The oldest known hand-woven rug in existence is the Pazyryk Carpet which is believed to have been created in 5 BC. It was found buried in a tomb with a Scythian chieftan in the Altai Mountains of Siberia (Russia) and is in extraordinary condition considering its age. It is believed that the Pazyryk Carpet was created in Persia and traded for goods by the Scythian peoples.
Rugs and carpets were most likely created - in the beginning - for comfort as well as sanitation since rugs were the only thing separating bare feet and bodies from hard ground. Whether your dwelling was located on the hot, gritty sands of the Middle East or a damp, grassy field in a Euro-Asian country, rugs and carpets provided the floor covering as well as bedding. It is quite likely that home décor evolved along with comfort. Adding colors and artwork to rugs and carpets gave a touch of added luxury to fibers that could be woven into something large enough to cover the floors of a Bedouin tent as well as the walls of a drafty medieval castle.
What is certain are the plants - whether leaves, roots, or seeds - used to create the colors for dying. Indigo and woad were used for deep blues; alkanet root for gray, lavender, and purple; walnut hulls for deep browns; madder root for lovely reds; and annatto seeds for golden yellows to name only a few. These plant concoctions were used to dye the strands of wool and cotton used for clothing and rug weaving. Creativity and beauty were abundant as hand-knotted and loomed rugs were woven into functional works of art.
Although rugs and carpets were woven and the strands knotted by hand, looms were used to provide the weaver convenient tools with which to broaden artistic possibilities as well as create a much tighter weave in less time. Handlooms evolved into vertical and horizontal looms. Vertical looms are depicted in Egyptian hieroglyphics. As years passed, stories were artfully woven into the rugs depicting hunts or battles.
Today, this ancient art continues. Rugs and carpets are still created by hand in Persia, many parts of the Middle East and Asia but are more for decoration than comfort. As fabulously colorful and beautiful as their ancestors, today's rugs require special care to help keep them well preserved, smelling fresh, and looking clean. That is a specialty in which ACW Rug Cleaning excels. For more about the care used by our rug cleaning experts, view our Cleaning Tips or contact us today.