Rug Glossary

We have tried to explain the most common terms being used in rugs-carpet industry. If you wish to add something more or wish to make any modification, you may always write to us :


A change in the color of the rug due to a difference in the wool or dye batch or say change or variation in the color of a rug due to differences in the wool or dye bath. The effect of abrash is subtle shading differences.

Antique Wash:

A washing technique to make rug look antique.

Antique Reproduction : These are the rugs that are designed and washed in such a way to give antique look.We call this replicas of antique rugs.

Area Rug:

A center pc rug laid on floor is called area rug. These are normally 4x6, 5x8, 6x9 and so on.

Art Leather:

Artificial leather, not real leather.

Artificial Silk:

A man-made fiber to resemble silk, very durable; other names used are rayon and viscose. It is soft to the touch and more affordable than the expensive silk originals . Very commonly called Art.Silk Yarn/Faux Silk.

All-Over Design:

A pattern which is repeated throughout the field. No central medallion is present or to be more clear Rug pattern that is consistent throughout the field of the rug; not featuring a central medallion or border. A herati pattern is a good example for an all-over design.


We call this a design. Aubuson design. Fine flat carpets woven in France from the 15th to 19th Centuries. They were derived from Moorish weaving with the assistance of Architects and Artists of the royal court. A center of French carpet production which began in the mid 17th century. Many tapestry woven rugs were woven in the 18th and 19th centuries and generally those have designs of flowers and bouquets and architectural motifs.

Background color:

This is also called base color. Some times background and base colors are same and are being divided by border. The dominant color in the background of the rug. The most widely used background colors are red, blue, beige, and yellow. These colors range in all shades and hues.


A small district in Uttar Pradesh, India. North Indian 20th century weaving town.


Also called Bidgar, normally a design.


Term popularly used to refer to a natural colored look of carpeting. This style has been developed commercially by carpet manufacturers.


Carpets composed of more than one kind of fiber. Blended wool of Indian wool and Newzealand wool are being used to make a carpet or rug.


A design that surrounds the field in an oriental rug.

Boteh (Persian for "bush") A pear-shaped figure usually used in the field of an all-over repeat layout. There are many versions of boteh from geometric to curvilinear and simple to complex. Boteh has been thought to symbolize a leaf, a bush, a flame, or a pinecone.


The design which forms the outside edge of a rug and surrounds the field. Sometimes colors of Border and Base/Background are same.

Burn Test:

This terst is normally made in case of silk yarn, to check its originality. Sometimes wool are also being passed under this test. A small tuft of fibers from a rug may be burned to test for its content. For example cotton has a vegetable smell when burned. Wool smells faintly like hair. Silk smells distinctly like human hair when burned.

Bukhara (also Bokhara and Bocarra):

Design pattern which typically feature rows of repeating motifs or guls.


Caucasian rugs usually have geometric designs and bright lively colors. Rugs are most frequently doubled wefted and usually woven on either a full wool foundation or on wool warps with cotton wefts. Warps are undyed.

Chemical Dyes:

Modern synthetic dyes used in rugs woven after 1935.


Non-traditional styles of rugs that range from shag and braided rugs to pile-weave rugs with geometric or modern patterns.

Chemical Wash:

The application is done in order to soften the colors, the wool and increase the sheen of the pile.


Blue/red turkoman carpets.

Cloth Backed Rug:

Normally on the back of an Indian handmade tufted rug. This is sticked with latex so that the pile holds.

Chrome Dyes:

Chrome dyes are colorfast (any dye that retains its intensity despite exposure to light and washing), and are produced in an infinite variety of attractive colors and shades. This is Modern synthetic dyes.


Cotton is a natural fiber of great durability and strength. The main material used in the foundation of handmade rugs is cotton yarn. This is the most preferable base adopted in handtufted, handknotted, indo-tibetian, shaggy and such other floor coverings.


These are the main part of the Rug.

Custom made Rugs:

When the rugs are made as per the design, colors and size of particular demand, they are called custom made design rugs.

