Here is our simple list of key  term. We hope that you will find it useful.

Abrash  A change in shades and hues within a rug. It is very common that authentic handmade rugs display changes in colors because of different strength of natural dye, differences in the dyeing process of hand-spun yarn, or as a result of natural aging.

Allover design A floral or geometric decorative pattern repeated across the field of the rug

Antique A rug that is estimated to be 100 years old or more. In general, the difference between ‘antique’ and ‘vintage’ relates to the age of an item. With respect to rugs, it is commonly assumed that rugs at least 100 years old are antique while rugs that are between 40-80 years old are vintage (or semi-antique).

Antique Wash  A washing technique used to give the rug an aged or worn-out look or used to tone the colors to achieve a more balanced coloration. The antique wash can involve using chemicals  to wash the rug and sun drying to achieve a faded look.

Arabesque A decorative style that includes intricate and interlaced decorative elements with wines and stalks with leaves, buds and flowers. Arabesque decorative elements can be found in both the field and the border of a rug.

Border The design around the edge of the rug that encloses the field. The main border of the rug  is a wide band of repeated design.

Boteh  A teardrop-shaped motif with a curved upper end often used in oriental rugs to represent a leaf or a pinecone. The boteh figure is characteristic of the Paisley pattern.

Distressed The faded, age-worn look that textiles acquire over time. It is possible to find distressed rugs that have naturally become faded through use and time, however, some vintage rugs have been carefully ‘distressed‘ through shearing, washing and sun drying. 

Field The portion of the rug enclosed by the border. The field maybe be empty or contains design elements like medallions, field repeats and filler motifs.

Field repeat A decorative motif containing small elements systematically or randomly placed to fill the field of the rug

Filler motifs Small decorative elements including flowers, animals, geometric forms often used around a medallion

Flatweave A fabric woven without knots by interlacing warp (vertical) and weft (horizontal) threads. In contrast to knotted carpets, flatweave rugs do not have a pile. 

Foundation The combination of warps and wefts in the body of the rug. Warp threads are the vertical threads of the foundation of the rug. Weft threads are the horizontal threads of the foundation.

Fringe The tassel-like ends of a rug extending from the foundation at the ends of a rug and are called warp threads. 

Herati pattern A repeated motif consisting of a flower in a diamond shape with curving leaves outside and parallel to the sides of the diamond

Hue Color from the visual spectrum or a combination of colors

Paisley pattern A decorative design using the boteh or buta teardrop-shaped motif with a curved upper end. Of Persian origin, the paisley design became popular in Europe in the 18th century.

Kilim A flatwoven tapestry or rugs

Knot The basic structural unit of the pile rug, knots vary according to local and tribal weaving traditions, with the two main types being symmetrical (Turkish) and asymmetrical (Persian) varieties.

Knot ratio Vertical knot count divided by horizontal knot count. The number of knots per square inch is used to assess the rug quality.

Kufic A border design derived from Arabic calligraphy

Medallion A large decorative motif often at the center of the rug field, commonly shapes include diamonds, octagons and hexagons.

Motif A prominent and distinctive component of a design

Overdyed A rug that has been dyed after it has been made. This process can be used to change the color of a rug, to even out the color of a rug that has faded over time, or to add a new layer of protection.

Oushak Rugs named after the city and province of Usak in Turkey, a major center of rug production from the early days of the Ottoman Empire. Modern Oushak rugs are characterized by a large-scale floral design.

Pile The rug pile is the height of the fibers that make up a rug. It is measured from the backing of the rug to the top of the fibers. Rug pile can range from very short to very long, and it can affect the look, feel, and durability of a rug. 

Vintage  Rugs that are between 40-80 years old are vintage (or semi-antique).