Friday, April 17, 2009

British, Chinese, Moroccan Area Rugs, Oh my!

To the untrained eye it can be difficult to distinguish between a Chinese, British India/Indian Aubusson, and Moroccan rug. It just so happened that we had one of each in our rug cleaning shop at the same time, so I am taking this opportunity to rugucate our clients. I need to make it clear that the information contained in this blog is from my own experience and research. If you have any more information to add please do so or direct me to better websites.

When trying to tell one type of rug from another you never go by the colours or pattern. The best way is to look at the back and see how it is put together. This is the back of a Chinese hand knotted wool area rug. Chinese rugs are pretty close to being perfect. The rows of knots are very straight and the knots are the same size. Chinese measure their rugs by knots per square foot instead of the traditional knots per square inch. The most common types are 70 line and 90 line. This is a 90 line Chinese.

This is the back of a British India/Indian Aubusson area rug. From my research I have found that Aubusson refers to the distinct pattern that is usually found on these rugs. Compared to the Chinese the knots used on a British India rug are not as tight and are a bit bigger. Rumour has it that these rugs were based around the Chinese weaving. When the British 'discovered' China they were so impressed with the Chinese weaving techniques that they tried to copy them. That is why the British India and Chinese rugs can look very similar if you were to go by colour and design only.

Lastly here is the back of a Moroccan area rug. As you can see the knots are similar to the British India, that the are knobby. These rugs have a more rustic look to them and are warm and inviting to use. The colours that we see most often are the natural cream and browns, but Moroccan rugs usually are very bright vibrant.

The fringes on Moroccans can be very unique as well. They sometime are very wide and braided as this picture shows. It is hard to tell, but these braids are about a half inch wide.
No matter which area rug you own it is unique. Be it the story of how you obtained it or in the deep history of how it was woven. Remember that rug is a story.

Thanks for reading, RugloverMary


  1. Nice distinction among these three rug types, great article! Hand-Knotted Rugs

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