Cut Pile:

Cut-pile is a smooth finish created by cutting off the tops of the wool loops. The cut loops are then twisted to make tufts of yarn that stand erect, creating a soft even surface. Also known as 'velour' or 'velvet' pile.


The measure by which the quality of the rug's construction is judged. This is determined by two factors: number of knots and the height of the pile in a given area, in case of hanknotted, and tufting line in case of handtufted. The more densely or tightly packed the yarn is, the more luxurious the pile will feel and the better the rug will wear.

Dhurrie (Dhurie):

A floor covering which is flat is called dhurries. India is famous for this floor coverings. These are, usually made of wool or cotton. Type of Kilim.


Dyes are used in coloring pile materials such as wool, silk and cotton. There are two types of dyes: Natural Dyes and Synthetic Dyes. Azo free dyes are also being done, but these are quite expensive than normal synthetic dyes.


When carving is made around any design or symbol to enhance the look of the rug, it is called embossing.

Flat Weave :

A Rug that describes any rug without pile, normally called dhurry or Soumac.


Warps extending from the ends of a rug which are treated in several ways to prevent the wefts and knots from unravelling. Warps extending from the ends of an area rug, which are treated in several ways to prevent the wefts and knots from unravelling. Today, artificial fringe is added to some handtufted rugs, to give a knotted look.

Gabbeh or Indo Gabbeh 5/32 Knots:

In India, it's the design which shows birds/animals with bold abstract patters or nave designs and used to be considered too crude to be worth trading but recently their artistic value has been recognized. Gabeh Design made in India is Indo-Gabeh. Designs made from this knotting system are usually tribal.

Garden Design:

Panel designs throughout the field woven with floral motifs, particularly found in a Persian Bahktiari.


Bijar design.

Germetch (germetsh):

Small pile-weaving, narrow and rectangular in shape, suspended in the tent-entrance on a rod about 25cm. above the ground to keep out dirt and animals. Visually, such weavings are indistinguishable from torbas and according to Azadi in Turkmen Carpets, only four examples are known.

Gol (Gul):

Flower, rose, a name etc.

Gordes (Ghiordes):

West Anatolian town classical prayer rugs.

Gwalior Carpets:

In Gwalior artificial silk rugs are made. These are also called staple carpets.

Hand Spun:

Nomally this is a process done in pile material or say in wool only. This method is used when trying to create unique textured effects.


The most expensive and longest to make, hand-knotted rugs are traditionally made with wool or silk. Various qualities represents the design pattern, density and look.The weaver loops wool or silk around the warps one at a time, creating a thick pile. Cotton yarn is then woven through the warps to hold them together. Rug made by weavers who knot pile yarns around the warp fibers that run the length of the rug. Generally, the more knots per square inch, the more valuable the rug. Generally the cotton yarns are tied off to form a decorative fringe. www.handknotted-rugs.com


Rugs woven on a hand loom. These area rugs are made on a cottage loom that is operated by hand. The warps are set on the loom frame and the weft is physically woven over the warp using shuttles.

Hand-Made Area Rug:

Where a Rug is made totally or majorily with handwork, it is called handmade rug.There are different types of hand-made area rugs: knotted, tufted, hooked, looped and flat weave.

Hand-Tufted :

Hand-tufted rugs are made much like hand-hooked rugs, except that the loops are sheared to create a flat surface. Tufted rugs can be made with combinations of fibers, and offer a great value. This is mostly preferred in todays scenario, being faster production and can have similar design of handknotted rugs at comparatively cheaper rates. The machine is often called a "gun." The rug's pattern is stenciled on primary backing material. After the tufting is complete, a backing is attached to protect and anchor the stitches.

Hard Twist/Cut Pile:

A yarn while spinning is twisted, to give a different effect.

Hooked Rug:

Yarns are pushed through the back of a canvas cloth and pulled back through to form a design.

Hand-hooked Rugs:

Normally the process of handtufted and handhooked are same. With a hooked rug, the loops of yarn are left intact to form a characteristically knobby pile. In a tufted rug, the tops of loops are sheared to expose the ends of the threads for a softer and plusher pile.

Herbal Wash:

This process of washing is achieved by mixing natural herbs in the water. It softens the colors in the area rugs and gives them the antique look.


