees and the respective costs incurred. (See "Evaluation criteria"!)

Carpet Export Promotion Council = Indian manufacturers' association for carpets and flatweaves, which occasionally presents statistics on the entire Indian carpet production and also comments on the regular accusations against child labour, too low weaver wages and antisocial living conditions of carpet workers.

Carpet formats = Due to the different wishes of buyers and ways of using carpets, they are produced in different sizes and formats. This leads to different designations. . The outweight number of oriental carpets is rectangular; only rarely they are square, very rarely they are  round or oval; the latter are products of later periods.

Many of the rectangular carpets are named after their specific formats:

Padazi are mostly doormats in the size of 60 x 90 centimetres.

Padakhi are bedside rugs in the size of 60 x 80 centimetres.

Sarquart have the size of 80 x 140 centimetres; all the above mentioned names are no more in use.

Poshti or Pushti or Yastik (= cushion) are knotted pillow-cases.

Zarcharak or Zar-charak (this Persian expression means in English “one and a quarter Zar”) are very small Ghalice or Qaliche carpets in the size of 80 x 140 centimetres.

Zar-o-nim or Saronim are small Ghalice or Qaliche in the size of 100 x 150 centimetres; “nim” means in English “a half of”.

Sedjadeh are carpets in the size of 130 x 180 centimetres.

Dozar or Qaliche are middle sized Ghalice or Qaliche in the size of 180 x 200 centimetres.

Ghali are carpets in the size of about 3 squaremetres (about 210 x 135 centimetres); the Turkish word “Hali” means generally carpet in English.

Ghalize or Qaliche are carpets smaller than Ghali or Quali.

Pardeh means in English curtain; in mosques often carpets in the size of 300 x 150 centimetres are used as doors; only in Täbris this name is used for rugs in the size of 300 x 200 centimetres; big Ghalice or Qaliche are in the size of 150 x 240 centimetres.

Kiaba is a name not more in use for carpets in the size of 170 x 270 centimetres.

Qali or Qalin in Turkman language have the same source of meaning as Ghali or Hali in Turkish language for sizes around 180 x 275 centimetres.

Qalindje or Qalinche are Turkman expressions for carpets smaller than a Qali. Ghali or Qali are carpets with a size of 300 x 200 centimetres.

Kelleh or Kellei mark longish carpets in the size of about 330 x 140 centimetres.

Kenareh are named those rugs which have a longitude of at least 250 centimetres and the threefold of a breadth of 50 to 120 centimetres. In Farsi the same carpet is named Rand.

In oriental splendour and luxury rooms there are in the centre one big carpet (= Mian Parsch) and on its sides Kenarehs (“kenar” means “flanks”), these are narrow rugs in order to walk on.

Zar is an old Persian expression for carpet size; it is occasionally used already today; its conventional size is frequently given with 1,04 x 1,12 metres; some experts assess it smaller around only 105 centimetres or less;  disputed is whether it is a longitude or a surface measure.

Carpet materials = wool from sheep, goats, camels and yaks, cotton, silk, occasionally flax, hemp or jute; in more recent times also synthetic fibres.

Carpet names = They are divided into geographical terms (places and regions), ethnic terms (tribal names, ethnic groups, manufactories, etc.) and freely invented names. Many contemporary carpets bear purely imaginary names given to them by organisations or traders (e.g. "Butterfly" or "Soraya").

Carpet underlay = thin non-woven fabrics that prevent slipping or rippling of old, thin, filigree, limp carpets; relevant latex, foam or rubber fabrics also dampen impact sound and are advisable especially for smooth parquet or plank floors.

Carpet valuation = The formal assessment of the financial value of an artistic textile is usually based on the description of the origin and quality of the specimen in question. These are details about name, age, condition, type of making, pattern and colours. Particularly important are the valuation levels price at retail including VAT or from private to private or in case of inheritance.

Carpet washing = A distinction must be made here between the so-called "first wash" after completion and a later "cleaning wash". The first wash is carried out as follows: After the finished carpet has been removed from the knotting loom, it is scrubbed vigorously with water and soap. Then the pile is shorn to its final height, dried - preferably outdoors --, brushed and then stretched so that it lies flat. Nomads do this in pure, naturally flowing water; today, larger manufactories hire professional carpet laundries to do it. Rainwater has a lower lime content than normal tap water, contains chemical trace substances and is ideal for washing carpets.

Carpet zones = There are geographical zones on earth in which carpet culture has developed because favourable conditions of environment, materials and human needs meet there: on the one hand the need for warming, protective, easily transportable textiles, on the other hand the availability of natural materials suitable for the production of knotted and woven products, furthermore artistic sense and imagination to design these textiles suitable for humans. The carpet zones are located in the land belt between the 25th and 45th degrees of latitude north and lengthwise from the isthmus of Gibraltar in the west across the Middle East to Turkestan and China. South of the carpet zones in the dry steppe climate, there is a tropical equatorial climate with scorching heat and endless periods of rain; people there do not need warming textiles. In the northern hemisphere, the dense grass cover and grazing areas for steppe animals, which nomads keep for food and wool, come to an end. Instead, there are dense forests, and the animals that live there offer their furs to keep people warm. In the southern hemisphere of the earth, no carpet centres have developed between the 25th and 45th parallels of latitude.

Cartouche = term used in ornamentation; it means an oval, medallion-shaped or angular ornamental frame with its own decoration, which in the case of carpets contain e.g. pious inscriptions, designations of origin or weaver's marks. Often found in borders where they alternate with other motifs.

Cartridge = see "Sample drawing".

Cartwright, Edmond = He applied for the first patent on a mechanical loom in 1785; this was further developed into an operable loom and put to practical use by Richard Roberts in Manchester in 1826.

Cassette ornamentation = rectangularly divided inner field of a carpet with similar ornamentation of the individual rectangular fields.

Caucasus = one of the five major knotting regions of oriental carpets on earth, located at a narrow mountainous migration gateway between Asia and Europe, which led to the development of an amazing variety of attractive carpet motifs and patterns. The Caucasus forms a land bridge between Europe and Asia; it covers an area of about 400,000 square kilometres between the Caspian and Black Seas; it is probably the earliest country of origin of oriental knotted textiles. All patterns and motifs of Caucasian carpets show strong colours and a geometric (rectilinear) design. Most Caucasian carpets are made of wool and were made for personal use. They are the result of a centuries-long nomadic handicraft tradition that originated in this region. Until about 1930 there were still village carpets, later good but soulless manufactured carpets; since about 1990 this production has died out.

Cemetery carpet = Prayer rug used in cemeteries or at funeral ceremonies to cover the corpse or decorate the grave; it usually shows a tombstone and trees, often cypresses, in the mihrab. Such carpets are produced in Kula and other places in Asia Minor; the Turkish name is "Mazarlik"; see this!

Central Anatolia = Turkey's second largest geographical region with 151,000 square kilometres. The main focus of Turkish carpet and flatweave production is located there. This metropolitan area stretches from Adana, Kayseri, Konya and Sivas to Eskisehir, Antalya, Isparta, Afyon and the surrounding area.

Central Asia = In this mostly inhospitable and difficult to travel area, often called Turkestan(comes from the former "Turan" = "land of darkness"), the knotted carpet probablyoriginated in the yurts of the nomadic tribes. One of the oldest tribes may have been theSalors, who mixed with the Mongol hordes. The impetus for the development of theknotting technique may have been the need for compact, warming, easily transportable
coverings and clothing that could be made from existing natural products.

Central motif = a motif dominating the centre of the carpet.

Ceyrek = Turkish word; it means "quarter" in German; designation for carpets with dimensions of about one square metre.

Cezaevi = translated from Turkish means "prison"; a suffix for carpets made in a prison.

Chaili = village near the Moghan steppe where carpets are made that have a relatively high pile of 4 mm compared to the neighbouring Shirvan carpets; they are considered exemplary of Caucasian traditional pieces and great pattern purity.

Chali = see "Ghali"!

Chalyk = small curtain, similar to the Kapunuk of the Tekke Turkmen; small Turkmen carpet intended for the chest of a camel, used as an animal decoration for a wedding.

Chamseh = a Persian tribal confederation formed in 1860 from five (chamseh = Arabic for the number five) original tribes (Arab, Basiri, Bahalu, Ainalu, Nafar), which was not recognised as a unit by the Shah. With their confederation, the Chamseh wanted to distinguish themselves from the Qashqai tribe, but their carpet patterns are very similar. Their carpets are marketed under the name Chamseh or Khamseh. For decades, these tribes have also produced coarse and cheap carpets that are traded under the name "Shiraz".

Ch'ang = Chinese endless knot, also called Buddha knot. As the inextricable entanglement of human destiny, it is one of the eight Buddhist symbols.

Charcoal carpet or Demirci Kula = this is what carpets made of Kula are called in the trade, which have a particularly dark colour. The name comes from the Turkish "Demir" for "iron".

Chaudor = see "Chaudor"!

Chaudors or Tshaudors = tribe in western Turkmenistan inhabiting the southern part of inland Iran between Lake Caspian and Lake Aral, producing unusual geometrically patterned nomadic rugs often called "Bocharian".

Chechen or Chichi = a people living on the north-western border of Dagestan in the Terek region who produce carpets. The name of their carpets is also derived from their Georgian name "Khisten"; they are thin, have a short pile, yet are durable.

Checkerboard carpets = rare old Tibetan carpet type showing patterns with squares, lines and crosses; the pieces are mostly used as seat and game bases (see "Shotima".) Another type of checkerboard or compartment carpets are a very rare group, formerly thought to be derived from the Mamluk or Kairene Ottoman carpets. There are only 30 pieces in all, which have a similar pattern composed of squares with triangles in the corners enclosing a star pattern.

Cheirak = see "assyn" and "units of measurement"!

Chekiri = border motif found in Mir and Serabend rugs; it consists of botehs, foliage and small flowers.

Chelaberd = settlement between Khondsoresk and Yerevan, north of Mount Ararat; cloud-band kazaks, especially the so-called eagle kazaks, have always been produced there, featuring strong colours, powerful wool and large-scale, earthy ornaments. Because of their geographical location and the brown wefts, Chelaberd carpets are counted among the Karabagh. In eagle kazak carpets, the eagle motif is mirrored by the horizontal and vertical axes; the eagle's head is never shown for religious reasons; clearly visible are the bird's splayed legs, tail and feathers; the ground colour is almost always madder red, the eagle motif varies from turquoise to steel blue; see "Kasak"! Eagle-,

Cheme or Cheme Torba = Turkmen spoon bag; see also "Gashogdan"!

Chemical colours = see "Synthetic colours".

chemical washing = this refers to a process of cleaning new carpets with alternating baths of slightly alkaline hydrosulphite and strongly alkaline hypochlorite leaches; see "eskitme" and "saratma". This is to soften the carpet colours and intensify the shine of the pile.


Chila = town west of Baku, where carpets with a long field filled with boteh motifs were made in the 19th century; the central medallion is stepped, usually measuring around 350 x 170 cm; the pile is wool, the weft wool or cotton. These are Caucasian rugs from the Shirvan area.

Children's carpets = A distinction is made between modern play carpets for children's rooms and cheap knotted carpets made by underage children in Far Eastern workshops. Non-profit organisations that want to eliminate child labour in carpets argue against the latter.

China = The most populous country on earth, which calls itself the "Middle Kingdom", only developed oriental knotting as a profitable craft from the 12th century onwards. In the west of the country, sheep's wool was plentiful, along with strong cultural and artistic contacts with Muslims and nomads. The patterns and colours of old Chinese carpets were based on Caucasian models. The West discovered Chinese carpets as a trade good on the occasion of the Boxer Rebellion of 1900, when troops of European powers plundered the royal palace in Beijing and brought back carpets to Europe as booty. Chinese carpets are a phenomenon because they are immediately recognisable as such even to laymen; nevertheless, they show a variety of different faces. Six carpet regions can be distinguished in China. One of them, Beijing carpets, are mostly finely woven, have favourable formats, with midnight blue dominating within lightly dyed borders. China carpets are not considered oriental carpets in the strict sense. Throughout the country, a down-to-earth domestic carpet culture has never developed as in the rest of the Orient.

China green = natural green dye from the bark of the buckthorn. Green is also produced by mixing yellow and blue.

China Tibetans = imitations of the new Nepal Tibetan style, made in large knotting factories in Tientsin and other places in western China by Chinese people using Chinese wool.

Chinese carpets = Many specialist authors understand this to mean knotted works that originated in China proper in the 18 provinces south of the Great Wall or in the border provinces north of the Great Wall that belong to Inner Mongolia. Other experts also include carpets made in Outer Mongolia as well as in Manchuria and Tibet. There is evidence of weaving in China from around 4000 years before Christ; fragments of a coarsely woven textile piece had been found in central China in Shaanxi province. It was not until the Ottomans conquered East Turkestan in the 12th century that carpet weaving became widely practised in China. For Europe and America, Chinese carpets only became respectable at the beginning of the 20th century. While Persian carpets are knotted according to an ancient hidden mathematical calculation, Chinese carpet design tended towards the free arrangement of patterns and motifs. In China, there is indeed the division of the carpet surface into fund and border, but both parts often merge into each other, and there is also a lack of symmetry. Chinese carpets often play with the contrast between blue and yellow; meanwhile, China also skilfully imitates Turkish and Persian knotted carpets as well as French aubussons and savonneries. Rising wages are bringing much of China's carpet production to a halt in the 21st century.

Chinese grid = a pattern formed by interlocking swastikas, also known as the "Wan pattern". "Wan" means swastika and in Chinese it stands for the number 10,000.

Chinese knot = an easier to tie variation of the Persian knot, resulting in a fluffier carpet pile.

Chinese symbols = classical Chinese carpets show ornaments, symbols and patterns that have developed in a centuries-long process due to various religious and cultural influences as well as the adherence of the Chinese to everything traditional. See "Buddhist symbols", "Taoist symbols" and "Fine arts symbols"!

Chinoise = term for carpet copies of Chinese models made outside China.

Choobi = see "Ziegler"!

Chordjin or Churdschin = Persian double bags, called "Heybe" in Turkey, for transporting household goods; their parts are connected with a knotted or embroidered web and they were mainly transported by animals.

Chowal = large Turkmen bag for transport by camels or large tent bag for supplies, blankets, bedding or clothes in the format 110 x 180 centimetres, which were also hung on tent walls. They are always made in pairs; only the front is woven, the back usually remains a simple flat weave. Chowals were made by all Turkmen tribes.

Chrome paints = chemically produced, improved chromium-containing inorganic industrial mineral paints in the 20th century. They are opaque, lightfast and wash-resistant, but with a somewhat harder and more metallic sheen than natural dyes. They are often mixed with natural dyes in yarn dyeing to achieve a better colour effect. (See also "Synthetic dyes").

Cicim or Djijim or in Iran Djadjim = literally translated from Turkish into German "mein Herzchen", "my little heart", "mein Schätzchen"; a light flat weave of wool in stripes of different colours; they are made on narrow looms and then sewn together into wider pieces. The pieces consist of six to eight pieces in often identical designs, in contrast to classic woven kilims, where usually two strips are created and sewn together to form the final product. The result is blanket-like textiles measuring 2 to 2.5 by 1.3 to 1.8 metres; they are made by Shah-Savan nomads, but there are also Turkish or Caucasian djadjims made by Gashgai, Afshar or Beludj nomads. An increasingly rarely used flatweave technique. (See also "winding wefts"!)

Cintamani = Buddhist three-sphere motif in carpet designs from China; it shows three spheres above a double wavy line. It is found mainly in Western Anatolian carpets from Ushak or Transylvanian carpets (see "Cintamani").

Cintamani or Chintamani = three-ball motif with two wavy lines in carpet designs, originally arrived from China via India, later also used in Western Anatolian knotted carpets; it is considered a lucky charm; see "Transylvanian carpets".

Circassians = people who mainly inhabit the Caucasus and its foothills and who produce excellent carpets, especially kazaks.

City carpets = the most formal, artistically solemn and rigid type of carpet, distinguished from nomadic or village carpets by high fineness, variety of patterns and colours, and curvilinear motifs. They are produced in manufactories with sheep's wool and silk in pile and weft on cotton warp in various formats. Pattern drawings are always required for this type of production. In contrast to nomadic and village carpets, the precise and fine courtly work is valued here.


Cloud band = originally a Chinese carpet motif whose finely curved loops enrich the carpet décor. The motif is a wavelike curved band and appears geometrically like curvilinear. The cloud band motif is associated with the cloud-covered sky and the Greek letter Omega. It appears on carpets from all over the world.

Cochineal = crimson dye, similar to "lac" but more luminous. It is obtained from the ground-up bodies of the Mexican or West Indian scarlet scale insect. Since the 16th century, the dye was imported to Europe; it only reached the Middle East at the end of the 18th century.

Cochineal = Name of a species of scale insect that lives mainly in Mexico and India and, after drying, produces a finely ground crimson dye that has been used since 1770 for the red dyeing of knotted yarn, among other things.

Colour decay = decomposition of the wool fibres of an older carpet due to chemical effects of etching, mordanting and bleaching agents that have been used in the dyeing process. These include gallic acid, iron oxide dyes, iron vitriol, copper vitriol, metal salts or sulphates. By adding such substances, the wool fibres become brittle after prolonged use and wear more easily than wool that has remained elastic, causing relief-like effects to form in the carpet. Black, brown, moss green, brown-red and beige-brown in particular suffer from colour wear. This means that correspondingly coloured parts of the pile fall out or become shorter. In very old carpets, such colour corrosion is tolerated, even appreciated, because it unequivocally confirms their age. See "corroded"!

Colour symbols = different carpet colours create different associations in the viewer. This is most intensively the case in China or with Chinese carpets: the earth is yellow, the wood green, the fire red and the water black. Green is the sacred colour of the Prophet and the Mohammedans; yellow is a symbol of piety, white (in the Orient) the colour of mourning. The meaning of the colours in a carpet used to be more symptomatic than in modern pieces.

Colour test = To test the colour fastness of a carpet, rub a wet white handkerchief over its pile; if the cloth remains white, it is colour fast.

Colours = For traditional oriental carpets and fabrics, the colours are obtained from natural raw materials; since the middle of the 19th century, there have been additional synthetic (chemical) colours that compete fiercely with natural colours; however, the quality of chemical dyes has improved greatly in recent decades. Today, natural dyes are once again gaining acceptance, or they are sensibly combined with synthetic dyes. Natural animal wool is naturally white, rarely pure white; at higher ages it becomes ivory or cream coloured, at higher ages also ash-grey. Since time immemorial, wool has been dyed for carpets to achieve imaginative colour combinations with a decorative effect. The dyeing of carpet yarns is only done by men.

Column ladik = trade name for Anatolian prayer rugs of the 17th and 18th centuries, in which the prayer niche is divided by columns or by pairs of columns. See also "Ladik"!

Comb = a motif especially on prayer rugs, reminding pious Islami of the commandment of ablution and cleanliness before daily ritual prayer; the same purpose is served by the occasional depiction of a water jug.

Commercial = a term used unofficially in the specialised trade for mass-produced carpets, which thus lack the originality and aesthetics of lace carpets. 

Confucian symbols = see "Taoist symbols"!

Conversion = Prices, lengths and areas of carpets and textiles are often given in inches, feet or square inches or in metres, decimetres and centimetres or in square metres, square decimetres or square centimetres. In English-speaking countries, the prices of carpets are still calculated in square inches; e.g. 25 US dollars per square foot according to the conversion factor 10.76 results in a square metre price of 269 US dollars. Further information on converting different price systems: One square metre has 1550 square inches; consequently 300,000 knots per square metre are 64.51 knots per square inch. To convert Chinese knots to lines, use the formula: 200 lines x 200 x 10.764 is 430,560 knots per square metre. To convert Islamic to Christian years, consult "A. H." in this index.

Cork = Persian term for "finest wool" from the neck and throat of sheep up to six months old. In Iran, better carpets are often called "cork"; the terms "cork" and "cork wool" are congruent.

Cork wool = one of the particularly often used attributes for the wool of fine carpets, often wrongly. There is no verified information about the real quality of the wool. It is often claimed that it is particularly fine goat's wool.

Corner solutions or corner gussets = arrangement of carpet patterns in such a way that their borders are not cut at the corners. This is a difficult challenge for pattern draughtsmen; in nomadic carpets this is often not taken into account; Persian pattern draughtsmen in urban manufactories invented so-called 45-degree corner solutions for this purpose, which avoid cutting up the patterns. Old Tabriz carpets do not have perfect corner solutions.

Corroded = chemically attacked or destroyed pile parts, e.g. of a carpet, due to dye-chemical impairment in the course of time; see "colour corrosion"! Especially the black or dark brown colour, which is achieved by using natural dyes with gallstones, is subject to natural oxidation; as a result, old carpets in which these dyes have been used usually have a relief-like effect.

Cotton = Arabic kuton, Turkish pamuk, Persian pambe, Russian pachta. Natural or plant fibre of a mallow species that grows around the world between 41 degrees north and 36 degrees south latitude; the prerequisite is good soil moisture and tropical sunlight; its flowers are yellow, the seed bundles snow-white and look like cotton wools; the fibres are 10 to 50 millimetres long and are spun into a uniform, strong, little stretchy yarn. Cotton has been used in India and China for thousands of years; later it was brought to Spain by the Arabs; it is recommended for carpet warps because of its strength, for carpet weft it is often mixed with sheep's wool; it is rarely found in carpet pile. In Turkey, especially in Kayseri, mercerised, i.e. shiny cotton (see "mercer"), called "flosh", came onto the market until around 1970. Cotton is harvested close to production in carpet-producing regions.

Counting knots = To determine the number of knots - strictly speaking, they are loops - of a knotted carpet requires a high degree of accuracy and a good eye: You stake out 10 centimetres vertically and horizontally on the back of the carpet with needles, count the knots between these points, multiply both values and take them times 100. The result is the number of knots per square metre.

Countries of origin = A distinction is made between classical and non-classical countries of origin of carpets. Classical countries are Turkey, Iran, the Caucasus, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Tibet and China. Non-classical countries are Pakistan, India, Nepal, Vietnam, North Africa e.g. Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, the Balkan countries e.g. Romania, Albania, Hungary and the former Yugoslavia.

Courtly carpets = knotted works that were predominantly produced in courtly manufactories. The heyday of courtly carpet art was between 1524 and 1629, when numerous courtly manufactories were established and new patterns and a new style were worked out; figurative motifs were also adopted from bookbinding, calligraphy and miniature painters into carpet art.

Crenellated pattern = some Anatolian prayer rugs show a pattern in the transverse field that bears a resemblance to battlements on a castle, but is actually a close succession of lobed fields; it is always designed reciprocally.

crooked carpets = see "village carpets"!

Cross = motif on carpets; with the exception of Armenian knotted products, it has no religious significance in Oriental carpets.

Crossberry or buckthorn = also called dyer's crossberry (rhamnus catareticus), in English "buckthorn", an intense sap-green vegetable substance that yields a yellow, orange to brown-red dye.

Csangos = 1st Roman Catholic tribe in the region of Moldavia or south-east Transylvania in Romania. It speaks Romanian and Hungarian and is pejoratively called so by the neighbouring Szeklers. "Cango" means to separate or migrate. The Csangos have developed textiles with characteristic patterns for women's and men's clothing or accessories and belts in homework. 2nd: Csangos is also an old Hungarian dialect.

Cuenca = ancient city of Conca, capital of the Spanish province of the same name and location of one of the first carpet manufactories in Spain.

Cumra = a double site whose excavations of ancient settlements have led to many carpet patterns, e.g. rams' horns, antlers, bulls and other animal representations. From Cumra come mainly small-format runners with red-green contrasts and Caucasian borders.

curvilinear = means curved, a term for naturalistic carpet motifs and patterns formed by delicate curvilinear branches, flowers or lozenges. Such are typical of fine to highly refined manufactory and court carpets. Another type of carpet designs and motifs are rectilinear or geometrically figured carpet designs and motifs typical of nomadic and village carpets. The curvilinear type of carpet patterns have been around since the 16th century, when oriental rulers established carpet manufactories and had luxurious grand and court carpets made there.


Cypress = Evergreen, slender and tall, dark coniferous tree tapering at the top, common in Mediterranean countries. It is used in oriental carpets as a symbol of long life and mourning. The cypress is used as a slender tall tree both naturalistically curvilinear as well as rectilinear.


Dabir Sanayeh = name of a manufactory in Keshan that has been producing carpets with a velvety pile in elegant colour combinations since the end of the 19th century. Women tie them in Persian knots at home; ateliers as well as manufactories produce fine pieces of high quality that are durable and highly sought after, hence often fetch high prices.

Dag(h)dan = an ornament woven by several Turkmen tribes; it has an amulet function, it is supposed to bring good luck or prevent harm to the wearer. The "ashik", a stepped ornament of many Turkmen tribes, has the same function; see this!

Daghestan = in German "Bergland"; a vast mountainous region starting from the crest of the Great Caucasus over the northern slope to the shore of the Caspian Sea, inhabited by many small peoples and tribes who, thanks to their large flocks of sheep, produce animal wool and weave heavy carpets with densities between 1000 and 2500 knots per square decimetre; these are rather hard, the pile is brittle, but the wool shines. Daghestan prayer rugs, e.g. Marasali prayer rugs, captivate with an angular area under the mihrab bulging with small flame-shaped boteh motifs on a different coloured background; see "Marasali"! Old Daghestan have shirvan structure, new ones were solid carpets, which are no longer produced.

Dali = Sub-tribe of the Ersari Turkmen in Afghanistan, native to Balkh province in northern Afghanistan near the border with Uzbekistan; their gül usually shows a trefoil or cloverleaf design based on the Ersari model.

Damascene = old name for Mamluk, sometimes also Anatolian carpets or patterns; in the 16th and 17th centuries it was assumed that these carpets originated in Damascus.

Damascus carpets = a rarity, see "Mamluk carpets".

Daragh Bash or Doghme-Torba = small pentagonal bag that served as a comb container.

Daragh or Darak = wooden or iron comb with a handle with which the weaver taps the inserted weft thread(s) at the end of each row of knots, thus consolidating the knotting.

Daregaz = city in north-eastern Iran; trading place for carpets of the Kurds living there.

Dargazine or Dergazine or Darjezin = area and village in the Hamedan region; in terms of volume, this is the most productive carpet-producing district in the entire area, especially of runners.

Darya or Amu-Daria region = Turkmen region named after the border river Amudarya, the ancient Oxus River, which once flowed into the Aral Sea; today the river runs dry in the desert.


Dashgha = see "knotting chair".

Dastur = Persian term for a carpet that serves as a template for creating a carpet of the same kind.

Daulatabad = literally: "god's castle", a city with a fortress in northern Afghanistan, collection point for the carpets of the entire region. There, Uzbeks and Turkmen produce knotted works characterised by octagonal "filpa" motifs (= see "elephant foot") and so-called "bochara göls"; the main colour is brown-red with dark blue motifs.

Dauletabad = there are several places of this name in Iran; if the word is related to carpets, Dauletabad southeast of Hamadan is meant. Carpets from there resemble Hamadan, occasionally Saruk.

Dazgiri or Dazkiri = this name means "bare field" in German and refers to a place in central western Anatolia where carpet designs with large central square rhombs with coves are knotted, the medallion-like rhombs being filled with geometric florets in the manner of Bergama.

Deer = is often depicted on Chinese carpets. The deer, in Chinese "lu", is considered a symbol of abundant income and prosperity in China. In its mouth it often has a mushroom-like herb that expresses immortality ("Ling dschi tsau"); the deer also functions in China as a symbol of long life.

Deer kilim = Persian knotted carpet with a deer or hind, which was also imitated in China in the mid-19th century; see also "deer"! Among experts, the English term "crane and deer rug" has recently come into use; this used to be found in Armenian carpets (Karabagh), never in Iranian ones.

Delhi = Indian capital in the district of the same name; trading centre for carpets, but only an insignificant own production.

Delija = see "Lilian".

Demirci or Demirji = town in the Turkish province of Aidin. The Turkish word means "blacksmith" or "ironmonger" in German; it is a place in north-west Anatolia where carpets with one or even two red weft threads are produced and called "Kömürcü Küla" (= charcoal burner's hat) by the trade; they tend to have dark colours.

Denizli = Turkish provincial capital, second largest city in the Aegean region with an important textile industry and one of the oldest bazaars in Turkey.

Deram = Iranian traditional weight measure for weighing silk. One deram is equal to 100 mesqal; one mesqal is about five grams.

Derbend or Darband or Derbent = capital of Daghestan located on the coast between Lake Caspian and the Kaitag Mountains; the name is Persian and means "closed gate" or "hollow way" in German. The carpets produced in this hinterland in the 19th century were of coarse, loose quality and have a latticework or continuous patterns of geometric flowers.

detach = outdated term for removing dirt or stains from textiles, also carpets, especially if they are used nomadic carpets.

Dhurrie or Durrie or Darris = Indian flat weaves made of cotton, used as cushion covers, bedspreads or floor coverings respectively, and are an inexpensive alternative to knotted carpets. They are rather stiff weaves made of cotton, sheep's wool, jute or silk, sometimes combined in terms of material, mainly produced in Rajastahn, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab or Himachal Pradesh, occasionally also in prisons, since Indian independence also in Pakistan. Some of these dhurries meet high standards of design and make.

Direct dyeing = the original method of using natural dyes; it involves a direct connection between (textile) fibres and a plant dye.

Dish Disluk = small pentagonal jewellery for the front knees of the bride's camel, knotted only by the Jomud.

Dis-torba = small salt bag of the nomadic Turkmen for storage in the tent.

Diwan = in Goethe, an expression for a collection of poems or a book of stories; in furniture, an expression for a sofa or a room furnished with sofas; transferred to usage, an expression for a council meeting or a room suitable for this purpose. The Turkish court of the Ottomans was also called a "divan".

Diwari = rarely used term for tapestries after the Persian "diwar" = wall.

Diyarbakir = Turkish city in the Kurdish region of Eastern Anatolia.

Dizlik = knee jewellery for camels.

Dja Dizluk = pentagonal knotted doilies that decorate the knees of camels at festivals.

Djafarbey = Turkmen tribe in Iran, named after their leader Djafar Bey.

Djaff or Jaff = Kurdish tribe in Iran north and west of Senneh. Members of this tribe made various bags in the 1920s and 1930s, many of which have survived to this day, at least as fronts. Their design consists of diagonal rows of hooked rhombs in the colours green, blue, red and brown; the tribe is known for its Khordjin rugs.

Djah Namaz = name for a small prayer rug, composed of the Persian words "djah" = place and "namaz" = prayer.

Djah-e-toghme-morgh = small round containers with removable lids to keep eggs warm, mostly originating from southern Persia. Literally translated, the name means "place for chicken eggs".

Djamshidi = Afghan tribe that makes carpets.

Djanbegi = East Iranian tribe that makes carpets of the same name.

Djoft = in Persian, "Djoft" means a pair, thus the term for two identical pieces; they are small carpets in the format 200 x 135 cm; they are knotted in Iranian manufactories (e.g. in Keshan); as a pair they are more expensive than a single one.

Djole Chers = bear skin. The often alternatively used expression "Djulchir" is wrong; see "Djulchir"!

Djol-e-asb = horse blanket; "djol" means "blanket", "asb" means horse.

Djollar = Turkmen term for a narrow, usually finely knotted decorative ribbon with dense fringes worn by the bride's camel in the wedding procession, with 20 to 50 Persian knots per square centimetre, or for a small narrow Turkmen bag.

Djollar-Pardeh = a curtain or textile door. The term translates into German as "winged djollar" and refers to a decorative ribbon for the wedding, extended by two side panels and decorated with wool tassels; after the wedding it is used to frame the entrance to the tent.

Djoshegan or Joshegan = town in north central Iran, 30 miles southwest of Kashan. Carpets have been knotted there since the 18th century, the pattern of which is famous for its continuous lozenges, each individual lozenge consisting of a geometricised plant motif. This pattern may also include a small medallion and coving; this is also widely imitated elsewhere. Gul Henna carpets are also made in Joshegan and surrounding towns; they have a cotton ground.

Djozan or Djosan = town in western Persia southeast of Hamedan and east of Malayer. Here, carpets similar to the Saruk are made with floral motifs; bright red and gold dominate as colours; the wool is shiny and the weave dense. The centre of the rugs is usually dominated by a slender diamond accompanied by floral motifs. This type of carpet is one of the high-quality Persians.

Djubi = the Farsi word "djubi" means "wood" in German; the term "Djub-Rang" ("Rang" means "colour") refers to Afghan carpets that have a light wood colour. The best-known new developments of this type of carpet came about as a result of initiatives by European and American carpet wholesalers in Afghan refugee camps between Peshawar and Islamabad. This type of carpet is often also traded as "Ziegler"; see this!

Djufti knot = false carpet knot (djuft = "pair" in Farsi), which is knotted over two or more pairs of warp threads; this is an occasionally practised, inferior type of knot, also called fraudulent. This saves labour time and wool, so the result is usually unsatisfactory; it is also called a jufti or jofti knot. This knotting technique was officially banned in the 19th century.

Djulchir = short for "djul-e-chers", which means "fur of a bear"; this refers to a carpet with long pile hairs, as they are often still made by Uzbeks. These are the most archaic carpets of Central Asia and they were made by women in homework. They are rough, irregular pieces made of sheep's wool, occasionally also of goat or yak hair. They usually show geometric abstract motifs such as the moon, eagle feathers, squares and ram's horns.

DOBAG = Short name of the project "Dogal Boya Arashima ve Gelistirme" to research and develop natural dyes and to revive the traditional Turkish craft of carpet weaving in rural areas in order to revive a former source of income. It was initiated in 1981 by the German Harald Böhmer, who taught the peasant population how to dye with natural dyes, which was already forgotten at that time. Böhmer was the initiator of the revival of vegetable dyes. The carpet industry owes him a debt of gratitude because Böhmer was the initiator of the reuse of natural dyes; before him, these had been switched off and forgotten in carpet production in almost the entire Orient. A further development was the production of carpets with hand-spun, naturally dyed wool; see "Woven Legends".

