All posts by John Ahdoot

How To Clean An Oriental Rug: A Complete Guide

Oriental rug owners love and appreciate the unique beauty their carpet offers their home.
Whether hung as a piece of artwork or placed on the floor to add warmth to a room, antique Persian and Oriental rugs add a one-of-a-kind personality wherever they are found.

However, Oriental rugs must be cleaned frequently. Just like other fabrics within a home, Oriental rugs are prone to:

  • Spots and stains.
  • Imperfections from foot traffic.
  • Accumulation of pet dander.
  • Buildup of dust, dirt or pollen.
  • Infestation of dust mites, mold or fungi.
  • And more.

What’s more, their unique composition and delicate nature necessitate proper Oriental rug cleanings. These ensure than an antique rug’s colors remain vibrant and that the Oriental rug remains in immaculate condition for many years.

Oriental Rug Cleaning Dog pet Dander

Why Should You Get An Oriental Rug Cleaning?

An antique oriental rug cleaning is instrumental in keeping your Persian rug beautiful and in pristine condition for many years. Just like other valuable items within your home, caring for your Oriental rug properly will preserve its appearance and usage long-term.

However, many antique, Oriental and Persian rugs are composed of unique fibers and dyes – many of which derive from natural sources. Therefore, professional Oriental rug cleanings should be performed regularly and by a team of certified Oriental rug cleaning experts.

In fact, certified antique rug cleaners – like Ahdoot Oriental Rugs – are well-versed in caring for delicate Oriental rugs. Plus, they use the proper Persian rug cleaning tools and materials, removing shampoos and products effectively. This reduces potential allergens and minimizes the damage that can be done to Oriental rugs via water or other products.

How To Clean Oriental Rugs

How To Clean An Oriental Rug

There are a few tips to ensure your Oriental rug is cleaned safely and effectively.

1. Spot Clean Your Oriental Rug

Small blemishes, spots and stains can be safely spot-cleaned at home! Simply dilute mild rug clean in lukewarm water and gently spot clean with a soft washcloth or soft sponge.

However, large stains and complete Oriental rug cleanings should always be performed by professionals like Ahdoot Oriental Rugs.

2. Vacuum Your Persian Rug Thoroughly

Just like any carpet or fabric furniture, your Oriental rug should be vacuumed completely before it is cleaned.

The best professional Oriental rug cleaners, such as Ahdoot Oriental Rugs, will perform this task for you. They have access to the best vacuum cleaners that remove hair, dust, dirt, and allergens while maintaining the integrity of the Persian rug.

3. Experts Will Clean Your Oriental Rug

After the Oriental rug is vacuumed, professional antique rug cleaners will wash your Persian rug with a mild soap.

Although some antique rug owners may attempt to perform their own Oriental rug cleaning with a mild detergent, it’s in their best interests to find a reputable and certified Oriental rug cleaning company and allow them to complete the cleaning.

Those professionals understand how to care for delicate fabrics and antique rugs – and that expertise will ensure your Oriental rug is returned to you completely clean and in excellent condition.

4. Lay The Rug Flat To Dry

After the rug is cleaned, professional Oriental rug cleaners will lay the Persian rug flat to air dry.

By prioritizing flat airdrying, expert rug cleaners ensure that every Oriental rug dries smoothly and that the fibers are protected. This enables Oriental rugs to have a longer life with their owners.

Bonus Tip: Check Your Oriental Rug’s Label Before Performing Any Antique Rug Cleaning Service

This may seem like an obvious step, but it is surprisingly one that many people forget. Before you do anything to your Oriental rug, check to see if it has a label or instructional care guide and, if so, read it thoroughly.

These instructions may provide insight into how to spot clean your rug or what fibers and dyes make up the Oriental rug. This can be extremely helpful for professional Oriental rug cleaning.

Why You Should Choose Ahdoot Oriental Rug Cleaning Services

Ahdoot’s Oriental rug cleaning experts are certified in antique, Persian and Oriental rug care. They know not to use astringent products and heavy machinery. Instead, they offer gentle hands-on care and cleaning to each Oriental rug.

In addition, Ahdoot Oriental Rugs also uses non-toxic 100% organic rug cleaning products. These completely biodegradable detergents and products expand each Oriental rugs’ lifespan while cleaning them fully and effectively.

