Top 12 ways to tell the difference between handmade and machine-made rugs
The carpet industry has become part of the culture and civilization of the countries that manufacture these exquisite works of art. Historians have traced the impact of the carpet industry in ancient Mesopotamia and Turkey since 7000 and 8000 BC, before it spread to Egypt, then to Mongolia and China..and then to Europe and the rest of the countries. The world, the Bedouin tribes on the Silk Road were the ones who invented this art, and it was revealed in the official documents about the fierce competitions between the Safavids and the Ottomans in the supremacy of leadership over this authentic industry, and when we talk about the history of the carpet industry, the oldest surviving carpet comes to mind directly, " Pazyryk carpet", which was found by the Soviet archaeologist Rodonko in 1949 in Siberia and dates back to the 5th century BC.
From the hand-woven Pazyryk carpet 2,500 years ago, until the start of the industrial revolution in the nineteenth century and the beginning of the emergence of machine-made carpets in the proper sense, the carpet industry continued to enjoy a strong presence and large production, and it is exported and used all over the world, and handmade carpets and machine-made carpets coexisted on Despite their differences, and despite the gap separating them in terms of quality and originality.
If you are planning to buy a carpet and do not have enough information about the differences and differences between machine-made carpets and hand-woven carpets, continue reading this article with us, as we will accompany you to know the history, characteristics and differences between the manufacture of handmade carpets and machine-made carpets..
What is a handmade rug?
Handwoven carpet is a rug in which the warp and weft are woven by hand, the weaving of these carpets is done according to the schemes that are designed with great care and attention on the part of the designer or weaver, the handwoven Persian carpet is one of the oldest types of carpets in the world, which has attracted the attention of the world due to its The uniqueness of their designs, type of texture and fibers but, unfortunately, the purchase of handwoven rugs has started to be less than it was in the past in recent years.
Types of handwoven carpets can be classified as follows in terms of age:
- Newly woven rugs that have been woven in the past four to five years.
- Antique carpets are carpets that are between 5 and 25 years old.
- Semi-antique rugs are rugs that are between 25 and 60 years old depending on the time of weaving.
- Antique rugs are rugs that were woven between 60 and 250 years ago.
The emergence of handmade carpets
The origin of the manufacture of these carpets is found in the ancient region of Persia, (present-day Iran), and this has long been recognized throughout the world as an authentic center for the manufacture of handwoven carpets, and has become the most important center for the artisan production of handmade carpets.
The history of carpets in the world dates back to the era after living in the cave, at that time, humans tried to prepare carpets for themselves like the birds that prepare their nests, which they did first with tree leaves and plant fibers to imitate birds, and with the passage of time and the development of this process, it was replaced Dry plant fibers, with soft materials such as animal skin and wool, and after some time, humans were able to invent the method of spinning and weaving, and this process continued in the same way to this day, and today, man was able to design and produce very soft, delicate, precious and valuable carpets from natural and synthetic fibers silk, etc..
The technique of hand-woven carpets was passed down from generation to generation in Persia and other Asian countries, which is why it became a symbol of their culture and a unique artistic expression. Many believe that the oldest hand-woven carpet called the "Pazyryk carpet" dates back to Persian origins, which is estimated to have been woven in the fifth century. B.C.E.
This carpet is considered the remnants of the first hand-woven carpets, and it was considered one of the rare finds, given that the materials it was created with are natural and deteriorate quickly, and it was difficult to find real archaeological evidence that could tell us more about the origins of hand-woven carpets, but historical sources say that Carpet makers have been active in Persia since very long times. In 1219, the Mongols attacked Persia, and at the end of the decade, Ghazan Khan, the seventh sultan of the Ilkhaniya, built a new capital in the Levant, near Tabriz, and ordered the floors of his house to be covered with carpets from Persia. In 1403, Ruy González de Calvijo, ambassador of Henry III of Castile to Timur's court, described that in Timur's palace in Samarkand, "the floor was covered with carpets and reed mats everywhere".
Hand-woven carpets were used in ancient times as a protection against the cold in the harsh winters that characterized the mountainous regions of Asia, then the interest of the nobles began in this fabric, and its popularity increased in the European continent, which made it a luxurious piece desired by the elite and elite of society in the international arena. The golden age of hand-woven carpets, which boosted most of its production was the Safavid era, and the manufacture of carpets turned into a great standard for the national industry and from that moment on, it began to be exported to the regions bordering Persia and further afield, until it reached Europe.