Dog, running = motif frequently found on many nomadic rugs, especially in borders. The dog is considered a defence against thieves, illness and evil spirits.


Dokhtar-e-Ghazi = literally means "daughter of the judge", a sub-tribe of the Timuri around Herati in north-west Afghanistan that has been producing carpets belonging to the Beludj group since the last quarter of the 19th century.

Dolabe = woven border about 3 centimetres wide in red or pink that encircles the entire carpet; in Persian the term means "two borders".

Donegal = Name of a hand-knotted carpet factory founded in 1858 in the north-western Irish village of Killebegs near Donegal; it is situated at the mouth of the Eske River near the coast. Since then, large and small pieces have been consistently produced there in densities ranging from 16 to 36 knots per square inch. The patterns are neoclassical or reproductions for museums or manor houses.

Doroksh = north-eastern Iranian carpet from the Khorasan area, which is in fierce competition with the Senneh weavings; it is characterised by a very fine weave, with the orange typical of the region predominating, as well as floral motifs at around 750,000 knots per m2; there are often vase motifs and massive botehs.

Dorush or Dorosh = carpet name of an area in the East Persian Qainat in the Birdshend region of Korasan province. Very beautiful knotted works from the early 19th century come from there; more recent pieces are of lesser quality.

Dösemealti = Turkish area north of Antalya where carpets of the same name were made; until the year 2000, large quantities of them came onto the market, today hardly any.

Double hooks = a border motif commonly used in Yüruk, Kurdish and other Caucasian rug types; the hooks are considered a defence against the evil eye.

double knotted = Very rarely do you find Persian knotted carpets with pile on both surfaces, each side showing a different design. They are considered more of a craftsmanship feat than an attractive product. Old examples of this type were used as a kind of door or "pardeh" in mosques, mostly in Meshed.

Double niche carpet = Anatolian carpet with a large medallion-shaped inner field and double niche, which is not a pure medallion carpet. Such carpet patterns are often represented in Transylvanian carpets of the late 16th to 18th centuries. The reason for their emergence is said to be a fatwa (an edict) prohibiting the sale of prayer rugs with a single niche to infidels in 1610 under Sultan Ahmed I; the double niche circumvented this prohibition.

Double pillar rug = Mainly produced in Anatolia, a type of medium-sized prayer rug showing three mihrabs side by side, with the thin double pillars in the centre of the fund standing out. This designation was first used by May Beatty in 1968 in the book "Oriental Art".

Dozar = one measure: two tsars are the equivalent of about 2.15 square metres of surface area; designation for carpets in the format of 190 x 130 centimetres.

Dragon = imaginatively designed geometric or naturalistic Chinese mythical creature, a motif often found in Caucasian and Chinese carpets, symbolising good luck.

Dragon carpets = Particularly in Caucasian knotted works, animals and animal combat representations are introduced according to Persian models, which become so unrecognisable through stylisation and distortion that they are called dragons. Around 100 of the early Caucasian dragon carpets have survived to the present day. Dragon carpets are divided into four chronologically distinct groups, beginning in the late 16th and early 17th centuries and ending around 1850.

Dragon cloud symbol = S-shaped bands between the motifs of a carpet symbolise dragons, which are considered lucky miraculous and symbolic animals in the Orient.

Dragon phoenix motif = special, highly stylised old carpet motif found earliest in the Marby carpet, later in the Berlin carpet, and dating back to Chinese influence. The design consists of two squares showing a fight between animals: One is easily recognisable as a dragon, the other animal is a type of bird with three tail feathers and other ornithological details attributed to the phoenix, the mythological bird that dies but rises from its ashes. This motif is considered a symbol of good luck.

drapp = sand-coloured.

Dschangali = multicoloured flower motif on Dschuschegan carpets; the term comes from Persian and means "jungle" in German.

Dschule or Tschule fabric = Simple, rare type of kilim from Daghestan, consisting of stripes in copper-brown colour embroidered with chain-stitch patterns.

Dudeshgh = village near Nain. It was there that Fatollah Habibian created the new type of Nain carpet in the early 1930s, which was a success from the start. It is easily recognisable by its mostly pale purple colouring. Today's Nain carpets evolved from it, see these!

Dumba sheep = fat-tailed sheep (Ovis platura), a breed of domestic sheep about 6000 years old, bred throughout the Middle East and Central Asia.

Dyeing = the dyeing of wool was an important prerequisite and challenge for the production of carpets; it gradually established itself as a handicraft art that strictly guarded its secrets; it was passed down from gender to gender by the practitioners. Armenians and Jews were once considered the best dyers. With the advent of chemical dyes, many of the secrets of natural dyeing have been lost and had to be rediscovered through painstaking research. See "Böhmer"!

Dyeing auxiliaries = chemical substances used as auxiliaries in the dyeing process of carpet materials to make the dyeing more durable, more intensive, more successful. These include alum, ammonia, ferrous sulphate, hydrosulphite (sodium dithionite), potassium bichromate, copper sulphate, caustic soda, phenolphthalein, tartrate (potassium bitartaricum) and tin chloride.

Dyeing broom = natural dye. It is a small semi-shrub that grows on sandy places or in sparse woodland; its young shoots are collected immediately before and during flowering, dried, pulverised and used to dye wool yellow.

Dyer's woof = see "woof"!

Dzhoval = see "Choval"!


Eagle Kazak = common trade name for Caucasian carpets from Chelaberd in the Caucasus.

East Turkestan = a large region in northwest China, also called Xingjiang; it was Buddhist in the first millennium AD. In the following Muslim era, the oldest preserved East Turkestan carpets date from the 17th century; e.g. gold and silver brocaded pieces with silk weaving from Kashgar. The East Turkestan region, unlike West Turkestan, has had important artistic and economic relations with Tibet, China and India for many centuries. Carpets from this region are often called "Samarkands" in the West, but "Gansu" or "Kansu" in China. They usually come from the oasis towns of Khotan, Karakash, Chira, Keriya, Niya or Yarkand. With regard to the motifs and patterns, experts speak of a union of Chinese, Buddhist and Islamic designs. Their formats were based on the circumference of the Aivan estradas; these are square atrium rooms in which the inhabitants of the house live, receive guests, eat and sleep. The carpet formats are about 400 x 200 centimetres, twice as long as they are wide. The pomegranate pattern is common, as is the three-medallion carpet next to the one- and two-medallion carpet.

Echmiadzin = ancient city in southwestern Armenia, seat of the Armenian Catholicos, a religious complex with houses of worship and a museum with religious art treasures, carpets and paraments. The carpets produced there since the 19th century are among the Kazaks.

Egypt = is not a classic country of oriental knotted works. In ancient Egypt, given the constant heat, there was only linen stuff, hardly any textiles made of wool. However, knotted carpets were produced until the 16th century, see "Mamluk carpets". Later, this carpet production withered away and was revived in more recent times in Afghanistan. In the last decade of the last century, Armenian-American wholesalers established factories in Egypt that produced carpets with light and delicate shades, but these were soon superseded by new Afghan carpets such as "Choobi".

Ekbatan = former name of the present-day city of Hamedan; this designation is also used to describe new, good Hamedan qualities of a carpet.

Elem = designation of additional borders or a knotted area on the front or narrow sides of Turkmen carpets or on the underside of large bags outside the outer borders in patterned and unpatterned designs; it is preferred by Turkmen weavers as an "entrance to knotting".

Elephant's foot or elephant's tread = name used by the trade for the Turkmen Göl motif; common in Afghanistan under the name "Fil pa" (fil = elephant, pa = foot). See "Göl"!

Elibelinde = this designation comes from the Turkish term for "hands on the hips". This is an Anatolian carpet motif that stylistically-geometrically shows a woman with her arms on her hips, to be understood as a woman giving birth; it is often used in kilims and knotted carpets from western Turkey.

Endjelas = Persian knotted carpets made of wool with a cotton warp with geometric medallions from the Hamadan area; the knotting density is only between 250,000 and 300,000 knots per square metre.

Endless motifs = self-contained carpet motifs consisting of repeating strip or rope knot figures and found in Persian, Turkish and Chinese carpets; see e.g. "Ch'ang"!

Ends or carpet ends = designation for the fringes on the narrow sides of carpets, which are usually made in kilim technique, in Turkmen carpets they can also be knotted. Fringes on narrow sides are usually the protruding ends of the warp threads.

Ener-Dychi = saw-tooth motif used by Turkmen Yomud weavers.

Enessy or Enssi = see "Engsi"!

English carpets = carpet production in England was established by craftsmen who fled France for religious reasons. In 1751, the first English carpet factory was opened in Paddington, soon followed by others. Later, the first machine carpets were also produced in England.

Engsi = Turkmen curtain rug that replaces a (tent/yurt) door or marks an entrance; in the design, a richly ornamented beam cross is provided for this purpose, also called a hachlu.

Entry = this is the name given to weft threads that are pulled in between the finished horizontal rows of knots after they have been tapped tight when knotting a carpet.

Erivan or Yerevan = city and province in the south-central Caucasus, capital of Armenia. Carpets produced here in the 19th century are usually called kazak; since about 1930 there has been little carpet production here, but eager trade.

Ersari = One of the five main Turkmen tribes, which in turn have four sub-tribes, the Gara, Bekeul, Gunnezh and Uludepe. They are the direct successors of the Oghuz. A considerable number of them live in the north of Afghanistan in Andkhoy and the surrounding area. Until around 1980, all so-called "Afghan carpets" were produced by the Ersari.

Ersari colour = new Afghan carpets as a prime example of the current return to the old knotting tradition and a mostly forgotten aesthetic today. The name was freely invented for this new production.

Ertmen = tribal sign (Göl) of the Turkmen Chaudor.

Erzurum = city in eastern Anatolia, southwest of Kars, which functions as a collection point for nomadic carpets produced in eastern Anatolia; Erzurum itself produces mainly small prayer kilims with pointed or stepped prayer niches (mihrabs) and multiple borders.

eskitme = Turkish expression for the chemical washing of carpets; it means "to trim to old"; see also "chemical washing"!

Eslimi = series of plant-natural shapes and patterns with curvilinear stems, buds and flowers springing from the ground and spreading all around. These are important carpet motifs that have their origins in ancient Persian architecture, the shapes of which can still be found today in the form of bent wooden parts on old house facades. According to experts, the historical background is the art of the ancient Parthians. The depiction of flowers on Persian carpets are occasionally lifelike images, more often drawn compositions, freely invented fantasy creations, dissolved in richly decorated details that have lost their kinship with nature. Similar forms are shown by the pattern called "Gere", which is often confused with Eslimi, but in contrast to it shows geometric forms and straight lines; see "afschun"!


Exotics = are oriental carpets that cannot be classified in any of the known groups.

Expertise = In the carpet sector, this is a kind of "passport" issued by the producer or dealer of a carpet about its origin, material, extent, quality, age, value and any markings. They are issued by certified experts for a fee, or by the manufacturer or dealer on request. Sometimes you also have to pay for the latter. Basically, each expertise is only worth as much as the issuer. In Austria and Germany there are separate associations for issuing expertises for hand-knotted carpets and kilims.

Eynullah = see "Ainalu"!

Ezine = Anatolian town south of Canakkale, which functions as a collection point for the carpets produced in the region; the majority of the rather small pieces are red, blue and yellow and designed in complex geometric motifs with star-shaped medallions.

Fachralo or Fachraly = a town 25 kilometres southwest of Tbilisi in the Caucasus; a type of carpet of the same name that belongs to the Kazak family originated there. Many such pieces from the 19th century have a medallion consisting of horizontal, rectangular rhombuses superimposed to form a 16-sided figure; they are usually prayer rugs with a fineness of 100,000 symmetrical knots per square metre; see also "Gendje"!

Family prayer rugs = prayer rugs that have several mihrabs/prayer niches next to each other; up to eleven such niches are known in one sapph; see "sapph" or "saf"!

Farahdombeh = Persian city with carpet production, 84 kilometres from Isfahan.

Farhan = see "Ferahan".

Fars = ancient Persia, heartland of Iran, today a southern Iranian province on the southern Zagros Mountains with the capital Shiraz, a region that includes the early residences of Achaemenid rulers such as Persepolis or Pasargadae.

Fars(i)baft = Persian or Senneh carpet knot or "carpet made in the Persian way"; "baft" means "made" in German.

Farsh or Farsch = this Persian expression generally means "carpet" or "floor covering".

Farsi = Persian expression for the original Persian language.

Fatima = name of the daughter of the Prophet Mohammed; her five-fingered hand functions as a symbol of good luck on carpets or in jewellery; see "hand".

Felt = textile fabric made of textile fibres that are pressed together and therefore difficult to separate. Felt fabrics are also called whale fabrics. Felt is several layers of rolled wool from sheep, yaks, camels or goats, produced with the addition of water; the choice of colours is small: mostly white, blue and silver-brocaded. Ornaments or patterns are attached to the felt by sewing or embroidering. An oriental preform of knotted carpets.

Felt carpets = are the oldest examples of oriental floor textiles or curtains of nomadic people living in zones with large climate fluctuations. Experts consider them to be a precursor of oriental knotted carpets.

Ferahan or Fereghan or Farahan = plain north of the city of Arak in western Iran. The Kurdish-type carpets produced there have asymmetrical knots and densities of 60 to 160 knots per square inch and the main colour green; the carpets are usually entirely covered with motifs, such as Herati, Mina Khani or Gol Hennah. The carpets produced there are both homemade and manufactured, so there are different sizes and qualities.

Ferdows or Ferdos = capital of the Iranian district of Ferdows in South Khorasan; a high plateau over which the road leads to the pilgrimage city of Mashad; it is famous for its saffron and pomegranates; hence the Persian name for the city "Paradise"; here small carpets of rather loose and coarse quality are made by Arab weavers on horizontal knotting looms in the Beludj style.

Fertek = village in Central Anatolia where prayer rugs are knotted with wool throughout, as well as rugs with geometric medallions; Madjid-style rugs were made there in the 19th century.

Fethiye = historical county town in the province of Mugla in southwestern Turkey; the carpets there bear göls of the southern Aegean region.

Field = that part of a carpet which is inside the border(s).

Field carpet = also called compartment carpet. This is a term for knotted works whose background consists of clear angular honeycomb or chequered patterns (rhombuses, rectangles, octagons), very common in Bakhtiar carpets.

Filling motifs = small decorative elements such as tiny flowers, blossoms, stars, household items, geometric figures, jugs, combs and animals scattered around medallions woven into rugs or placed under niches in prayer rugs to fill overly large vacant spaces in the back of village rugs woven to order. See "Horror vacui"!

Fineness = It is determined by the number of knots per square centimetre or per square inch, square decimetre or square metre of a carpet. Pieces with more than 1 million knots per square metre are considered extremely fine, those with 500,000 to 1 million extraordinarily fine, those with 350,000 to 500,000 fine; further descending fineness is given the terms semi-fine, normal, semi-coarse to coarse, the last applying to carpets with 36,000 to 50,000 knots per square metre. The fineness depends on the number, narrowness and thickness of the warp and weft threads; by using silk in knotting, the highest fineness is achieved in carpets. See also "Conversion"!

Finishing = activity at the end of making a carpet; by burning off the back, dusting, washing, shearing the pile and stretching, it is made ready for sale; the securing of the fabric finish of a carpet, which guarantees the durability of a knotted work. A perfect traditional finish is, for example, a triangular weave of the warp threads by interlacing them to form plaits. Signs of wear usually appear on the weft threads of the carpet ends and should be repaired as soon as possible in the interest of the carpet.

Fire = is regarded by followers of the religion of Zarathustra as a symbol of purity and symbolises God Ahuramazda (= "wise lord who dwells in the light"). A fire is therefore always burning in relevant temples. The Parsi god is personified by a bird of prey with broad projecting wings. The Persian city of Jazd or Yazd is the centre of the Zoroastrian religion.

Firozkohi or Firuzkuhl = tribe from northern Afghanistan ("Firouz" = turquoise, "Kuhi" = mountain) producing copies of marketable carpets and variations of flatweaves.

Firuzabad = city in southwestern Iran, place of origin of millefleur carpets produced by the Kashkuli. See "Millefleur"!

Flat weaving loom = weaving or tying loom set up horizontally; it is common among nomads and semi-nomads. The weaver squats on her heels while working. In contrast, there are vertical weaving looms used in village and urban carpet production.

Flatweave = collective term for pile-free carpets and textile fabrics, a mixture of different production techniques of artistic textile works such as broidering, embroidery, appliqué; flatweaves include kilims, sumakhs (see these), jijjims, palas, but also aubussons, or tapestries.

Flavones or flavoids = yellow plant pigments. As derivatives of the flavone, they belong to the class of flavonoids; about 300 naturally occurring flavones are known.

Flea pattern = designation for a small, often repeated boteh pattern.

Floral carpets = They first appeared in the 16th century; in the 17th century, they partially displaced hunting and medallion carpets and an Indian influence becomes noticeable. The pile carpets include: Carpets with arabesques and lotus flowers, tree and shrub carpets, pile carpets, vase carpets, braided ribbon carpets.

Flosh = Turkish term for artificial silk. In fact, it is mercerised cotton treated with chemical agents, which shines so that it looks like silk. Occasionally, flosh is called "Turkish silk"; this is also a term for carpets made with flosh; until 1990, it was especially common for carpets from Kayseri.

Flower carpet = classical Persian carpet decoration; its home is considered to be the city of Herat, the carpet type as "Herati", once the centre of courtly art of the Mongol ruler Lenkhans Timur, today in Afghanistan. These are carpets covered all over with floral patterns. Typical of these knotted works is the Herati or fish pattern; it consists of paired toothed leaves and flowers. The angularity of the rigidly drawn leaves usually contrasts with the elegantly flowing arabesques of the main design. Most carpets of this type once came from Isfahan, the main hub of these carpets. See also "Millefleur"!

Flowers of the seven hills = an Istanbul carpet design that contains those flowers that grow on the seven hills on which Istanbul is situated. They are mainly tulips, the symbol of love; there are 48 different types of tulips depicted in Istanbul and Hereke carpets.


Fond = single-coloured underlay or background, in carpets the central field, which serves as the basis of the ornamentation and forms the background of the motifs. It is formed by the warp (lengthwise) and the weft (crosswise), which make up the net of a knotted carpet. The pile is inserted into this by knotting. In flat weaves, the warp holds the background and the weft produces the ornament.

Fondonk = in German "Magazin", a large shop of oriental carpet or fabric merchants established in former caravanserais.

Foo Dog = see "Guardian Lion"!

Fragment = fragment or remnant of a formerly complete piece. In the carpet trade, top prices are sometimes paid for fragments of antique or rare pieces.

French carpets = In the 17th century, carpet weaving began in France by making savonneries. The 31-year-old painter Pierre Dupont produced woven carpets under royal patronage in a workshop at the Louvre and published a treatise "on stromatics" (= the art of carpet weaving) in 1623. This developed into the production of savonneries or tapestries, aubussons and tapestries. They reached their peak under King Louis XIV. See "Aubussons", "Gobelin", "Savonnerie", "Tapestry".

Fringes = visible ends of warp threads protruding from the narrow sides of carpets; they are loose, sometimes braided or coiled, long or short. They are not an independent part of a traditional knotted or woven piece; sewn-on fringes are considered a depreciation; see also "ends".

Gabbeh or Gaba or Gabeh = is a Persian term for "coarse" or "natural". The origin of the word is unknown. The coarsely knotted, little appreciated carpets of this name were hand-knotted from wool and have a sparsely simple pattern. They were used as sleeping rugs by nomads of the southwestern Persian Zagros Mountains. Until the middle of the 20th century, they were only knotted for home use and hardly exported because of their often dishevelled pile. The knotting density is low at 40,000 to 100,000 knots per square metre. Thanks to initiatives by the Iranian artist Parviz Tanavoli and the trader Zollanvari in Shiraz, there was a revitalisation of this folk art around 1990; it experienced a surprisingly high demand, although its pattern remains modest to simple. In the course of time, finer qualities such as loribaft also emerged. Multicoloured, small-patterned, durable and inexpensive gabbehs are also currently coming from India.

Gabès = Tunisian town where small, thick carpets with a high pile are made.

Gaghdan = contemporary Armenian flatweave.


Galerie = trade name used especially in Germany for long narrow carpets; see also "Kenareh".

Gansu or Kansu = province in western China including the city of Ningxia, a major carpet-making centre, with many smaller towns in the surrounding area weaving rather coarse carpets; patterns are usually formed in fields of blue on yellow or light red to brownish.

Garaghan = Iranian village in the west of Iran with village carpet production.

Gardanband = Persian animal necklace.

Garden carpet = knotted carpet depicting a quadrangular garden designed with stylised watercourses, ponds, flowers, trees and walkways, as if seen from a bird's eye view; the peak of development of this type of carpet was reached in the Safavid period. The oldest known garden carpet dates from the beginning of the 16th century and was made in northwest Persia.

Garland = carpet motif depicting leaf and flower tendrils intertwined by ribbons.

Garmsar = city near Varamin in north-central Iran. The kilims of this area have an area-filling pattern of different coloured hexagons. The weft threads lie outside the hexagons; the warp threads are made of brown wool.

Gashkuli or Kashkuli = sub-tribe of the Persian Qashqai, who began to challenge the Gabbehs with their carpet creations at the beginning of the 21st century, from which they developed their new products. Kashkulibaft (in German "carpets made by the Kashkuli") are finer, more delicate because they are more tightly knotted and have a much less rustic character than Gabbehs. Their patterns and motifs are derived from the broad range of forms used by nomadic weavers.


Gashoghdan = nomadic spoon bag; in Farsi "gashog" means spoon. See also "chemche"!

Gashqai or Gashqai or Kashkai or Kashqai = nomadic tribe living in mountainous regions in southwestern Persia in the provinces of Fars and Kuhsistan south of Isfahan and Shiraz. Their carpets have a high knot density and show a great variety of patterns; dark red and blue are in the foreground. The tribe makes knotted carpets, flatweaves (striped kilims), ribbons and bags; in addition to various motifs, historical monuments, e.g. from Persepolis, are also reproduced.


Gaziantep = city in south-eastern Anatolia, capital of the province of the same name; market place for cicims produced in the region.

Gelveri = Turkish place with carpet production.

Gendering of carpets = Both sexes or all age groups have been involved in the production of carpets since the beginning of this art form: Men raised and sheared the animals whose wool/hair provided the knotting yarn; men collected and processed the natural dyes and dyed the yarns, they built the knotting chairs, reared the warp beams, washed and sheared the carpet pile and marketed the finished carpets. Women washed and combed the wool, chose the motifs and patterns and knotted them in free imagination or according to given designs; in the process, they trained their children in carpet making. Although carpet weaving is mostly done by women, occasionally men also weave village carpets; in Tabriz it is almost exclusively men.

Gendje or Genje or Gendsche = carpets from the Caucasian town of Genje; this is in the middle of the carpet-producing region of Karabagh, Kazakh and Shirvan and it acts(s) as a marketplace for the carpets of this region; including the Fakhraly prayer rug with high quality patterns and borrowings from other carpet types. Gendje carpets tend to have longer formats; carpets of this type, like most Caucasian carpets, are no longer on the market.

geometric carpet motifs = they are also called rectilinear carpet motifs and patterns, as they are primarily used by nomadic and village weavers. (See also "curvilinear carpet motifs"!) Geometric carpet motifs are, for example, the cross, the triangle, which is considered a motif of luck, the chessboard pattern, which is often used in Tibet, the swastika, which is said to bring luck and fertility, the circle, which is considered a symbol of Buddha, the rhombus, which serves as a religious symbol in Persia, the star, which is an ancient Jewish symbol ("Star of David") or the octagon as a frequent Turkmen (tribal) symbol. The patterns of village or tribal carpets are often geometric/rectilinear reproductions of densely woven curvilinear urban carpets.

Gereh or Ghere = Persian expression for "knot" or "noose.

Gereh zadan = Persian expression for tying fringes.

German carpets = the earliest surviving German knotted carpets are the wall hangings on the theme of the "Marriage of Mercury and Philology", which have only survived in fragments and were made in simple knots under Abbess Agnes (1186-1203) in the castle church of Quedlinburg in the Harz Mountains. These fragments are among the greatest treasures of medieval monumental textile art, executed to a high degree of artistic perfection and secured and interpreted in a process that took years. Their dimensions are enormous at 6.6 x 7.4 metres.

Germesh or Germetch = small weave or carpet for the house or yurt entrance of Turkmens, which is in front of the engsi so as not to carry the dust from outside inside; it is about as wide as the engsi and has a pattern to match it.

Gerous or Garrus = 1.: special, original type of ornament of Bijar carpets from northwestern Persia; 2.: name of a Kurdish tributary in this region.

Ghable or Kibla or Quibla = the sacred direction towards Mecca in which Mohammedans face during the ritual prayer five times a day. In the Hadith, a tradition parallel to the Koran, it is forbidden to spit or defecate in the direction of Mecca.

Ghadimi = means "old" or "the old".

Ghali = designation of the main carpet in the nomad tent, which is no longer than three metres. The term comes from Turkmen and has changed to "Hali" (= "carpet") in today's Turkish.

Ghalin = Indian term for "carpet".

Gharabaghi = name of a rare type of carpet from Karabagh. Gharabaghi (in German "the one from Karabagh") is the name of a carpet producer who made particularly fine and beautiful carpets in Tabriz from 1995 onwards; in 2020, production has shrunk to a tenth of what it was before; only pieces in smaller formats are currently knotted under this name.

Gharadje = Iranian carpet type from the Heriz group that has strongly branched geometric patterns, mostly in the colours ochre in many nuances.

Ghasemabad = East Iranian place with carpet production.

Ghaveroch = the word "ghave" means "coffee", "roch" means "face"; a place with production of thinner carpets belonging to the Bakhtiari type.

Ghazan = American carpet company that had the "American" Keshan and Saruk carpets made between 1900 and 1930.

Ghazni = capital of the province of the same name in central Afghanistan, former centre of the Ghazanid Empire. This area is known for the best wool quality.

ghermez or germez = Persian the colour red.

Ghiassabad = city in western Persia near Arak; it belongs to the knotting area of Saruk carpets, which have a low pile and are characterised by naturalistically clear floral designs. The Ghiassabad carpet is considered a high quality development of the Saruk. Its wool is first-class, the relevant pieces are hard-wearing and considered "noble Persians".

Ghileems = see "Kilim"!

Ghiordes = see "Gördes"!

Gholtuk or Goltag or Goltog = name of Persian carpets from the area between Hamadan and Arak, similar in their pattern to the Khamseh carpets. They are very durable Persian pieces made by Turkish nomads in the Sandjan area. They are densely woven, of high quality, similar to the classic Bijar carpets. Their stiffness comes from firmly tapped weft threads. The pile is made of young sheep's wool, the warp of cotton, the central medallion is stair-shaped; the pile comes from young sheep's wool; the stair-shaped central medallion is characteristic of the species.

Ghom, Qum or Kum = Middle Persian city between Isfahan and Tehran, where excellent, dense, finest silk carpets were made. The name means "sand" or "desert" and characterises the location of the city. Ghom is also the name of a cooperation of 20 workshops in this city that knot high-quality silk carpets and have developed them to a peak in recent years. Today, "Ghoms" are also produced in Zandjan and Maragheh, but not to the same high quality.

Ghorband = in Afghanistan, this is a fastening strap for animal loads, made by Beludjen knotters.

Ghuchan = Iranian place in the east where Kurdish carpets are produced.

Gilim Baf = means "made like a kilim"; refers to the selvedge of a carpet (kilim) as a finish.

Gillim = see "Kilim"!

Gis = Persian term for folds or grooves that appear in an unbalanced professional carpet.

Gjordes or Ghiordes or Gördes = Turkish town in the area of the same name in western Asia Minor northeast of Smyrna. The Gördes knot was developed there. The size of these carpets rarely exceeds 110 x 160 to 130 x 220 centimetres. From 1500 to 1700, the best carpets of Asia Minor were knotted there.

Glaoua carpets = Trader's name for flat-woven carpets from the High Atlas in Morocco. These have wide stripes and zigzag patterns of weft threads, with some patterns worked in pile knots.

Gloss wash = Washing process used to clean imported carpets, thus enhancing the colour shine of the pile wool. A mild gloss wash does not improve the quality of the wool, but that of the carpet colours.

Goat's wool = a knotting material for carpets, is also called "mohär". This term derives from the Arabic-Persian term "Mohayyar", which means "choice" in German and led to Mohär. Goat's wool is used by some nomadic tribes for making warps and selvages of their carpets.

Gobelin = knitted carpet, see also "tapestries". The term goes back to the French dyer Jean Gilles Gobelin, who founded a relevant manufactory in Paris in 1607. Their works were among the best of their time; as a result, it became customary to name all tapestries "Gobelin". The former tapestry manufactory still exists today in Paris.

Gohar or Guhar carpet = It is the oldest Armenian inscribed carpet and bears the name of its weaver. It is an oriental carpet in combination of a Kasim Ushak with a dragon carpet, made in 1699. The weaver has woven into it a dedication to the unknown owner, asking him to thank God for her craftsmanship. Made with symmetrical knots, this 5 feet, 11 inches x 11 feet, 6 inches piece is specifically identified in terms of age and provenance thanks to inscription in unique Armenian script; its fineness is 49 to 64 knots per square inch, or 316,000 to 412,000 knots per square metre.

Gojo or Goyo or Goyül = Tibetan wall hanging or door curtain.

Goklan or Göklan = Iranian Turkmen tribe that inhabited parts of the Khiva oasis. They produced Turkmen carpets that belong to the Yomoud or Tekke type. They are widespread in the area between Lake Caspian and Xivain in Uzbekistan, as well as in Persia near Atrak in the south of Kopet-Dag. The carpets tend to be bridge-shaped, bearing octagonal pink güls or hooked diamonds in light red through shades of brown to dark red and purple. The carpets are smooth with a medium-high pile and have between 280,000 to 400,000 Persian knots per square metre, the latter for silk pieces.

Gol e Bobol = Persian term for "rose and nightingale", an often modified and varied classical carpet motif.

Göl or Gol = tribal symbol of the Turkmen; in carpets, the respective Göl identifies the weaver's affiliation to a particular tribe. It consists of a flower shape of the distinctive main motif of Turkmen nomads; in the West, relevant carpets are usually called "Bochara". The colour and shape of the göl varies according to the tribe to which it belongs. The number of göls arranged horizontally or vertically in the field is given by experts as "4 x 4" or "3 x 3", for example; see also "Gül".

Gold afghan = in former times in European laundries - e.g. in Hamburg, London and Switzerland -- chemically bleached and dyed into an old gold tone Afghan carpet with Ersari oil; see "gold wash"!

Gold wash = washing treatment of Afghan carpets, a method discovered by an OCM employee in 1926. It can be used to turn reds into bright gold, but this procedure does not always work without problems.

Gombad-i Qabus = a Turkmen market town in north-eastern Iran. It is the place of origin of carpets with a pattern showing Turkmen göls.

Gomden = Tibetan meditation cushion.

Gonabad = city in Khorasan in northeastern Iran, an insignificant source of coarsely woven carpets.

Gonbad = technical term for mosque dome carpets. The term comes from Farsi, where "gonbad" means "dome".

Goradis = town in the Karabagh region of the southern Caucasus with a special, angular, comet-shaped carpet design, possibly derived from a boteh.

Gorban = Afghan name for an animal neck ornament.

Gördes or Ghiordes knot = name of the Turkish symmetrical knot most commonly used for carpet weaving. The name comes from the ancient Turkish city of Gördes, formerly "Gordium", known for the "Gordian knot" which, according to legend, Alexander the Great cut. Commentators think it seems like a joke of history that the legendary "Ghiordes knot" should have found its successor in carpet lore. Carpets have been made in and around the town of Gördes since the 18th century; the early prayer rugs from Gördes show a curvilinear mihrab. Copies of Gördes carpets were later produced in Kayseri, Hereke and Bandirma, among others.

Gorevan = town in the vicinity of Heriz in Iran at the foot of the Urts mountain range. Coarse carpets similar to the Heriz from Tabriz are knotted there, but with mostly massive central motifs supplemented with small, occasionally fierce motifs; these are knotted with symmetrical Turkish knots of hand-spun sheep's wool, occasionally goat's wool, and naturally dyed. They enjoy little prestige. "Gorevan" is often the name given to carpets with Heriz designs of other origins when they are coarsely knotted.

Gorgan = in ancient Persian this name means "land of wolves"; it is the capital of the Iranian province of Golestan, 30 kilometres from the southern coast of the Caspian Sea.

Gotschak = ram's star, an ornament of many Turkmen tribes consisting of four double horns.

Gotschanak border = a very common border in Turkmen carpets that has individual ram's horns strung together on the narrow sides.

Graph or Naghshe = a special chequered paper on which pattern draughtsmen draw or paint their carpet designs for manufactories.

Grave carpet = see "Cemetery carpet"!

Guardian lion = In the Far East, mythical guardian animals in the shape of small lions placed in front of sacred buildings, the female protecting a child with her paw, the male protecting an earth globe. These guard animals are used as motifs on Far Eastern carpets.

Guide to buying carpets = see “Teppichfibel”!

Gül = this Persian word means "rose" or "flower". It is an octagonal pattern in Turkmen carpets, but not a tribal mark. A distinction is made between Bukhara güls, Turkmen güls and Afghan güls.

Gül Henai = a carpet pattern, translated into German it means "flower of the prophet". It denotes a floral pattern that probably goes back to the henna shrub (Lawsonia), others think to the garden balsamina or the spring weed. The pattern is mainly used in Hamadan and its surroundings, and in schematised form also among the Gashgai.

Gül-Jomud or Gül-Jomut = diamond-shaped motif on carpets made by Jomud weavers; it is the tribal sign of the Jomud.

Gülli-Göl = tribal ornament of the Ersari, Salor and Saryq Turkmen; each quarter of the Göl contains a different cloverleaf motif.