Our plant-based Oriental cleaning products and techniques are also ideal for households with children, pets or people prone to allergies and asthma. They drastically reduce triggers and pathogens.

Are you searching for a professional Oriental rug cleaning company in New York, New Jersey, Florida or beyond? Contact Ahdoot Oriental Rug Cleaning to learn more about our New York City, New Jersey, and Florida rug cleaning services HERE or call us at 212-290-8484.

Plus, learn more about our Persian, Oriental & Antique rug cleaning services, Persian & Oriental rug repair services, and Persian & Oriental rug appraisal services.

Priceless Tapestry Possibly Owned by Henry VIII Discovered in NYC

In late 2016, Professor Mary Beard began her search for an image of King Henry VIII’s treasured Caesar tapestry collection while preparing for an upcoming lecture. However, the Cambridge lecturer and Newnham College fellow was shocked when she stumbled across a possible original – worth millions of dollars – that was located in a New York City rug gallery just a short time later.

According to Ms. Beard, the tapestry, which may date as far back as the late 1500s, appears to contain the same design work and antiquity as the original masterpiece. However, since the tapestry went missing centuries after the monarch’s death in the mid-16th century, she was surprised to not only discover the rare piece available for purchase online, but tucked away in a NYC rug shop thousands of miles away from where it originated.

Speaking to The Times, Professor Beard spoke of the experience, “I was searching for an image for a lecture and I put ‘Caesar tapestry’ into the search engine and saw it on Google images.”

Recognizing the potential historical significance of her discovery, and its relationship to a larger tapestry collection, the lecturer remarked on its value, both during the period it was manufactured, and today, saying, “They were colossally valuable. They were the most prized possessions of the royal household. When the property of Charles I was inventoried after his execution, these tapestries were the second most valuable thing in the whole of the royal collection.”

Measuring 25 ft. in length and more than 9 ft. in height, the tapestry likely took artists several years to design and weave the masterpiece that portrayed Caesar crossing the Rubicon in 49 BC – a noteworthy event during the early days of the Roman Empire.

Yet its authenticity was still in doubt.

Nevertheless, even the director of the Institute of Digital Archaeology, Roger Michel, is convinced the tapestry could be authentic, despite his amazement at its unusual finding. Speaking on how it could have been lost and eventually exchanged hands, Mr. Michel remarked, “The existence of the Henry VIII set is as well documented as it could possibly be.

“They are recorded in inventories and also in paintings, but after about 1820 they just disappear to the four winds. Where did they go, how could they possibly have been sold off without anyone knowing?”

Offering up one scenario of how this may have occurred, Mr. Michel continued, “One possibility is there are frequent references to tapestries being sent for repair or rehanging and perhaps they were never collected.”

Since the discovery, Ms. Beard has said in her blog that she believes the tapestry to be a replica of the original, as many replicas of these famed tapestries were produced at roughly the same time as the originals. Yet, if it is indeed found to be authentic, the Caesar tapestry could turn out to be one of the most monumental discoveries in the world of handmade rugs and textiles over the past few decades.

5 Interesting Facts About Handmade Rugs (and a Bonus Fact!)

Handmade rugs have enjoyed a long history that, according to many experts, spans thousands of years and across countless cultures around the world. In a sense, these rugs have threaded their way through much of mankind’s history, coming together into a stunning tapestry of the evolving beliefs, stories and challenges of us as a people.

Yet, from the earliest handmade textiles of Peru to the ancient floor coverings of Persian nomads, some facts about handmade rugs have not only stood out, but also stood against the test of time –and enlightened those that consider themselves rug enthusiasts.

Here are just a few facts about handmade rugs that we found the most interesting.

1. Edgar Allan Poe

In an essay on interior decorating in 1840, the American author Edgar Allan Poe said about handmade rugs, “A carpet is the soul of the apartment.” For a writer who wrote such works as “The Tell-Tale Heart” and “The Raven”, the exposition couldn’t have been more unusual – yet it likely inspired such modern-day film icons as The Dude from the movie “The Big Lebowski”.

2. Rugs vs. Carpets

Unless you’ve been in the rug business for some time, few know the distinct difference between a rug and a carpet. However, while some areas of the world might disagree, the American floor covering industry has designated any carpet larger than 40 sq. ft. (or roughly 6’ x 9’) as a carpet, with anything smaller than these dimensions receiving a rug classification.