The first workshops for hand-woven carpets appeared in cities such as Isfahan, Kashan, and Kerman, which produced carpets for both nobles and ordinary citizens alike. During their rule, they produced unrivaled masterpieces of handmade carpets, in terms of designs and colors that were reworked, and many of them are still housed in major international museums. After this dynasty, the Qajars came (1797) who continued to encourage and support this thriving industry.
The journey of handmade carpets from Persia to Europe
Alexander the Great introduced the first hand-woven carpets to Europe in the third century BC, then hand-woven carpets began to find their way to Europe as a desirable trade in the third century, as they appeared in the paintings of European painters of that period, and as an interesting fact, due to the prestige and artistic value The great works that these works enjoyed in Europe at the time, were not placed on the floor, but were hung on the walls and placed on the tables!
When Persian carpets began to be widely exported to Europe, especially to Great Britain, there were two British companies that had factories in Iran (Zigler and Hotz), as well as to France and the United States, and during the nineteenth century a new stage in the history of carpets began, which is the emergence of machine carpets ..
Characteristics of handmade carpets
A hand-woven carpet includes many characteristics that distinguish it from a machine-made carpet. The following are the most important characteristics:
Handwoven carpets enjoy a great reputation and are widely popular, thanks to the very good quality materials used in their weaving, and the high knot density, which often exceeds 1 million knots per square metre.
The production of hand-woven carpets takes longer and requires a lot of craftsmen, and the weaver knots the fibers of the carpet using their hands, while the size of the loom determines the size of the carpet, and usually all hand-woven oriental carpets are made in this way.
The materials used originally throughout the history of handwoven carpets were of natural origin, as wool, cotton and silk were mainly used in making the carpet and then dyes from natural sources were used to dye them, and this is the main feature of handwoven carpets.
Colors and dyes
The dyes used in handmade rugs are made from the roots and leaves of plants such as grapes and saffron. Despite the widespread use of synthetic dyes today, only natural dyes will fix better on cotton and wool and provide higher quality results.
If you want to invest in a high-quality handwoven rug, you will not only get a piece of traditional, antique craftsmanship rooted in history, but also a rug made from natural materials that has a long life.
One of the characteristics of hand-woven carpets is that there is a difference of a few centimeters in the dimensions of the carpet in the upper and lower parts, which is actually one of the characteristics of hand-woven carpets. Unless it can be seen in small rugs, by folding the handmade rug from the middle, you can make sure it is symmetrical.
Color consistency is another characteristic of handwoven rugs that you should pay attention to, and when buying a handwoven rug, it is essential that you pay attention to the color consistency of the symmetrical parts and make sure you check it with natural light.
One of the amazing characteristics of handmade carpets is that their beauty is multiplied by continuous use, and they never lose their attractiveness. The more the handwoven carpet is used, the longer it lasts, and the greater its financial and artistic value.
Since wool, silk and cotton are used as raw materials in handmade carpets, you will never see the production of static electricity from a handmade carpet, which is one of the characteristics of handmade carpets; It is a feature that is not tangible in many other types of carpets.
Another important characteristic of handmade carpets is its durability and durability. Compared to other types of carpets, handwoven carpets have a long life span and have a very high ability to withstand cleaning, transportation and arranging. The durability of a handmade carpet is another important factor that is effective in increasing the life and value of the carpet.
Maintenance and care
Traditional carpet cleaning techniques are still used by some carpet restorers. The hand-woven rug is cleaned by hand and then air-dried to restore its lustrous appearance and the bright colors of the pile, but caution always surrounds the cleaning process of this type of carpet due to its high value.
After many centuries have passed since hand-made carpets took the lead in the global carpet market, a new and fast type of carpet appeared, it is the machine-made carpet!
What is automated carpet?
Machine-made carpets are produced by mechanical devices, and they are an industrial form of carpets, unlike handmade carpets. The texture of the machine-made carpet has a repeating pattern and is formed by continuing the process of arranging and repeating the patterns. The raw materials used in this type of carpet are cheaper than the raw materials for handmade carpets. . Also, since these types of rugs are produced with industrial tools, their production speed is much higher than the hand-woven type.
The emergence of automated carpets
Europe has been fascinated by carpets from the East ever since Italian merchants began importing them to Europe. The carpets witnessed their first golden age in the sixteenth century, when the magnificent Persian carpets woven with silk and velvet were diplomatic gifts at the great European courts.. And the oriental carpets, at that time, were a symbol of luxury. And luxury, and famous, before the industrial revolution disrupted manual weaving, and Europe began to produce European carpets industrially using weaving machines..