Güney = West Anatolian town, the place of origin of symmetrically knotted carpets with cotton pile on a cotton ground.

Gyantse or Gyangze = fourth largest city in Tibet, located in the south on the old trade route to India in the Nyang Chu valley. Carpets from this town, which have been produced since the 19th century, are famous and prized.

h. s. = abbreviation for the Islamic year count; see "Conversion"!


Habibian = particularly finely knotted, older and expensive type of Nain carpet; the name goes back to Fatollah Habibi(j)an, who launched the new Nain style in the village of Dudeshgh near Nain in the 1930s. Carpets of this style are currently produced throughout Iran in a wide variety of qualities. Many Nains from the city of the same name on the edge of the great desert or from other places have a signature, which is often woven in afterwards to increase the price.

Hadith = oral tradition of alleged sayings of the Prophet Mohammed, the so-called "traditions of the Prophet". Along with the Koran, it is a main source of the Islamic religion and prescribes customs and traditions to pious Muslims. See "Sunnis"!

Hadji Ateshoglu = Persian carpet designer and trader who came to Keshan from Tabriz and is one of the prominent carpet dynasties in the country. The name comes from Turkish and means "son of fire" in German.

Hadji Djalili = name of one of Persia's most famous carpet manufactories in Tabriz, but it is said to have originated in Marand on the Turkish border. Hadji Djalili initiated an artistic renaissance of carpet culture at the end of the 19th century with the creation of magnificent and fine knotted works mostly with silk. He signed his works, giving them exclusivity and uniqueness; his carpets have muted colours; typically brown and yellow tones and they were largely exported to the USA.

Hadosan = young up-and-coming Turkish carpet manufacturer in Ürgüp/Nevsehir.

Haft rang = translated from Persian into German, this name means "seven colours". This is the name given to dyed warp threads used in Senneh carpets. Seven colours are also used to dye warp bands; an Uzbek ikat made of seven colours is highly prized because of the very complex dyeing process. Old Senneh carpets often have warp threads of different colours, alternating every six centimetres or so.

Haftbala = translated from Persian into German, the name means "seven plagues"; this refers to a tribe of Pashtuns originating in Afghanistan, whose members became known as carpet weavers.

Hair = Microscopically, hair differs from wool because hair has a pith or core inside it with a cell structure that contains air pockets. In oriental carpets, the addition of hair brings in extra shine; however, too much addition of hair reduces the quality of a carpet.

Haji Hanum = pattern for a prayer rug in which a vase of flowers fills the space below the prayer niche.

Hakkari = provincial capital in south-eastern Anatolia and Iraq, where members of the Hartushi and Herki tribes produce Kurdish carpets and kilims.

Hali or Quali = 1.: This Turkish word means "carpet" in German. 2.: This is also the name of the quarterly carpet trade magazine published by the London publishing house Hali Publications Ltd, info@hali.com.

Halvai = name of particularly fine Bijar carpets with large central medallions.


Hamadan or Hamedan = capital of the province of the same name in northwestern Iran, one of the oldest Persian cities (formerly Ecbatana), known for its mostly simple carpets with nevertheless wear-resistant surfaces. Although few carpets are produced in Hamadan, the name is a collective name for carpets from the surrounding area, such as those from Nahawand, Tuiserkan, Malayer, Hosseinabad. The patterns vary greatly, their wool is of high quality. High-quality carpets knotted directly in Hamadan bear the name Shahr baft (in German "knotted in the city"), which resemble the Sarouk. Hamadan carpets are knotted with symmetrical Turkish knots.

Hamadan-Sharbaft = carpets produced according to patterns in Hamadan and similar in quality to Saruk.

Hammamlik = small square carpet for the bathing room; this is called "hammam" in Turkish.

Hammer price = see "Auction"!

Hamp foundation = term for a hemp foundation for knotted carpets.

Hanbel = Moroccan term for "kilim". Hanbels are floor coverings in great variety with mostly extensive, strongly drawn patterns.

Hand = five-fingered Islamic symbol usually representing Fatima, Muhammad's favourite daughter. It is often found in the upper corners of prayer rugs where believers place their hands when kneeling forward in prayer. According to another interpretation, the hand is the symbol for the five most revered persons of Shiite Islam: Mohammed, Ali, Fatima, Hassan and Hossein, or for the five principles of Islam: faith, prayer, pilgrimage, fasting and almsgiving.

Hand loom or treadle loom or pit loom = hand- or foot-operated, largely wooden looms that are mainly found in Indian or Pakistani farmhouses or backyards on flat ground and do not have an electric drive. They are operated by the respective weaver with physical strength; the weaving process is kept going by pedalling, the shuttle with the weft yarn is shot through the shed by hand through cords on the sides of the loom. This is how carpet production flourishes in many developing countries in remote areas that lack modern infrastructure. In 2010, there were reportedly 2.4 million handlooms in India, many more than looms.

Hand tufting = modern semi-machined way of carpet making. The given pattern is transferred to a plastic grid and the pile threads are shot into the grid from behind by means of a compressed air gun, individually or in groups, so that they protrude on the front side and form a pile. This must then be consolidated by applying glue and a net to reduce the risk of the structure coming loose when the carpet is cleaned. This technique is widely used in India.

Handle = this refers to the haptic impression a carpet makes when touched, felt, palpated and bent with the fingers. It is an important factor in assessing the quality of a knotted or woven piece. Experts can sometimes even "grasp" the age of a carpet. The handle reveals the density, hardness, pile quality and softness of the piece at hand.

Harrania or Harania = village near Cairo in Egypt, where children and young adults (used to) make wall hangings in handicraft schools. These show naïve drawings of people, animals, buildings and street scenes.

Harshang = the name is derived from the Turkish "kharchang", which means "crab" in German. This refers to a shield-like leaf-decorated crayfish pattern used mainly in Indo-Herat carpets; it is largely found in Persian and Caucasian carpets of the 18th and 19th centuries.

Harsin = town south of Kangvar in Kermanshah Province in northwestern Iran. The name is considered to denote an extensive production of narrow Kurdish kilims from the area with eccentric wefts.

Hartushi = Kurdish tribe from the vicinity of Hakkari in north-eastern Anatolia; they make pile carpets and kilims in clear blues and reds with two or three wefts between each row of knots.

Harun = Iranian place with formerly largely Jewish population and production of coarser Keshan carpets.

Hashtrud or Hashtrud = Persian for "eight rivers", a mountainous area in northwestern Iran southeast of Tabriz; Kurds and Shahsavan live there and weave carpets with highly geometric shapes.

Hatschlu or Hatschly = this Turkish name means "cross" in German; carpets of this name are intended as curtains in front of the door of nomad tents and have a cross-shaped pattern in their centre, which has nothing to do with the Christian cross. Their size ranges from 100 x 125 to 140 x 160 centimetres. The "Y" motif or tulip pattern is very often found in Hatshlu rugs; the main colour is a friendly red to brown-red; see "Insikush"!

Hautelisse = tapestries knitted on vertical hand looms; see these.

Hazara or Hazareh = tribe of the Aimaq group in the northwest of Afghanistan, known for their flat-woven salt bags, saddlebags and kilims and belonging to the Shiite Muslims, therefore often persecuted.

Hebathi = Persian carpet pattern, see "Qashqai".

He-bei or Hopeh or Hopei = province in northern China with the capital Tientsin. Contemporary silk carpets come from there; their warp is either cotton or silk, but the wefts are always cotton; besides, there are also wool carpets in this province.

Hedschra or Hijra = it took place in 622 AD; it refers to the flight or exodus of Mohammed from Mecca to Medina. The Hejira marks the beginning of the Islamic calendar, which is based on the lunar year. This is significant for the conversion of Hedschra dates in carpets to Christian years. To convert the Hedschra year (A. H.) to A. D., which is the Christian year, one has to subtract three percent from the respective A. H. year number and add 622 to the result.

Heibe or Heybe = Turkish expression for a knotted double bag.

Hemp = plant fibre that is coarser than flax and is only suitable as a raw material for rope and cordage; recently also used for carpets in Nepal and India.

Herat = this city in north-western Afghanistan, founded by Alexander the Great, once part of the Persian province of Khorasan and now in Afghanistan, is considered the home of carpets with floral patterns. Herat was the centre of courtly art for the Mongol Khan Timur in the 14th century. It is probably the oldest carpet origin in Persia as well as a trading centre for Beludj carpets from the surrounding area. Herat is one of the carpet-making towns in Persia where Beluch carpets are mainly produced and traded; they are called "flower carpets"!

Herati = decorative carpet motif named after the Afghan city of Herat, formed by a rose surrounded by sickle-like leaves; this design is one of the most common in nomadic as well as village and manufactory carpets.

Hereke = small town in the northwest corner of the Sea of Marmara, known for high quality Turkish carpets and named for a special kind of Turkish knotted work. "Harakeh" means "luxury" in German. Ottoman caliphs had founded a carpet manufactory there in 1843, which was transformed into a state manufactory with an affiliated knotting academy in 1923 under the Turkish reformer Kemal Atatürk. The heyday of the art of knotting there is due to Sultan Abdul Medjid. He had the court weaving workshop moved back from Cairo to Hereke in 1844. Hereke carpets were the first to achieve a minimum knotting density of 1 million knots per square metre; today, 20 million knots per square metre are the peak. Officially, only the pieces produced in the state manufactory may be called "Hereke". In the course of time, Hereke's knot sign has changed considerably. Hereke has also perfected the technique of knotting looms. The manufactory was privatised after the Second World War. Hereke produces carpets in manufactories and by home craftsmanship; many patterns and motifs date back to the Ottomans (1226-1909). Hereke-style silk carpets were also knotted in the eastern Chinese province of Henan as well as in Zhenping, Zhejiang and Shanghai at the end of the 20th century, delivered to Turkey and sold there mostly as Turkish goods to tourists.

Heriz or Heris = Important carpet weaving centre in north-western Iran in Persian Azerbaijan, south-east of Tabriz. The city gives the collective name "Heriz" or "Heris" to the products of the entire knotting area of its surroundings. All carpets from the area have the same characteristics in design and knotting: warp and weft of thick cotton, the pile thread of thick, two-threaded, robust sheep's wool. Only a few knotted works from this region are patterned throughout, the majority have a medallion. Villages in the vicinity of Heris with independent knotting styles include Bakshayesh, Mehraban, Ahar, Bilverdi, Gharadje, Sharabian, Gorevan. Heriz motifs are often seen as geometric renderings of Tabriz motifs; see also "Joraghan".

Herki = This is the name given to members of the second largest Kurdish tribe after the Jaff; today they live mostly in Iraq, other parts in Iranian Kurdistan and Turkey; many are still nomads; they produce numerous carpets and flatweaves with sumakh structures, often in elongated formats.

Hexagon = hexagonal (carpet) pattern.

High Atlas = mountain range in central Morocco where Berber tribes make small carpets. Their dominant colours are red, gold and orange. Usually, a large inner field with geometric motifs is surrounded by narrow borders. Symmetrical knots are used, which are woven over two warp threads. Southwest of the High Atlas, after a rocky plateau, lies the Anti-Atlas.

High-knotting or high-loom = vertical knotting or weaving loom; the warp beam is located above the cloth beam. It is mainly used for knotting carpets that are made according to a pattern. Another type is the horizontal flat weaving or flat loom.

Highland wool = in the mountains, the hair of sheep is denser, fatter and longer than in the valleys because of the harsher and rougher weather. Mountain sheep therefore produce better wool, which is less brittle and retains its lustre longer, thus producing a higher quality of knotting or weaving.

Hispano or Hispano-manresh = designation for older carpets and carpet work from Moorish Spain, especially if their design retains traits of Islamic-Moorish ornamentation.

Holbein carpets = antique carpets from Anatolia around Konya, depicted in paintings by Hans Holbein the Younger (1497-1543) to emphasise the person(s) depicted and later eagerly rewoven. As a result, carpets that are no longer physically extant have been preserved for posterity. (See also "Lotto carpets"!)

Honar = seal of quality created in 2001 for carpet collections awarded by a jury of experts, made from hand-spun mountain wool, predominantly natural colours, unusual patterns, in limited editions and STEP certification. The word is derived from Farsi = art.

Hook = Turkmen carpet motif derived from the Buddhist swastika. Hook borders, hook bands or hook borders, single and double hooks are folk ornaments in Caucasian, Anatolian, Turkmen, Afghan and Shiraz carpets as well as those of the Baluch.

Horror vacui = Latin expression for an artist's fear of leaving a large monochrome surface undecorated.

Hosseinabad = Iranian village, about 40 kilometres from Hamadan; the peasant carpets produced there are known for their small formats, mostly in runner and bridge shapes. They are often called ferahan, show the Herati pattern and have a fineness of about 140,000 knots per square metre.

Hotz carpets = In 1890, two English companies established carpet factories: Ziegler & Co in Karalkapak and Hotz & Son in London. Their products were marketed as "Ziegler" and "Hotz" carpets respectively. They partly imitate the Sultanabad pattern, partly Persian luxury carpet patterns. See also "Ziegler"!

Hunting carpet = rare, exquisite knotted products of Persian workshops of the 16th century, which were created around Safavid court households and were products of luxurious courtly tastes. The carpet designs are similar to those of the illuminations and show hunters galloping in fields and forests, hunted game, dancing angels, huris serving drinks in luxurious cups, musicians playing on lutes and tambourines. The most beautiful, best and largest preserved hunting carpet is exhibited in the Museum of Applied Arts (MAK) in Vienna.

Hyderabad = name of two large cities in southern India and southern Pakistan. Contemporary carpets are made in the latter.


Ibrik = means "water jug" in English. This is the name given to the knotted pattern in prayer rugs that hangs down from the mihrab (gable) top of prayer rugs, recalling the prescribed ablution of the believer before ritual prayer (see "Salat").

Igdir = 1.: once the ancient city of Tsolakert, now the capital of the eastern Turkish province of Igdir on the border with Armenia, northwest of Mount Ararat; 2.: the dwelling place of a Turkmen tribe.

Igsalik = Turkmen spindle pocket.

IHIB = Abbreviation for "Istanbul Carpet Exporters Association", the most important lobby group of the Turkish carpet and kilim industry and supporter of the carpet brand "Turkish Patterns".

Ikat = weaving technique in which the yarn is dyed in sections before being processed; parts of it can remain undyed. The term comes from the Malay language and means "to tie off" or "to wrap around" in German. Stripes are created with this technique; geometric patterns are created, but also more complex structures; not only the warp but also the weft threads can be dyed, which is called "doubleikat". Ikat fabrics are available, for example, from Uzbeks and in Indonesia.

Ilkanids = name of a khanate founded in the 13th century in the southwest of the Mongol Empire by the Hulagu dynasty; it included Iran, Azerbaijan and central and eastern territories of present-day Turkey.

Illyat = general term for Persian nomadic carpets.

Imrali = carpets made in the penitentiary on the Turkish island of Imrali.

Imreli = Turkestan tribe whose name comes from Eimur, a sub-tribe of the Salores. Independent carpets have been attributed to the Imreli since 1980; however, this is disputed; there is no longer any carpet production there.

Image embroidery = In the Middle Ages, it was understood to mean, on the one hand, a manual textile technique of weaving pictures and motifs into a two-dimensional fabric and, on the other hand, a product of this technique. Today, such products are called tapestries. As a rule, they are tapestries of artistic design; see "Gobelin"!


Inalu = village in northwestern Iran; name of a sub-tribe of the Shahsavan.

Incescu or Incesu = town and district in the Central Anatolian province of Kayseri; also the trade name for Central Anatolian carpets in long formats from the Kayseri area; they have multiple geometric medallions with yellow borders, red fields and aprons or flags woven flat or knotted at all ends.

Inclined cross or Schragenkreuz = see "St. Andrew's cross".

India = The South Asian subcontinent India is the world's second most populous country after China and accounts for around 7.5 per cent of the world's economic product in 2021, just under half as much as the USA. It is currently the world's largest producer of handmade carpets and flatweaves by volume. However, the great period of ancient qualitative Indian carpet production was in the Mughal era between 1526 and 1740.

Indian carpets = The art of carpet weaving in northern India came there from Persia through the Mughals. Around 1880, American and European wholesalers, led by OCM in London, established carpet manufactories in Amritsar and Agra. With increasing prosperity in the West, carpet manufactories mushroomed in India in the 1970s. Initially, the quality of the wide range of products was partly inferior; all styles of Persia and Turkey were adopted. Today, Indian carpet production is turning to the "new moderns". Especially in Bhadohi and the surroundings of Varanasi, the former Benares, many carpet producers exist at present. The triangle of Agra, Jaipur and Bhadohi is called the "Bermuda Triangle of the carpet". India is currently the largest carpet producer on earth.

Indian Tibetans = carpets woven in Tibetan refugee camps in India, modelled on Tibetan originals. (See also "Tibetan carpets", "Nepal Tibetans"!)

Indicative list = a comparative list compiled before the Austrian Chamber of Labour for the end consumer prices of new oriental carpets from the year 2010, therefore no longer current.

Indigo = deep blue natural plant dye especially from India, where it is also called anil or nil. The plant only secretes blue flakes through fermentation. Natural and chemically produced indigo have the same composition.

Indjelas = see "Endjelas"!

Inscribed carpets = Many oriental carpets have inscriptions woven into them. They contain, usually in cartouches, suras from the Koran or the Hadith, saints' names, names and/or a sign of the weaver, the name of the person who ordered the carpet, blessings for the owner or quotations from famous poets or writers, sometimes only the place of origin. Many inscriptions are large and clear, some are hidden, some are almost illegible because they are merely a copy of patterns that the weaver has copied without knowing the original script. Some carpets contain religious inscriptions and at the same time a sign of the weaver. Sometimes carpet inscriptions are repeated in a mirror image so that they give the carpet a visual balance. A particularly large number of inscriptions are found in Armenian carpets and those from the city of Hereke. Carpet inscriptions are in Arabic, Turkish, Kufi, Armenian unique language or Nastaligh style; some calligraphy is difficult to read; see also "Gohar carpet"!

Insikush = delicate carpet ornament on fields of tekke ensis. It has the shape of a Y and bears two lugs at its upper ends that resemble horns or birds' heads; see "Hatschlu"!

Ipek = Turkish word for "silk".

Ipekli = expression for carpets with a silky shiny pile, but made with mercerised cotton.

Iran, until 1936 Persia = the country is the 25th largest economy in the world; by population - currently around 83 million - the 19th largest country in the world. It has the world's largest reserves of crude oil and natural gas and possesses great economic potential for the future. The state controls more than half of the national economy; this and the social capital have been shrinking for years, the currency is steadily losing purchasing power internationally. Since the 1979 revolution, it has called itself the Islamic Republic of Iran. Next to, or after, the Caucasus, it is the oldest country on earth that has consistently cultivated carpet culture to this day. Persia is a world leader in the development of innovative naturalistic carpet designs, the combination of motifs into imaginative patterns as well as in the development of sensational colours in the visual effect of carpets, but since the Iranian Revolution it has been in fashionable retreat on the carpet markets. For a more manageable structure of Persian carpet production, the following division is usually made: the Northwest with the centre of Tabriz, Central Persia with the centres of Kashan, Isfahan and Djushegan, Southern Persia with the centre of Kirman, Eastern Persia with the centres of Herat and Mashad.

Iraq = Near Eastern republic between Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait with a largely Islamic population and very few Christians. The areas of the country with an affinity for knotted carpets are in the north; kilims are produced around the city of Hai in the south of the country.

Isfahan = major Persian city at the crossroads of the ancient Iranian trade routes from east to west and from south to north. It is the capital of the Iranian province of the same name, which has long played a leading role in the trade of Persian knotting and weaving. Since the 17th century, it has given its name to very fine hand-knotted Persian carpets with motifs from the Safavid era. The density of the carpets, which are dominated by floral madaillons and/or animal images and made partly or entirely of silk, has increased to more than one million knots per square metre in recent decades. Carpets from Isfahan have up to five borders, as well as secondary borders. These are often in a colour that contrasts with the background. Isfahan was the capital of Persia until 1800.

Islam = religious movement from 7th century AD Arabia. This is the name given to the teachings of Allah transmitted to mankind by the Prophet Mohammed; the Arabic word means "devotion" or "submission" in German and refers to the strict rules of the Koran, which is considered the basis of Islamic culture.

Islamic calendar = see "A. H."!

Isparta = Turkish city in south-west Anatolia; there is a large commercial finishing centre and market for carpets from the Denizli region, Afyon and far beyond; the patterns are copies of various Turkish and Persian carpets.

Istanbul = formerly Constantinople or Byzantium; a major Turkish city on the Bosporus, an arm of the sea that separates Europe and Asia; important place of origin and trade of carpets; the only city on earth that lies on or connects two continents.

Izmir = Turkish trading city, formerly called Smyrna. It is situated on the west coast of Anatolia on the Aegean Sea; earlier carpets of the city, made with wool, and later carpets made with cotton, show large floral patterns; at present no carpets are produced there; the city functions only as a collection and trading centre for carpets.

Izmit = the former Nicomedia, a Turkish city in the province of Kocaeli on the Sea of Marmara in the midst of high mountains and the centre of the province of Kocaeli.


Jabuye = Tibetan seat mat or pillow.

Jacquard, Joseph Marie = Inventor of the Jacquard automatic loom, a mechanical pattern control system for patterned woven carpets; Joseph-Marie Jacquard was the son of a weaver who decisively developed loom technology with the system he invented in 1825.

Jaff = see "Djaff"!

Jaipur = capital of the Indian state of the same name, today the Indian centre of many carpet manufactures alongside Bhadohi and Agra.

Jaipur = city located in north-central India in the wool-producing province of Rajastahn; prison carpet production began here in the mid-19th century; they were mostly copies of Mughal designs dating back to the Mughal dynasty in India; this dynasty had penetrated India from Mongolia in the 15th century (see "Mughal carpets"). Today, Jaipur produces a wide variety of carpets, from the traditional to the most hyper-modern, and in large quantities.

Jajim = see "Jajim"!

Jajjim or Cacim = one of the flat weaving techniques that works with winding wefts. This allows vertical and diagonal colour stripes to be formed; the individual pieces are finally sewn together. In Iran, the name of this weaving technique is "Djadjim", in Turkey "Djidjim".

Jalameh = see "Yalameh"!

Japan = Although carpets have been woven and knotted in Japan since the 16th century, they were rarely traded and are not considered Oriental carpets. The materials used are hardly sheep or cotton, rather hemp and jute; they are mostly poor imitations of European or Asian models.

Jarkent or Yarkent = province and city in East Turkestan, formerly a main collection point for East Turkestan carpets, partly in wool, partly in silk.

Jawalakhel = town in Nepal where Tibetan refugees produce contemporary cotton-based carpets. In Nepal, on the initiative of European countries, targeted refugee camps for Tibetan carpet weavers have been established to provide them with work.

Jewel of Mohammed = eight-pointed star of Jewish origin, considered a symbol of divinity; occasionally this motif is also called the "Star of Solomon".

Jewish-Israeli carpets = A good part of Jewish-Israeli carpets were created outside the geographically defined area, although there were several attempts to establish an independent carpet culture. In the 1920s, the Bezalel School of Art was established in Jerusalem. Its name is derived from the name of the biblical creator of Noah's Ark and the holy ark for the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt. The Marvadiah carpet workshop in Jerusalem produced carpets with Jewish and Art Nouveau motifs from 1906 to 1931. There has been no Jewish Hebrew carpet production since 1997. Old classic Israeli carpets are expensive and hard to find.

Jijim = see "Jijim"!

Jofti or Djofti or Jufti knot = see "Dschufti knot"!

Jolam or Jollami or Jolami or Yolami = see "Yolami"!

Jollar = see "Djollar"!

Jomoud or Jomud or Jomut = Turkmen tribal associations between the eastern shore of the Caspian Sea and the lower reaches of the Amurdarja River; also the name for Turkmen carpets from this area with the main colours reddish purple to maroon, sometimes with a light-ground background, 2000 to 3000 Persian knots per square decimetre. The Jomoud are one of the five main Turkmen tribes.

Joraghan = Northwest Persian term for inferior quality of Heris carpets; see "Heris"!

Josan or Jozan = see "Djozan"!

Joshaghan or Joshegan or Dschouschegan = old town and province with carpet production that made beautiful carpets from the 18th to the 20th century. The town was destroyed several times by earthquakes. Today the name is used to characterise carpet patterns related to the old pieces of the city. Jouschegan palmettes predominate in the patterns of the pieces; the carpets are densely and tightly knotted.

Jouschegan or Joshegan = small mountain town northwest of Isfahan; see "Djoshagan"!

Joval = see "Choval"!

Jozan = see "Djozan"!

Judur = border of the Ersari, which contains numerous small botehs as leaf tendrils on a mostly dark background.

Jufti knot = see "Dschufti"!

Jufti knot or Djufti knot = "jufti" means "one pair" in Farsi; this refers to a type of knot in carpet knotting in which the pile thread is knotted over two pairs of warp thread(s) instead of the usual one; an inferior piece of work that is supposed to pretend to be better.

Jute = natural fibre obtained from the stem of bast and sisal plants growing in South Asian wetlands such as the Ganges Delta or Bangladesh and used locally. Jute is biodegradable, has a golden silky sheen, can be dyed well but is susceptible to rotting; it is added to wool as a filler and is also used in carpet making; in French savonneries in the 17th century, the warp and weft were often made of jute.

Juval = see "Tschowal".


Kaaba = Cube-shaped stone building in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, which functions as the spiritual centre of Islam. A venerated meteorite stone is inserted into the wall of the Kaaba. Its upper half is shrouded in black cloth; a gold-embroidered band with calligraphic writing runs around it. The Kaaba is occasionally woven into prayer rugs as a decorative motif.

Kabistan or Cabistan = a controversial trade name for fine Caucasian carpets used since the end of the 19th century, which has fallen out of use; however, there is no geographical location of this name. These were carpets that approximated the pattern of Cuba, Shirvan or Genche carpets, were densely woven and had a shiny pile.

Kabul = capital of Afghanistan. Before the Russians occupied Afghanistan, the bazaar of this city was the most important place of origin for new Afghan carpets as well as for artificially aged Turkmen pieces. Today, Kabul, along with northern Afghanistan, is an important production centre for Afghan carpets. Tajiks and Hazara are the main weavers. Afghan carpets have been favourites of the contemporary carpet trade since the end of the 20th century.

Kabutrahang or Kabutarhan = place north of Hamadan in northwestern Iran where large carpets are made; these have a weft thread on a cotton ground and are coarsely knotted with symmetrical knots; the designs are usually on a red ground with a medallion and scattered floral branches or diamond-shaped motifs on a camel-coloured ground.

Kadife = name after the Arabic term "qatifa" for velvet, name for early Ottoman silk velvet fabrics.

Kafsade = carpet with medallion and mirror pattern.

Kagizman = Kurdish village and district in the province of Karsim in north-eastern Turkey near Kars in eastern Anatolia; an earthquake-stricken area with carpet production. There, carpets with modified Caucasian patterns and bright colours on a wool background are produced in elongated formats.

Kaimuri = a floral pattern made by weavers in the Indian Kaimur hills south of Benares. This is derived from Ferahan in Persia.

Kairene carpets = see "Mamluk carpets"!

Kairouan = town in the north of central Tunisia; prayer rugs with opposing prayer niches were mainly made there in the early 19th century. The surfaces in the mihrabs are red; some carpets have Kufic borders. Later Kairouan carpets were woven with natural-coloured sheep's wool in gradations of black, grey, brown, yellow-brown and white.

Kaitag = mountain massif and coastal strip on the south-western shore of the Caspian Sea in the Caucasus province of Daghestan, where unusually designed embroidered needlework was produced between the 16th and 19th centuries, partly from wool, partly from silk, and partly for home use only. Under Soviet rule in the Caucasus, this production was suppressed. The Kaitags are one of 33 different ethnic groups who live a secluded life around the city of Derbent, formerly al-Bab. The vivid designs and colours of the embroidered cloths made by the women of the Kaitags in domestic diligence combine Byzantine, Fatimid, Mongolian, Timurid, Mamluk, Chinese, Ottoman and Celtic traditions of a multi-religious mountain population. Further design influences of these embroidered cloths bring in their former use in ritual celebrations in the context of weddings, births and funerals. Scholars see a close relationship between the Kaitags' creations and the ornaments found in the oldest physically preserved knotted carpet on earth, the Pazyryk, as well as the embroidered felt curtains found in its ice tomb in the Altai Mountains.


Kajars = Persian dynasty 1786-1919.

Kalgan = city in China; its name is the Mongolian word for "turnpike", it refers to a passage through the Great Wall of China and is a main collection point for Chinese carpets.

Kalpak = means "hat" or "cap" in German and is the name of a Kyrgyz tribe; there are carpets with the name "Kara Kalpak".

Kamseh = see "Chamseh".

Kangal = Turkish town in central Anatolia southeast of Sivas, where so-called yastiks, small Anatolian upholstery or cushion surfaces, are made.

Kap = Turkmen name for any kind of Turkmen bag.

Kapan = Kurdish term for camel blankets, often with tassels.

Kapun(n)uk = knotted angular, unusual form of decoration for the inside of Turkmen nomad tent doors or peasant huts; they often have tassels in the middle and always at the ends; in former times they were in use especially among the Tekke tribe; "Kapu" means "door" in German.

Karabagh = mountainous landscape in Russian Azerbaijan in the Caucasus, an enclave; "kara" means "dark", the Azeri word "bagh" means "garden" in German; what is meant is the depiction of a garden in a black-earth landscape on a carpet; Karabagh is an area with an old weaving tradition. The capital is the carpet-making Shusha. Karabagh carpets are among the largest Caucasian in size; common patterns in these pieces are Sunburst or Eagle Kazaks, Cloudband, Kasim Ushak, Lampa or Herati.

Karachi = large city in southern Pakistan. Factory carpets are mainly produced there, mostly copying Turkmen patterns.

Karachoph = village in the southwest Caucasus. The carpets made there belong to the Kazak group, which show animal abstractions in clear drawing, but with sparse ornamentation.

Karadagh or Qaradagh = in German "black mountains", a region in Persian Azerbaijan; also collective name of carpets from the area south of the Atrak and the Caucasian province of Karabagh. They are knotted works of farmers, cattle breeders and nomads, rural-simple, generously drawn, hard-wearing carpets with shiny wool supplied by the sheep of the region; medium-high pile and 1,000 to 1,800 Turkish knots per square inch, i.e. 60,000 to 1,200/m².

Karadj = city in Iranian Azerbaijan, about 30 kilometres west of Tehran.

Karadja or Karaja = 1.: often incorrectly used expression for "Gharadjeh". 2nd: designation of carpets from north-west Persia with Caucasian influence, a Heriz type.

Karagaschli = village south of Derbend in the Caucasus; carpets from this 19th century village are classified as Kuba-type and have patterns consisting of toothed quadrilaterals that can be described as geometricised palmettes. These are small carpets that have a density of 90,000 knots per square metre.

Karageceli = Western Turkish tribes settling east of Bergama. Kara is Turkish and means "black" in German, "Keceli" means "goat".

Karagöz or Karagös = this Turkish expression means "black-eyed" in German; it refers to a settled nomadic tribe from the area between Hamadan and Bijar. In Turkey, "Karagös" also means what in Europe is called Kasperl, a figure of fun.

Karahisar = 1.: Name for carpets made in Afyon (in German = "Opium"), a town in western Central Anatolia, a former Seljuk city. 2nd: Small town in the district of Tavas in the Turkish textile province of Denizli.

Karakoyunlu = carpet-making nomadic Yüruk tribe in central Anatolia; in German the name means "black sheep".

Karakul = originally an Asian breed of sheep whose flow colour varies between black, grey, yellow-brown and brown. High-quality items made of Karakul are made from the skin of newborn or unborn Karakul lambs. The name means "black slave" in German.

Karaman or Karamanli = Turkish name of a fat-tailed sheep breed, named after a town in south-central Anatolia. Among other things, knotted carpets are made there, but the town is best known for the kilims woven in the area; the "Karamani" are made using the slit kilim technique. Karaman is also an outdated European term for Turkish kilims in general.

Karaover = designation for a special type of Milas carpet with fields consisting of single vertical narrow compartments or multiple vertical narrow compartments.

Karapinar = in German, this Turkish village name means "black spring". The village is located in the south of Central Anatolia, south of Konya; antique carpets of this name are valued for their high pile.

Kargarhi = firm, inexpensive Afghan carpets with different geometric patterns; "Kargar" means "worker".

Karhane or Kar-Chaneh = Central Persian term for "workshop" for making carpets and other art objects. The Farsi word "Kar" = means "work", "Chaneh" in German "Haus". Such manufactories were grouped together during the reign of Shah Abbas I with the aim of creating an industrial state manufactory that served the court. The patterns were created by professional designers. The workers were socially secured; they received sick pay and a pension in old age. Currently, there are only a few carpet manufactories in Iran and Turkey; most carpets are made there by home craftsmen.

Kars = city in north-eastern Anatolia near the border with the Caucasus; the carpets produced there have modified Caucasian patterns, are made only of wool, are coarsely knotted and are similar to Kazaks in both structure and pattern. In the last decades before 2000, large quantities of this type of carpet came onto the market. Today, this production has almost come to a standstill. 

Kashan = important carpet centre in central Persia; it is considered the centre of the silk industry and arts and crafts. In the 16th century, four groups of carpets were made in Kashan: a) pile carpets with four-petalled central medallions and corner spandrels; b) similar carpets with animal combat scenes; c) carpets with animal designs, arranged singly or in groups; d) pile carpets with four-petalled central medallions bordered with a band. The hunting rug in the Vienna MAK is a Kashan lace product. Kashans are seen as the most conservative of all Iranian carpets; they are made in sinä knots; the ground weave is cotton, in silk kashans made of silk the fine blue weft thread is barely visible on the reverse side, the pile is low in older pieces, higher since about a century. This style of making has been consistently maintained until more recent times.