A design with very common repeated field consists of a flower centered in a diamond with curving leaves located outside the diamond and parallel to each side.


A design which depicts a dominating squarish medallion having pendants attached on both ends. These are being commonly made in Handknotted.

Jute :

A natural fiber made from plants. This fiber is frequently used for warps and pile on flat-woven rugs, such as Jute Cotton and Kilims. Kelims these days are being made with Jute being used as weft and wool as warp. Jute rugs are woven with loop or flat construction, and have become popular for use throughout the home.


A tapestry like woven rug with flat weave and no pile.


A Persian word for a wide runner, for example 6 x 13, 7x20 and so on.


This is short form of Number of knots per square inch.


A knot is formed when wool, cotton or silk yarn is looped around the warp threads.


The basic frame used for weaving. These are different for different patterns of rugs. Two horizontal beams are used to tie the vertical warps and hold them tightly in place. Looms can be vertical, horizontal, fixed or mobile. Vertical looms are used for weavings of large rugs and are stationary. Three or more people can sit side by side and work simultaneously. In case of dhurries horizontal looms are being used. For Shaggy rugs, these looms are useful.Hand Tufted have different size frame, which is called loom in case of handtufted weaving.


Emulsion of synthetic rubber or plastic, used in rug adhesives. These are majorily used in handtufted for cloth to be sticked on back of the rug.

Loop Pile:

During weaving, when the yarn is inserted from back to front side, its being cut by blade in case of handknotted and with handtufting machine in case of handtufted. When the yarn is only inserted without cut, its loop. Loop pile is the same as cut pile before it is trimmed. If we have same color yarn being used for loop pile and cut pile.
The colors will look different.


This is what in normal terms we call shine of rug. This basically depends on kind of wool you use and washing if desired.


A common rug layout where a large centerpiece called medallion is the focal point of the design. This is common pattern of most of the oriental designs.

Nepalese Knot (7/18; 8/22; 9/25; 10.5/48): When the rod has been wrapped for its entire length, a knife is slid along the rod, cutting the wrapped yarn into two rows of pile tufts. In the Indo-Nepal region, where they use this Tibetan technique of knotting (thereby called the "Nepalese knot), rugs are graded using numbers, like "9/25", "7/18", "8/22 or 10.5/48". The top number of the "fraction" represents the knots in 9/10 of an inch of the rug's width. The bottom number represents the knots in 4 1/2 inches of the rug's length. 0.9" x 4.5" equals 4.05", almost four square inches, so an easy conversion would be to multiply the two numbers together and divide by 4 (sq. in.) to get the approximate weave in knots per sq. in. For example, with a "9/25" quality area rug, 9x25=225, and 225/4=56 knots per sq. in. These knotting signifies the quality of rug, by its density. www.tibetan-area-rugs.com


Surface or pile of a rug, it may be even loop or cut.

Natural Rug:

Rugs made of natural fibers that are usually ivory or neutral colored. We have lighther & darker shades in natural yarn with which the rugs are being made.


Two or more yarns spun together. Number of yarns spun together to form a tuft of pile. Measurement of the yarn's thickness.


It consists of yarn individually hand tied around the warp string, which forms the face and body of oriental rugs. Pile may be of wool, wool-silk, polyester as the case may be. Flat weaves do not have a pile.

Pile Height:

Height of the pile, measured by tenths of an inch from the top surface of the rug backing to the top of the pile's surface. Some measure pile height from top of the rug.

Pile Weight:

This signifies the consumption of pile in a rug. Its not just weighing the pile material to determine the weight. Depending upon the case to case pile weight is calculated from the process of yarn opening, dyeing, weaving, finishing. There are lot of wastage to complete these process which are also calculated while taking pile weight.

Prayer Rug:

Kind of small runner of size 3.5x5.5 ft. Prayer rugs historically have been woven for Muslims to pray on. They still serve this purpose, and are also used as regular rugs.

Primary Backing:

Backing in a tufted carpet into which the tufts are inserted. The backing is then bonded with latex on its back side to hold the tufts in place. This is a kind of net cloth which acts as base. Without Secondary backing primary backing cant stand long.

