How to Differentiate Persian and Oriental Rugs


Among the most popular area rugs and carpets in the world, Persian and oriental rugs resonate the most. These intricately designed rugs have an exotic appeal and their durability and vibrancy make them a much sought after asset for any home. Many people use the terms “Persian rugs” and “oriental rugs” interchangeably believing them to be the same. However, this is far from the truth and there are certain distinct differences you must take into account while shopping.

Persian rugs and oriental rugs

This post covers all the major points of difference between these two rugs for the curious shoppers who take interest in the origin and making of the product.

● Origin

The most obvious and basic difference between oriental and Persian rugs is their place of origin. As the name suggests, the style and design of Persian rugs come from Persia. They are the result of a rich history and traditional craftsmanship handed down the generations for hundreds of years. There are different styles of Persian rugs depending on their town or village of origin. For example, Tabriz, Kashan, Herat, and Karman are famous for their rugs and the style of each region has a distinctive variation. Persian rugs have the oldest tradition in handcrafted rugs and are considered among the best in the world.

Hand-knotted pieces produced in Egypt, China, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Turkey, and few other middle eastern countries are termed as oriental rugs. Each type of oriental rug has its distinct style and design depending on the Asian country it originates from. The Chinese oriental rugs are most distinctive after the Persian style and centres around age-old Chinese traditions and culture.

● Design

A traditional Persian rug can have one of four major design patterns-

centre medallion




The all over carpets have a repetitive geometric or floral pattern that appears throughout the piece. A centre medallion style features a circular or oval contrasting design at the centre. The compartment pattern features discreet geometrical or floral designs in compartments shaped like diamonds or squares that interlock, much like a patchwork quilt. The one-sided style is asymmetrical and when you fold the rug in half, the design on one side is different from the other half.

Persian rugs typically have a warm colour scheme with deep indigo, rust hues, golden yellow, and ivory being the dominant colours.

Oriental rugs are similar to their Persian counterparts but reflect the cultural motifs of the originating region. They feature flora and fauna motifs but have more curved lines. You can even find landscape designs on some oriental rugs. A striking difference can be seen in the colour tones used- cooler tones like rich blue, reds, apricot, pink and yellow are dominant in these rugs.

● Knotting

The Persian knotting method differentiates these rugs. The knotting technique is asymmetrical and open on one side. This method of knotting does not leave any gaps between the threads, rendering it less bulky than oriental rugs, particularly Turkish rugs. Due to this knotting technique, Persian rugs feature more intricate and detailed designs which are extremely precise.

Rugs produced in Turkey, Armenia, and Azerbaijan feature a symmetrical knotting pattern that can be seen when you turn over the rug. If you check carefully, you will find two small bumps within one knot on the back-side.

● Price

Both Persian rugs and oriental rugs are hand-knotted and hence, expensive. The exact price depends on the size of the rug, the knotting technique used, quality of the wool yarn used and the place of origin. Since these are hand-knotted, they last for years depending on the maintenance, making them a good investment. However, it is essential to ensure that you are getting a hand-knotted product and not mass manufactured ones.

Some features which will help you to recognize a hand-knotted rug are:

The backside of the rug will be the exact mirror of the top pile.

The backside is of the same material as the top pile and soft to touch.

The knots per square inch can be easily counted.

The fringe is a part the construction and not glued or sewn up to the carpet body.

Oriental and Persian rugs have a rich heritage associated with them, making them an exotic asset to many homeowners. Carpet experts and sellers can give you a fair idea about the product you are buying, but knowing the basic differences associated with these rugs will help you to take an informed decision about the right product for your home.

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