3. Camel Hair

In antique handmade rugs, it wasn’t unusual for camel hair to be used extensively throughout the weaving process. This has changed in recent times, however, due to the unpleasant smell camel hair gives off when it’s exposed to warm and moist environments, which has made it far more scarce in the production of modern Oriental, Persian and Turkish rugs.

4.  Antique Appreciation

In 2013, the collective jaws of rug lovers around the world dropped at the news of a carpet being sold at auction for $33.8 million dollars. Owned and stored away for decades by the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the Clark Sickle-Leaf Carpet (a 17th century Kerman carpet measuring 8’ x 6’) was expected to rake in about $15M at Sotheby’s auction, but surprised everyone by more than doubling the high estimate – and blew away the previous record holder, which had been sold for $9.6 million in 2010.

5. For the Love of Weaving

Depending on a rug’s knot count, the intricacy of its design, and the number of weavers involved in its production, a quality handmade rug can take artist(s) anywhere from a few months to several years to complete. Machine-made rugs, on the other hand, are usually assembled in a matter of hours, making them far less valuable and sought after by collectors.

BONUS FACT: Another Record-Breaker

Just a decade ago in 2007, the Iran Carpet Company set up an extraordinary feat by commissioning 9 groups of weavers to produce the largest carpet in the world. Measuring over 60,000 sq. ft. in total – or larger than a professional football field, including the end zones – the carpet was assembled in 9 separate pieces before it was installed in the Abu Dhabi mosque. What’s even more interesting about this enormous piece? While it was being assembled, pieces had to be removed in order for it to fit, which totaled another 4,000+ sq. ft.

Ahdoot is pleased to offer a wide range of services beyond rug curation and sales, including rug cleaning, rug appraisal and rug repair. You can also explore our long history as rug specialists in NYC by visiting here, or contact us directly by visiting our store or by phone.

Oriental Rug Designs: The Tree of Life

Of all the motifs used over the centuries in Oriental rugs, one design stands out among the others, not only for its impactful theme, but also due to a long history that spans numerous cultures and geographical areas.

Known today as the Tree of Life, the design has played a central role in the arts for millennia, showing up in everything from pottery and mosaics to paintings and other handcrafted items. And while its exact origins are unclear, with some researchers saying it dates as far back as the Mesopotamian era, the design can be found threaded through the religious and secular histories of ancient peoples the world over.

Ahdoot Rugs Tree of Life 2

The Spiritual History of the Tree of Life

Though the finer details of the design vary slightly from region to region, and religion to religion, most cultures generally agree on the Tree of Life’s representation as a symbol of creation.

In early Persian mythology, we find the Tree of Life called the Gaokerena, a sacred Haoma tree containing all the seeds necessary for giving life the world. Ancient Egyptians similarly recognized the tree as a symbol of the events that led to everything coming into existence.

Even Buddhists revere the Tree of Life as the very Bodhi where Siddhartha Gautama attained Englightenment. While in Chinese mythology, the Tree of Life came to represent a path to immortality, where tales of a fruit-bearing tree guarded by both a phoenix and dragon produced a single peach every 3,000 years, and upon being eaten, granted the recipient eternal life.

Much of these early iterations of the Tree of Life go as far back as thousands of years BCE, yet they remain essentially unchanged in the two thousand years since—and right up to present day.

Ahdoot Rugs Tree of Life

As Christianity began to develop, the tree came to represent immortality in the Biblical account of the Garden of Eden, where Adam and Eve lived in a state of non-corruption. Since that time, the tree has become part of the environment where God himself lives, and where followers hope to dwell in the afterlife.

Like Christianity, Islam’s story of the Tree of Life can be found in the Quran. Known as the Tree of Immortality, Christian and Muslim stories clearly overlap in both themes and importance, with the tree representing Adam and Eve’s means of expulsion from the Garden, and the beginning of mankind.

Though there are numerous other accounts of the Tree of Life throughout various religions and cultures, the common theme among them is its depiction as a meaningful spiritual symbol. Whether in the Americas, Europe, China or the Middle East, the Tree of Life’s story has been adapted in one way or another across hundreds of generations—and just as many traditions.

10 Instagram Accounts Every Rug Lover Should Follow in 2017

Though Facebook may have pioneered the social media movement, sites like Instagram and Pinterest have cultivated quite a following from people searching for inspiration through stunning imagery. For the rug lover in particular, Instagram contains some of the most unique rug-related snapshots in the world, providing access to cultures and trends from inside the U.S. and beyond.