Kashan Dabir-Sanayeh = Persian master weaver whose creations clearly differ from usual Kashans in colour choice and designs.

Kashan medallion = Central medallion as used in Kashan rugs. It is shaped like a diamond or a pointed oval, which may also be lobed or toothed. It is filled with floral motifs and always has some appendages at the top and bottom.

Kashgar or Kaxgar = city in western East Turkestan in the Tarim Basin, near the border with Kyrgyzstan. Perfect silk carpets with gold and silver embroidery were produced there in the 18th century. These are similar to the products from Khotan and Samarkand. Today, Kashgar is a collection point for nomadic carpets from the deserts and mountains of the Uyghur autonomous region, in which the basic Turkmen character of the knotted works often emerges; there are no nomadic carpets from there today.

Kashkai = see "Gashgai".

Kashkuli = see "Gashkuli"!

Kashkuli or Qashguli = Turkic-speaking tribes in the deserts of south-western Iran. They are one of the five tribes of the Khamseh Confederation ("chamseh" = "five"). Their carpets and kilims are among the finest of their kind. The wefts are mostly dyed red.

Kashmar = city of the province of the same name in eastern Iran in Khorasan, about 200 km south of Meshed, not to be confused with the Indian province of Kashmir. The city is known for its saffron production and hand-knotted carpets. Today it is known for coarse Nain-style carpets.

Kashmir = 1.: northernmost part of India bordering Pakistan; a country in the Himalayas with a largely Muslim population and the habitat of the mountain-adapted Kashmir goat, whose fine hair is processed into shawls and other quality textiles. The area was under British administration until 1947 and has been a bone of contention between Pakistan and India ever since. Today, the world-famous Kashmir carpets with silk pile, but also made of artificial silk, come from this region. Warp and weft are made of cotton. The most common quality has around 500,000 knots per square metre. 2nd: Designation for very fine carpets made with wool from cashmere, especially in the 18th and 19th centuries, and often decorated with the boteh motif. Contemporary Kashmir carpets are usually knotted on a cotton ground, and in the better styles they have finenesses of 160 to 320 knots per square inch, or 250,000 to 500,000 knots per square metre. Today, the main products from there are silk carpets, which are exported in large quantities to Europe; they usually have cotton as warp and weft.

Kashmir goat = mountain goat species originally found in Kashmir in the Himalayan region. The undercoat of this goat, called "pashmina", is very fine and silky; its fibres are rounder than those of sheep's wool and taper to a point. Today, Kashmir goats are also bred in Australia, China, Iran and Mongolia; see "Pashmina"!

Kasim-Ushak = Pattern of 19th century Caucasian carpets from the Karabagh region, derived from flower and dragon carpets. In these designs, a large toothed diamond is enclosed by four hooked clasps.

Kathmandu = capital of Nepal and place of origin of knotted carpets made there by Tibetans who fled. See "Nepal"!

Katt, Jan = contemporary German carpet and textile designer from Bochum in the Ruhr area, who strives to give the traditional design of the oriental carpet a fresher image through modern motifs, patterns and colour combinations; he also creates new names for these pieces. Katt has his carpets made in Nepal, India, Thailand or Morocco.

Katum = Tibetan pillar carpet.

Kaudani = Beludjen tribe in eastern Iran and western Afghanistan.

Kavak = behind this town name from eastern central Anatolia, located southwest of Sivas, is the Turkish expression for "poplar"; prayer rugs with stepped mihrabs are made there.

Kavkas = Turkish or Persian name for the Caucasus.

Kayseri or Kayserie = name of the former Caesarea, a Turkish city with strong Roman fortifications, located at the crossroads of important trade routes in the centre of Anatolia. The city is one of the most important places of origin of large-sized wool-cotton or silk carpets with pile of sheep's wool or silk. Manufactory carpets in floral patterns similar to those from Tabriz with predominant use of silk from Bursa were and are still produced in the city. Until 2000, saphs (see these) with a pile of mercerised cotton, called "flosh", or artificial silk came from there.

Kazak or Kazak = the best known of the Caucasian carpets, which were knotted by Kazaks, Kurds and Armenians in the difficult-to-access mountains of the Lesser Caucasus until about 1930. Many types of Caucasian carpets such as Karabagh, Ghendje and others are sold under this name. Today, this type of carpet is one of the most popular in Afghanistan.

Kazakhstan = landlocked Central Asian country, former Soviet republic between the Caspian Sea and the Altai Mountains, extends to China and Russia, lies north of Uzbekistan and has developed into the largest and richest economic power in Central Asia. The carpet industry is negligible; heavy industry, oil and natural gas dominate.

kbA = abbreviation of "controlled organic cultivation" of cotton. With organic cotton, the use of chemical fertilisers, defoliants and synthetic pesticides is prohibited during cultivation. Organic cotton therefore has a low allergy potential and is gentle on the skin. Organic cotton is monitored by independent institutes and certifies organic cotton cultivation annually. For organic cotton, the cultivation soil must have been used without chemicals for three years, and cultivation must also be carried out in mixed cultivation and crop rotation.

Kelardasht or Kalardasht = Iranian valley in the Elburs mountain range northwest of Tehran; carpets there have large red medallions with the Memling gül and stepped or white outlines.

Kelegi = elongated carpets approx. 300 x 160 cm

Kelimlik = means "like a small kilim" in German; it is the term for broadloom borders on knotted carpets.

Kelleh = Persian size designation for long, narrow carpets of about 350 x 150 centimetres. The name comes from the Persian term for "main carpet", which is placed at the very top crosswise among several other carpets in the room. The name refers to the traditional carpet arrangement in oriental countries, where in palaces and luxurious flats four carpets are arranged in such a way that a kelleh lies across the top, in the middle a wider ghali with a narrower companion carpet to the left and right.

Kenareh = means "hem" or "edge" in Persian and Turkish and means a normal narrow runner called a "gallery" in German

Kendirli kula = double niche carpet of kula, usually with irregular wefts, occasionally also of jute, causing pronounced horizontal ribs on the back of such carpets.

Kepse-Gül = motif of the Turkmen Jomud tribe in the form of elongated anchors contained in the ray bundles of the Göl; in its centre is an octagon.

Kerki = 1.: Azerbaijani village surrounded by Armenia on the M3 road between Yerevan and Southeast Armenia, occupied by Armenians. 2.: a town on the Amu-Darya in Turkmenia, a gathering place for Turkmen carpets, especially of Turkmen Afghans, Kisil Ayaks, Kara Kalpaks and Ersari Turkmen.

Kerman or Kirman = city and province in south-eastern Iran. Carpets have been made there since the Safavid era. In the early 19th century, Kerman became known for the production of hand-woven shawls. The great period of carpet production there began around 1890; in the early nineties of the twentieth century, most Kerman carpets were exported to the USA. These were knotted on a cotton ground with three wefts between each row of knots. The fineness was between 300,000 and 500,000 knots per square metre. The patterns were intricate floral arrangements; there are medallion rugs, prayer rugs and chequered patterns and a wide range of colours. Well-known contemporary carpet designers in Kerman include Arjomand, Sefaresh and Golam Hussein.

Kermanshah = city and district in western Iran on the road between Hamadan and Baghdad, currently called Bakhtaran; it is a market for sheep's wool and the place of origin of Kurdish village carpets with symmetrical knots with a fineness of up to 500,000 knots per square metre.

Kermes or Kermes red = see "Lac" and "Cochenille".

Keun & Co = Austrian carpet company that set up a carpet production with 80 employees in the region of Ushak in Turkey at the end of the 19th century.

Keyhole carpets = ancient, mostly East Anatolian or Caucasian knotted carpets with a dominant pattern called a "keyhole" or "re-entry". It results from the combination of a rectangle and two octagons, which together resemble the shape of an ancient keyhole. Only a few such carpets have survived. Such carpets were discovered in paintings by Renaissance painters such as Gentile Bellini, Lorenzo Lotto and Francesco da Ponte. (See "painted carpets"!)

Khaden = Tibetan sitting and sleeping rug.

Khagangma = textile back of chair seats or seat mat on a prayer rug in Tibetan monasteries.

Khal Mohammadi = medium quality Afghan carpets started by the trader "Hadji Mohammadi from Kunduz several decades ago.

Khal Mohammadi Belgique = carpets knotted from imported European wool, mostly from Belgium, which gives their pile an extreme sheen.

Khalik or Chalik = U-shaped or rectangular Turkmen weave with triangular ends and appendages, used both as camel ornaments or as a curtain in front of a bridal palanquin at a wedding; usually comes from the "Tekke" tribe.

Khampa-Dzong = important Tibetan carpet production site.

Khamseh = 1.: Area in northwestern Iran, south of Zanjan, from where small, low-quality carpets originate. 2.: Tribal confederation in southwestern Iran, see "Chamseh".

Khatchli or Katchli or Hatschlu = see "Hatschlu"!

Khiva = city and district in Russian Turkestan, south of Lake Aral, formerly an independent khanate; in the 19th century a collection and shipping point for Turkmen carpets; Youmud Turkmens settle around Khiva. They are partly under Caucasian influence with their ornaments of leaves, vines, animals and geometric patterns. Khiva carpets are also called Kisilayak.

Khod rang = in Persian it means "natural colour"; it is used to describe carpets made only with natural wool. This also refers to those carpets that were knotted in the Chahar Mahal region of Persia, especially in the 1960s.

Khoja Roshnai = designation for the finest Afghan carpets with rather dark colouring.

Khondzoresk or Khondsoresk = Caucasian carpet type especially from the Karabagh region (= "black garden") with large geometric motifs such as swastikas surrounded by cloud bands within triple frames; Khondzoresk carpets also bear octagonal medallions with cloud bands; mistakenly these pieces are called cloud band kasak. "Khondzor" means "apple" in Armenian.

Khorramabad = market centre in Luristan in southwestern Iran.

Khorrassan or Khoros(s)an or Khorasan = one of the largest Persian provinces in the extreme northeast of the country with much sheep breeding and saffron cultivation; often misused name of origin of carpets. Its wool is finer than that from western Persia, but it is less resistant. The capital of this province is Meshed with the tomb of Imam Reza, a disciple of Mohammed.

Khotan or Hotien = city located in eastern Turkestan in China; carpets were already produced there in the seventh century; in 1870, around 5,000 carpets per year were said to have been exported from this city and its surroundings; Khotan has been described as the place of origin of most Turkestan medallion carpets; carpets from there always have a basic cotton structure.

Khoylivan or Choylivan = border town in the province of West Azerbaijan north of Urmia on the Silk Road.

Khusistan or Susiana = an area inhabited by Turkmen, Lurs and Bakhtiars.

Khyrsek = coarsely knotted carpets from Hamadan that have a shaggy appearance. The name means "young bear".

Kibitka = ribbon made partly in knotting and partly in flat weaving technique; served Turkmen nomads as decoration in their round yurts or living tents; see "yurt"!

Kibla or Quibla = see "Ghable"!

Kif = Persian term for a purse or small bag.

Kilim or Kilim or Ghileem = woven carpet, one of the many types of flatweave, older than the knotted carpet. It is the result of a weaving process in which the wefts are inserted in a pattern-forming manner only over the area of the intended pattern and are reversed and returned at its borders. Depending on the type of pattern reversal, slit kilims are distinguished from single and multiple weft kilims and so-called running kilims. The name comes from the Turkish and used to mean only "prayer rug". Mistakenly, all types of flatweaves are often called "kilims". Originally, they were only made for personal use as bridal offerings, room dividers, coverings, gate curtains or transport wrappings. They originated in nomadic settlements or village communities. Later, kilims were woven by almost all oriental peoples. Senneh kilims are the finest and softest, Caucasian ones are considered the most beautiful.

Kilin or Kilim = ancient Persian animal motif, a lion or a hind, said to have originated in Chinese art; others think China later adopted the animal motif from Persia; see "Kilim".

Kirmanshah = city on the Kerne River southwest of Hamadan. The carpets there are mainly blue or red, rarely cream/ivory; the central section usually has a large medallion, oval or elongated square.

= Turkish city with carpet production in the province of the same name in Central Anatolia, a good 150 kilometres southeast of Ankara. Carpets from there are largely known by the name Mecidi-Kirsehir. This is attributed to Sultan Abdül Mecid (1839-1861), under whom French influences had a creative effect on Ottoman knotted works. Different types of carpets are known from Kirsehir.

Kis or Kiz = 1.: Prefix from Turkish, translated it means "girl" or "bride". 2: Designation for carpets woven with great care by a bride as dowry for the future groom, e.g. Kis-Gördes, Kis-Bergama or Kis-Kelim; in trade this prefix is often given for special quality, not for the origin of the piece. For example, "kis-kilim" is a woven kilim made by a girl for her groom.

Kis-Ghiordes = this is the name given in Turkey to small-format carpets that serve as bridal gifts.

Kizil = 1st: Turkish word for "red"; 2nd: name of a place in eastern Turkestan; 3rd: archaeological site where pile carpets were made in the 15th and 16th centuries, which were only found as fragments in 1913. The pieces have knots tied on a single warp thread, with both ends of the thread protruding from the same side of the warp thread.

Kizil Ayak or Kizil Ajak = 1.: Turkish expression for "red foot"; the Turkish word "kizil" means "red". 2nd: Turkmen tribe considered a subdivision of the Ersari; due to the great similarity of their structure and patterns, it is often difficult to distinguish Kizil Ajak rugs from Chub Bash weavings. The major gul of the Kizil Ajak is the Tauk Noska (in Turkish, "chick motif gul"), a Turkmen motif used by the Kizil Ayak, Ersari, Arabachi, Yomoud and Khodor tribes; this gul includes two small animals in each quarter; in early versions, the animal has two heads; its origin is traced to the ancient Luristani in the eleventh century, an ancient clan that used an Iranian language and lived in the Zagros Mountains of southwestern Persia. The small gul of the Kizil Ajak is the chemche (= spoon or ladle); it is one of the guls in Turkoman rugs, consists of a quartered diamond and often has eight radial arms. Kizil ajak carpets have asymmetrical knots that are open to the right.

Knitting = In contrast to weaving with its continuous wefts, the production of tapestries or tapestries with non-continuous wefts is called knitting.

Knot = loop over several threads, the smallest component of a carpet pile, which may be of wool, cotton or silk; pile threads are looped around warp threads in different ways; see "tying", "Persian", "Turkish" or "Spanish knot".

Knot density or gauge = the number of knots per square metre or square decimetre or square centimetre or square inch or square foot. To be able to calculate the different measurements inches or feet or centimetres into the other, you need to know the following: One square inch is 0.092903 square metres; one square inch is 6.4516 square centimetres. One square foot is 929.03 square centimetres or 0.09 square metres; e.g. 300,000 knots per square metre is 194 knots per square inch.

Knot setting = determining the knot density intended by the weaver for a carpet before it is made; this predetermines the fineness of the knotting.

Knots of fate = ancient Chinese symbols for infinity or for Buddha: intertwined ribbon-like figures that have neither beginning nor end.

Knotted carpet = it is made by looping pile threads over two or more warp threads. The outward ends of these threads together form the pile.

Knotting = is the main manual activity in carpet production on knotting or weaving looms. Knotting is mostly done by women, in exceptional cases also by men; see "baft". Carpets are usually knotted from the bottom up. There are different types of knotting. (See "Turkish", "Persian", "Jufti knot"!) Horizontal weft threads are shot through the vertically stretched and divided warp threads above a completed row of knots.

Knotting chair = in Persian "dasgha"; a technical device for knotting carpets, which developed from initially simple rectangular, primitive, wooden, easily transportable devices of the nomads with a horizontal, later with an upright position for the production of more sophisticated textile works of art (see "Hereke"); knotting chairs always have a device that separates even from odd warp threads when the weft threads are inserted, so that a firm base fabric is created for attaching pile knots. See "loom"! Nomadic carpets and partly village carpets are made horizontally, courtly carpets knotted according to patterns and partly village carpets are made on vertical looms.

Knotting output = number of knots a weaver achieves per hour. This output depends on the fineness of the carpet and the professionalism of the weaver. Good weavers need 3 seconds per knot, moderately talented ones 10, beginners about 15 seconds. Carpet manufacturers calculate an average output of about 7,000 knots per day per weaver.

Kocak = ram's horn, an ornament often used as a carpet motif in Turkmen pieces.

Kolyai = Kurdish tribe living in the Sonqur area, 50 miles from Hamadan, in northwestern Iran. New rugs from there have a cotton ground, older ones a wool ground as well as a single weft thread; the colours are bright.

Konaghend or Konagkend = town located about 20 miles south of Cuba in the north-eastern Caucasus; today without carpet production.

Konya = former Ikonium, the former residence of the Seljuks; today provincial capital in southwestern Anatolia, location of the Seljuk University. The surroundings of the city are rich in sheep breeding. The Mevlana Monastery near Ikonium has a museum attached to it, which has many antique Turkish carpets. Konya or Mevlana is an important place of pilgrimage for Islamic believers. Especially in the 17th and 18th centuries, carpets were produced there in Seljuk austerity, mostly in bright yellow-red colours; their density is 10,000 to 14,000 knots per square metre. Until around 1900, large quantities of samples of village and nomadic carpets came from Konya, made to order in a wide variety of qualities.

Konya-Kavak = Kavak is a carpet-making village near Konya. Bright, simple, attractive knotted works with asymmetrical border stripes and symmetrical variations of floral patterns were produced there.

Kopan = see “Tülü”!

Koran or Quran = in English “the rule”, the Bible of the Islamic world. It contains 114 suras (= "lines" or "main pieces") with 6,206 sentences, the word of God proclaimed by the Prophet Mohammed, which is considered infallible by believing Islamis. The Qur'an was established in its present form under Caliph Omar (644 to 656 AD) after Muhammad's death. To order the way of life of Islamis, the Koran is supplemented by non-canonised messages of Muhammad, the Hadith, an oral teaching.

Kordi = this is the name given to Kurdish knotting and weaving in eastern Iran. In the 18th century, West Persian Kurds were resettled in the north-east of Iran to defend the border areas there against the Turkmen. In the course of time, a special type of carpet emerged. Kordi has become a collective term for Iranian carpets made by Kurds in eastern Iran. The reputation of these carpets is very good, their composition beautiful, their durability great.

Korjin = see "Korjin"!

Korjin or Khordjin = see "Korjin"!

Kotschak = see "Kocak"!

Kozak = 1st: Turkish expression for "pine cone"; 2nd: town in western Anatolia; the small carpets produced there are made of wool and have striped kilim ends; light colours are used with patterns reminiscent of the Central Caucasus.

Kuba = town and district in the south of Derbend in the north-eastern Caucasus. In the 17th and 18th centuries, so-called dragon carpets were made there, and in the 19th century small, relatively finely knotted carpets of particularly good wool quality; the main patterns are those of Chichi, Konaghend, Perepedil, Zejwa, Karagashli, Seishour and Turret (= "keyhole design").

Kufa = south of Baghdad in Mesopotamia, former capital of the caliphs, headquarters of the Mohammedan sciences; place of origin of the Kufi script, the first High Arabic ornamental script, which appears on almost all oriental works of art, including carpets; see "Calligraphy"!

Kufi = oldest Islamic calligraphy form, a calligraphy written by hand with a brush or quill. Calligraphy is cultivated in many ancient cultures and has always been used in connection with religious texts. Such writings always have an ornamental character and are often used in carpets or festive textiles. With kufi, there are variations such as square kufi, nakshi, thuluth, riqa or diwani.


Kufi motif or Kufi pattern = highly stylised Kufi Arabic script; it is mostly seen in carpet borders. Kufi patterns in carpets are ribbon interlacing in red or yellow, derived from the Kufi script but containing no recognisable messages.


Kuhi = Persian term for "coming from the mountains"; "kuh" means "mountain"; it is the name for tribesmen of the mountainous Kerman region west of Sirjan; their carpets are made with symmetrical knots and double wefts; saddle bags with knotted tops are also produced there (see "Afshars").


Kula = town north of Ghiordes in western Anatolia or south of Demirci, about 80 miles east of Izmir. Prayer rugs were made there in the 18th century, the design of which show individual mihrabs very similar to those of Gördes. The short distance between Ghiordes and Kula explains the frequent exchange in ornamentation in the carpet production of the two cities.


Kum = see "Ghom".


Kum Kapi or Kum-Kapu = a district of Istanbul (translated as "Sand Gate" in German), famous for the finest silk carpets made there by Armenians in the 1900s. They combined silk and metallic threads to make brocaded carpets; the patterns were influenced by Turkish and Persian knotted works.

Kumüken or Kumyk = Caucasian tribe, mainly settled in the Daghestan region; their carpets are called Dagestan or Lesghistan.

Kunduz = provincial capital with a large carpet market in north-eastern Afghanistan; carpets and bags made in the Imam Saheb, Qala-i-Zal and Chardarah areas are traded in the city or sent to Kabul for the market.

Küpe = a dyeing kettle or vat where dyeing processes take place. It is a bellied clay vat about 50 centimetres high, glazed on the inside and equipped with a heating chamber at its base. Newer vats are made of copper.

Kurdish carpet = this type of village carpet comes from northwest Persia and the areas east of Mosul. They are primarily nomadic or semi-nomadic products and still popular for their rural character; they are characterised as coarse, yet appealing and pleasing.


Kurdistan = Persian term for "Land of the Kurds", often also called Eastern Anatolia.


Kurds = West Asian mountain and pastoral people whose main settlement area is called "Kurdistan". They form an autochthonous ethnic group living in present-day Turkey, Iraq, Iran and Syria. Their language belongs to the Indo-European language family, the north-western branch of Iranian languages. In the 18th century, Kurds were resettled in eastern Persia to defend the country against Turkmen incursions. Since 2014, efforts to establish a separate Kurdish state have been intensifying. Most Kurds are Sunni Muslims; Shia Muslims are an important minority; some still live semi-nomadically. There is no basic characteristic for Kurdish knotwork, because patterns and motifs handed down over the centuries have been influenced by borrowings from other tribes and ethnic groups. Basically, Kurds use geometric patterns and abstract motifs; the density of the knotted works is medium to coarse. Typical Kurdish carpet names and origins are Bidjar, Cihanbeyi, Hakkari, Harsin, Iraq, Kermanshah, Sauj Bulaq, Senneh, Siirt and Sequr.


Kürt = Turkish term for Kurd.


Kütahya = town in western Anatolia near Ushak where small prayer rugs on a cotton ground are made; at the same time the place is a trading centre for such rugs from the surrounding area.


Kyongden or Kyongring = Tibetan fringed runner up to 5 metres long.


Kyrgyz = Central Asian people, partly still living nomadically, who weave carpets. They live north of Tajikistan, which borders Chinese Turkestan to the east. The carpets from there are of low quality, often lacking colour and design harmony.


Label Step = International non-profit organisation that aims to enforce humane living and working conditions for carpet weavers worldwide. It has existed since 1995 and has its headquarters in Switzerland. It monitors around 300 carpet producers for compliance with its strict guidelines and punishes violations by expelling members who violate them.

Labidjar or Labijar = town in northern Afghanistan near Sheberghan, inhabited by Uzbeks and Ersari Turkmen; the latter weave carpets and kilims similar to those from Andkhoy; older carpets from there have distinctive smaller borders with pink rosettes, younger kilims have ivory to brown geometric stripes with interlocking square or diamond-shaped motifs or medallions.

Lac or lac dye or dyer's lac = royal or crimson red from natural Asian sources, obtained from gum lac (stock lac), the resinous secretion of lacquer scale insects. It is a dye to achieve crimson, scarlet and orange tones. The stick varnish of lacquer scale insects is ground up and the powder is agitated in warm water until the urea dissolves. Then the mixture is evaporated over fire in cauldrons or dried in shallow vessels in the sun. The dye is sold as a flat cake. The lice dye can also be dissolved by boiling with diluted soda ash or potash, filtered and the colour varnish precipitated from the filtrate with alum solution. This dye is very close to that of the cochineal and that of the Kermes scale insect.

Ladakh = part of Kashmir in India near Tibet. In the past, inhabitants born there, who ethnically belonged to the Tibetans, made carpets using the looping method, called "stan". More recently, Tibetan refugees in Ladakh make typical Tibetan carpets.

Ladik = there are several places with this name in Turkey; among them a small Anatolian town northwest of Konya, near the ancient Laodicea/Laodikea, which has ruins from antiquity including a large theatre. The town was a production site for Anatolian prayer rugs, especially the column ladik. This was developed in the city's manufactories and shows, on a light-coloured ground in the most delicate design, a tripartite niche supported or flanked by delicate double columns. There are prayer rugs with stepped mihrabs and two to three columns; they have transverse fields with tulips; dominant colours are shades of red and blue; while rug production fell asleep after the First World War, kilim weaving has spread there.

Lah = measure of the twisting of warp threads, which can be seen by analysing the carpet fringes; is a value-determining factor especially in Nain carpets. The warp threads consist of several individual yarns twisted together; nine lah are three times three twisted threads (coarser qualities), six lah are twice three threads (fine quality). There are also carpets with four lah quality.

Lahle-Abbasi pattern = also called tulip pattern, gateway or sceptre head; it is a recurring triple border pattern with a tulip calyx that can range from a curvilinear naturalistic to an extremely abstract representation and consists of a juxtaposition of triangles and rhombuses.

Lahore = city in north-eastern Pakistan in the province of Punjab. From there, the art of carpet weaving spread throughout India. Lahore was a dominant carpet production centre of the British East India Company; in the 19th century, prisoner carpets were also produced there. Currently, carpets with Turkmen patterns, so-called Pakistan Bochara, are produced in Lahore. Along with Peshawar, Lahore is now an important transshipment point for Afghan carpets, which are washed and made out there, because washing and exporting do not yet work in Afghanistan.

Lambalo = 19th century Caucasian Kazak carpet design similar to those of the Talish; these are long-format pieces with multiple borders; the inner field may be empty or sparsely filled with motifs.

Lamp = decorative motif on prayer rugs in the form of a hanging lamp. It symbolises the light of God.

Lampas = a type of jacquard weaving in which the pattern is raised in relief.

Lancet leaf = a common carpet motif: a narrow, toothed, straight or curved leaf ending in a point.

Landscape carpet = designation for a group of Anatolian carpets with very characteristic patterns, produced since the 18th century. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, this type of carpet came mainly from Cuba, Gördes or Kirsehir. The specific patterns consist of stylised houses or mosques and trees lined up horizontally. Occasionally, but incorrectly, such carpets are called cemetery carpets.

Läufer = long, narrow carpet; called "gallery" in Germany.

Lavé = If this term is added to a carpet name, it means that the piece has been chemically washed to mute or lighten light colours.

Laver = see "Ravar".

Lawer Kirman = trade name for old-fashioned kirman rugs, derived from "Ravar" where these rugs were made.

Lawon = term for ceremonial shawls from Sumatra, which are made by married women and are part of a bridal outfit; they are usually made of silk and represent high prestige and power.

Layering = staggering of warp threads in carpet production.

Lazy Lines = English term for diagonally running lines in finished knotted carpets, which always occur when several knotters have worked on a carpet at the same time and irregularly.

Lenkoran = city and district in the south-eastern Caucasus on the Caspian Sea; it was once the capital of the Khanate of Talish. The Lenkoran medallion used in most of these carpets, with two or four arms and a large geometricised chalice, could be the rendering of a chalice or derived from the dragon motif; this medallion is found in Kazak and Karabagh carpets.

Lesghi or Leki = tribe of Avars living in the north-eastern Caucasus; they have sub-tribes called Avars, Darghis, Kumyk and Korins. The Avars were a powerful Turkic people in the first millennium, also native to Eastern Europe, who retreated to the mountainous regions of the Caucasus (Daghestan) after heavy defeats; see also "Daghestan"!

Lesghistan = landscape in the area of Caucasian Dagestan, named after the indigenous people, the Lesghians. The carpets produced there are related to those from Dagestan or Shirvan and Derbent. See also "Kumüken"!

Lhasa = capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region in the People's Republic of China; located in the Transhimalayas at 3650 metres above sea level, it is a place of pilgrimage and home to the Potala Palace (= "place of the gods" in German), where the Dalai Lama was supposed to live but fled abroad after the occupation by China. Many monks once lived in Lhasa and it is home to many old Tibetan carpets with original designs. New Lhasa carpets today are mostly knotted in Nepal and come in red-purple or blue-chocolate brown.

Light fastness = this is the term used to describe the colour fastness of colourants, lacquers and other surfaces under prolonged illumination. Sunlight has a high ultraviolet content, which has a decomposing effect on many materials, resulting in colour changes. Light fastness is specified internationally in the paint industry in four classes (stars): *** is highest light resistance, ** very good light resistance, * sufficient light resistance, no star low light resistance.

Lilian or Lillihan = Iranian village south of Arak, ten miles west of Khomein; a West Persian carpet type of Mahals similar to Saruks is named after her, initiated as their cheaper alternative by the representative of a New York trading company after the First World War in the Saruk and Arak villages. They are knotted works with asymmetrical knots; their ground is cotton and the weft threads may be red. During the 1930s, many such carpets were exported to the USA.

Line = knotting direction of the carpet pile or inclination direction of the pile hairs in the carpet. Viewed against the grain, carpets appear darker, viewed from the other side lighter.

Lines or line = yardstick for determining the fineness of Chinese carpets.

Lokari = place in north-eastern Afghanistan inhabited by Baluchis. There, the inhabitants make kilims, saddle bags and prayer rugs. These products have far brighter colours than those normally used by Baluchis.

Looping = semi-machined carpet production, see "(hand-)tufting".

Lori or Luren = ancient Iranian tribe that speaks Farsi and lives in the Zagros Mountains in southwestern Persia; they are tribally organised and largely pastoral nomads. The Luri also include the Bakhtiari; other Luri tribes live southeast of Luristan, in Fars or Veramin.

Lori Pambak = town south of Tbilisi in the Kazak region of the Caucasus; the Lori Pambak motif is a large octagonal medallion filled with two pairs of facing goblets, all drawn together at the base. This design was developed from an Anatolian medallion and is still used by Turkish and Kurdish weavers in the Kars area (see this).

Lotto carpets = carpets from the 16th and 17th centuries, the Italian Renaissance period, made in Anatolia around the city of Konya and inserted by the Italian painter Lorenzo Lotto (1480-1556) as decorative pieces in his paintings; Lotto carpets have a red background and a yellow continuous pattern with red-yellow-black borders. Similar painter's carpets also come from Holbein, Memling, Vermeer and their colleagues.

Lotus = water plant that is one of the primeval symbols of mankind, especially in Egyptian, Indian and East Asian cultures; it appears as a seedling with a bud and is an attribute of the gods Isis, Osiris, Horus and Hathor. The flower is a symbol of the growing primordial life and, ranked according to its importance, comes after the spring and even before the tree of life (see this). In Hinduism and Buddhism, the lotus is still revered today; it is regarded as a symbol of the developing earth; Brahma stands on a lotus leaf, Buddha on a lotus blossom. In the prayer formula "om mani padme hum", which as a Buddhist mantra is taken from Sanskrit, the Eternal One is named on the lotus, which is still muttered by Tibetan weavers in Nepal today.

Lotus blossom = floral ornament common in the Near East, which used to appear rather plain, later larger and more colourful, symbolising summer. A stylised lotus blossom is also considered a prototype for Turkmen göls.

Lulehbaft = U-loops in knotted carpets. The Farsi term "Luleh" means "tube" in German; an inferior production, because it is used to replace the so-called "knot".

Luren or Loren = ancient tribe with several sub-tribes living scattered in Lurestan, Khuzistan and Fars. They describe themselves as descendants of the Medes. Many of them are already settled, some are still nomadic. Their pile carpets are called Lori and are highly prized; they are mostly covered with hexagons filled either with geometric flowers derived from the Mina-khani pattern or with diamond-shaped cells containing the Tree of Life motif; some are knotted with symmetrical knots, others with asymmetrical knots.

Luristan or Laristan = species name for carpets from this province near Fars in southern Persia. Luristan is a mountainous country stretching from the province of Kirmanshah to the province of Khozistan. The carpets produced there usually have runner dimensions.

Luster = iridescent sheen of carpet surfaces caused by reflection of incident light. It can be optimised by special treatment of the knotting wool with glycerine.


Machine-made carpets = They are industrially mass-produced counterparts to hand-made knotted works; in the relevant large-scale enterprises, a factory-organised industry replaces individual human handicraft.

Machmalbaft or Maghmal = name of a carpet manufactory in Mesched; it produces velvety ikats, carpets with a velvety pile.

Madder = Latin "rubia tinctorum", a red-dyeing substance; it is obtained from the roots of the dyer's red, a herbaceous plant that grows widely in the Orient and is used to produce various shades of red to brown and blue; one of the most important dyeing plants.

Maden or Madhen = Turkish place with carpet production, where especially prayer carpets of the Anatolian type are made.

Madjid carpets = knotted carpets named after Sultan Abd-el-Medjid (1839-1861); an Anatolian carpet type with European-influenced patterns.

Madras = East Indian city on the Bay of Bengal where carpets were made in the late 19th century.

Maffersdorf carpets = inexpensive type of carpet that the textile company C. Genersich und Orendi brought to the market in Vienna in 1897 in order to market them as an attractive alternative, both in price and appearance, to the carpets imported from the Orient, which had become very expensive at the time due to high import duties. See also "machine carpets"!

Mafrash = smaller nomadic bag, about the size of a suitcase, usually with patterned sides and a simple (kilim) back for carrying household items, especially bedding. Mafrash are never used as cradles; most are made in sumakh structures in pairs, with the sides and bottoms made in one piece. The separately made sides are sewn on to form an open case. The bottoms are usually bare striped weaves, about three feet long and one foot high. Mafrash products are mostly made by the Shahsavan of northern Iran, Afshars and Kurds.

Maghreb or Maghrib = 1.: penultimate of the five ritual daily prayers of the Muslims at sunset. 2.: collective name for North African carpets, derived from the geographical name "Maghreb" (in English = Sunset).