The first machine-made carpets were originally inspired by Belgian carpets, which merchants had imported from Persia at the time. Before the European Industrial Revolution, France established the two most famous workshops in French and European history to manufacture fine carpets. The first of which is the Savonnier factory, which is the first royal carpet factory established in 1650 in the Louvre Palace itself by order of the king, and it is a factory specialized in the production of velvet carpets and seat covers, and these rugs were used by the French court or as royal gifts, and often these were large carpets of high quality Exceptionally, the reason for the king's interest in establishing this workshop is that he was fed up with the depletion of the French treasury as a result of the exorbitant costs of purchasing oriental carpets. Model Savonnier workshops after the end of his monopoly.
In Britain, William Morris, a leading figure in the decorative arts and crafts, began producing his own carpets and was a major contributor to the revival of traditional British textile arts and methods of production. In 1879 Morris himself woven tapestries in the medieval style and set up a tapestry workshop with his pupil John Henry Dearle in Queen Square.
Thus, the carpet industry entered a new stage in England in the nineteenth century, since Europe began tending to manufacture carpets, but with the introduction of the industrial loom, to compete with Turkish carpets and Persian carpets, and carpets were manufactured at first in large numbers by machine, then production developed more and more little by little, to be Producing a single rug in a matter of hours compared to handmade rugs which are produced in months.
We cannot finish talking about this part without mentioning the repercussions of the First and Second World Wars on this industry..which constituted a milestone in this ancient industry. The two wars caused a significant decline in the carpet industry, and production was resumed in 1948 thanks to the sponsorship of the Pahlavi dynasty. For this industry and in 1949, the Shah's government organized a conference to find solutions to the problems that faced the handmade carpet industry, such as (the use of synthetic dyes, the deterioration of the quality of both the materials and the technology used...) After this conference, laws and measures were introduced that led to an important return to this art with High quality carpet production.
Another historical event that affected the carpet industry appeared in 1978-1979 when the "Khomeini Revolution" was announced, in which the government greatly reduced the export of carpets to the West, considering them a "national treasure", and then finally abandoned this policy in the mid-1980s due to the importance And the amount of income that the carpet industry was generating, and from that moment on, exports increased dramatically, which led to a decrease in the prices of carpets all over the world.
Automated carpet properties
Machine-made carpets certainly carry unique characteristics that make them distinct from other types of carpets. The following are the most important characteristics of machine-made carpets:
Thanks to the introduction of machinery in the carpet industry, the production time has been reduced to about one working hour for a complete carpet, in comparison to the weaving of a handmade carpet which takes months, if not years.
Machine-made carpets are mass-produced using large industrial loom machines called “power looms,” the looms used here are automated and computer-controlled with little or no human intervention, and with mass-produced machine-made carpets, where every knot is uniform and the colors Unnatural, which is what makes this type of carpet present in hundreds of homes, and this greatly reduces its value.
Symmetry is an important differentiating factor in this type of rug, thus a handmade rug can be identified by irregular borders or shape through irregular knots on the back of the rug, and machine-made rugs show no irregularities or deviations from the standard pattern.
If the purchased machine carpet still has fluff after the passage of time, it means that low-quality and loose fibers were used in its texture (when buying, check the amount of fluff by rubbing your hand on the carpet).
Machine-made carpets are woven with synthetic fibers such as nylon yarns, polyester yarns, acrylic yarns, and polypropylene yarns. The pile type is the most important factor in determining the quality of the carpet, because more than 70% of the weight of the carpet is the pile yarns. The best machine-made carpet is a carpet made of pile yarns. 100% "Acrylic" fibers. Warm, light and wool-like, this synthetic fiber is considered the best and is of the highest quality. Acrylic perfectly woven rugs are more resistant to factors such as oil, chemicals and sunlight than polyester (rayon) or polypropylene.
Machine-made carpets are relatively affordable compared to handmade carpets. If you have a limited budget, the best choice is machine-made carpets.
Machine rugs have a unique diversity of traditional and modern designs, almost all types of rug designs can be found in machine rugs.
value and age
On the other hand, machine woven carpets do not retain their value even if they are in good condition, and this is because machine made carpets have a short overall life and do not have the ability to improve with age unlike the rare handmade carpets.
On the other hand, these types of machine-made rugs are highly washable and dirt can be removed from them easily, using various cleaning and maintenance methods.