After careful consideration, we’ve compiled our own collection of Instagram accounts worth following in 2017—whether you’re looking for design ideas, or just enjoy the beauty of Oriental rugs.

Oriental Rug Instagram 1


Every Instagram list needs at least one account centered around pets. Fortunately, in addition to being a treasure trove of cat photos, this account also features numerous Oriental and Persian rugs, creating an aesthetic that will delight both cat lovers and rug enthusiasts alike.

Oriental Rug Instagram 2


Nothing showcases a designer’s handiwork better than Instagram, where you can view a wide range of before and after pictures that may serve as inspiration in your own home or office. From modern to traditional design, this account captures the true essence of Oriental rugs in your interior.

Oriental Rug Instagram 3


While it may not be heavy on Oriental rug images, the textiles and clothing designs are certainly inspired by the same cultures—and many times the same treatments—as handmade carpets. Like most rug enthusiasts, Haley has a profound love for color, as evidenced by her imagery.

Oriental Rug Instagram 4


When having a rug in your home isn’t enough, Eunoia Collections offers incredibly unique gifts drawn from Oriental rug designs. Whether you’re looking for a phone case, mouse pad or a stylish pair of shoes for a fun event, this rug-inspired collection is guaranteed to amaze.

Oriental Rug Instagram 5


A world traveler who appears to spend a great deal of time in Asian and Middle Eastern countries, Lillia Jolie shares dramatic images from cultural hotspots, secreted hideaways and the local artistry of the indigenous peoples she frequently visits.

Oriental Rug Instagram 6


A NYC interior designer, Vanessa bridges the gap between contemporary and time-honored designs, creating immaculate interiors that are often centered around Oriental rugs. If your own home needs a little design TLC, we recommend letting her peruse our rug inventory in person, then letting her artistic genius take over.

Oriental Rug Instagram 7


An appreciator of fine design elements, Atelier scours location after location for the most suitable accoutrement, before creating an elegant, comfortable atmosphere for any interior. Of course, this usually involves a handmade rug as part of its overall aesthetic.

Oriental Rug Instagram 8


Our last interior designer combines the hominess of New England homes with a Palm Beach flair, building classic interiors that seamlessly flow from floor to ceiling. An added bonus is Meggie’s willingness to display the interior of her own home—which can be a rare find in the design world.

Oriental Rug Instagram 9


Our most prolific explorer on the list, this adventure seeker has crossed numerous countries and continents while sharing her exceptional journeys via Instagram. If you want to expose yourself to an inside look at the places and cultures she visits in 2017, this is a great account to follow.

Oriental Rug Instagram 10


Like other adventurers, Mrs. Plez captures a wealth of imagery from far across the globe, where she visits markets, schools and the busy streets of countless foreign countries. It’s art at its finest—and a wonderful respite from the usual humdrum of social media.

How to Keep a Clean Rug During the Holiday Season

If you own an Oriental rug and you’re planning on having guests over for the holiday season, chances are your carpet will get exposed to more spills, foot traffic and dust than at any other time of the year.

Yet with just a little preparation, and the right information on caring for your rug after your guests have returned home, your rug can maintain its beauty while still being the centerpiece of your holiday gatherings.

Below you’ll find our recommendations on keeping your rug clean during the holiday season and for every moment in between your semi-annual professional rug cleaning.

best vacuum for cleaning rug

Vacuum Regularly

Handmade Oriental rugs are typically made from such natural materials as wool, cotton and silk, which help soak up colors in the dyeing process, but also make them susceptible to the accumulation of dirt and dust. Because of this, it’s important to vacuum your rug frequently to avoid excessive buildup that could damage the fibers and take away from your rug’s look.

Using the proper vacuum for your rug, however, is just as vital as making sure it receives a regular cleaning. If you need help, our blog post on The Best Vacuums for Cleaning Your Oriental Rug will help you decide on the type of cleaner you should be using for your particular rug.

spill on rug

Treat Spills Early

Whether you have one holiday guest or you’re hosting a large holiday party, taking care of rug spills as early as possible will keep your rug looking great through the holiday season and beyond. Yet, just like vacuuming, knowing how and when to treat spills is important, so here are some tips on taking care of everything from cranberry sauce and egg nog to holiday punch and fudge.