Maha-djiran = carpet from the Ferraghan/Sultanabad area with a particularly high pile reaching up to two centimetres; it corresponds to the typical American taste.

Mahal = 1.: West Persian carpet provenance named after the city of Mahallat; it belongs to the Sarough-Arak knotting area; Arak used to be called Sultanabad and rose to become a main knotting centre for Persian export carpets from the 1970s onwards. Mahal carpets usually show the Herati pattern as well as floral and all-over patterns. 2.: "Mahal" is a term for lower quality Sarouk carpets.

Mahallat = the name given to those carpets produced in villages in the Farahan, Dulakhor and Mushkabad area of central Iran; the usual pattern is Herati and Saruk motifs; these carpets are less densely knotted and have less tightly beaten wefts than other Saruks of the same area; they have a rather coarse weave.

Mahi = this is how "fish" means in Farsi. This refers to one of the best-known motifs for carpets from Marand in the Ferahan style, which is similar to the Herati pattern. Marand is a town in Iranian Azerbaijan, near the Turkish border. Many types of Tabriz are found there, especially those with mahi motifs throughout.

Mahmalbaft = expression for a particularly soft wool used for the production of very pliable carpets.

Maimana = town in north-western Afghanistan, a market for kilims from this area.

Makden = saddle base or saddle cloth from Tibet.

Makri or Megri = this ancient city is now called Fethiye and is a port city in southwestern Anatolia. Typical carpets from there have two or three vertical stripes, each containing geometric floral motifs or trees of life. Towards the end of the 19th century, medallion carpets with European roses in the Mejid style were also made there.

Malatya = 1st: City in central Anatolia that functions as a marketplace for carpets and kilims produced in the surrounding villages. Many of them are made quite coarsely and in geometric patterns by Kurds. Kilims from Malatya are exceptionally long, some up to five metres; they are made in two matching halves; there are usually no borders, and each half is independent in its pattern; various flatweaving techniques are used, such as slashing, sumak and brocading; the patterns are usually wide stripes with geometric motifs. 2nd: Designation for Anatolian Kurdish carpets.

Malayer = small central Persian town at an altitude of 2000 metres on the river of the same name, about 60 kilometres south of Hamadan, an important transhipment point for village carpets in the area. Although these carpets have their own character, they are usually traded under this collective name.

Mam(e)luken = in English "people taken into possession", a military unit consisting of former Turkish or Circassian slaves; they were later freed, performed military service, became bodyguards of Oriental rulers, took power and became an Egyptian-Syrian ruling dynasty until they were overpowered by the Ottomans in 1516/1517.

Mamluk rugs = Frappant is that there is still great disagreement among experts about the beginning and end of these knotted works and why they have not been imitated by other workshops. The style of the patterns of Mamluk carpets is called "kaleidoscopic" because quadrangular and octagonal elements intersect and form a radial symmetry. Knotted works of exceptionally high technical and artistic quality named after the above-mentioned dynasty came from Cairo, Egypt. They were made between the middle of the 13th century and 1517, when the Mamluks were defeated by the Ottomans. Thereafter, they continued to be made under Ottoman influence until the early 17th century. They were produced in outstanding quality with very fine yarns. One of the most famous examples of this type of carpet is in the Museum of Applied Arts (MAK) in Vienna. Mamluk-style carpets currently come from Afghanistan.

Manastir = town in the European part of Turkey, in Macedonia; the kilims there are well known, with their typical colour character showing similarities to kilims from Bulgaria; the technique of bow-shaped wefts and the often occurring abrash are typical.

Manchester carpets = knotted carpets made from yarns produced in the English industrial town of Manchester. The basic material for this type of carpet was Australian sheep's wool (merino wool), which was particularly suitable for luxury textiles due to its high fineness and silk-like properties. Persian carpet weavers used these yarns, which were new at the time, to produce large-format carpets with a mostly pink-red background, which found strong demand in the 1920s, especially in the USA; see "Merino"!

Mangalo stove = round, stand-alone oriental heater that is operated with charcoal and used to warm people or prepare food.

Manufactory = preliminary form of production that rationalises and organises the manual work on carpets; master weavers supervise the quality and pace of the work; in addition to weavers, pattern makers, warp judges and master shearers also work in manufactories; they usually evolved from a ruler's court manufactories; in the heyday of court manufactories there were thousands of manufactories.

Maramures = Region in northern Romania where Maramures kilims were made with warps of hemp.

Marand = see "Mahi"!

Marasali = place in the south of Shemakha in the Shirvan region of the Caucasus. In the 19th century, prayer rugs with large coloured botehs in the borders were made there. Their mihrab is pentagonal, the field filled with botehs of different colours.

Marash or Marasch = Armenian embroidery, which was produced until about 1915 and is currently on the rise again with yarn made of sheep, cotton and silk.


Marby carpet = one of the oldest physically preserved ancient knotted works, discovered in the church of Marby in Sweden in 1886 and most likely made in Anatolia. This carpet is on display at the Stockholm History Museum. See "Dragon Phoenix Motif"!

Marok or M.A.R.O.C. = see “Morokko”!

Marrakech = former capital of Morocco. In the past, many carpets were made there; now, a variety of Moroccan, oriental and also modern carpets are traded in the souks there.

Masandaran or Mazandaran = Until the end of the 20th century, these kilims from the northern Iranian province were almost unknown to carpet lovers. Now the region on the southern shore of Lake Caspian at the foot of the Elburs Mountains, near the village of Hezar-Jerib (in German "thousand valleys") is considered the origin of modern minimalist flatweaves made according to traditional models, which meet contemporary requirements with calm geometric designs. The initiative came from Werner Weber in Zurich. He rediscovered the Mazandaran kilims in his search for modern oriental textiles and brought them to market under the name "NOOR" (in German, "light"). Until the beginning of the 20th century, their models were made in narrow panels on old nomadic looms and then sewn together into wide panels. In the past, they were used exclusively for private purposes, as bridal outfits, for weddings or births. Their appearance ranges from warm earthy to strikingly bright shades, which lie close together in the finished kilim. Like their pre-mid-19th century models, current pieces use hand-spun wool woven tightly together, making the pieces thin, yet strong and resilient. Good old examples have thus become sought-after new creations.


Mashad or Meshed = capital of the Iranian province of Khorasan in north-eastern Persia and an important carpet city where knotted works have been made and traded since the 16th century; its name means "City of Martyrs" in German. It is home to the famous Imam Reza shrine with golden domes and minarets, the tomb of the Lebanese scholar Sheikh Bahai, the 15th-century Goharshad Mosque and a rich carpet museum. These sights attract pilgrims and tourists who boost the carpet demand and production there. Such famous carpet manufacturers as Soltan Ibrahim Mirza, Amoo-Oghli, Khamenei, Makhmalbaf, Zaber and Zarbaf worked and still work in Mashad. Some Mashad carpets are knotted with symmetrical knots and feature medallions; some are made with jufti knots on a cotton ground. Most contemporary Mashad carpets have double wefts, some even wire wefts; some carpets were knotted with symmetrical knots, the majority sometimes with asymmetrical jufti knots (see "jufti") on a cotton ground. Meshed carpets are characterised by deep red cochineal colours; usually the carpets have medallion patterns reminiscent of those of Kerman. Meshed carpets rarely have fewer than six, often up to 12 border stripes filled with flowers and vines or flowering branches.

Masho = Tibetan saddle top.

Master knotter = this job title corresponds to the European foreman in charge of two to three knotting looms in carpet factories. In manufactories, he is responsible for the careful execution of the given patterns, manages the knotting material and usually pays the weavers under his command.

Materials for carpets
= dyed sheep's wool of varying softness is normally used to knot the carpet pile. For warp and weft, either wool or cotton is used. For precious carpets, silk is also used for all three areas. In the past, only natural dyes were used to dye wool and silk, but since the middle of the 19th century, the new chemical, synthetic industrial dyes have been used. Currently, there is often a mixture of both types of dye, with a trend back to natural dyes.

Mauri or Mori = trade name for carpets of the highest quality from northern Afghanistan, referring to the city of Merw in present-day Turkmenistan. Carpets of this origin usually show the Bochara (Tekke) Göl in a small and dense arrangement.

mauve = typical colour of a wild mallow: reddish-purple.

Mazarlik = Turkish cemetery or funeral rugs; traditionally, all members of a mourning family are supposed to knot a funeral rug; the dead person is covered with it in the house of mourning; after the funeral, rich families donate the rug to their mosque. The patterns of such mostly dark pieces contain mosques, weeping willows or cypresses.

Meander = this is the name of the once Greek river Maiandros, now called Menderes, which flows from western Turkey towards the Aegean Sea through many right-angled meanders; it gave its name to all the paths, waters and patterns, many of which are intertwined.

Measurements, old = in the carpet trade the measurements "Gereh", "Radj", "Arshin", "Zar" and others were common in former times; see these!

Mecca carpets = no knotted works are made in the holy Islamic city of Mecca; prayer rugs, e.g. from Shiraz, are brought to Mecca via the port city of Mecca, Jeddah, where they are sold to pilgrims on pilgrimage.

Medachil or Medahil = reciprocal, alternating arrowhead motif in narrow carpet borders.

Medallion = round, oval, rhombic, ogival or octagonal, usually centrally placed main ornament that is a dominant element in a carpet or fabric. In addition to the main medallion placed in the centre of a piece, half medallions may be placed on the sides of the carpet's inner field, and quarter medallions at its corners. The term "medallion" = "shamsa" is derived from "chams", which means "sun" in Arabic and Persian. The central medallion stands for the cosmic power, the centre of the world and is modelled on a "mandala".

Medallion carpets = have been around since the late 15th century. They were made in the Safavid period under Shah Ismail in northern and central Persia, especially in Tabriz and Kashan. The weavers of these pieces came from Herat and other cultural centres to the then Turkish-ruled capital Tabriz in the early 16th century; the creators were named Mirah, Mirza Ali, Sultan Muhammed and Mir Sayyid Ali. The Ardebil carpets are considered the earliest representatives of this type of carpet. They are characterised by large round, oval or octagonal portraits in the middle of the carpet field. There are medallion sumaks and medallion umaks. Experts distinguish between carpets with a single large medallion dominating the entire field and carpets with several small medallions surrounded by tendrils of leaves, buds and palmettes covering the inner field in repeat.

Mederstern = in an octagonal frame or octagon are two rectangular hexagonal bands crossed to form a star, named after the Indo-European people of the Medes, who perished after the battle of 550 BC against Cyrus II.

Medici-Kirsehir = carpets from the city of Kirsehir, made under the influence of French savonneries; see "Kirsehir"!

Mediouna = Moroccan city near Casablanca. The carpets made there are strongly influenced by Persian patterns and mostly have three medallions. The borders are narrow and intricate floral motifs are worked into an all-over pattern.

Medjid style = carpet designs with naturalistic floral motifs as an imitation of European models favoured by the Turkish Sultan Abdul-Medjid (1839-1861); carpets from Gördes, Makri (Fethiye) and Milas were also influenced by this style.

Meghun = western Iranian town with carpet production in the Saruk region.

Megri carpets = knotted works from the port city of Makri or Megri; knotted works closely related to the Melas carpets; some experts think they are a transitional form between the two types of Melas carpets; see "Makri"!

Mehraby or Miharaby = this Turkish term means in German "with a mihrab", which is the prayer niche in mosques; in Azeri the name means "prayer rug".

Mehravan = area near Heris; name for carpets that do not always come from this area.

Melas or Milas = city in southwestern Anatolia; the type of carpets of the same name from this city and its surroundings include prayer rugs. These have diamond-shaped prayer niches derived from Ottoman horseshoes; furthermore, there are carpets with vertical fields similar to those from Makri as well as carpets with fields filled with a vertical column of boxes or rhombs. Mejidian-style carpets are also made around the city. Melas carpets are all wool with red wefts; most are coarsely knotted with densities ranging from 30,000 to 75,000 symmetrical knots per square metre. There is expert dispute about some ancient Melas prayer rugs as to whether they were actually made there or here in Gördes.

Menorah = seven-branched candelabrum of the Jews, as it appears on Jewish carpets; the plural is menorot.

Mercer, John, or mercerise = the Englishman John Mercer developed a method in 1844 of chemically treating yarn to make it shiny and increase its capacity to absorb dye. The tightly stretched textile fibre, especially cotton, is dipped into strong, cold caustic soda, making it richer, fuller and shinier without losing tensile strength; this method was used between 1880 and 2000, especially in Kayseri and Bursa.

Merino = a breed of sheep that produces very fine wool. This breed was first bred in Spain; later on a large scale in Australia. This wool was spun into yarn in Manchester towards the end of the 19th century and made into high quality carpets by Iranian, Pakistani, Chinese and Indian weavers. (See also "Manchester carpets"!)

Merw = Oasis town in Russian Turkestan (Turkmenistan) on the southern edge of the Karakum sand desert ("black sand") with carpet production. In the 18th century it was dominated by Uzbeks, later by Saryks and Salor Turkmen, finally by Tekkes after they defeated the Salors. Silk is produced in the area and has occasionally been incorporated into Tekke knottings; in the early 20th century Merw was an important trading centre for Turkmen carpets.

Meshkin = town in northwestern Iran, north of Zanjan; Caucasian patterns similar to contemporary Ardebil carpets are often used there.

Mesjid or Mesdjed carpets = "Mesjid" means "mosque" in German. Oriental carpet dealers sometimes pass off prayer rugs as coming from a mosque and call them mesjid gjordes or mesjid ladik to get a better price.

Meyer-Pünter carpet = imitation carpets that the Swiss Carl Meyer-Pünter had made decades ago in Persia according to 16th or 17th century patterns. Their format did not correspond to the real originals, but was adapted to European living conditions. For example, one of the famous Ardebil carpets or the famous hunting carpet of Vienna were copied by Meyer-Pünter. If you want to be sure whether a Persian carpet was made by Meyer-Pünter or is an original, you can find out for yourself in both Meyer-Pünter books, where all the imitations are documented.

Meymeh or Meimeh or Mey-Mey = town in the Joshegan area of northwestern Iran; carpets from this town have a traditional local pattern, see "Joshegan"! A somewhat coarser type comes from Mudjekar.

Mian farsh = middle rug in an arrangement of four rugs belonging together in a representative living room (see "Kalleghi" or "Kenareh").

Mihaliccik = Turkish town in western Anatolia between Ankara and Eskisehir; it is the source of smaller prayer rugs with stair-shaped or triangular prayer niches; the borders are wide, water jugs, diamonds and geometricised flowers are used as filling motifs.

Mihrab or Mehrab = 1.: Arabic term for the prayer niche in a mosque; an occasionally deepened, richly ornamented niche that is always oriented towards Mecca. 2.: The same name is given to the form of a prayer niche figuratively transferred to (prayer) rugs, which shows variously formed roof shapes, e.g. stepped, dome-shaped or in the form of a "sultan's head" with head and shoulders. On a prayer rug, the believer performs the five daily ritual prayers prescribed by Islam (= kibbla or qabla), with the mihrab of the rug facing Mecca.

Mikrakh or Mikrach = see "Achty"!

Millefleur = this term comes from the French (in English "thousand flowers") and refers to an ornamental decoration for carpets and other textiles consisting of small flowers and blossoms evenly or irregularly distributed over a surface.

Mina-Khani or Minahani = regular overall pattern for carpets consisting of two or more flower blossoms forming diamond-shaped grids; there are different variations of this. This pattern can be found in stylised form on many nomadic carpets, such as the Baluch. This pattern is said to be attributed to Mina Khan.

Ming = Chinese ruling dynasty 1368-1644.

Ming emblem = this is what the dragon-phoenix motif is alternatively called.

Miniature painting = typical oriental art form of minimalist picture painting, which may have been the impetus for the production of fine naturalistic carpet patterns.

Mir = Carpets of this designation are West Persian products from the Ferraghan region and are considered the finest Serabend variety. Mir carpets usually show closely spaced small boteh motifs; the inner and outer borders are usually decorated with the arrowhead design. The name is probably derived from "Mirabad". This place is located in the south of Afghanistan in Helmand province; however, many other places with the same name exist. By the end of the 20th century, many Mir had also been made in India.

Miri = old Tehran merchant family who, in cooperation with Persian farmers, nomads and experts, gathered the best carpet materials of wool, silk and dyes and successfully revived the discredited culture of Persian knotting with excellent quality products. In this way, forgotten patterns and combinations of motifs succeeded in replacing the stereotypical mush of mass knotting and bringing back millennia-old materials and time-honoured finishes to knotting. The founder of the dynasty was Taghi Miri, who died in 2004. Miri masterpieces are knotted with hand-spun wool from the Zagros Mountains.


Mir-i boteh = Persian carpet design formed by a multiple series of small boteh signs; see "Boteh".


Mirror carpet = empty, plain inner field of a carpet.


Mirror writing = a trick used in some inscribed carpets to quote pious sayings in normal writing and next to it or opposite it in mirrored writing, i.e. twice or several times, which is considered particularly pious by devout Muslims. Mirroring inscriptions or other patterns often gives carpets more visual stability and balance.


Mirzapur = city on the south bank of the Ganges in the "Indian carpet belt"; the art of carpet weaving brought to India by the Mughals from Mongolia via Kashmir and Punjab spread via Mirzapur to Calcutta in the south. In Mirzapur, Hindus and Muslims live side by side; the Hindus are engaged in agriculture, the Muslims in handicrafts, including carpet making. The quality of the knotted works from Mirzapur has declined since the 19th century; Persian, Chinese and French Aubusson patterns are imitated in asymmetrical knots and with a cotton ground. "Mirzapur" is also used as a label for poor quality Indian carpet. Prison house carpets have also been made in Mirzapur.

Mishwaini = Western Afghan tribe that produces Beludj-style carpets.

Mixed technique = textile products created by using several different processing techniques; e.g. saddle bags in knotting, weaving and sumac techniques.

= plain in the southeast of the Caucasus mountain range on the border with Iran and Talish; the carpets produced there in the 19th century mostly show so-called Memling Guls (named after the German painter Memling) or hooked medallions.

Mogul or Moghul = Turko-Mongolian ruling dynasty of Islamic faith in northern India (1526-1858); this name was probably coined by the Portuguese in the 16th century and most likely goes back to "Mongols". Mughal carpet designs are picturesquely represented by naturalistically rendered flowers on a crimson field, as they similarly appear on Persian Safavid carpets.

Mohadjeran or Mohajaran = Iranian carpet type based on the Saruk model, produced between 1910 and 1930 with great fineness and beautiful lustre, mainly for the American market.

Mohajaran Sarouk = large fine saru carpets made between 1910 and 1930 especially for American taste. Particularly shiny wool was used for them, and they were not chemically washed and dyed; a deep orange-red was typical of their ornaments.

Mohammed = founder (prophet) of the Islamic religion; he was born in Mecca in 570¸ was the son of Abdallah and belonged to the important Arab tribe of the Quraysh. As his parents died early, he was brought up by his uncle Abu Talib; he was later called Al Amin, the Trustworthy; he often meditated in the cave of Hiva, it was near the peak of Jabal an-Nare, the Mountain of Light.

Mohär or mohair = derives from the Arabic-Persian term "Mohayyar", in German "die Wahl", which refers to the preference for goat's wool. From the turn of the 19th to the 20th century, carpets began to be made with goat's hair instead of sheep's wool in the Turkish province of Aidin. For this purpose, hair of one-year-old goats from Angora and Konya was used.

Moharamat = This term is used mainly in southern Persia for carpets with adjacent vertical stripes. In this word, the expression "Haram" is found, which means "forbidden" in Arabic (see harem!). The term is used today for Afghan carpets with the above-mentioned design.

Mohtaschem or Mochtaschem = respected Persian carpet weaving dynasty that became world-famous for its high-quality Keshan carpets. It stood at the beginning of the great renaissance of Persian knotting, in which Safavid traditions were remembered. The name comes from a Keshan governor who gave new impetus to carpet making at the end of the 19th century. Mohtashem was one of the first to set up a factory to produce carpets using wool imported from Manchester in England. Mohtashem is referred to as "Ustadan" or "Ostad" (= "master weaver") as is every master and teacher of the art of knotting; they produce fine wool and silk carpets according to their own designs. It is possible that carpets attributed to Mohtashem come from other manufactories, yet are offered at top prices.

molar mass = substance quantity-related specification of materials for the production of textiles.

Mongolia = Parliamentary republic bordering China and Russia, known for its vast, rugged landscapes with continued pronounced nomadism. The economy is dominated by mining and a special livestock industry, especially sheep farming. The established nomadism coupled with sheep wool production is important for the carpet economy.

Mongols = ethnic groups descended from 13th century north-east Asian Mongol tribes, which became an overarching ethnic designation under Genghis Khan. Their country is called Mongolia.

Moorish = designation of the Islamic style of North Africa, Spain or Sicily after their conquest by Islam.

Mordant = Means of pretreating raw animal wool for carpet production with caustic chemical substances such as slurries, urine, yoghurt or metal salts to prepare it for dyeing and permanently bond it to the fibres; different mordants produce different colours.

Morocco = Moroccan woven and knotted carpets, like those from North African countries such as Algeria or Tunisia, were originally the work of Berber tribes who settled in the Middle and High Atlas during the time of the Arab conquest of North Africa in the 17th century. Their carpets were initially intended for domestic use as bedding, upholstery coverings, tent wall coverings and floor coverings. They are very powerful, often strongly abstractly patterned, vividly coloured and show geometric designs. They are usually made of wool and rather coarsely woven to emphasise the impression of softness and warmth. In the second half of the 20th century, the demand for Moroccan carpets increased because their make and design accommodated the modern Western style of furnishing. Besides the Berbers, the Beni Quarains also produce typical Moroccan carpets. Since 1919, Moroccan carpets have been traded with the designations "M.A.R.O.C." or "Maroc". See also "Marrakech"!

Moschkabad or Mushkabad = area east of Arak in northeastern Iran; the name is a trade name for poor quality modern Saruk carpets and has no connection with the place name.

Mosque = Islamic house of worship; the beautiful patterns of mosque domes very often serve as models for carpets that are sold as "mosque dome carpets". "Mosque domes" are often used as motifs in prayer rugs; they then hang down from the mihrab depicted in the rug.

Mosque dome carpet = knotted carpet with the inside of the dome of a mosque drawn in rich detail from reality.

Mosque traffic light = frequent motif in prayer rugs; from their mihrab usually hangs a traffic light on a chain, occasionally filled with colourful flowers.

Mosul = Second largest city in Iraq on the right bank of the Tigris, 350 kilometres north of Baghdad, with rich oil deposits and refineries today. It was a collection point for Kurdish carpets from the catchment area between Syria, Iraq and western Persia. The mixture of peoples there led to varied patterns with Asia Minor, Caucasian and Persian characteristics. These are mostly nomadic and semi-nomadic carpets.

Moth = Biologically, it is a type of small butterfly; tapitologically, it is a dangerous carpet pest that should be professionally controlled. Clothes or fur moths lay their eggs in carpets, where they develop into caterpillars that feed on the keratin contained in the wool fibres.

Motif = Patterns of carpets are formed from an extensive repertoire of simple or complicated symbols and motifs; the way they are composed often provides important clues as to where they were made. According to the respective role of a motif within a knotted or woven work, one speaks of midfield, border or ornamental motifs. Examples are "gül" or "boteh". (See these!) Until the 18th century, oriental carpet weaving developed many new motifs; after that, the talent and imagination of the designers diminished. The elements of the carpet field were then no longer grouped around a central ornament, but arranged on either side of a central axis or distributed over the inner field according to a geometric arrangement. This is related to the decline of the Persian Empire due to the fall of the Safavid dynasty. Explanation and meaning of the individual motifs and symbols and their connection with the life and fate of the weavers or that of the users is a special science. Motifs and symbols are a common property, but their respective execution and combination with other symbols and motifs allow the attribution to certain tribes or peoples; see also "Symbol"!

Mrirt = Berber tribe in the Middle Atlas in Morocco, also a high-pile carpet type with no or sparse pattern.

Mucur = see "Mudjur"; see "Mina Khani pattern"!

Mud or Moud = town in the district of the same name in the Bir(d)jand area (see this) in north-eastern Iran. Carpets from the town and its surroundings usually have curvilinear floral designs with a sunflower in the centre; the knotted works are typically dark blue with an arabesque medallion or herati design; they are made of wool with a cotton warp and usually show high quality; the asymmetrical jufti knots have densities between 300,000 and 500,000 knots per square metre. The carpets date back to the Safavid king Shah Abbas I; he not only built castles in the area, but also promoted original Persian patterns and the knotting technique.

Mudjur = small town in central Turkey. There, mainly knotted works in the prayer rug pattern are produced, mostly with more than eight shades of colour. They are considered the most colourful Anatolian carpets. The warp is usually made of cotton, the weft and the pile of sheep's wool. The main colours are a strong red, along with blue and ivory. Mudjur is the source of saphs and prayer rugs with stair-like prayer niches pointed at the top; the main border may consist of rectangles studded with geometricised flowers.

Murgi = carpet motif derived from the Persian term "morgh", which means "chicken" in German; a geometric-abstract image of a small bird found mainly in carpets from southwestern Iran, especially in knotted works of the Chamseh Federation (see "Chamseh"). Pieces in which this motif is found in large numbers are therefore often called "Murgi carpets".

Murtschechar or Murdshekar = village between Isfahan and Joshegan in central Iran; the carpets there show jusheghan or herati patterns.

Musalla = Arabic term for the prayer rug, derived from "salla", which means "to pray" in English. Derived from this, "musalaha" in German means "conclusion of peace".

Mushkabad = area east of Arak in north-eastern Iran, also trade name for carpets from the Arak area. They are related to the "Mahal" and more distantly to the "Saruk". The warp is made of cotton, the weft of sheep's wool or cotton, the pile, Persian weave, of sheep's wool.

Mussel = is the name for coarse carpets traded in Hamadan.



Nafar = sub-tribe of the Chamseh confederation; see "Chamseh".


Naghse Faranghi = Persian name for European carpet patterns.


Nagsh or Nakhshe = knotting pattern for a carpet.


Nahavand = city in the Hamedan region of northwestern Iran; it is considered one of the country's most important trading centres for large-format carpets. Namely, carpets with geometricised versions of the Saruk design are predominantly made there; in some pieces, the border design intrudes into the carpet field; the dominant colour is blue, the medallion motifs are usually pale rust and beige and depicted as leaves with flowers and twigs in the background; the knots are symmetrical on cotton warp, the pile wool is shiny; the carpets are very resistant. They are firm fleshy small-pile patterned carpets, mainly dozars and runners, similar to the Malayans, mostly measuring 300 x 150 centimetres.

Nain or Naien
= Iranian city on the edge of the central Persian desert. From there comes an elegant, delicately drawn, sometimes also sober-looking type of carpet, which came into being in the 1930s through an abrupt change of style, which enjoyed a high reputation until the 1980s, but then, because of thankfully only partial mass production -- there are still very good Nain! -- in several cities in Iran and because of increasingly coarse designs. The creator of the Nain pattern was Fatollah Habibian, who also signed some of his works. The patterns are similar to those of Isfahan or the Safavids. The ground of Nain carpets is made of cotton, partly of silk; the motifs are emphasised by silk framing. An important quality feature for Nain carpets is the way the warp threads are made, measured in lah, which are twisted together from several yarns; the finer the warp, the finer the carpet. The density is between 150,000 and 800,000 knots per square metre. Nain have three qualities: Shish lah: there the warp consists of six twisted threads, each of which again consists of two threads. Noh lah: Here the warp consists of nine threads, each of which is made up of three twisted threads. Tjahar lah: the warp thread consists of two times two, thus of four twisted threads; this is the least common type of Nain; see "Lah"!


Najafabad = city in the Iranian province of Isfahan; it is gradually growing together with Isfahan. It is the place of production of knotted works reminiscent of Isfahan and Keshan carpets; these are also of high quality and wear resistance; their medallions are in red, khaki, green and blue, the patterns are often strongly influenced by the tiles of mosques as well as gardens and palaces of Isfahan province: delicate floral tendrils, pleasant, finely coordinated shades and combinations of colours with robust quality.

Nakhi = Persian ornamental script.

or Namaslyk = small Turkmen or Uzbek prayer rug similar to Engsi, a tent curtain; the Farsi word "Namaz" means "ritual prayer" in English.


Namad = Persian term for "felt"; also Turkmen felt with coarse patterns.


Namad or Numdah or Numud = Felt carpet from India. The pattern is sewn onto the felt or introduced with coloured wool during felting.


Namakdan = knotted salt bag of Persian nomads; the Farsi word "Namak" means "salt".


Namazlik = a prayer rug; "Namaz" means "prayer".


Nandan = bread cloth; the Farsi word "nan" means bread.


Napramatsch = a large carpet bag that is also used as a child's sleeping place.


Naqsh = see "Nagsh"!


Nasdaligh style = Persian calligraphy that appeared in the 15th century. It is a mixture of the literary cursive Nashki script with one of its more elegant variants, the Taligh script. The Nasdaligh is especially found in borders of Safavid carpets.

Nashkhi script = see "Nagshi"!

Nasirabad = trade name for carpets that originated in the south-east of Isfahan. They are made by the settled Lori; the wefts are made of cotton.

Natanz = Carpet-producing city in central Iran surrounded by oases, in Isfahan province on the eastern flank of the Kuhrud Mountains, between the Namak salt lake and Isfahan; site of Iran's nuclear power plant.

Natural dyes = dyes suitable for dyeing carpet yarns, obtained from plants, animals or minerals. They are in fierce competition with chemical or synthetic dyes that came onto the market from the second half of the 19th century onwards. (See "aniline dyes" or "chrome dyes"!) Examples of natural dyes are indigo, kermes, madder root, woof, saffron or woad. See also "Bohemian"!

Nawar or Navar = term from Persian, in German "Band" or "Belt".

Nazarlik = Turkish term for a talisman that protects a person against the "evil eye".

Nepal = Asian democratic federal republic at the foot of the Himalaya mountains, its capital is Kathmandu, starting point for Himalayan mountaineers. Nepal borders on Tibet in the north, otherwise on India. The most important places of origin for carpets are Kathmandu, Pokhara and Patan. In Nepal, Tibetan carpets made by refugees were created on European initiatives. The pile is made of sheep's wool from the Himalayas, the ground is cotton, the fineness is 250,000 knots per square metre.

Nepal Tibetans = contemporary Tibetan carpets made by semi-skilled Nepal weavers or Tibetan refugees in Nepal. See "Tibetan carpets"!

Nepal weave = original Tibetan or Chinese stick weave, where loops are pulled over a stick and cut open to form the pile.

New Zealand wool = sheep's wool from New Zealand, which is used for commercial carpet production in many places on earth because it is judged by experts to be the best quality on earth.

New-Country-Style = interior design style at the turn of the 20th into the 21st century, which affected lifestyle, living and carpet design; it was a reaction to the then often too modern, sometimes cool and impersonal designs of the beginning digital century, which triggered a return to rustic and nomadic forms of design; see "Vintage Look"!


Neyden or Nyeden = small Tibetan sleeping rug.

Neyestan = name for kilims made by Kurds over and over with diamond motifs in North Khorasan.

Nigde = city in south-central Anatolia, which is a carpet production centre as well as a collection point for prayer rugs and kilims; the latter have rather wide borders with zigzag stripes connected with florets and hooks; the medallions are hexagonal and hooked, the mihrab is often stepped.

Nimbaft = compound word from "nim" = half and "baf(f)t = knotted, hence a half-knotted textile product; it denotes a woven carpet that is partly pile and partly flatweave.

Ningxia or Ning-Hsia = city in the Chinese province of Gansu, where carpets have been made since the end of the 17th century; in the 18th century, a group of carpets emerged there that show grey-brown side edges and a wide variety of patterns, with the motifs typically appearing blue in a yellow field. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Ningxia carpets were made quite coarsely, with 40 asymmetrical knots per square inch or 6,000 knots per square metre per cotton warp.

Niriz = capital of the region of the same name in southwestern Iran. It is a rather insignificant place of origin of carpets with medallions depicting the tree of life; they are made in the style of Gashgais. The city is a collection point for tribal rugs from its surroundings.

Nishapur or Neyshabur = city in the mountains of the Iranian province of Razavi-Korrassan on the Silk Road east of Mashad; it was still a place of exchange of western and eastern knowledge in the pre-Islamic period under the Sassanids, later it was a wool centre and classic collection point for carpets. Today, carpets similar to Nain are produced there.

Nomadic carpets = Only a few modern nomadic carpets are still made today. Semi-nomads, who follow a lifestyle similar to alpine pasture farming, are still active in the mountainous regions of Iran, Turkey and Afghanistan. Nowadays, nomadic carpets are also made for urban dwellings and barter.

Nomads = non-sedentary pastoralists who moved/roamed in family groups in search of fresh pastures for their animals - sheep, goats, cattle, horses, occasionally camels -- and lived(d) in tents that were easy to erect, dismantle and transport. Nomads do not practice agriculture and live largely from their free-grazing animals. Semi-nomads are pastoralists who have a fixed dwelling place in winter and move around with their animals in search of new pastures in the warm season. According to Khazanov 1984, page 17f, both nomadic species live "in a food-producing extensive farming system". According to experts, nomads have existed since the Hittites around 1600 BC; they still exist in Mongolia, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Eastern Turkmenistan and in small groups in Turkey. According to experts, at the turn of the 20th into the 21st century, there were still 400 settlements with tribal names of nomads. See "Qishlak"!

Non-oriental carpets = These include knotted and woven works from areas that do not belong to the traditional oriental countries of origin, e.g. Egypt, France (tapestries, aubussons), tapestries from Flanders, carpets from Portugal and Spain, North African countries such as Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria as well as Jewish-Israeli carpets.

North Africa = Carpets from this region are described under the country names Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and Morocco.

Noskhi = Persian ornamental script.