Plain Weave:

Used to describe a weave in which the warp and weft are of equal tension and spacing. On the surface the warp and weft are equally visible.

Programmed Rugs:

These are rugs which are made as per the orders with design, color given by designers.


Persian term for a scatter rug, normally 2 x 3. Means that very small size rugs are called pushti.


Ability of carpet pile or cushion to recover original thickness after being subjected to compressive forces or crushing under traffic. This quality is highly available in woolen yarn.


A very long and narrow rectangular rug. Most runners in today's market are between 2.5 to 3 feet wide and 6 to 20 feet long, and in some cases even longer. They are used as coverings for hallways, stairways, and entrances. For this reason, they are also called Corridor rugs.


A carpet having a high luster, usually produced by a special chemical washing. This also depends upon the wool being used, in case of natural yarn and polyester in case of synthetic yarn.

Secondary Backing:

In tufted carpet, an additional backing is bonded onto the primary backing with latex.This gives good support to rug.


Combing process that removes shorter fibers, resulting in a more lustrous looking yarn. This is the best available quality in wool.

Shag Rug :

Shag or shaggy rug is one and the same thing. Long pile rug which falls from one end to another. The most modern rug, which are made in different textures, with different pile heights. www.shaggy-rugs.com

Silk :

Comes from the cocoon of silkworms. Because it is an expensive fiber, it is less frequently used as a pile material in handmade rugs than wool. www.originalsilk-rugs.com

Synthetic Dyes:

Dyes made chemically beginning in the mid-nineteenth century for dyeing weaving yarns used in rugs.


Plant of the genus Agave that yields a fiber often used for making natural rope. The name sisal is used for both the plant and for the fiber. Sometimes referred to as hemp, sisal is not actually hemp but a fiber that resembles it. Sisal rugs are natural rugs, woven from sisal fibers.


Two or more tones of the same color in a rug. This look is achieved either by mixing yarns of different tones or by using the same color of yarn in a rug with both cut and looped pile. If same color is shown in loop and cut one will say 2 colors have been used, but no. Loop pile shows the side color of yarn and cut shows the upper portion of yarn, which will always be dark.

Vegetable Dyes:

This is also called natural dyes or herbal dyes. Nature has given us many things. Natural dyes are produced from berries, roots and bark. are primarily produced by using various plants (or other natural minerals like iron) to make some basic colors and then mixing those colors in various proportions to create the rest of the colors. For example; color Blue is made from the Indigo plant, Brown is made from Oak bark, etc.They are not as colorfast as chrome dyes.


This is the base material to make any rug. In case of handtufted there is cloth with warp and weft, otherwise in all other cases warping is the first step to weave a rug. This is a string of Yarn that runs entirely from the top of the loom to the bottom to form the foundation of the rugs which appears, when the rug is finished, as the fringe at both ends of the rug. Or bqweginning part of a rug where wool, cotton or silk strands are attached to a Loom vertically, following the length of a rug. Comprising the structure, parallel wrap yarns run the length of the rug and are interlaced with wefts.


A process in which an area rug is washed (typically a hand knotted or a hand tufted rug) after it is woven to soften a rug's colors and increase its luster. The water used may be treated with chemical solution or tea or herbs to give the rug a distinct effect.This process is not compulsory in case of handtufted.


This moves on warp. Yarns that are woven across the warp of a rug. These threads run the width (side to side) of the rug, between the rows of knots, and help to hold the rug together. Weft: Wool, cotton or silk strands inserted horizontally over and under the warp forming the foundation of the rug.


The coat of sheep. Wool is the most frequently used pile material in handmade rugs.


Before wool is spun into yarn, it is combed, then worsted to improve its quality by leaving only the longer pieces of fiber for final spinning. It is used for more intricate patterns. A wool yarn of long staple with fibers that have been combed prior to spinning. By combing the wool, we rid the yarn of short fibers and the wool yarn obtains a greater luster.


Cord of twisted fibers. These are the basic portion of rug. For warp and weft we need cotton YARN. For pile we use wool, synthetic etc. YARN.

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