First, remember that when it comes to cleaning up spills on your rug, earlier is always better. Once you get started however, be sure to use dabbing or blotting motions on the spill rather than rubbing it into the carpet. Not only will this pull most of the spill out of the rug, but it will also keep you from dissolving the rug’s dyes or ruining its materials in the process.

If a stain is still showing after this kind of treatment, using a bit of cold water on the area will also help bring out the spill before it becomes a permanent stain—just remember to always blot the area instead of wiping.

Oriental Rugs

Use a Rug Protectant

Handmade rugs are a precious investment for many owners, so we’ll often recommend using a rug protectant to keep them looking their absolute best. However, using the right type of protectant is important, as the fibers in Oriental, Persian and Turkish rugs can, at times, become damaged by products that are designed for synthetic materials.

When you begin your search for a rug protectant, look for products that are made specifically for the types of materials used in your rug, namely wool, cotton and/or silk. Then, ensure that the product you choose is also safe for natural dyes to avoid color leeching or a muting of your rug’s palette in any one area. For the best results, apply your rug protectant after your rug has been cleaned by a professional, or we can even apply the protectant for you.

If you’d like more cleaning recommendations or want to schedule a rug cleaning with our experts, please contact us directly for more information. And from everyone at Ahdoot Oriental Rugs, we wish you and your loved ones a Happy Holidays!

4 Reasons Oriental Rugs Make Great Gifts for the Holidays

As we reach the final stretch of 2016, finding the perfect holiday gift for a beloved family member, friend or significant other becomes much more pressing. By now you may have scoured the Internet for unique gift ideas, or gone store-to-store while on the hunt for a gift that captures your appreciation for the other person perfectly—only to come up empty-handed.

If you’d like to leave an indelible impression on your loved one this year, you should definitely consider viewing our large selection of Persian, Turkish and Oriental rugs from around the world, or visit our retail location in New Jersey to view them in person. And here are four great reasons why!


Because Oriental rugs aren’t your average gift idea, your recipient will never expect to receive such an incredibly thoughtful gift during the holiday season. Beyond this, however, buying a rug as a gift shows them you put a tremendous amount of thought into what kind of gift you’d like them to receive—and rugs are gifts that radiate sophistication in every sense of the word.

From the hallways and courts of kings and nobles, to some of the most notable institutions in history, rugs have woven their way through the annals of history, and can now become the centerpiece of your loved one’s home or office.


Every rug tells a story, so an Oriental rug serves as a gift with a narrative attached, which ultimately adds to its value both as an investment and as a conversation piece. Whether you’re selecting a rug made by Afshar villagers in northwestern Iran, or choosing a handmade Spanish rug made by some of the most talented weavers in Europe, your rug will contain a rich tradition that goes back centuries—and in some cases, a millennium or more.

Dog on Oriental Rug


With splendid natural dyes and ornate handiwork, Oriental rugs exhibit some of the most complex craftsmanship and stunning palettes found in the handmade arts. Regardless of whether you’re a connoisseur or first-time rug collector, it’s difficult to overlook the sheen of quality wool, the allure of bold natural dyes highlighted by a rich, natural patina, and the lively designs that spread their way across a rug’s field.


Every handmade Oriental rug is painstakingly manufactured by a single artist, or small group of weavers, who have typically learned the craft from family members or as part of cultural necessity. Because this artistry is handed down from one person to another in this way, rug owners benefit from generation after generation of improvements in technique and skill. While the way a rug is knotted may not change drastically, the ideas leading to the final execution of a rug are always evolving, allowing us to peer into the mind of the artist that produced it, and see the influence of past masters in the work as well.

Ahdoot offers a broad selection of Oriental and Persian rugs perfectly fitting for your home or office. Browse our inventory or visit our showroom to see how we can help you design your perfect interior. We also offer organic rug cleaning services as well as Oriental rug repair to help you get the most out of your carpet.

Oriental Rug Making: A Family Tradition

In many areas of the United States, the leaves have begun to turn from green to shades of autumn, signaling a return to the fall months. It is a time of change for the American landscape, but one that also brings with it the Thanksgiving holiday, steeped in its traditions of family gatherings, and a shared sense of closeness among friends and neighbors.

In keeping with the tradition, today we’ll be looking at the connections created between family members and communities who have enjoyed a long history of Oriental rug making, and the impact Oriental rugs had on their lives and livelihood.