Number of knots = A carpet knotted according to a pattern becomes the stronger and thus the more valuable, the denser and tighter the knots are knotted, the more closely the warp threads lie next to each other, the finer these warp threads are, the finer the weft threads are and the finer the knotting wool is, the more knots can be accommodated on a unit of area, e.g. one square centimetre or one square metre. The more knots per unit of measurement, the finer the carpet, but also the longer the working time required. The number of knots in a carpet knotted according to a pattern determines its fineness, its quality and its market value. For nomadic carpets, the number of knots and thus the fineness is usually not a criterion for its value.

Nuska = comes from Turkish and means "amulet" or talisman, in Arabic "nushka". It is a pyramid-shaped arrangement of isosceles triangles that is said to have a magical effect; the name goes back to the shape of Koran bags or pouches for religious-shamanistic relics. In Anatolia, a nuska is considered a defensive symbol against evil.

Nylon = synthetic fibres, which have also been used in carpet production since the second half of the 20th century.


Olduz = see “Yildiz”!

O.N.A.T. = Abbreviation of the Tunisian governmental organisation that controls the country`s contemporary carpet production. The full name: "Office National de l`Artisanat Tunisien".

Obruk = town in south-central Anatolia, place of origin of rather coarsely woven carpets of nomadic character as well as fine kilims; from the late 19th century onwards, prayer kilims were also woven there; the mihrabs of these pieces are stepped and set with hooks; the motif of the tree of life appears on the free sides of the mihrab.

OCM = Abbreviation of "Oriental Carpet Manufacturers Ltd.", an international carpet company with buying offices, production plants and laundries in Izmir (Smyrna), Tabriz, Nepal, Afghanistan and Amritsar, which collected carpets for export to Europe. OCM-was represented by sales offices in Constantinople, Cairo, Alexandria, Moscow, Vienna, Paris, London, Buenos Aires and Sydney. It is considered the first company to practice globalisation of the world economy. The OCM logo featured three camels loaded with carpets. The company went under in the second half of the eighties of the 20th century.

Octagon = octagonal or eight-rayed (carpet) motif; its name is "filpah", which means "elephant's foot" in German.

Odzhalik or Ocaklik or Odjalik = Turkish U-shaped hearth rug; also name of rugs that have two mihrabs in the centre field pointing in opposite directions; see also "asylum rug"!

Oghuz or Oghuzen = ancestors of today's Turks. They are an ethnic group of the formerly powerful early Turkic Empire in Central Asia, settled in the steppes between Syrdarja and the lower Volga at the Aral Sea and the Caspian Sea in the 6th century AD; converted to the Islamic faith in the 10th century, advanced into Asia Minor and Persia under the leadership of the Seljuks in the 11th century.

Ogurjali or Ogurdschali or Ogurjali = probably an early Turkmen sub-tribe of the Jomuden (see these) who lived on the east coast of the Caspian Sea. Their carpets are rare, as the tribe is more concerned with fishing and mining minerals than with carpet weaving.

Ok-Bash = literally "bow end", a knotted round container used by Jomud nomads to store the bent tent poles during migrations; also a tent pole ornament for Turkmen wedding caravans.

Oltenia = an area in southwestern Romania, the place of origin of fine kilims with floral and animal motifs scattered across the field; the latter is often black, and the motifs are rendered in red, blue, white and green.

Oriental carpet = an unofficial and not precisely defined term. Originally it applied to all handmade knotted carpets made in the Middle East or Asia. Currently it applies to all hand-knotted products used as carpets, wherever they come from, including flatweaves from the Middle East or Asia. The term "Persian carpet" is occasionally, but incorrectly, used as a synonym for Oriental carpet.

Ornament = term derived from the Latin "ornare" (= to adorn) for a repeatedly repeated naturalistic or abstract decoration, embellishment, decorative form of carpets and products in the field of fine arts.

Ornamental treasure = the ornamental treasure of geometric oriental carpets includes above all octagonal, square, diamond and similar shapes, also stars, crosses, volutes, S-shapes and many other forms; the decorative forms of a naturalistic kind include human and animal figures, but above all motifs from the plant world.

Ortaköy = town in central Anatolia, where small carpets are produced in mostly screaming and eye-catching colours. "Ortaköy" is a common place name in Turkey because it means "middle, central village".

Osmolduk = obsolete term for "asmalyk", see this.

Ottoman = misnomer for the Ottomans as the ruling dynasty that founded present-day Turkey in 1279.

Ottoman carpet = The production of Ottoman carpets began in Konya, the centre of Turkish carpet production, probably also in Sivas or Kayseri in the 14th century. The Venetian merchant and world traveller Marco Polo reported on this in his 13th century book. Ottoman carpets are the result of the Ottoman dynasty overcoming the Seljuks around 1300. A typical example of an early Ottoman carpet is the Marby carpet, which was discovered by chance in 1886 in the church of the Swedish village of Marby; it is a dragon-phoenix carpet probably made in Anatolia. See "Marby"!

Ottomans = Turkish ruling dynasty (1281-1924), named after the founder of the empire Osman I (1259-1326).

Ouaouzquite = tribe from the High Atlas and the Siroua Mountains in Morocco. He makes weavings of various structures, flat weaves with pile bands or pile borders. Many of these carpets are chequered all over or covered with diamond motifs. Others show diverse geometric motifs with stylised geometric figures or animals.

Oulad Bou Sbaa = Moroccan tribe living in the southwest of Marrakech. Their carpets usually have a red or orange field with geometric motifs, also human figures. These pieces are called "Chichaoua" after a town in this region. Their fineness is low, with 15 to 20 symmetrical knots per square inch, which corresponds to 97,000 to 129,000 knots per square metre.

Oxus = historical Persian river, now called Amu Darya.

Öy = see "yurt".

Özipek-Cinar-Sirinyan-Durmas = Association of leading Turkish carpet producers in the high-quality sector with classic and modern designs.


Pah chordeh = Farsi term for used carpet; literally translated, the expression means "used by the foot".

Painted carpets = See Lotto, Holbein, Bellini or Vermeer carpets!

painted oriental carpets = see "Lotto, Bellini, Vermeer carpets"!

Pakistan = Islamic Republic, once part of India; the country is not one of the classic carpet producing countries, it has only become one over time. The name Pakistan is used for carpets that were knotted in Afghanistan and brought to the world market via the Khyber Pass and Pakistan. Pakistan has not produced any independent knotting patterns. Besides the so-called Bochara and Jaldar, there are also very fine carpets (= Sutri) with Persian designs.

Pallas or Palas = 1.: in Persian this name means "old rag"; it is a striped flat weave or a coarsely knotted carpet. 2.: in the Caucasus, it means a double-sided flat weave made in a linen weave; usually a material patterned with stripes that holds together hand-knotted bags, see "chordjin". 3rd: in Afghanistan, it means a flat weave made of goat hair for tents or large bags. The respective meaning of this term usually depends on the practical use of the textile.

Palmette = fan-shaped leaf element which is modelled on the palm tree and was developed into a flower shape in Greek art; it is thought to be a further development of the motif of the Egyptian lotus blossom or the pomegranate.

Palmette border = carpet border designed with palmettes strung together.

Palmette carpet = artistically valuable knotted carpet from Persia, often patterned with the repeating motif of stylised palmette leaves.

Panel = rectangular field above and below the mihrab in the pattern of prayer rugs.

Panj Mihraba or Pandjmihrabe = Afghan term for "five mihrabs", a trade name for prayer rugs made south of Maimana, which have a row of five small mihrabs at the top. Today, this production no longer exists.

Paotou or Baotou = western Chinese city in Inner Mongolia northeast of Ningxia on the great loop of the Huanghe River; carpets from there and from surrounding towns are more densely woven than those from Ningxia and use more blue in their designs; early carpets of this type have repeated motifs, while later ones contain more figurative motifs. Especially in the first half of the 20th century, smaller carpets often with figural designs came from there. The often held view that only blue and white patterned carpets were made in the Baotou factories is not true; since the 19th century, carpets in almost all colours and a wide range of patterns were made in the factories there.

Paragraph border = Trader's term for borders of Caucasian carpets that show continuous left-slanting S signs and a bar in the centre, thus resembling a paragraph sign.

Pardeh = Persian term for "curtain" or for carpet formats of about 300 x 150 cm. Such carpets or kilims were used as partitions or doors in mosques, which can still be seen in some older pieces; see "double knotted"!

Parokhet = woven curtain in a synagogue in front of the Torah shrine in which the Torah scrolls are protected.

Pars = name for ancient Persia, a variation of "Fars", the south-western province of Iran with the capital Shiraz.

Pasargardeh or Pasargadai = residence of the Achaemenids; see these.

Pashmina or Paschmina = shawl or cloak for women made of fine wool or silk, originally from Kashmir; it got its name from a Persian dialect word meaning "made of wool"; "pashm" = "cashmere yarn"; see also "Kashmir"!

Pashtuns or Pathan = ethnic tribal group that makes up about half of the Afghan population; their language is Pashtu from the Iranian language family; a minority of Pashtuns live in Pakistan; carpets are produced by the Pashtun tribes Durrani, Ghilza'i, Haftbala, Mushwani or Shirkhani.

Patchwork = contemporary textiles or carpets consisting of sewn-together geometrically shaped pieces or patches of different patterns, colours and types of manufacture. For this purpose, often worn carpets are used, whose colour is also taken away by washing. These fashions (vintage) are particularly popular in India, Pakistan and Turkey. Substitute names for it are, for example, mishmash, pastiche, medley, hodgepodge or pastiche.

Patina = condition of subdued colours and shine after long use of art objects, e.g. oriental carpets.

Pattern = There are two pattern groups of carpets: on the one hand geometric (rectilinear), on the other hand curvilinear, floral (curvilinear). See these!

Pattern drawing = while carpet weavers in villages or among (nomadic) tribes usually work according to their own imagination, in urban carpet manufactories pattern drawings - called graph or nagsh -- are usually used as a model for the design of the carpets. The drawings come from artists or experienced weavers.

Pattern migration or pattern displacement = this is the term used to describe the transplantation of carpet patterns from one region to another through nomadic migrations, war or caravan trains along important trade routes. In ancient Persia, mythical animals were adopted from China, and in Asia Minor, geometric carpet patterns once native to the Caucasus found their way in. Later, oriental carpet art was enriched by French influences and vice versa: around 1700, carpet weavers were brought to work for the Savonnerie manufactory in Chaillot near Paris; when they returned to their homeland, they brought back French patterns, which can be found somewhat modified in oriental carpets. Since the second half of the 20th century, it has become common again to geographically transport carpet patterns and colour combinations and to imitate them in often far-flung places on earth. In addition, colours and patterns have changed over time in many places to suit contemporary tastes; especially in Afghanistan, many new qualities have emerged and are entering Western markets under a wide variety of new names.

Pattern protection = for genuine oriental carpets, there was and is no pattern protection according to European models; every weaver was allowed to imitate or freely modify the patterns of his colleagues. This is why there were many pattern migrations and pattern disappearances.

Pazyryk or Pasyryk = oldest known physically preserved carpet on earth, about 2500 years old, discovered in 1946 by Prof. Sergei Ivanovich Rudenko in an ice grave on the border between Mongolia and China and almost completely preserved thanks to a layer of ice. It is exhibited under glass in the Hermitage in St. Petersburg in Russia. There are surprising artistic similarities between the Pazyryk and the ancient Persian capital Persepolis.

or peacock carpet = Persian knotted works showing a peacock with ruffled feathers as the dominant motif. The "peacock throne" was the name of the seat of power of Persian shahs. The peacock motif in a carpet symbolises divine protection.

Pendeh = 1.: Name of a trading place for carpets and an old term used to describe Turkmen weavings of unclear origin. 2.: Persian term for "five places", an oasis surrounded by Turkmen villages near the border between Iran and Afghanistan where carpets are made.

Perepedil = town southeast of Cuba in Daghestan in the Caucasus; the carpets of this area are called Cuba; their design consists of stylised ram's horns or floral calyxes, often with a Kufic border.

Persepolis = capital and residence of the Achaemenid dynasty north of Shiraz; see "Achaemenids".

Persepolis carpets = Persian carpets whose patterns depict reliefs or parts of ruins of the ancient Persian city near Shiraz. Many of these pieces were made by the Gashghai. These patterns are mainly copies of French lithographs or engravings made in the 19th century; some carpets even contain inscriptions from the lithographs or engravings.

Persia = called "Islamic Republic of Iran" since 1936. Next to or after the Caucasus, the oldest country on earth that has consistently cultivated carpet culture to this day. Persia is a world leader in the development of innovative naturalistic carpet designs, the combination of motifs into imaginative patterns and the development of sensational colours in the visual effect of carpets, but since the Iranian Revolution in 1979 it has been in retreat on the carpet markets in purely fashion terms.

Persian knot = asymmetrical carpet knot, also called Senneh knot, second most frequently used type of knot in oriental carpets. See also "Knot"!

Peshawar or Peshawar = city and carpet production centre in northwest Pakistan; a transshipment point for carpets originating from Afghanistan.

PETAG = abbreviated name of Persische Teppich Gesellschaft AG, founded on 14. 9. 1911 in Berlin, which had carpets produced in Tabriz, Northern Iran, for worldwide export. The founder was Heinrich Jacoby (1889-1964); the company produced five different qualities: Cyrus, Rustem, Teimuri, Hamajun and Pertovi. The company has long since ceased to exist.

Petit-point = needlework in which patterns with a density of up to 25 stitches per square centimetre are embroidered with pearl stitch on fine kanvas backing with coloured yarns. This is practised by women in Europe, Turkey and Kashmir.

Phoenix-dragon motif = the union of a phoenix, a mythical mythical bird of the Egyptians that dies in fire and is reborn from the ashes, with a dragon, which is considered a miraculous animal in China. This motif on a carpet signifies supreme power or invincibility. See "Marby carpet"!

Pickling dyeing = In this dyeing method, the textile fibres are treated with a pickling agent before the actual dyeing so that the dye permanently bonds with the fibre. Different from this is "direct dyeing", see this!


Pile = velvety surface or front surface of a knotted carpet or the "third layer" of knotted carpets or the upright wool or silk fibres that have been woven into the base fabric of a carpet. The pile is formed by the ends of the knotting yarn that protrude from the carpet's base fabric and are shorn after knotting, and it reflects the pattern of the piece. The way it is made provides clues for discovering where a carpet was made and how it was made. The pile knots are knotted in rows into a basic weave of warp and weft. The colour effect of the resulting pile can vary greatly when viewed from different directions. Therefore, carpet lovers should carefully check this effect by looking at a carpet from all directions before buying. See also "Knots"!

Pillar carpet = knotted work without side borders, used in China and Tibet for lining pillars.

Pit-loom = knotting tool whose treadle is in a pit in the ground; the weaver sits on the edge of the pit and operates the treadles or the wefts; mostly found in Indian and Pakistani handloom weaving, where cheap handlooms are made; the English word "pit" means pit. See "handloom"!

Ply = the English term for two or more yarn threads that are twisted or plied together.

Pole carpet = erroneous carpet designation due to a misunderstanding at the international Paris exhibition in 1878 about their actual origin, namely Western Anatolia. These mostly small-format carpets from the 17th century did not come from Poland, as is assumed, but were ordered by Polish princes in Turkey and produced according to specific specifications. They can be seen in many carpet museums. They are in fact silk Shah Abbas carpets from Isfahan or Kahan.


Polygon = polygonal (carpet) motif.

Pomegranate = red motif frequently used in oriental carpets since the end of the Middle Ages, trained as a pattern to symbolise wealth and fertility. A striking brick red of pomegranates in the field is characteristic of East Turkestan carpets, less vivid the red of Chinese carpets and a somewhat more sombre red in Turkmen carpets. The pomegranates appear as round flowers, often in a trellis of green leafy branches. The peels of the pomegranate serve as a brown-orange-yellow natural dye.

Pomegranate tree bark = yields a dark dye for colouring carpet yarns.

Portrait carpet = knotted product whose artistic quality is disputed, depicting concrete people in portrait form, thus copying the painting schools of Tabriz or Herat. After the assassination of US President Kennedy, thousands of carpets were made with his portrait; the same was the case with ex-emperor Soraya. Even today, it is possible to have a carpet made from a photo, for example in Tabriz. Among puritan Sunnis, the depiction of people and animals is strictly forbidden; among the less puritan Shiites, this is less the case.

Portuguese carpets = a curious group of eight probably Persian or Indian medallion carpets with large central medallions surrounded by wheel wreaths, presumably commissioned by the Portuguese court. In their spandrels are sailing ships with European crews. The pieces were previously attributed to India because the Portuguese were the first Europeans in India. These carpets are now scattered across museums all over the world.

Poshti or Poschti = the Persian word "posht" means "behind". This designation stands for knotted upholstery or seat covers; it is also a size designation for very small carpets in the format 50 x 80 centimetres.


Prayer rug = Mostly small-format rugs with regionally varying patterns of a mihrab (= see this), which serve mainly in the Sunni, less so in the Shiite world as a pad for pious believers during the daily five-fold ritual prayer in the direction of Mecca as protection against contamination by the natural soil (see "sapph").

Prinzess-Bochara = trade name for fine Turkmen carpets.


Prison carpets or prison house carpets = knotted or woven carpets made by prison inmates, mostly in India from 1880 onwards. (See "Jaipur", "Agra"!)

Provenance = place of origin of a carpet.



Qableh or Qibla = see "Ghable"!

Qaisar = town in northwestern Afghanistan, west of Maimana. There, Uzbeks make carpets with different patterns similar to those of the Ensi; they have double wefts and asymmetrical knots.

Qarqin or Quarquin = town in northern Afghanistan, west of Mazar-e Sharif; is also the name of a Turkmen tribe; modern carpets from the place are the cheapest and those with the lowest quality among all Turkmen knotted works.


Qashqa'i or Quashqa'i or Kashqa'i = South Persian, Turkic-speaking tribal association, descendants of Turkmen nomads who once moved to Persia from Central Asia. Today, this association is only nomadic to a small extent; it lives in the province of Fars and has absorbed elements of the Luri (Lori) tribe. Later, Kurds, Persians and Iranians of Arab origin joined the tribe; large parts of the tribe profess Shiite Islam. Carpet weaving is mainly done by young women as domestic labour. Qashqai carpets often show Luri characteristics. Their high quality means that even lower-quality products are offered under this name. Epigones with hand-spun wool and dyed with natural fabrics have been the products of the Miri and Bayat families in Tehran since 1995, followed by other producers.

Qazvin or Kazvin = city in northern Iran; it was the capital of the Safavid Empire in the mid-16th century. It was probably the place of origin of many historical Persian carpets that are now exhibited in museums around the world. Between World War I and World War II, medallion carpets resembling the Saruks were made there; their ground is made of cotton and they have double wefts.


Qishlak or Qeschlaq = Persian name for the winter quarters of the nomads.


Qom or Kum = see "Ghom"!


Quali = Persian term for a carpet, a heavy artistically designed fabric for human, symbolic and religious use; in Turkish "Hali".


Quality = For carpets and textiles, it depends on the optimal combination of several factors: These are the fineness of the knotting (number of knots per unit of measurement), the quality of the materials used (cotton, animal wool, silk), the harmonious matching of the colours used, their origin and water resistance, the type and design of the patterns and motifs, and the age and origin of the respective piece.


Quatrefoil = a medallion shape consisting of four (flower) leaves.


Quedlinburg carpet = Carpet fragment from the town of Quedlinburg in Lower Saxony from the late 12th century, a stand-alone product of the nunnery there made of wool on a hemp base (see "German carpets").


Quercetin = yellow natural dye extracted from oak.


Quetta = West Pakistani (carpet) trading city.


Quibla = see "Ghable"!


Quilt = see "Quilt"!


Quilt = Versatile decorative or quilted blanket suitable for use as a bedspread or wall hanging. It consists of at least two, but usually three textile layers that are sewn together and meet artistic requirements.


Quran = see “Koran”!



Rabat = Moroccan city on the Atlantic coast; long but narrow carpets have been made there since the 18th century, as they fit into typical urban Moroccan bedrooms. Usually, a narrow inner field is surrounded by strong borders, so that about two thirds of the carpet consists of border. The designs are mostly imitations of Turkish patterns; they have symmetrical knots on wool backgrounds in older pieces, cotton backgrounds on contemporary ones. The fineness is between 40 and 60 knots per square inch, the equivalent of 258,000 to 387,000 knots per square metre.


Radiocarbon analysis = a scientific radiometric method developed in 1946 to determine the age of organic matter other than living organisms, also called the C14 method. This method makes use of the steady decomposition of C14 carbon in organic substances to date their age.

Radj or Raj or Reg = unit of measurement used in Iran, especially in Tabriz. A radj has the length of a cigarette, i.e. almost 7 centimetres. Example: 40 radj means 40 knots per 7 cm, which is almost 57 knots per 10 centimetres; thus the relevant carpet has a knotting unit of 325,000 knots per square metre.


Raising = this is the process of raising the warp over the cloth beam (= carrying the already finished carpet part) and warp beam of a knotting loom before carpet knotting can begin; this strenuous preparatory work for knotting is usually done by men.

Rakhat or Rakkat = bag for bedding, which Afshars in particular made; the term is derived from the Persian "rakht", which means "bedding" in German. It is a long, narrow knotted bag, about two by four feet with loops at the top so that it can be hung up in the tent.


Rang-raz = Persian name of a dyer.


Rank = Persian term for colour.


Rapport = regular, seemingly endless repetition of ornamental sections, patterns and motifs in carpets or fabrics, especially in borders.

Rasht or Rasht or Resht = Iranian town near the southwest coast of Lake Caspian; wall hangings, animal harnesses and carpets made of sewn-on or inlaid cloth and embroidered silk are produced there; some of these textiles date back to the 18th century; the Persian name for these works is "flower embroidery from Rasht".

Rashtizadeh = famous Iranian carpet-making family from Ghom, founded in 1940 by Ali R., continued by his son Reza Tadjerrashti; the manufactory produces extremely fine and artistically high-quality silk carpets.

Rashwan = Kurdish tribe in Iran that makes carpets, bags and kilims; also a name for kilims made in south-central Anatolia between Kayseri and Malatya; most of them have large concentric rhombic medallions; the rhombuses have geometric attachments; the wefts are made of wool; occasionally additional wefts of cotton, silk or gilded yarn are brought in.

Ravar = village with a long carpet tradition m north of Kerman in Iran. From there come finer qualities of carpets from the area around Kirman, sometimes wrongly called "Laver" (= French and means "washed").

Ravar Kirman = name for the particularly early carpets produced there; it is also considered a trade name for high-quality carpets traded in Kirman.

reciprocal = means alternating or mutual; a special type of pattern arrangement that occurs when, for example, the pattern of a moulding appears again reversed in the moulding next to it.

rectilinear = straight or geometrically figured, stylised carpet motifs and patterns typical of nomadic or village carpets. (See also "curvilinear"!) This type of carpet includes those based on horizontal, vertical and oblique lines as well as regular or irregular polygons; the patterns are usually simple and down-to-earth.

Reihan = place in the south-east of Arak in Iran; carpets with only one weft thread with a red field and an all-over pattern derived from Herati come from there.

Repair = Carpet repairs should only be carried out by designated professionals. To make a damaged carpet usable again, it is necessary to use yarns of the same quality, colour and knotting density as can be seen on the original. In most cases, this involves plugging gaps caused by wear or tear or fixing loose fringe ends, side edges and selvages. The object in need of repair must first be washed or cleaned, both for hygienic reasons and because it is easier to see and assess the damaged areas afterwards. Before placing a repair order, you should ask a reputable repairer for an estimate of the cost of the repair and the value of the carpet after the repair to make sure that the value and the cost are in an acceptable ratio. Regarding extensive repairs, see "Restoration"!

Reseda = yellow dye obtained from an extract of Reseda lutuola.

Restoration = this is the term used for time-consuming and financially expensive repairs. Such repairs are usually only carried out on antique pieces. Here, too, the cost of the restoration and the value of the object after restoration should be taken into account, whereby the owner's love for his piece is also decisive. Elaborate restorations are now often carried out in Turkey because they are cheaper there and there are enough experienced specialists.

Rey = suburb of Tehran, the capital of Iran. The place used to be known for carpet laundries, which have since been relocated to Veramin.

Reyhanli or Reyhanh = place in south-eastern Anatolia near the border with Syria; kilims from this place date back to the mid-19th century; the early pieces were very finely woven with excellent designs; they are long, not very wide and made in two pieces.

Rhombus = a carpet motif; it is a diamond-shaped, isosceles parallelogram with slanted corners.

Rhombus = geometric motif seen on nomadic rugs. It is a flat square with sides that are not rectangular to each other and always parallel.

Ribbon, ribbons = Nomadic tribes need a variety of ribbons to tie up their animal loads, lead the animals, fasten their yurts or tents, carry babies on their mothers' backs and as ornaments at festivals. These ribbons are woven by girls and women in various techniques; the most well-known and most commonly used is board weaving.

Riding bags = They are made in different forms: knotted they are called Heibe, with wide stripes "Palazde", with fine stripes and openwork "Kesme"; see also "Kirsehir", "Palazde" and "Chordjin"!

Rishe = fringe in Persian.

Rolled-in leaf motif = a border motif popular with Turkmen weavers.

Romania = south-eastern European country where the production of oriental knotted carpets only began after the First World War and no longer exists today. Armenian refugees had copied Caucasian and Turkish patterns. The approximately 400 so-called Transylvanian or Transylvanian carpets on display in Romanian churches and museums are imported carpets from western Anatolia that traders sold to wealthy Romanian citizens between the 16th and 18th centuries.

Rose = widespread motif in oriental carpets, particularly represented in Turkish knotted works of the Medjid style, in Senneh Kilims from Persia and in Karabagh carpets from the Caucasus; bouquets and branches of roses are also represented in Aubusson and Savonnerie carpets; the Turkish "Gül" means "rose" in German.

Rosette = motif of a flower in plan view; this results in a regular circular structure with the petals as rays.

round carpets = newer type of carpet. The oldest round carpet is a Mamluk carpet from the 16th century; there are also younger round Cairen carpets. They were probably made to cover the tops of round tables. Round carpets from China were first used in Tientsin and Beijing. In the meantime, round carpets have become a product of many carpet-origin countries.

Row = the way motifs are placed in the carpet pile. Either they are placed next to each other or behind each other at approximately equal distances; in the case of staggered rows, the motifs of every second row are shifted so that they appear diagonally behind each other.

Row prayer rugs = see "Saf" or "Saph"!

Rudbar = this Persian name means "bank of the river" in German; the city is located in the north of Iran in the province of Gilan; it is known, besides its olives, for its cream-coloured carpets.

Rufu = in Persian this expression means a hidden repair.

Ruh-e-asb = horse blanket; the name is composed of the Persian words "ruh" for "over" and "asb" for "horse".

Ruh-e-farsh = Persian term for a carpet cover that wealthy Persians have liked to use since the early 20th century to protect their valuable carpets; the term is the German translation of the Persian "over the carpet".

Ruh-Korsi = the name is composed of the Persian words "ruh" and "Korsi", which in German mean "on the mango stove" (see this); this refers to a carpet or flat weave spread around the stove in the yurt to warm the legs.

running dog = designation of a secondary border enlivened by distinct stripes with inverted ypsilons or a linked hook-like motif, often found in Caucasian rugs and sumakhs; this type of border looks like dog's heads placed on top of each other, hence the name; this motif is also called "Georgian border".

Rya = coarse Scandinavian long pile carpet that was popular in the course of the interior design fashion of the sixties and seventies. The name comes from the Swedish word "Rya", which means rough or shaggy. The specific production technique is said to have been brought to Sweden, Denmark and Finland by the Vikings in the 9th century AD from their trading journeys as far as early medieval Byzantium; this is how the art of symmetrical knotting is said to have come to Northern Europe from the Ottoman Empire.


S = Ancient Turkmen (carpet) motif symbolising light, divinity and wisdom. The S symbol applies to a bird and often only appears in recognisable forms in Caucasian and Anatolian carpets after their prolonged observation.

S.N.T.C. = Abbreviation of "Supporting Association of Genuine Nepali Tibetan Carpets", an association of carpet importers from Germany, Switzerland, England, France, Belgium and the USA founded in 1990 to maintain the old quality standards of Tibetan carpets and to support social programmes in favour of the weavers of Tibetan carpets and their children in Nepal. Tibetan carpets bearing the S.N.T.C. seal of quality meet strict criteria such as a high proportion of Tibetan wool, European laundering, lightfast colours as well as constant monitoring of the manufacturing processes; knotted works bearing this seal of quality are among the best Nepalese Tibetans on the market; see "Nepal"!


Saalat = ritual Islamic prayer towards Mecca, prescribed five times a day.

Sabden = designation for large-format Tibetan carpets.

Sabzevar = Iranian city with carpet production. The products are similar to those of Mashad, mostly with medallions.

Saddle bag = called "Heybe" or "Heybeh" in Turkish, "khordjin" or "Chordjin" in Persian. They are textile utensils of nomads or semi-nomads and each consist of two transport bags or sacks connected by a usually flat-woven bridge so that they can be hung over the backs of horses, donkeys or camels or carried over the shoulders of people. Their outsides are usually knotted so that they show a pile, the insides are usually flat-woven. Saddlebags usually have loops for hanging inside the tent; they are miniature versions of all common carpet shapes and colours. With the decline of nomadism, most saddle bags have been cut up or stuffed as cushions, so that only a few have come down to our time in their original state. Saddlebags from Tibet were made in two pieces, which were then sewn together; Persian and Turkish saddlebags were always made in one piece. A distinction is made between panniers for smaller items for hiking, storage bags in the tent or house, shopping bags for the village population and purely decorative objects.

Saddle blanket = Turkish "cherlyk or "eyerlik", called, Persian "ruh-e-asb". They are usually blankets or knotted textiles (kilims, sumakh or made in Verneh technique); they are placed over the saddle of an animal; often there are holes inside to fasten them over the saddle button.

Safavids = Turkmen ruling dynasty of Islamic Persia (1502-1722). During this period, Persia experienced the first heyday of its carpet production. The art of the Timurids (1380-1506), who ruled today's Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and Iran, served as inspiration and in turn absorbed and passed on Chinese art.

Saffron = scientific name "crocus sativus", a light yellow plant dye obtained from the flowers or pollen of violet crocuses -- this is not a contradiction! --, is used as a spice as well as a natural dye and is considered the "most expensive spice on earth".

Saladjak or Salatshak or Salatschyk = Turkmen pentagonal to hexagonal knotted work, disputed because of its true purpose. Many experts believe it to be a cradle or prayer rug for children; Turkmen experts such as Siawosch Azadi explained that it was a coverlet for a cot; some specimens have a slit at one end, suggesting that it could also be a saddle blanket.

Salarchani = Iranian tribe that produces Beludjen-style carpets.

Salband = 1.: technical term from geology for the mutual demarcation of two rock courses; 2.: in tapitology, expression for a hem or fabric edge on the sides of a carpet.

Saliani or Sal`yany = town in the south of Baku on the Kura River, east of the Moghan steppe; carpets traded under the name "Baku" come from there.

Saloren = one of the oldest Turkmen tribes, which emerged from the former Central Asian horse-riding nomads and was devastatingly defeated by the Tekke and Persians in 1830. The carpets of the Salors, mostly in striking red colours, are distinguished from those of other Turkmen tribes by the use of characteristic motifs called darvaza güls; there are also Salor güls, but their characteristics for genuine Salor carpets are disputed. After the defeat of the Salors, other tribes took over the Saloren güls. Experts have counted only about 230 genuine Saloren carpets worldwide, so their prices are particularly high.

Salor-Gül = typical irregular octagonal carpet motif of the Salor Turkmen.

Salt bag = in Turkish "Tuz Torba", in Persian (Farsi) "Namakdan".

Samarkand = area between China and Turkestan named after the ancient Turkmen capital; an ancient khanate and city located in western Turkestan on the eastern trade route between Tashkent and Herat, now Uzbekistan. Chinese, Mongols, Turks, Iranians and Tibetans live together here. The place was a well-known carpet market, but not an important producer of carpets. Samarkand was the capital of the dreaded Tamerlan or Timur, whose mausoleum can be visited there among other rare sights.

Sandjab or Sanjab = Kurdish tribe from the Kermanshah district in Iran; it used to be an important producer of carpets with the Herati pattern and of various utilitarian weavings; the basis is usually cotton with symmetrical knots.

Sanguszko = Group of 15 Safavid carpets made in Persia in the 16th and 17th centuries under disputed circumstances. They are named after a Polish citizen, Prince Roman Sanguszko, who owned a piece of them; the carpet was on display for years in the Metropolitan Museum of Arts in New York. The group are medallion carpets showing animals and birds, some of them in dispute within a floral ornament.

Saph or Saff or Saf = The Arabic "saph" means "row" or "order" and refers to a type of Turkish prayer rug with several - five or seven -- prayer niches next to or on top of each other in different colours and patterns, often called a "family prayer rug"; often the pile is knotted in silk. Such carpets were made throughout the Middle East; also kilims. The Saf pattern is more likely to date back to arcades of Islamic mosques than to the mihrab in the mosque.

Sar = See "Tsar"!

Sarab = city in north-western Iran between Tabriz and Ardebil. Weavers in this area produce runners with recurring rhombuses or hexagonal medallions; camel wool is often used.

Saratma = chemical washing of a carpet in Turkey; the term means "to make yellow"; see also "chemical washing".

Sarchalka = striped border that appears in different variations among some Turkmen tribes, especially Kisilajak, Ersari and Jomud.

Sarkisla = town in central Anatolia between Sivas and Kayseri, a place where only a few carpets have been made since the 18th century; these usually have a grid pattern of jagged rhombuses or other geometric motifs.

Sarköy = pronounced "Scharköy"; 1st: town and region in the south of the Turkish province of Tekirdagh in the European part of Turkey on the coast of the Sea of Marmara. The flatweaves (kilims) of this area have a character of their own; in addition to small sizes, there used to be oversizes; today there is hardly any production. 2: Formerly a Bulgarian town in Thrace, now called Pirot, located in Serbia and confused with the Turkish town of the same name; kilims were also made there, which had eccentric wefts in the reproduction of floral and animal motifs.

