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Rugs and Carpets Throughout Ancient History

As long as we have had floors to walk on and rooms to live in, there have been carpets and rugs to keep us cosy.

In this article, the John Frederick team will be tracking the history of rugs all the way back to 1000 BC, helping you build a better picture of how they have evolved throughout the ages.

The difference between carpets and rugs

Before we get into the history, we thought it best to delineate the differences between carpets and rugs.

While used interchangeably by some, the main difference between carpets and rugs is that rugs are essentially floor coverings that aren’t actually fastened to the floor and don’t necessarily cover the whole floor, and they also tend to have a looser, shaggier pile.

Carpets, on the other hand, tend to have a tighter pile and are bonded with the floor.

Tribal beginnings

While you could argue that the first proper carpet was the Pazyryk carpet from Armenia, animal hides and skins have been laid on floors to provide warmth for millennia.

For example, studies suggest that nomadic tribes stretching as far back as 5000 BC used specific weaving techniques with camel and goat hairs to create rug-like floor coverings.

Pazyryk and ancient carpets

The first true carpet reported to exist was the Pazyryk carpet. Found in Siberia in 1949 but originating from Persia/Anatolia in 700 BC or before, this carpet stood apart from all rug-like creations before it because it bore all of the hallmarks of a modern day carpet, namely: an intricate design woven onto the surface, a proper weaving system and beautiful colours.

Unlike the plush, comfortable carpets of today, ancient carpets were less focused on softness and warmth and more about telling a story.

Carpets were often used as canvases for depictions of kings and battles and were given as gifts to royalty.

In ancient Mongolia, for example, a beautiful rug would often be placed in the tomb of a fallen leader or warrior. In the Middle East, however, carpet making was more a home pursuit where families would weave rugs to use themselves.

Persian rugs and carpets

Persia (ancient Iran) is known for its beautiful carpets. The art of weaving and dying has been passed down through generations and the quality is unparalleled.

Persian rugs are often created using the Senneh knot, also known as the Turkish knot.

It’s a strong, intricate weave which is perfect for thicker carpets and allows for richer designs.

Today, it’s easy to see just how important carpets are to Iranian society. All of the popular carpet shops are located close to each other, and out on the streets you can see vehicles loaded with carpets on the way to bazaars.

Millions of people in Iran are involved in the carpet industry in some way, shape or form, whether that’s through raising sheep, spinning, dyeing, weaving or selling.

John Frederick is London’s leading carpet cleaning specialist. With over 90 years of experience in the industry, a dedicated team of experts and a range of high-quality machinery at our disposal, we are more than capable of breathing new life into any carpet. For more information about our carpet cleaning services, or if you would like to book carpet cleaning with us, all you have to do is get in touch today and a member of our friendly team will be there to help.

John Frederick is based in Hendon, but provides cleaning services throughout the Greater London area, including Chelsea, Kensington, Ascot & Weybridge. John Frederick’s are expert carpet, upholstery, curtain & blind cleaners. They also supply a wide range of curtains & blinds and carpet & flooring options to customers throughout London.

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