Chinese Weavers

A Global Rug Making Family

With a history that spans thousands of years, well beyond that of many modern-day art forms, Oriental rug making has no concrete origins to draw from. Yet, the tradition among countless tribes and peoples, scattered across such continents as South America, the Middle East, Asia, and elsewhere, gives credence to the notion that handmade rugs have a history distinctly intertwined with tribal and family trees the world over.

Originally the practice grew from an homage to spiritual practices, or for the creation of functional pieces that kept the tents of these largely nomadic weavers comfortable and clean. But as weavers encountered traders, the tradition began its transition from a local activity, to something that helped sustain the lives of weavers, as well as those who supplied these artists with their materials.

Rug making was, and still is, a specialized practice. Still, the marketability of rugs necessarily increased the number of families that produced rugs, as money from their sale began to flow into, many times, poorer homes and communities.

Sheep Shearing

The Rug Family Business

As time wore on, outside traders became much less important to the weavers of Oriental rugs. With material supply chains already in place, as a consequence of needing to keep production costs down and ensure quality, many families eyed the potential of selling their own wares.

A common scenario ensued, where family shepherds, who had tended their flocks for generations, collected and washed their wool before sending it to other family members in nearby villages. From there, the wool would sometimes be washed again prior to its dyeing process, which involved a thorough stockpiling of both flora and fauna that were used to create the bold color palette of Oriental rugs.

Dyed Wool

Now having been dried as long, colored strands, the wool yarns would then make their way to weavers, where they would be stretched, interwoven and knotted across wooden frames—many of which had survived several generations of artists.

For months—and in some cases a year or more—these rugs never left their looms, with some of the most delicately crafted pieces needing as many as 1,000 knots-per-square-inch, and in complex patterns that required careful attention and masterful handiwork.

Loom Production

It wasn’t unusual for several generations to make equal contributions in the manufacturing of a rug, where experienced grandparents may draw the rug’s cartoon from which the design was derived; a middle generation of parents who performed the work of putting the rug together; and the children who stood by, watching, as they learned the craft, and when they were old enough, participated as well.

Once completed, the rugs would be rolled and readied for the market, often traveling by way of horseback or by other means through the winding trade pathways that connected to distant lands. Here, they would eventually be sold by family members living in those cities—and improve the way of life for everyone involved.

Election 2016: Red, White and Blue in Rugs

In the next week, Americans will be voting for their preferred candidate for the office of President of the United States. Since this event only takes place every four years, we thought it was an opportune time to pay homage to the occasion in a unique way by exploring the origins of materials and dyes used in Oriental rugs.

Specifically, we’ll be looking at what types of materials are used in rugs, and how the artists that produce them come to create the natural reds and blues found in many handmade carpets, as well as the natural colorings of the materials themselves. That being said, let’s celebrate this year’s election by digging a little deeper into what makes up the colors of an Oriental rug.

Ahdoot Oriental Rugs Red Carpet

Natural Red Dyes in Rugs

Depending on where a handmade rug is being manufactured around the world, there are a variety of ways that natural, red tints make their way into Oriental, Persian and Turkish rugs.

From the plant kingdom come some of the richest reds in handmade rugs, where the dye is produced by crushing the roots of a vine-like, or “climbing” plant, identified as madder. Known as Rubia tinctoria to botanists, madder has been used to create dyes since prehistoric times, and is found in numerous areas across the globe—even being discovered on linens in Tutankhamun’s tomb and in a written record by Pliny the Elder in Rome.

Other less-utilized plants used in making red dyes include various lichens, henna, munjeet (or Indian madder), bloodroot and a few others. Yet few are as pronounced in the red category as the cochineal insect, where carminic acid is processed from the insect to yield carmine, giving both cotton and wool a deep crimson or scarlet coloring.

Ahdoot Oriental Rugs Cotton

Natural White in Rugs

Just as white symbolizes purity on the American flag, it’s also a symbol of the purity of materials being used in most Oriental rugs.

The most common types of materials you’ll find in handmade rugs are cotton and wool. In the case of cotton, which usually serves as the foundation of modern-day rugs, the material is either cultivated from fields indigenous to the region where the rug is being made, or is procured through purchase or trade in the local markets after coming from other countries.

