When purchasing a genuine Persian or Oriental rug, your salesman may point out a ‘kilim’ rug which looks like a flat tapestry-woven carpet or rug. Kilim rugs are produced from the Balkans to Pakistan and have been found to date back to the fourth or fifth century.
Kilim rugs are often referred to by rug and carpet retailers as ‘oriental rugs,’ but they belong in their own category.
A genuine kilim is a rug that is hand-woven using a unique weaving technique that renders the finished rug as a low pile, flatweave rug. Including the foundation, or warps and wefts, Kilims are often 100% wool.
Unlike other Oriental or Persian rugs, Kilims do not have a pile. Due to their low profile construction, they are reversible from both front to back and may have been woven using the “slit weave” technique whereby a gap or slit is left between two blocks of color. Such gaps are created when the weft is returned around the last warp in a color area, with the adjacent color’s weft later being returned around the adjacent warp.
Kilims usually feature bold colors such as red, rust, white, blue, and variations of such. Other colors may include pink, greens, gold among others. It’s not uncommon for Kilims to have a vegetable or natural dyes to color the wool.
This design of a Kilim frequently results in geometric patterns characterized by bold, sharp patterns, although floral designs are also not unheard-of.
While many collectors and traders once regarded kilim rugs inferior to Oriental knotted carpets, Kilims have risen in popularity in recent years on account of their unique design and their often-lower price compared to pile rugs. Today, perceptions of kilim rugs’ inferiority have been replaced with an appreciation of their different origins and nature relative to rugs woven on a strictly commercial basis.
At Oriental Rug Salon, we love to share our knowledge of rugs from around the world. We are experts in Oriental and Persian rug cleaning, restoration, repairs, and valuations. We hand-wash all rugs trusted to our care so that they receive the love and attention they deserve.
Oriental Rug Salon is a Certified Partner with the prestigious Carpet & Rug Institute. In addition, we are rated A+ by the Better Business Bureau and a seven-year-in-a-row-winner of the Angie’s List Super Service Award.
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