The rug weaving history of the Indian subcontinent goes back to hundreds of years B.C., but the true development of this art on a large scale started from the beginning of the Mughal empire and the first Mughal emperor; Babar’s rule in 1526. Known as a fierce warrior, Babur was also a great admirer of arts and architecture and was greatly influenced by the Persian culture from his ancestry. His appreciation for art and influence of Persian culture was the foundation of his love for handmade rugs and the beginning of the large scale development of this art in the Indian Sub-Continent.
A Portrait of Babur
Today, India is one of the most innovative countries in the development and production of handmade rugs. While most of the major rug producing countries like Iran, Turkey, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nepal and China produce rugs mostly in designs and colors that they have for centuries, India is at the forefront of producing designs in colors that are very contemporary and in line with the décor that is popular around the world. So if you are looking for traditional or Tribal rugs, then India, Iran, Pakistan, and Turkey are all good sources of rugs in these categories. But if you are looking for very contemporary or transitional rugs in colors that are so popular today, then rugs from India are probably your best bet.
The common types of weaves in handmade area rugs from India are knotted, tufted, loomed, hooked, and flat weaves. The best of these are Hand Knotted rugs and these are made in Traditional, Tribal, Transitional and Contemporary designs. Most of these carpets are knotted with around 50 to 150 knots per square inch, although much finer knot counts are also available, especially in silk rugs. The major rug producing areas in India are Bhadohi, Varanasi, Agra, Jaipur, and Kashmir, with majority of the silk rugs coming from the Kashmir region. Indian rugs also boast a high degree of quality control and usually are very color fast; this makes them very durable rugs that you and your future generations will enjoy, if you care for them properly.
One word of caution is that India also has a huge quantity of machine made rugs, and rugs that are lower end handmade rugs like hand tufted, hand loomed, and hand hooked. These are entirely different from the hand-knotted rugs covered in this blog, and you need to make sure what type of weave a rug is made in, because all these weaves are far inferior to hand-knotted rugs, which are the best.
Alyshaan Fine Rugs is a direct importer of handmade area rugs from India and has over 3200 hand Knotted rugs in stock in their Scottsdale Arizona showroom, viewable online at alyshaan.com, including over 2000 rugs from India.
By Saeed Aslam