Naturally white in appearance, cotton is preferred as the rug’s foundation mainly due to its ability to withstand more tension, and its reluctance to shrink unevenly—in direct opposition to wool, which may buckle if not cleaned professionally and then stretched before fully drying to make it lie flat and parallel.

Wool, on the other hand, does offer a white quality when it is being used in rugs, but often requires an extensive washing process to be completed beforehand, allowing its natural luster and lightness to shine through. The quality of the wool also has a profound impact on the clarity of the rug’s whiteness and strength, thus leaving many artists who do high-end rugmaking to seek out wool sellers from countries and villages known for having superior herds.

Ahdoot Oriental Rugs Blue Carpet

Natural Blue Dyes in Rugs

It’s a little unusual that blue, a color found in the visible spectrum, is derived from most of its sources as the color indigo, which lies between blue and purple on the color chart.

Since blue is not usually found among insect life, or is too hard to obtain through sensible processing methods, the color is often derived from plants that contain indigo dye in its natural form. Fortunately for India and Asia, however, the color is readily available from its various indigo-containing species of Indigofera tinctoria plants.

Nevertheless, two related species are also found in Central and South America, known as the Indigofera suffruticosa and Indigofera arrecta plants respectively. And though Europeans have a history of purchasing their natural blue dyes from India, blue-producing plants in the region include woad, which originally came from Assyria and the Levant, but has grown in Northern Europe for well over two millennia.

While other sources exist, these primarily make up the blue tints you’ll find in handmade rugs, sometimes being muted for lighter hues, or boldly utilized for a startling field of navy blue as seen in the rug above.

So, as the election takes place next week, and we place our votes for the President of the United States of America—under one red, white and blue banner—we can also think back to the origins of these colors in our global history, and their direct relation to the art of Oriental rugs.

Celebrate the History of Halloween and Oriental Rugs

As Halloween approaches, those who know their history of the centuries-old holiday and its traditions are reminded of the parallel timeline Oriental rugs have become part of. And it’s these same kinds of traditions, which are then passed on from generation to generation, that only build on the cultural mystique of handmade artistry, and the evolution of the industry itself.

Roughly 2,000 years ago, the Celtic festival of Samhain heralded the end of summer and the beginning of the fall and winter months. It was an annual affair, where the year’s harvest was finally being put to rest, and herdsman gathered their animals and other resources for the long—and many times bitter—months of winter.

Oriental Rug

What began as a meeting between community members, quickly became much more than that. As many began to share their opinions on this special time of year, a notion grew that it was a special time of year—a time when the veil between this world and the spirit world had thinned, and allowed spirits to communicate with mankind.

Though a connection between Samhain and Halloween has never been established, plenty of historians believe they played off each other over the centuries as their traditions became intertwined. Thus, what had eventually evolved into a custom of “souling” during Medieval times, where the poor would go door-to-door on November 1 looking for food in exchange for prayers for dead loved ones, turned into a costumed trick-or-treat session for the children of today.

Antique Persian Rug

Oriental Rugs Then and Now

As the Halloween holiday progressed in its traditions, Oriental rugs also developed greatly over the same 2,000 years, adding their own unique signature on the cultures and traditions they were a large part of.

Like the Samhain festival, rugs were produced as a community, where family groups of herders, artists and helpers combined their talents to produce carpets that explored their history, beliefs and way of life. And just as the traditions of Halloween evolved, so too did the customs of these rug-producing groups, who in the beginning would create rugs as floor coverings, then began selling them as ornamental works of art to traders and curators from cities sometimes thousands of miles away.


Just as with Halloween, rugs eventually became more popular worldwide, and their story became inseparably linked to mass production that at times took away from their handmade character. Yet in some ways, this has been a great transition, as it has spawned a tremendous number of rug enthusiasts over the past century who have moved on from purchasing machine-made rugs, and instead began the search for carpets that encompassed the purity of the handmade arts.

So, while the original meaning behind both Halloween and Oriental rugs has changed since their introduction to the worldwide stage, this evolution has come to define a new era in their long and complex history. And given us a new lens we can use to view the meaning of tradition now and well into the future. And it’s this future, which is tied to thousands of years of the ritualistic and storied nuances that has made the holiday—and the Oriental rug industry—so timeless.

Want to learn more about handmade rugs? Contact us today to speak with one of our specialists, who also specialize in rug cleaningrug appraisal and rug repair.