Saruk or Sarough = West Persian town north of Arak, whose name has become a collective term for an outstanding type of West Persian carpet that reached its peak in the 1920s. At that time, they were exported in large quantities to the USA, from where they have been re-exported to Europe as "American Saruks" since 1960. Saruks with a pink to red background are particularly prized; saruks with a light-ground pile are rare; inexpensive qualities come on the market as Lilian or Engela.

Sary Gyra = elaborate wide border with staircase and gable elements, often found among the Ersari and Beschir; other Turkmen tribes such as Jomud and Chaudor also knot them.

Saryk or Sariq = one of the five main Turkmen tribes in southern Turkmenistan; many of its members settled around the village of Pendeh (= "five places"), others in northern Afghanistan. Early Saryk carpets have symmetrical knots, later ones asymmetrical; after 1880 they have purple, brown or purplish-brown fields, earlier high red fields partly with cotton in the pile; the most commonly used gül is an octagon with a central hexagon. In Afghanistan, the Saryk use the so-called Bochara Göl for their "Mauri" (Merv) carpets in a small shape and densely packed.

Sassanids = second oldest Persian ruling dynasty of pre-Islamic Persia (224-651 BC).

Saudjbulagh or Sauj Bulaq = town in the mountains of northwest Iran, south of Lake Urumiyeh, place of origin of Kurdish carpets made with red wefts, dark colours and in symmetrical knots on a cotton ground.

Saveh = small town west of Ghom; cotton-based carpets are made here. This type of carpet is often mistakenly called "Ghom".

Savonnerie = knotted French tapestry with cut pimples; see "tapestry". The name comes from the original production site of these textiles in Chaillot near Paris, which had previously housed a soap factory. Savonneries have been around since the early 17th century, the age of Louis XIII, and were always a product of state manufactories for the needs of rulers and royal households. Around 1850, the high era of savonneries ended, but they continue to be produced for a middle-class clientele, but in modest numbers. Beautiful and high-quality savonneries have also been produced in China since the beginning of the 21st century.

Saz style = typical knotting pattern of Ottoman court manufactories. The name comes from Turkish and means "reed", "rush" or "enchanted forest"; it is a floral pattern consisting of long feathered leaves, rosettes and palmettes.

Schabracke = comes from the Turkish "caprak" or Kurdish "shabrak" and means in German "Paradedecke" in English "horse blanket", a cover for horses.

Schappe silk = low-quality silk waste such as thread ends and short pieces, usually used as upholstery or blanket fillings.

Schuturi = see "Schotori"; this means "camel" in Persian.

Seccade = this Turkish term is used for rugs in formats of about 200 x 130 centimetres. The word comes from Persian and means "three squares" in German. One "place" refers to the size of a prayer rug. This word is also used in Turkey. In Iran, the term "Ghaliceh" is commonly used for such rug sizes.

or Seishour = Caucasian village with carpet production in the north of the Cuba region; the pieces produced there are attributed to the Shirvan. Their most common motif is a shape reminiscent of the St. Andrew's cross, often repeated in the central field. See "St. Andrew's cross"!

Sekler or Szekler = ethnic group of Hungarians inhabiting part of Transylvania in Romania. They weave kilims with wool wefts on hemp warps.

Selcuk or Seljuk = the Seljuks were a dynasty of Oghuz Turkmen who founded an empire in the 11th century that included Persia, Anatolia, Mesopotamia and Syria; their state lasted in Anatolia until the 13th century. Some carpets, which mostly survive as fragments in Turkish mosques, were attributed to the Seljuks or their successors in the 20th century; they show stylised geometric floral designs, some with border motifs that correspond to Kufic models. The overall character of these pieces suggests later Turkmen models to the viewer.

Seljuk carpets = Ancient Turkish luxury carpets that reached their qualitative peak in the 13th and 14th centuries AD. They were distributed via the then important caravan routes as far as Byzantium (today's Istanbul).


Selvedge or carpet selvedge = often also called "shirazi"; refers to the long sides of knotted and woven works. They are secured from fraying or in their durability by looping wool, sometimes also goat hair, around them. More often, bands about 4 centimetres wide - formerly made of leather, today of plastic - are sewn along the side edges at the back of the carpet to prevent it from curling. See "Salband"!

Semerlik = saddle blankets that were woven like a carpet in equestrian areas; the Turkish word "semer" means "saddle" in German.

semiantic carpets = knotted or woven works that are between 50 and 70 years old.

Semnan = city in northern Iran; their carpets copy Safavid patterns with some space-filling ornaments; the basis is cotton.


Senneh knot = see "Persian knot".


Senneh or Sanandaj or Sinä = town situated in north-western Iran in Kurdistan, now called "Sanandaj"; the Persian or Senneh knot is named after it. The Kurds in Senneh have very fine carpets, usually made with only one weft thread and with densities up to 400 knots per square inch; the ground is cotton except for early examples, which have silk grounds; the designs are reminiscent of Herati, covered with boteh motifs and with medallions with concentric hexagons. Senneh carpets are mostly blue and red, have few conspicuous borders, the ground is patterned throughout, contains a large rhombus-shaped medallion and the designs are in strict rows. Fine woven horse saddle blankets also come from Senneh; the more recent production is of lower quality. Senneh kilims are also made in other parts of Persian Kurdistan. A speciality are "Senneh-Haft-Rang"; with them the warp threads had up to seven different colours every seven centimetres.


Serabend = district in the southwest of Arak in west-central Iran; the carpets produced in the villages there have a space-filling small boteh pattern and often a bright red field; most knotted works have symmetrical knots.


Serapi = commercial name used in America for carpets originating from the Heris region in northern Iran and at least 100 years old.


Seray = 1. Persian term for a noble court in the Orient. 2. a sales yard built into a bazaar, where a substantial part of the trade in oriental carpets is conducted. The serays in a bazaar are arranged according to professions.


Sevan or Sevan = group of village rugs attributed to the Kazak area around Lake Sevan; they have a medallion in the field showing a variety of cross shapes; these rugs are all so-called Kazaks and not Shirvan. Like most village rugs of the Caucasus, this type has not been produced since the 1930s.


Seyrafian = name of an outstanding Persian carpet manufacturer in Isfahan, which has maintained the good reputation of Persian carpet culture for decades; founded in 1930 by the former banker Haj Agha Reza Sairafian, who produced the first self-designed carpet in 1939, died in 1975 and bequeathed his business to his seven sons and their 24 grandchildren. Even today, such extremely high-quality carpets are still produced, but because of their high price, they usually only find sales in Arab countries.


Shabby-chic = furnishing style in which the concept is a mixture of inherited traditional furniture and home textiles with random purchases at flea markets and do-it-yourself items with visible signs of use due to long use; see also "vintage look".

Shadda = flat-woven blanket from the Caucasus region, often brocaded, also called "Verneh".


Shagird = Persian term for apprentice, also used for aspiring carpet weavers.


Shah = particularly strong Afghan village rugs with Bukhara designs from the south of the town of Maimana in the northwest of the country.


Shah Abbas carpets = are called such courtly knotted works of the first half of the 17th century that were made with silk and brocading.


Shah Abbas pattern = specially patterned knotted works named after the most important Safavid ruler. Many high-quality court manufactory carpets are named after Shah Abbas the Great. It is a floral carpet pattern consisting of large palmettes and occurs predominantly on vase carpets with two- and three-dimensional grids.


Shahreza or Shahreza = Iranian place with carpet production in the west of the country; also the name of the last Persian Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlevi. "Reza" is a common first name in Persia.


Shahsavan or Shahsavan = Farsi term meaning "those who love the Shah" in German; this is an honorary title given by Shah Abbas (1588-1629) to warriors who protected Persia's northern border. Today, this is an association of Turkic-speaking tribes living mainly in northwestern Iran, especially in the area of Moghan, Hashtrud, Mianeh Khamseh, Bijar, Quazvin, Saveh and Veramin. The weavings of the Shahsavan consist mostly of flat-woven carpets and utilitarian objects such as saddle bags, mafrash and animal ornaments; they evolved under Islamic influence from an earlier naturalistic patterning to a geometric, non-figurative, purely decorative form.


Shalamzar or Shalamzar = city in central Iran, place of origin of carpets with Bakhtiari field and vase designs.

Sham fringes
= machine-made fringes sewn on after a carpet has been knotted; they reduce the value of an oriental knotted piece.


Sharabian = Iranian city and the name of a Persian carpet type from central Iran. This type belongs to the Heris group and is characterised by numerous floral motifs, flower-filled diamonds and star-shaped medallions; they are rare and hard-wearing.


Sharbaft or Scharbaft = Persian term for "carpets knotted in the city"; "schar" means "city" and "baft" means "knotted".


Shar-e-Babak or Shar-e-Bakab = southern Iranian place; the products of the Afshari tribes differ from those from the surroundings of this city and those from Sirdjan.


Shar-e-Kord or Schar-e-Kord = Iranian place west of Isfahan; he makes Bakhtiar carpets.

Sharkh = city in northern Afghanistan; place of origin of carpets with the Tekke-Göl and its variations; they have double wefts.


Sharköy = a town and area in the south of the Turkish province of Tekirdagh on the coast of the Sea of Marmara. This name refers to kilims from the European part of Turkey, which are similar in pattern and colours to those of the Balkans.


Shearing = In the making of a knotted carpet, the careful process of shearing the pile follows after the knotting and removal from the knotting loom and after the initial washing. This determines the final pile height; in modern carpets, different pile heights are often sheared in one and the same piece.


Sheep = main source of natural wool for carpet production in the Middle East and Southeast Asia. Basically, there are two types of sheep there: fat-tailed sheep and thick-skinned or bighorn sheep. The former is most common in the Middle East and North Africa, the latter in Central Asia; both species are present in China.


Sheep wool = Nomad sheep cannot be shorn in winter; this is only possible in spring. The nomads therefore did not and do not always have fresh wool available for dyeing or knotting their carpets; this explains problems such as Abrash; see this!

Shemakha or Shemakha or Shemakha = former capital of Shirvan, a Caucasian Khanate in Azerbaijan, west of Baku, and a Caucasian flatweave.


Shiberghan or Shiberghen = town and provincial capital in northern Afghanistan; it used to be an important market for carpets from the surrounding area; after the 1960s, both the quality of the products and its importance as a marketplace declined.


Shield = a shield-shaped medallion predominantly found in Persian carpets, extending or continuing a large central medallion.


Shigatse = one of the main places of Tibetan carpet production.

Shigatse or Shigatse = city in southern Tibet, second only to Gyantse as the place of origin of high quality Tibetan carpets; typical knotted products for Shigatse have a density of about 50 knots per square inch.


Shiites = term for the followers of the Shia; they are the second largest religious group of followers of Islam after the Sunnis. They regard Ali Ibn Abi Talib, cousin and son-in-law of the Prophet Mohammed, as the only legitimate successor to Mohammed as caliph at that time, in the 7th century AD, and thus stand in contrast to the Sunnis, who do not.

Shikarlou or Shekarlu = sub-tribe of the Luri from the Persian Gashghai confederation that no longer exists; its rugs have a white ground border.


Shikli or Shikli = place in the Southwest Caucasus in the Kazak region. The rugs from there show many stylised cypress motifs; typical are the bird's crenellation border and the high to shaggy pile, which is due to the cold in this region.

Shindand = province south of Herat, Afghanistan. Very cheap and coarse Beludj carpets are knotted in small sizes in villages.


Shirasi = see “Shirazi”!


Shiraz = capital of the southern Persian province of Fars, meeting point for the knotted works of the nomads and village weavers of this province. Shiraz is also considered the cultural capital of Persia because the graves of the poets Saadi and Hafis are located there. In the city, knotted works are also offered under the collective name of Shirazi, the quality of which is often inferior.

Shirazi or Shirazeh = this is the name given to reinforcing the long side of carpets by girdling them with yarn. In this process, the last warp threads with the wefts running over them are protected and at the same time decorated by additional wool or goat hair yarns, derived from the Persian city of Shiraz.

Shirvan = historical region in Azerbaijan between Lake Caspian and the Kuva River with a minority Caucasian-speaking population; the majority are Turkish-speaking Oghuz. Carpets are produced here that can be classified as Caucasian, but are quite finely made. The pieces are made of new wool, which has a shiny appearance and is naturally dyed; the carpets are patterned throughout and usually have medallions; there are only old carpets there.

Shobokli = name for a border on Anatolian carpets consisting of many narrow stripes. The name comes from the pipe, which is called "chibuk" in Turkish.


Shotima = name for Tibetan chessboard rugs (see these).


Shotori or Shotori = in Persian it means camel brown or natural brown sheep's wool; the Farsi word "shotori" means "camel" in German.

Shulaver or Shulaver = a group of 19th century carpets from the Kazak region in the Southwest Caucasus with patterns formed by columns with hexagons or rhombuses, hooked diamonds and wide stylised floral borders.

Shusha or Susa or Shusha = Largest city in the South Caucasus in the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, which has been disputed between Armenia and Azerbaijan for years; it is the centre of Azerbaijani and Caucasian carpet production. Around 1900, their carpets, which were sustainably made for Russian aristocrats at the time, impressed with typical French patterns. Shusha carpets resemble Persian carpets more than Caucasian ones. Until 2020, the town was under the control of the Republic of Arzakh; after a short war, it fell under the control of Azerbaijan's Carpet weaving and knotting is still carried out in almost every house in Shusha; there are usually several knotting chairs next to each other in the town's private houses, and almost all the girls knot carpets there for their dowries. Until 1930, this type of carpet was known with a particularly strong French influence; it had suited the taste of Russia in the time before the October Revolution.


Shushtar or Shushtar = Iranian town in Khusistan at the foot of the Zagros Mountains in southwestern Iran. Typical Bakhtiari kilims with wide, empty camel-coloured borders are woven there; the Laleh Abbasi motif is used for the inner borders (see this); the field usually consists of widely spaced rhomboid medallions arranged on a central pole or interconnected rows; the wefts are made of brown wool. The kilims are woven using a double-interlocked weft structure.


Sikkim = small country on the southern border of Tibet between Nepal and Butan; carpet production began there with the arrival of Tibetan refugees in the early 1960s; the refugees produced Tibetan knotted works.


Sileh = according to Western understanding, a flat weaving technique; the term has different meanings depending on the geographical location: In Caucasia it is understood to mean an S-shaped dragon motif in sumakh structure with an additional weft; in Russia and Caucasia it is understood to mean flat weaving with a bird motif. The pieces are conspicuous for the large "S" in their design.


Sil-i Sultan = motif on Persian carpets consisting of roses and other blossoms, the name of which is said to have been derived from the name of a princely governor who ruled Isfahan around 1890.


Silk = animal fibre obtained from the boiled cocoon of the silkworm (= larva of the silkworm butterfly); it is the only textile continuous fibre occurring in nature and consists largely of proteins. By twisting the threads unwound from the cocoons, a fine, shiny knotting yarn is produced, which is woven into cloth as well as used for carpet knotting and, when mixed with wool, produces special light and colour effects. Recently, it has been possible to produce transparent silk; carpets knotted with it show two different ornaments when backlit during the day and in the dark.

Silk carpets = Silk has been used for carpets since the 16th century; thanks to the great strength and extreme thinness of the yarn, silk enables high knotting densities and thus razor-sharp representations of the specified patterns. Pious Islamis reject silk because living creatures are killed in its extraction. There is transparent silk that allows light to pass through; carpets woven with such silk can be backlit when hung on the wall and show two different images, depending on whether they are viewed by day in incident light or backlit at night. In Morocco, threads of dried agave leaves are used as a silk substitute, but only in cloth production.

Silk Road = ancient intercontinental trade route or caravan route between Europe, the Mediterranean and China with a length of around 10,000 kilometres; it had both a land route and a route across seas. For centuries, it was used to transport trade goods such as carpets, jewellery, silk, incense and porcelain from East to West and Western goods back to Asia. This is how pattern smuggling - see this! -- took place, e.g. the transmission of the dragon-phoenix motif from China; Buddhism was also carried to China via them. In the 19th century, the Silk Road was rediscovered by European travellers to Asia and was first so named in 1877 by the German geographer Ferdinand von Richthofen. At the beginning of the 21st century, the ancient Silk Road is experiencing a resurgence as a modern transport route between China and Europe.

Simurg or Symurge = the Persian "Simorgh" denotes a mythical bird similar to the phoenix, used as a decorative carpet motif.


Sinekli = name of an Anatolian carpet type that has a small dense scatter pattern of flowers.


Sirdjan or Sirjan = town and valley in southeastern Iran between Kerman and Neyriz, a transshipment point for Afshar rugs; they have double wefts of blue cotton and a warp of wool or cotton; the design is either a highly geometric central floral medallion and in each corner or a grid of rhombs with stylised flowers. Sirdjan is the place of origin of fine Sumakh rugs and bags.


Sivas = city in north-central Anatolia; carpets are made there and in the surrounding area. There is a prison in the city, where prisoner carpets with Persian patterns were made. Older Sivas carpets are made entirely of wool; cotton is increasingly used as the basic structure; the carpets have symmetrical knots except for those made in the state knotting schools, where there are pieces with Persian patterns and asymmetrical knots. Dis prayer rugs from the area have stepped mihrabs.


Size conversion = see "Conversion"!

Slit kilim = a type of patterned flat weave with horizontal stripes, produced especially in Turkey in Anatolia and characterised by vertical openings (slits). With each colour change in the pattern in the horizontal direction, a hole is created by the reversal of the weft in relation to the immediately adjacent differing colour. The weft reverses where the pattern and colour dictate; if several reversal points lie one below the other, a slit is created. This must be short, otherwise the whole weave becomes unstable in itself. However, this limits the pattern formation.

Smyrna = large Turkish port city on the west coast of Anatolia, today called Izmir; at present carpets are no longer produced there; see "Izmir".


Smyrna design = carpet design used in the Ottoman Empire by carpet weavers in the area around Izmir, formerly Smyrna; it belongs to the group of yaprak or floral designs, occupies a special position within Anatolian carpet designs and consists of lancet leaves, cross motifs, three-part floral motifs and two vine motifs. It is a rare combination of Buddhist, Islamic and Hindu motifs as a floral counter design to the figures of the Boddhisatva as well as the mystical union of the male and female sex, thus as a representation of absolute wisdom or world reason and salvation.


Sofreh, Sofra or Soffreh = the Persian "Sufrah" means "tablecloth" or "dining cloth", woven kilims; this designation also applies to small (bed) blankets and all rectangular cloths on which food is prepared and served on the floor or bread is stored to protect it from drying out. Their format is usually between 70 and 100 cm wide and 150 to 200 cm long; most of the relevant flatweaves come from Kurds and Iranians of the Beludj type.


Soma = Turkish town in the district of the same name in the provinces of Izmir and Manisa, 45 kilometres east of Bergama at the foot of the Yunt mountain range in western Anatolia.


Songhor or Sonqur = town in southern Kurdistan in Iran, place of origin of Kurdish carpets.


Souj Bulak = name of the old Kurdish capital near Tabriz; there the compact, strong Souj Bulak carpets are made by Kurds with Gördes knots in wool and cotton.


Souk = oriental market in North Africa, see "bazaar".


Soumak or Sumac or Sumak or Sumakh = 1.: Capital of the Shirvan area; in German this expression means "pale red". 2.: Name of a tapestry technique for weaving strong, decorative textiles used as carpets or household bags. It is a type of kilim, but the weave is slightly stronger. Sumaks are most closely related to kilims in terms of the way they are made; however, they lack slits as they are made with continuous wefts and supports. The fronts of sumaks are smooth like a kilim, but their backs look ragged because there are many loose threads sticking out. There are co-rotating, counter-rotating or reverse sumaks; see "winding weft fabric"!


Spandrels = term from architecture, also used for carpets. It is the description of arch spandrels that fills the space between the curves of an arch and the frieze surrounding it; important e.g. in describing the mihrab arch in prayer rugs or the transition of a dome to rectangular rising walls, e.g. in mosques.


Spanish carpets = Spain was the first producer of knotted carpets in Europe. The earliest carpet was made there in the 12th century. By the 13th century, the production technique of carpets was highly developed under the Moors. Moorish rule lasted in Spain from 710 to 1609; the most beautiful and valuable carpets were made in Cordoba in Andalusia at that time.


Spanish knot = also called Arabic-Spanish knot; it is created when the knotting thread is looped around a warp thread and pulled tight so that its two ends protrude to the left and right of it; there are simple and half Spanish knots, they rarely occur and are the simplest known type of knot.


Spinning and twisting = The manual spinning and twisting of (knotting) yarn is usually done clockwise by women with their right hands, either using a wheel or a spindle. In recent decades, hand spinning has been reintroduced in many places in the Orient.


Srinagar = capital of Kashmir, a weaving centre since the 15th century. From the 19th century onwards, hand-woven shawls were made there, mainly with boteh motifs; they were later imitated by machine in Scotland under the name "Paisley".


St. Andrew's cross = a cross with two diagonally crossing beams. It is also called a diagonal cross or a cross with a collar because of the way it is held in place. This cross is known as a warning for level crossings or as the Roman numeral 10.

Staff knot = see "Tibet knot"!


Star of Solomon = see "Jewel of Mohammed"!

Star-Ushak = Turkish rugs with a large star motif.


STEP = international association of carpet traders who campaign for fair conditions in the production of knotted oriental carpets and want to improve the work and pay of weavers.

stepped = roof shape sloped by stringing together steps, especially on gables of prayer rugs.

Stromatik = see "French carpets"!

Suleyman or Suleiman or Süleyman = Sultan of the Ottoman Empire (1520-1566), called "the Magnificent"; under his reign the empire reached its greatest expansion and culture a unique high; carpets were made in state manufactories, using the asymmetrical knot; many fine prayer rugs are attributed to the time of Sultan Suleiman I.

Sultan = name of thick Yürük or Kurdish carpets from eastern Anatolia and northern Iraq.

Sultanabad = was the former name of present-day Arak, a city and province in northwestern Iran, the Persian granary. Carpets of the highest quality were produced there on a manufactory basis in the 19th and early 20th centuries; notable are the Saruks, Mahals, Lilians, Farahans and Serabends produced in the province. Knotted carpets from Sultanabad were originally produced for domestic use; from 1875, merchants from Tabriz began exporting carpets from Sultanabad, and a Swiss-British firm, Ziegler & Co, started its own carpet production there. Until the outbreak of the First World War, these carpets were in great demand and were the epitome of the oriental carpet, especially under the name "Ziegler Mahals". Due to the sales success, other companies also began to produce carpets that were difficult to distinguish from the original ones.

Sultanhani = village and site of the largest, best-preserved caravanserai in Turkey; it is located on the old Silk Road between Konya and Aksaray; there are several old and widely known repair workshops for oriental carpets; it is also the centre for high-quality, sometimes incredibly perfect fakes.

Sultani = Design term for a type of full silk carpet created by the Turkish carpet manufacturer Özipek after the Second World War, the patterns of which can be traced back to the splendid coats of the early sultans; their patterns were reworked for use in carpet form.

Sultan's head = form of mihrab design in prayer rugs showing the head and shoulders of a person in silhouette.

Summer carpets = In wealthy oriental households it was and still is customary to lay down light and airy carpets in the home during the hot summer and to exchange them for heavy, thinner ones when winter sets in.


Sunnis = the largest group of believers in Islam, followed numerically by the Shiites; see these. Sunnis are followers of the orthodox mainstream of Islam, which relies on the Sunna, the traditional sayings and customs of the Prophet Mohammed as a guide to Mohammedan life, the so-called "Hadith".

Surakhani = town to the east of Baku on the Apsheron Peninsula in the Caucasus; carpets from there, made in the 19th century, are traded under the Baku name.

Susani or Suzani = the Persian term "susan" means "needle"; it is therefore needlework or a type of embroidery. It is mainly used to make decorations for an upcoming wedding; wall hangings, window curtains or bedspreads are made in this way; most of them are produced in Uzbekistan, Bokhara, Samarkand and Tashkent.

Susiana = see "Khusistan"!

Suwari = small, shield-like, silk-brocaded, decorative hanging of Uzbeks, Kyrgyz and Kazaks. Suwaris were worn over the tops of the yurt poles during nomadic migration, not least to protect the pack camels from injury; in the winter quarters they were hung on the wall for decoration; see "Ok-Bash"!

Swastika = a swastika is forming a double meander, a cultural symbol that is about three to four thousand years old, whose name comes from Sanskrit ("svasti") and means good luck or entitlement to good. In China and Japan, it symbolises longevity, abundance and fertility and is often called the "heart of the Buddha". Swastikas are often found in East Turkestan, Caucasian and Chinese rugs, less frequently in Persian and Asia Minor rugs. If the hooks of the cross point to the left, it means the wish for good luck, if they point to the right, it expresses the defence of evil forces against existing luck. If the swastika motif has a round hole at the intersection of the legs, it symbolises the cult of fire. Swastikas are rarely found in Anatolian carpets. In Europe, this symbol has come into disrepute as a symbol of Adolf Hitler's National Socialism; there, the direction of rotation of the symbol was reversed.


Symbol = identification sign or symbol for an individual human idea, a carrier of meaning for something that does not need to be present. The deeper explanation of symbols that reach back into human prehistory is the responsibility of symbol research; see also "motif"! Carpet symbols are exchanged and passed on between cultures, they often change their meaning, become abstracted or stylised.

Symbols of fine arts = four characters used in China, also in carpets, for people who are committed to art and culture: Books, lute, painting and chessboard.

symmetrical knot = see "Turkish knot" or "Gördes knot"!

Synthetic paints = paints developed by the chemical industry around the middle of the 19th century based on inorganic pigments, later chromium oxides, still later aniline paints from coal tar, which later came onto the market relatively cheaply and in some cases triggered import bans in the Orient. The first synthetic colours were of low quality, today the quality is mostly very good. At present, a balanced mix between natural and chemical colours is common; a renaissance of natural colours is in the offing.

Syria = Middle Eastern country on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea between Turkey, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Israel. Carpet weaving became indigenous there at the beginning of the 19th century, when weaver families migrating from Bursa settled there. Their carpets are considered Turkish or Anatolian.


Tabatabai = carpet producer in Tabriz, which has been one of the best-known and leading producers of commercial carpets in the country since 1950; the pieces are made of wool pile with cotton warp, occasionally also of full silk; the main colours are ivory, orange-red, light and dark blue. Despite a not particularly high knotting density, the products are hard-wearing and appear dense. Many Tabatabai carpets bear knotters' insignia, sometimes these are imitated by other weavers, especially from India; however, it is difficult for laymen to recognise such fakes.

Tabriz = northwest Persian carpet city, capital of Iranian Azerbaijan, known for very fine, dense carpets dating back to the 15th century. Tabriz was the earliest market and export centre for Persian carpets. The city's name means "to make the fever go away". Tabriz carpets were made in manufactories long ago. Today, most of their kind are knotted at home, mainly by men. Between 1960 and 1995, many inferior qualities came onto the market; in the meantime, the quality has improved again. Under the name "Tabriz" there are all qualities from the coarse carpet with poor wool to the most beautiful and exquisite with finenesses of more than one million knots per square metre.

Tadjabad or Tatjabad = Iranian place with carpet production.

Tafresh or Tafresh or Tafrash = town in north-western Iran near Hamadan; its knotted works, mostly medallion carpets with appendages and arabesques, often with red field, are of better quality than the usual products of this region.

Tafshandjian = US-American company that had mainly Keshan, Saruk and Kirman carpets knotted in Persia from 1900 to 1930 and exported them to the USA.

Taimany or Taimani = Persian-speaking Aimaq tribe living in west-central Afghanistan and related to Tajiks and Hazaris; they are at home on the southern slopes of the Hindu Kush. Their carpet production began after the Second World War; the patterns of their carpets are mostly geometric and repeated over their entire surface; Turkmen göls are used; the main colour is purple with secondary colours brown and blue; they are whole-wool pieces with asymmetrical knots.

Tainaqceh or Tainaktscha = see "At-djoli".

Tajik = in English "country-man" or "villager”; in Iranian and Turkestan areas, the term refers to the resident farming population who speak Persian; they also engage in the carpet trade.                          

Takheb or rta-kheb = Tibetan horse blanket in conical shape.

Talim = means "instruction" in English; a tying template made of paper or cardboard with special signs that specify the respective colour, number and sequence of knots of a tying; talims can also be read aloud by the tying master in larger manufactories. They were used especially in Pakistan, India and Kashmir.

Talish or Talish = region in the south-eastern Caucasus on the border with Iran. The knotted rugs made there belong to the Shirvan group. The carpets from this region have elongated formats, many empty or almost empty fields, a high pile and simple borders. The Lenkoran motif is often used in the knotted works (see "Lenkoran"); in addition, Talish carpets have an original border motif of large flowers alternating with four rosettes. Since 1925, this production no longer exists.

Tanchifa = Embroidered head or shoulder scarves of Algerian women in long, narrow stripes. Although they are meant to cover the hair and shoulders demurely, their shape and colours convey liveliness and beauty. They are usually worn at ceremonies such as births, circumcisions, weddings and religious festivals. They can also be used sewn together as room dividers or curtains.

Tanned wool = In contrast to new wool, this is the animal hair extracted from animal carcasses during tanning, an inferior material for carpet production.

Taoist symbols = The Taoist religion was founded in the sixth century BC by the Chinese philosopher Confucius (correct: Kong Fuzi). It developed eight symbols that originated in university life in ancient China and appear as motifs in Chinese carpets: Sword, harp, chessboard, books, bamboo wand, flute, castanets and painter's brush. See also "Buddhist symbols"!

Tapestry = 1.: hand-made flatweaves of European provenance with mostly figural motifs. Although by no means the only ones, but as some of the best, tapestries are usually called "Gobelin"; these are knitted pictures from France and Flanders, in recent decades also from China. 2.: Knotted works with figurative representations of historical or allegorical scenes, called "knotted myths". In contrast to the prohibition of human depictions by the Sunni religion, this is permitted by the Shiites in Persia. They fulfil the human desire to depict beloved persons, ephemeral values or historical scenes; these tapestries exist in Persia, India and China; they correspond to the Safavid display of splendour in the mid-16th century, were mostly designed by court painters or book illustrators and are perceived as extravagant, even decadent.

Tapitology = the scientific study of carpets.

Tappetti damaschini = designation of carpets mentioned in old Venetian inventories; probably imported Mamluk carpets originating from Damascus.

Tarantula = motif on Turkmen carpets; the stylised spider is supposed to protect the owner of the carpet from being bitten by tarantulas.

Tarom = Iranian place with carpet production.

Taspinar = town in south-central Anatolia, place of origin of carpets, the majority of which have elongated medallions and dark blue fields.

Tauk Nuska = a gül, probably also a göl of several Turkmen tribes; it contains two animal figures with two heads or with head and tail in each of its four sectors, reduced to an "H" in later products.

Tbilisi = capital of Georgia since 1936, the cultural centre of Transcaucasia with a long-established carpet production.

Tehran = capital of Iran located in the north of the country at the foot of the Elburs Mountains; the city is a main market for Persian carpets; in the city itself, pieces with floral motifs on cotton backgrounds with asymmetrical knots were produced in densities of up to 800,000 knots per square metre in the former court manufactories.

Tekab-Bidjar = designation of best quality Bijar carpets made by Afshars in the Bijar region.

Tekke = largest Turkmen nomadic tribe that lived in Merw and the surrounding area as late as the 19th century, also along the borders between Turkmenistan and Iran and around Herat in Afghanistan. Tekke carpets are of high quality and the finest of the Turkmen. They are knotted with asymmetrical knots and usually have double wefts; in addition to main carpets, many utilitarian items were also made. The tribal motif (Göl) is the one we know today as "Bochara".

Tekke-Gül = large octagonal carpet motif used by the Tekke Turkmen to denote their tribe.

Tekke-Turkmen bands = Tekke-Turkmen wrap the poles of their tents (= "Arud") and decorate the inside of the yurts with 10 to 35 centimetre wide and up to 14 metre long bands, some of which have knitted patterns using flat weaving techniques.

Teleghan or Taleghan = located east of Qazvin in northern Iran, source of small medallion carpets with occasional Gül-like motifs; they have a warp of cotton and wefts of tree or sheep's wool.

Tent bands = To fasten nomad tents or yurts, nomads made beautifully crafted knotted or woven bands up to 30 centimetres wide and up to 15 metres long. Sometimes glass beads and various protective signs against the evil eye are worked into these bands.

Tent entrance carpet = see "Hatschlu", "Engsi"!

Teppichfibel = Guide to buying carpets to preserve their value and to understand carpets correctly; 2021 published by the Federal Committee of the Electrical and Furnishing Trade of the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber (WKO), A-1045 Vienna, Wiedner Hauptstraße 63, Mail: elektroundeinrichtung@wko.at, Phone +43 05 90 900-3324.


thematic carpets = These are carpets that do not show a repeat, patterns or motifs, but an event, a scene from fairy tales or novels such as "Leila and Medschnun", an oriental love story; the seasonal carpets also belong to this group.

Thigyabyö = textile back cushion or chair seat cushion for Tibetan monasteries.

Thuluth script = more elegant type of Nashki script, which superseded it.

Tibet = the largest highland on earth, situated at the foot of the Himalayas and Trans-Himalayas, an autonomous province of the People's Republic of China since 1959. Carpets there and their patterns are closely linked to the local religion, Buddhism. They were only made in small workshops or by peasant handicraft. Modern Tibetan carpets are currently largely made in the neighbouring state of Nepal by refugees according to traditional patterns and motifs. Tibetan carpets usually have no border or fringes. (See also "Nepal"! )

Tibet knot = Characteristic for Tibet is the stick knotting, a country-specific way of producing the carpet pile, which does not exist anywhere else on earth: Experts conclude from this that the Tibetans did not take over carpet weaving from other peoples, but developed it independently. Other experts believe that in ancient times there were many different types of knots in the Orient, also in Tibet, but only there the typical knot of the country has been preserved: The pile yarn is tied over a strong iron rod. At the beginning of each row and at each change of colour, a special knot is tied that wraps one warp thread once and the second warp thread twice; the first part of this structure has the shape of the Turkish knot and serves to fasten the thread with the new colour. After completing a row of knots, the knots are cut open and the ends of the thread that have now become free form the pile. After each row of knotting, they are driven in tightly, as in the other oriental types of knotting, so that the entire pile becomes compact.

