Oriental Rug Coloring Reflects Habitat Knowledge And Religious Symbolism

To the weaver of a Karastan carpet or a Tibetan tiger rug, the preparation of wool yarn, especially the coloring of the yarn reflected enormous knowledge of the habitat vegetation properties.

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Although certain shades of green in an oriental rug were considered holy color, to be used by Mohammed, and never walked on, the weaver faced more practical issues in terms of overall coloring issues.

Persian carpet colors traditionally derived from bark, plants, nutshells, berries and insects. Blue for example is derived from the indigo plant, widely available throughout Persian and India.

The Oriental rug can achieve different shades of blue based on the number of times the yarn has been dyed. Turkey is home to the woad plant, which featured in the times of the Romans in their conquest of Briton. Meanwhile, the madder plants roots can be crushed to yield a red-yellow color common to many Indian rug and Oriental rug designs. Sometimes the female coccus insect would be ground up to enhance the vibrancy and depth of the desired red for the weaver's Persian rug. Yellow was traditionally achieved by crushing the saffron or tumeric plant as well as buckthorn berries used in Chinese oriental carpet as well as Persian rug designs. Black, brown and gray dyes were created by crushing the shells and leaves from nut trees found throughout Asia .

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The color blue, derived from the indigo plant requires significant knowledge by the Oriental rug weaver-designer. Indigo plants require a heating and fermentation process, which must be carefully regulated in order to create the correct blue shading for a Karastan rug. In order to produce lighter shades of blue or other colors, the Persian carpet weaver must have knowledge of color mixes such as the use of goat curd to dilute the color into softer shades. The other color shades found in an oriental rug reflect centuries of accumulated knowledge about mixing a range of vegetable dyes in order to create shadings and new colorings. After the rug is knotted, the Oriental rug is washed in cold water in order to set the color before being placed out on a rock to dry in the sun.

Vegetable dyes used in Persian rug designs can streak or vary in shading across the wool rug due to incorrect handling such as being too tightly bound directly after production or to simple bad luck by the weaver. Vegetable based dyes will vary between regions due to differences in soil composition, atmosphere, temperature, and so on.

Modern synthetic dyes, promoted by area governments as cheaper, easier to use and with predictable results, and constant availability offer a compelling alternative to weavers and producer of Oriental rug products.

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