Tibetan carpet names = Important commercial names of Tibetan carpets are: Sabden (large-sized pieces), Khaden (sitting and sleeping rugs), Goyo or Goyül (wall hangings or door curtains), Katum (pillar rugs), Makden (saddle pads), Masho (saddle tops), Takheb (horse blankets), Tkheb (horse headdresses), Jabuye (pillows), Thigyabyö (chair backs), Khagangma (chair seats), Kyongden (runners up to half a metre long) and Kyongring (longer runners).

Tibetan carpets = On the one hand, this includes carpets woven by Tibetans in old Tibet until its annexation by the People's Republic of China in 1959; on the other hand, it includes carpets that Tibetans who fled, mainly on the initiative of Switzerland, have made and continue to make in neighbouring Nepal according to historical models. The stock of old Tibetan carpets is small worldwide because the Chinese destroyed many monasteries and sacred buildings along with their inventory when they invaded Tibet. In contrast to other carpet-producing countries, there is no exact date when and where carpet-making began in Tibet. The production of carpets in Tibet was promoted by Emperor K'ang Hsi from 1662-1722 and continued to flourish by his grandson Ch'ien Lung from 1736-1796. The patterns of Tibetan carpets are strongly influenced by the predominant Lamaist Buddhism. However, there are also patterns and forms that are specific to Tibet. The main areas of production are Ü Province, the area around the capital Lhasa and Tsang Province, as well as the areas around larger cities. Places with an affinity for carpets are Shigatse, Gyantse, Khampa-Dzong and the southern Khumbi Valley. Detailed research is not available. The wool is largely supplied by short-legged highland sheep from central Tibet; camel wool and yak hair were also occasionally used in small quantities in carpet production. In the last two decades of the 20th century, there was a great run on modern carpets from Tibet, leading to mass production; today, modern, high-quality products are produced in much smaller quantities. From Nepal come Tibetan rugs that strive for an artistic synthesis between modern and traditional patterning. After the annexation of Tibet by China, new forms of Tibetan carpets have developed: Lhasa rugs, China Tibetans, Nepal Tibetans and India Tibetans. For the Tibet knot, see this!

Tich = special knife with or without a tying hook on the tip, used to cut the pile thread when tying carpets with Gördes knots.

Tientsin = Industrial city and trading port in northern China, at the same time a centre of Chinese carpet production since 1910; in 1929 there were about 300 knotting workshops there, working for Europe and America on a contract basis; most of the carpets went to the USA. The patterns were traditionally Chinese, but adapted to Western tastes. Most in demand were blue fields with white, yellow or gold motifs; the field was usually open or covered with asymmetrically scattered branches; occasionally small round medallions or a large central medallion were applied; borders were absent or consisted of carefully worked Chinese motifs. There were also copies of Aubusson or Savonnerie carpets as well as other tapestries of inferior quality.

Tiger carpets = a large and important group of Tibetan knotted products made to imitate tiger skins. The image of the tiger is said to ward off evil. The designs of this type of carpets show one or more animals in figural or abstract compositions. Until 1979, tiger carpets are said to have been known only in Tibet.

Tile pattern = square delineated carpet pattern that looks like the tiling of a mosque.

Timur or Timuri = the name is traced back to the Central Asian conqueror Timur (1336-1405) and refers to a presumed subgroup of the Djahar, Chahar Aimaq. Timur or Tamerlan was a Muslim ruler who founded a brutal dynasty in Central and Southwest Asia that lasted until 1507; it was succeeded by the Safavids. The Timuri inhabited eastern Iran, where they had moved from Afghanistan. The Timuri of the Persian province of Khorasan produce high quality carpets, often classified as Beludj; their knots are asymmetrical.

Tiras or Tiraz = Arabic-Persian name for the earliest ancient fabrics produced by official carpet factories that were under the control of caliphs. This name also applies to early Islamic textiles that had been woven or embroidered with Arabic script.

TKF = abbreviation of Austrian Society for the Promotion of Textile Art Research, a private society.

Tkheb or dpral-kheb = Tibetan horse headdress.

Tofang Bash = long narrow rifle bag.

Tokat = city in the north of Turkey; until the year 2000, Hereke-style carpets were produced here in large quantities. Today this production has disappeared.

Torah = the first five books of the Bible among the Jews, written on parchment scrolls; figuratively, a general term for Jewish law; motif in Jewish carpets.

Torba = square knotted storage bag of the nomads, about 35 by 35 centimetres, which were hung on the supports of Turkmen tents; usually only the front of the piece is knotted, the back is a flat weave and often decorated with patterns.

Torbak = small storage bag, diminutive form of "torba", which was made in Khorasan in Iran and could also be carried over the shoulder.

Torbat-e-Djam = Iranian place with carpet production.

Torbat-e-Heidarieye = Iranian city with carpet production.

Traffic light = a lamp often formed of delicate flowers, as often seen in Anatolian and Persian prayer rugs hanging down from the gable of the prayer niche onto the mihrab field.

Transylvanian carpets = The origin of this type of knotted carpets is disputed. Most experts are now convinced that they are Turkish carpets from the area around Ushak, which were brought to Romania by European pilgrims and merchants as trade goods, but were not produced there. Around 400 of these carpets are currently on display in Transylvanian Protestant churches or in museums there. Many of them have fallen into precarious condition after amateurish repairs or chemical treatment against destruction by moths and other pests. Fakes of such carpets by Teodor Tuduc fetch high prices at auctions today.

Trapping = the term comes from English and means "horse harness" or "horse finery". It is always a rectangular hanging and often decorates both sides of a camel or the inside of a yurt opposite its entrance; it was used at weddings, especially by the Salors, but probably also by other tribes; see "Asmalyk"!

Tread creases = creases in a carpet that reduce its value. A remedy for this is careful stretching by professionals and are protective underlays that also prevent slipping.

Treadle loom = see "hand loom"!

Tree carpets = a carpet genre whose patterns are decisively characterised by the tree motif. The trees are either naturally drawn cedars, a symbol of long life, or lushly flowering naturalistic trees; or they are stylised trees, shown only by an emaciated trunk and scrawny branches with blossoms. Tree and shrub carpets are closely related in design to medallion and animal carpets and have been produced in Persia since the 16th century.

Tree of life = symbol of life, prosperity and fertility that plays an important role in the design of carpets; the tree is usually depicted as a slender cedar and embodies the constant victory over death. The tree of life appears in carpets both abstractly stylised and schematic as well as naturalistically flowering and lush as a clearly prominent motif.

Tree-and-shrub carpets = This is the name given to carpets that are closely related to medallion and animal carpets and originated from the 16th century onwards. Some are also related to vase carpets. The one-sided tree and shrub carpets were particularly popular with the weavers of the Mughal period. Persian examples are close to the Kurdish carpets of the 18th century with their angular rows of trees.

Tribal carpets = nomadic or semi-nomadic carpets made by domestic labour from the wool of animals raised by the nomads themselves. These products served and still serve as daily utensils or as house and animal ornaments. They are predecessors of the later much more refined court, picture or manufactory carpets; see "Nomadic carpets"!

Tribe = group of families or an extended family, solidary unilinear group of relatives derived by blood from a common ancestor.


Tsang Province = area in southern Tibet including the urban settlements of Lhasa, Gyantse and Shigatse; it was the place of origin of the great mass of Tibetan carpets of the highest quality. The majority were made in the urban areas with wool from nomads.

Tscherlik or Tsherlik or Eyerlik = small saddle cover with three straight sides and one curved side, a slit in the middle for the saddle button.

Tschi = carpet motif originating from China, depicting the sacred mushroom as a symbol of immortality. This symbol is also called the Chinese cloud motif and also symbolises immortality or longevity.

Tschule fabric = see “Dschule fabric”!

Tshaleshotor or Tschaleschtor = the term means "camel pit" in German. This is the name given to Iranian places where carpets are made in the Bakhtiari style.

Tsongden = long temple runner in Tibet.

Tsuk Truk = large shaggy Tibetan sleeping rug sewn together from several narrow knotted pieces.

Tudeshgh or Tudeschgh = place south of Nain in central Iran; it was there that Hadji Habibian began making a fine and high-quality new type of carpet in 1936, which then became the well-known Nain.

Tuduc, Teodor = carpet expert from Transylvania who, born in Cluj (Klausenburg) in Transylvania in 1888, opened a repair workshop for oriental carpets in Bucharest in 1924 with 14 experts and expanded his business with numerous branches. He had extraordinary knowledge of all types of carpets. Later he went to Persia, Turkey and Egypt where he perfected his knowledge as a restorer. He then expanded his business to skilful imitation, reproduction, one can also say forgery of rare carpets. In doing so, he also incorporated small mistakes to make experts believe that they were originals. Many carpet collectors and museums fell for it. This only became generally known after his death in 1983.

Tufting = Instead of weaving or knotting, carpets can also be made by shooting (tufting) pieces of coloured yarn into a plastic net with compressed air guns according to a pattern applied to it; so-called "hand tufting" is not considered real knotting in the traditional oriental sense; see also "looping".

Tulga Tollu = modern Turkish pioneer of the use of natural dyes in dyeing the knotting wool for traditional carpets; he also developed a new, more resistant wool quality by mixing highland sheep's wool with that of Angora sheep.

Tülü or Kopan = in Rnglish this Turkish word means "long-haired"; 1st: name of a village in the Saimbeyli district in the Turkish province of Adana. Shaggy, but quaint and folkloric sleeping rugs are made there. 2nd: "Tülü" is the name of a sleeping rug with long tufts of wool knotted into it.

Tunisia = North African country on the Mediterranean Sea, surrounded by Algeria and Libya, with carpet culture. In the course of its long history, the country was dominated by Berbers, Carthaginians, Romans, Byzantines and Arab tribes. Knotted carpets are made on horizontal looms with Turkish knots; the most important knotting sites are Kairouan and its surroundings, Foussana/Kasserine and Sidi Bouzid. The wool carpets have a short pile. An important type of carpet is called alloucha and is white, beige, brown and grey. In Tunisia, flatweaves are also made by women of Tunisian tribes; see also "Alloucha"! After the "Arab Spring" or the "Arabellion" (end of 2010), carpet production in Tunisia, as in the rest of the Arab world, has dropped significantly.

Tunisia = North African country; see "Aloucha"!

Turkbaft = Persian carpet type from Khorrasan, knotted with Turkish knots.

Turkbaft = Persian term formed from the parts "Turk" (= Turks) and "baft" (= woven). It means a) a carpet woven by Turks; b) a symmetrical Turkish knot (Gördes knot) see this; c) a short-shorn red-ground Persian carpet with a floral design.

Turkestan = this area belongs to the seven states in the great longitudinal depression of the Tarim Basin in the eastern half of Inner Asia and the river systems of the Armu-Darya and Sir-Darya, seat of many nomadic tribes, see "Turkmenistan"!

Turkey = the main part of the Middle East consisting of Anatolia and Kurdistan, where Turks, Armenians, Greeks and immigrant East Asians have developed a carpet culture that goes back thousands of years. Typical for Turkish carpets are predominantly stylised, geometric motifs, while naturalistic depictions of animals and plants are missing; furthermore, nomadic carpets and kilims from Central Anatolia, courtly art from Western Anatolia as well as village carpets such as Yahyali or Bergamo and Dösemealti. Turkey's carpet production is decreasing year by year because they are becoming too expensive; original flatweaves continue to be produced.

Turkish knot = symmetrical or Gördes knot (see this!)

Turkmen = This term refers to the ancient and true Turkic-speaking Muslims and nomads, now largely settled, who inhabit Turkmenistan, northern Afghanistan and northern Iran. The five main important Turkmen tribes are the Salor, Saryk, Tekke, Yomud and Ersari; their ancient and antique products are particularly popular with collectors today. They continue to make knotted carpets and flatweaves.

Turkmenistan = Republic between the Caspian Sea, Iran, Afghanistan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan; until 1986 the huge country was part of the Soviet Union as the "Turkmen SSR"; situated  on the eastern shore of the Caspian Sea with ancient carpet culture, currently eclipsed by abundant oil and gas resources. Turkmenistan consists of East, West and Russian Turkestan. The once important role of carpets in the Turkmen economy is shown by the country's national flag, which contains the five main carpet designs of the nomadic tribes. Turkmen carpets used to be traded simplistically under the name "Bukhara". It is now known that there are at least eight carpet-producing tribes whose motifs and patterns differ characteristically from one another. The only thing they agree on is that they exclusively wear rectilinear ornaments and that the nomadic character predominates. Turkmenistan In ancient times was crossed by the Silk Road and thus took part in the spread of the art of carpet weaving (see "Pattern Carrying"). In terms of artistic, political and economic development, a distinction must be made between East and West Turkestan; the former leans more towards Chinese culture, the latter more towards India and Asia Minor.

Turmeric = Turmeric from the Zingiberaceae family, an ornamental plant from whose roots a yellow to brown-orange dye is extracted.


Tutash or Tudadj or Ghazan Tutash = small pentagonal knotted doilies with sides about 20 centimetres long, which were joined in pairs and served as pot holders.

Tuz-Torba = the Turkish expressions "tuz" (= salt) and "torba" (= bag) mean that it is a salt bag for nomads.


Uk-Bash = see "Ok-Bash"!

Umbrella rugs = see "Akstafa"!

Unicorn = mythical animal of Chinese origin, often used as a carpet motif.

Unique script = Armenian standard script with 34 individual letters, which is also used for carpet inscriptions on Armenian knotted carpets.

Units of measurement = All in all, there were and still are a variety of measurements for textiles in the Orient. Here are some important ones:

Assyn = 114 cm, still used today in Tabriz for carpets of the Heriz area, a square of assyn is therefore 1.30 m².

Cheirak = 0.25 m²; the usual size designation for a carpet of one m² is "Djahar cheirak". "Djahar" is Farsi and means "four".

Zar = approx. 95 cm; a Zar is therefore around 0.90 m². A carpet with approx. 150 x 100 cm is a "Zar-o-nim".

Ghaliceh or Seccadeh are rugs of approximately 200 x 135 cm.

Ürgüp or Urgüp = town in Cappadocia in central Anatolia, place of origin of small Turkish carpets, mainly brownish-golden or red-orange; some carpets from this place have been made with patterns after the Medjid style (see this). The town is a trading centre for Turkish whole-wool or cotton-based carpets. Until 1970, there was a knotting school in the town where immigrant Turkish women learned to make carpets.

Urumqui or Urumchi = town in Xinjiang, place of origin of contemporary silk carpets with brocaded fields with gold-wrapped threads.

Used carpets = The use of a carpet by walking on it usually makes its pile wool softer, shinier and its light effect stronger. The term "old" or "used" for a solidly made oriental carpet is not a devaluation for experts, but usually the opposite.

Ushak or Oushak or Ushak = town in western central Anatolia; carpets in mostly classical Ottoman designs have been made there since the 15th century. The place is particularly famous for 16th and 17th century knotted works, which used to be erroneously called "Transylvanian carpets". Carpets of this type are often found in paintings by European painters such as Lotto, Holbein and others. Around 1900, Ushak was one of the headquarters of Ziegler & Co; see this! Even today, coarse carpets are made there, but they correspond to today's taste.

Ushak Lotto carpet = The addition of "Lotto" refers to the fact that the specific carpet pattern can be seen in paintings by the 16th century Italian Renaissance painter Lorenzo Lotto, with which the persons depicted were visually distinguished. Carpets described in this way are presumably copied from Lotto's painting and always come from western Anatolia.

Uttar-Pradesh = a province in north-western India and the place of origin of the largest production of contemporary carpets. The most important carpet production sites in India are Agra, Bhadohi and Jaipur.

Uyghurs = ancient East Turkic people who inhabited parts of Xinjiang or East Turkestan; they produced pile and felt carpets for their own use.

Uzbeks = mixed population in Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and northern Afghanistan. The settled Uzbeks in the oasis towns are called "Saren" and are a mixture of different Turkic population groups as well as Turkic Tajiks. Their textile products include a wide range of techniques; their all-wool carpets have long piles and are coloured red, orange and black; the patterns are abstract geometric triangles, rhombuses and squares, often with the ram's horn motif. There are also Uzbek flatweaves.


Vagireh = comes from the Persian term for "copy" or "sample"; means sample or sample carpet. In the past, sample carpets were often woven in sizes of up to 180 x 120 centimetres, but usually smaller, for certain types of carpet, especially bidjars; these showed a corner and the borders.

Valuation criteria = When assessing the market value of carpets, experts examine various valuation criteria in order to provide owners, buyers and sellers with the most objective and up-to-date information possible. These include the texture and quality of the pile material, the handle, the materials of the warp and weft, the drawing and patterning of the piece, its colour type and quality, shape and dimensions, the condition of the edging and finishes of the upper and lower fringes, the type of knot, any patina, the knot pattern on the back, any damage and inscriptions. (See "carpet experts"!)


Van = town near Lake Van in the Kurdish-populated region of Eastern Anatolia. This is where mainly kilims are produced, sometimes woven in two parts and then sewn together.

Vardangun = Iranian place with carpet production in the Chahar Mahall region.

Varzaneh = old central Iranian desert town in Isfahan province. The carpets there mostly have Nain patterns, are knotted with wool and silk of high quality, but are cheaper than the similar pieces offered in the neighbouring towns of Nain or Isfahan; the women of the town also produce flatweaves, especially coloured tablecloths.

Vase carpet = a knotted carpet showing one or more flower vase(s) filled with rich floral decoration; they usually come from Persia, where they originated from the 16th century onwards. Unlike two-dimensional hunting or medallion carpets, which can be viewed from both sides, top and bottom, vase carpets are one-dimensional; if you look at them from the wrong side, the design is upside down. They are divided into several subgroups: Garden carpets, concentric and one-sided patterns, patterns with several medallions, crescent leaf patterns, arabesque patterns and rhombic lattice patterns; the latter are divided into those with a three-dimensional lattice, three-dimensional large leaf lattice, two-dimensional and one-dimensional lattice.

Vat dyeing = In this type of dyeing, natural, washfast and lightfast water-insoluble dyes, which, like e.g. indigo, would only be drawn onto a fibre material in a reduced state without additives, are dissolved from a plant beforehand by a chemical process. The most important vat dyes contain anthraquinone or indigo as a base, some naphthalene or perylene; urine is also occasionally used in vat dyeing. In modern dyeing processes, the dye is applied as a pigment to the dyeing material and vatted onto the fibre material. The name comes from the vat, a dyeing vat in which the dyeing takes place; usually the vat has a heating unit.

Veramin = Iranian village, about 45 kilometres southeast of Tehran. Kurds and Turks who lived in the region produced knotted carpets and flatweaves. The Persian Mina Khani pattern (see this!) is often in use. Old Veramin pieces are highly sought after by collectors. Today, the village is a location of many carpet laundries that used to be in Tehran.


Verneh = Caucasian casting technique practised by nomads and rural peasants in northern Persia and the Caucasus.


Village carpets = Typical for them is that they often have smaller formats than manufactory carpets, are usually knotted without a pattern, the corners are rarely harmoniously resolved in terms of pattern, but rather improvised, and multiple irregularities can be seen in the pattern structure or in the representation of individual ornaments. They are made by a sedentary rural population. Both vertical and horizontal knotting looms are used for their production. Vertical knotting implies more uniform knotting and larger formats as a result than is the case with the horizontal knotting looms of nomads. As soon as they settle down, they gradually switch to vertical knotting. Village carpets therefore no longer show the originality of nomadic products, but in most cases have retained their original folk art. The intuition of the weaver is valued above all in village carpets; they are usually not woven according to patterns. The patterns are handed down from generation to generation. Irregularities in pattern and size are not a disadvantage, although Europeans who are so used to precision often see things differently. Crooked carpets are not always a disadvantage. Often it is evidence of the simple way of life and the natural intention of the weavers. It is only important that a carpet lies flat and does not wrinkle. This can usually be remedied by professional stretching.


Vine leaves = produce a yellow dye for dyeing carpet yarns that resembles autumn apple leaves.

Vintage look = trimmed to look old and shabby, often large-format new textiles or carpets that look worn and ancient and fit in with the shabby fashion and clothing trend of the beginning 21st century; see also "Shabby-chic". Old worn-out carpets are often completely shaved off, also cut into pieces and sewn together again, so that they fit the fashionable vintage wave.

Viscose = a textile fibre chemically produced from cellulose (wood), also called "rayon", which has also entered carpet production instead of natural silk; since it is produced from naturally occurring products, it is not strictly speaking a synthetic material; see "artificial silk".


Wagireh = see "Vagireh"!

Walnut shell = green shells of the walnut yield a natural brown dye after fermentation in water.

Wan = see "Chinese grid".

War carpets = artistic knotted products from countries in which prolonged armed conflicts have taken place or are taking place, such as Afghanistan or Pakistan. The patterns of these carpets often show maps of the war zones, depictions of weapons, war equipment, the number of kills and the names of the belligerents.

Warp = the taut yarns on the tying loom through which the tying yarn is looped and fastened into individual knots. Above the knots and across the warp, after the entire width of the warp is covered with knots, the weft is pulled and beaten tightly onto the knots with a comb (daragh). The fringes of a carpet are the extended warp, which are cut off at a predetermined length. The length of the fringe is individual and has nothing to do with the value of the object in question.

Wau = means for the yellowing of wool. Dyer's dew (Reseda luteola) was for a long time the most widely used natural dye, because the whole herb can be used for dyeing; the flowers, however, give the purest and most concentrated dye. It was used throughout the Orient.

Waziri = pattern used in Afghan carpets and attributed to Western tastes. It consists of a non-traditional octagonal gül and may include a rectangular motif on four sides of the gül; it is used in Ersari rugs.

Weave = crossing of threads or yarns within a fabric; in knotted carpets the horizontal weft threads are bound with the vertical warp threads; experts call this "plain weave".


Weaving beam = the part of a weaving or knotting loom that holds the finished raw carpet.

Weaving loom = the most important technical prerequisite for carpet production, which developed from the earliest nomadic tribes via various court manufactories to today's technical high form and have significantly supported the fineness as well as the artistic perfection of carpets. There are vertical and horizontal looms; see also "knotting loom"!

Weaving shed = technical term used in carpet making. It is the space created in the weaving loom using cross bars so that the weft thread(s) can be pulled across the warp threads after each full row of knots.

Weft = this is the name given to the transverse threads of a knotted carpet which are inserted into the "shed" between the finished rows of knots. Often there are one or two, occasionally up to four weft threads; these are beaten against the preceding row of knots with a comb tool to strengthen the carpet; see also "Daragh".

Weramin = see "Veramin"!

Whey = watery part of milk which, when mixed with madder, gives a specific pink colour used mainly for dyeing the pile wool of Sultanabad carpets.

White = The colour white is mostly represented in carpets by the natural colour of sheep's wool or cotton. However, this colour can also be achieved by bleaching the yarn. In some pile carpets, however, bleached wool becomes brittle. To bring out the white in pile carpets, cotton or silk is sometimes woven in instead of the wool.

Wiss = small western Persian town on the road from Arak to Isfahan; there is a weaving loom in almost every house, where robust carpets of medium quality are made. Their central field usually has a dominant hexagon as a medallion, vertically accompanied by two precisely executed hooked diamonds; the ground is often dyed with red vegetable dyes from madder root; this contrasts with the light gold and royal blue of the filling motifs; the border consists of rosettes and palmettes.

Woad = natural dye, contains the indigo precursor isatin B, an indoxil derivative.

Wool = natural animal wool from sheep, camels/dromedaries or goats is used in carpet production just as much as vegetable cotton. In modern carpets there is often a combination of both, whereby the warp threads are often, the weft threads sometimes made of cotton, while the knotting threads are usually made of animal wool. Sheep's wool from colder regions is softer and better than that coming from warm regions; wool from higher regions is better than that from low-lying ones. Wool from younger sheep is softer and more supple than that from older ones; see also "mohair" and "goat's wool"!

Woolen fabrics = see "Felt".

World tree = revered sacred sign as well as an oriental symbol for long life, especially the


Woven border = see "border".

Woven Legends = Brand name of an American-Turkish company that brought about a renaissance of oriental carpet culture in the 1990s under Georg Jevremovich and is based in the USA.

Wrap wefts = A type of fabric consisting of a warp and a continuous weft; it is decorated in a pattern-forming manner during manufacture and by additional coloured weft threads looping around two or more warp threads parallel to the continuous weft and running back on the reverse side by at least one pair of warp threads, then looping around a number of pairs of warp threads again. This technique, also called cicim, is used in the production of transport and storage bags. (See also "Soumak"!)


Xi = Chinese character that is considered a symbol of happiness; it is occasionally used in the patterns of Chinese carpets; a doubling of this character prophesies marital happiness.

Xinjiang or Sinkiang = see "East Turkestan"!

Yagcibedir = name of village carpets made in the vicinity of Balikesir and Bergama in northwestern Anatolia; the dominant colours are dark blue and red; the usual patterns are hexagonal medallions with stepped ends filled with geometricised flowers, and prayer rugs with stepped mihrabs filled with eight-pointed stars. Contemporary carpet designs include copies of eagle kasaks; narrow runners with stylised flowers on a dark blue field are also made in Yagcibedir.

Yagubchani = Iranian tribes in the Beludj area.

Yahyali = name of the carpets from Ürgüp, a place in Central Anatolia between Nigde and Kayseri in Cappadocia. The carpets from this place usually have a format of 180 by 110 centimetres and a density of 160,000 knots per square metre. Warp, weft and knotted threads are made of sheep's wool, which used to be dyed with natural dyes. From the second half of the 20th century onwards, mostly synthetic dyes are used, the recipe of which is kept secret. Yahyali rugs are predominantly red, blue and graduated brown and often have a red central hexagonal field with a multi-stepped pole diamond in the middle; in the middle of this sign is a gül as a family sign. In the second half of the 20th century, such carpets were produced in large numbers for export; old Yahyali are rare.

Yalameh or Yahlame = Iranian village rugs produced in the region southeast of Chahar Mahal. They contain Qashgai, Luren and Khamseh motifs; the three stacked interlocked rhomboid medallions are typical; the colours are lighter than those of most carpets from southwestern Iran. Yalameh carpets are relatively finely woven and many have larger formats. The rectangular or oblique hooked motifs on borders or edges of the medallions are dominant.

Yaprak = Turkish expression for "leaf".

Yarkand = city in East Turkestan, called "Shache", on the Yarkand River about a third of the way between Kashgar and Khotan. Yarkand produced fewer knotted works than the two cities mentioned above; ancient East Turkestan carpets with pomegranate and vase designs are attributed to Yarkand, but this is disputed.

Yarlung drumze = the name of the oldest Tibetan chessboard carpet; see "Chessboard carpet"!

Yarn = Carpet yarns are spun from long-fibre sheep's wool, cotton or silk; rarely from camel or goat wool, even more rarely from hemp or jute.

Yastik = means "cushion" in Turkish; their tops are often used as cushions; these small Anatolian rugs are about 90 x 60 centimetres and are mostly used as cushions.

Yatak = Turkish term for "sleeping rug" or "bed cover". The name comes from the Turkish "yatak", which means "bed" in German. They are carpets with a high pile that gives warmth.

Yazd or Yezd = city in central Iran where the Zoroastrian faith dominates. There, a carpet industry set up by traders from Tabriz produces knotted works that often resemble those from Kirman.

Yerakhoran = ancient Armenian prayer rugs that serve as models for new carpet designs in the country today.


Yerevan = capital of Armenia; city with carpet weaving school, carpet production and carpet trade; see "Armenia"!

Yeylaq = Persian term for the summer residence of nomads, often also for the summer pastures of Iranian nomadic tribes.

Yildiz or Olduz = Turkish word for "star".

Yin Yang = an oriental - Chinese, Tibetan, Turkmen - sign or a term for the universal polarisation of all things in Chinese philosophy. It is a circle divided into two halves by a snake line. The black and white parts symbolise female and male gender, good and evil, material and spiritual, sun and moon. This expresses that both principles are related to each other, oppose each other, but do not fight each other but complement each other. This symbol is often quoted on Chinese carpets.

Yolami = Turkmen tent or yurt ribbons up to 16 metres long, which is attached between the felt and the frame to stabilise and decorate the tent; the word comes from Turkish and means "way". It is either knotted and shows mystical elements on a white background or they are pure flatweaves.

Yoluk = "Yol" in Turkish is "the way", so also galleries or runners.

Yomud = see "Jomoud"

Yomudic Göklen or Goklan = Turkmen tribe living mainly in the Iranian border area and marketing their carpets via Iranian places, e.g. via Gorgan or Gonbad-i-Kabus.

Yük = transportable textile household items of the nomads, especially bedding.

Yüncü = Turkish nomadic tribe in northwestern Anatolia; near Balikesir; kilims with simple, bold to archaic patterns in the main colours red and blue come from there.

Yuntdagh = mountainous area in Turkey, south of Bergama in western Anatolia; people of Turkmen descent live there and make brightly coloured carpets with geometric patterns that have a Caucasian feel. The DOBAG project (see this!) was started there.

Yurt = see "yurt".

Yurt or Yurte = round tent of the Turkmen; in Turkish the word "Yurte" means something like "home", in Turkmen "house" (= öy), in Russian "Kibitka".

Yürüken = "yürümek" means "wandering" in German. Since the 16th century AD, it has been a Turkish term for the pastoral nomads of Anatolia, who call themselves wanderers and identify themselves with other Anatolian tribes. They are believed to be of Turkmen origin. The Yürüks practised or practise mountain nomadism. Their knotting and weaving techniques extend to carpet weaving, broche weaving, sumakh weaving and cloth weaving; all these textiles are made with wool and have rectilinear patterns.


Z = carpet motif, which is a symbol of light.

Zabol or Zabul = capital of the south-eastern Iranian province of Seistan, near the border with Afghanistan. The carpets of this area are made by the Beludjen.

Zaman = Bakhtiari field carpet woven in the Chahar Mahal area of Iran; the fields are rhomboid; see "Bakhtiari".

Zandjan or Zanjan = capital of the province of the same name in the Iranian part of Azerbaijan, situated on the main road from Tehran to Tabriz. Instead of the old handicrafts, traditional Kurdish carpets are now produced in the city, also somewhat cheaper Bijar carpets; furthermore, so-called silk Ghom come from this city.

Zar = Persian name of an obsolete measure of length, still in use today, about 104 centimetres; this corresponds to 16 Gereh; see this!

Zara = Turkish village in eastern Anatolia near Sivas; carpets with patterns of ornate vertical stripes are produced there; older Zara carpets were very finely knotted on a wool ground; there are complex meanders or vertically arranged boteh in each stripe.

Zarand = district in northwestern Iran; it is considered the place of origin of kilims woven on a cotton ground using special techniques that allow the addition of strong vertical stripes in the design; this suggests Caucasian influences.

Zardjarak = size designation for carpets with an area of about half a square metre.

Zaronim = means one and a half tsar; an old Persian measure of area that is still used today for carpet descriptions. One and a half tsars are about 1.6 square metres.

Zeywa = place in the Caucasus, formerly with carpet production.

Ziegler = Name of a type of carpet designed by Ziegler & Co in Manchester, founded by a Swiss, and produced between 1885 and 1930 first in Ushak in Turkey and then in Arak (Sultanabad) as well as in subsidiary manufactories. They were rather coarsely woven, mostly decorated with generously drawn floral ornaments, always in light colours and mainly intended for the European and American markets. The new carpet type "Choobi" or "Djubi", which emerged around the year 2000 due to initiatives by European and American wholesalers, are often offered under this name.

Zigzag = a border motif in a sawtooth pattern; it is considered a symbol of water and eternity.

Zile = Caucasian place in the Black Sea area with carpet production; see "Sileh"!

Zill-i Sultan = often used pattern of repeating vases and floral tendrils; according to the Arabic expression "shadow of the ruler", this was understood to mean a Qajar prince named Masud Mirza, who administered the southern provinces of Iran in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Zirkhaki = pattern often used in qum (kum) rugs that resembles a mosaic by juxtaposing a great many tiny floral motifs.

Zollanvari = This south-east Persian carpet-making family has been trying to push nomadic carpets from the city of Shiraz since 1990. Since then, Reza Zollanvari has created various knotted, woven and embroidered products that have catapulted the company to the top of Persian carpet production. As a world brand, carpets of the Gabbeh region were created; they captivate with their simple choice of colours and improvised patterns, which have become an important Persian export article. Zollanvari products have won several international awards.

Zoroastrianism = religion founded by Zarathustra (or Zoroaster) between 1800 and 600 BC in the eastern Iranian highlands, in what is now northern Afghanistan, and based on ancient Indo-Iranian traditions. The Iranian city of Yazd - see this - is the centre of Zoroastrianism in Persia.


Vienna, 29 April 2021                                                                                    Ernst A. Swietly


The author of this directory of technical terms, definitions, measurements, artistic, craft, geographical, trade and historical facts in the worldwide carpet industry owns all rights for all forms of its media exploitation that introduce the terminology of the artisan product carpet. Ernst A. Swietly is a freelance journalist and writer in A-1160 Vienna, Ribarzgasse 12, Mail: swietly.press@aon.at, Mobile: +43 676 53 089 52. With Fritz Langauer, senior partner of ORITOP GmbH in 2345 Brunn am Gebirge, Austria, he has written the illustrated handbook "The handmade Carpet – a comprehensive Guide to Contemporary Rugs". This book has been published by HALI Publishing, London, 2019 in English and German (ISBN978-1-898113-64-5). Swietly is a member of the TKF (Austrian Society for the Promotion of Textile Art Research), collects carpets, researches, writes and publishes sustainably on current and international carpet topics.