It is interesting to know that not every machine can weave a carpet with high density or weave special shapes such as round or oval carpets, for example, machine made dense carpets need machines with advanced technologies and high precision; But since these types of machines are very expensive, some manufacturers convert 500 comb machines into 700 comb types by making changes.
Hand tufted carpets
The word tufted comes from the English verb "to tuft", which means "to decorate with tufts".
The oldest surviving textiles with a coarse or herringbone appearance date to the 2nd or 3rd century AD and are believed to be of Egyptian-Roman origin. However, products resembling hand-tufted carpets are also known among the indigenous South Americans. This method of carpet weaving was brought by immigrants. From Europe to Pennsylvania, USA..
Hand-tufted carpets are an art that requires a high level of craftsmanship at every stage of creating a hand-tufted carpet, represented by inserting yarns of wool or silk, and the upholsterer uses a device called a wool gun, on a textile backing, where the carpet pattern is drawn on it in advance as Design first to the backing, craftsmen use the design as a guide to position each colored strand, this manufacturing technique is particularly relevant for viscose, wool and silk carpets.
Tufted rugs are usually made by hand on a vertical loom, and the wool, silk or viscose yarns are inserted one by one into the weaving backing to obtain high fineness, and thus high quality, and when all the threads are set, the hairs of the rug are shaved, as well as bringing out the pattern of the rug This crucial step also helps in obtaining a smooth and flat surface, and if the weaver takes off the rugs from the vertical loom, additional work will be required of him and he will have to cut the grooves manually with scissors or a small electric mower to get what is called the arched appearance.
Characteristics of hand tufted carpets
Hand tufted carpets are popular due to the simple and quick manufacturing process and can be found in many homes. Hand tufted carpets carry many characteristics and features that differ from their counterparts; Hand-woven carpets and machine-made carpets. Here are the most important characteristics that distinguish hand-tufted carpets from other types of carpets:
- The craftsman must have a model of the patterns he is to reproduce on the rug, then carefully draw them onto the cotton weft of the rug, and must be very precise in order to be able to recover the maximum amount of detail.
- Hand-tufted rugs can be made from natural or synthetic materials, and a large number of craftsmen use natural materials such as cotton, wool, hemp, or flax, and models made from these natural materials are particularly recognized for their strength.
- Hand tufted rugs made from synthetic materials such as acrylic, can be hand woven, and are known to be exceptionally strong and highly resistant to wear and tear over time.
- Tufting technology makes it possible to produce high-quality products that carry all the distinctive characteristics of carpets, such as shapes, colors, designs, topography, and everything that can make its appearance exceptional.
- The thickness of the hand tufted rug ensures ultimate comfort and softness that we may not often find in a traditional hand tufted rug.
- Once the rugs have been tufted and carved, the rug is then bonded using a silicone coating to the back of the rug, this ensures excellent grip of the texture without losing the elasticity of the rug, and a braided cotton backing is sewn into the back of the rug to ensure a flawless finish to the rug.
- After a relatively long manufacturing process that requires fairly precise skills, the price of hand-tufted carpets is much higher than that of the hand-tufted model, which is a type of carpet that is not mass-produced.
An important key point to remember when cleaning tufted rugs by hand is to never wash rugs with water. Always avoid getting these rugs wet, because once the water reaches the rug backing, it can react with the glue and damage the rug. ( Read here: Top 6+ Effective Professional Carpet Care Methods)
The difference between manual and machine rugs
How do you know if a rug is handmade or a machine-made rug?
This is probably one of the most important questions in the world of carpets, which is frequently asked, as it is difficult for many to know the difference between handmade and machine-made carpets, and with an understanding of the correct clues, it is possible to know the answer to the question, distinguish very easily between handmade carpets and machine-made carpets, and know the differences Between them arguably: Exactly the same difference between a hand-painted painting and a poster or photoprint, this 12-way guide will help you understand the differences and give you a head start on making an informed buying decision when shopping for rugs…
Originality and antiquity
The first difference between hand-woven carpets and machine-woven carpets lies in the originality and aesthetic value. Compared to machine-made carpets, hand-woven carpets have superior artistic value and are beautiful and shiny from far and near, in addition to their authenticity and ancient heritage.
The handwoven carpet is produced by hand with the help of a traditional loom and each knot is individually tied by hand, in contrast, machine made carpets are produced using a “machine loom” and the process is almost entirely computer driven, this allows the carpet to be produced very quickly, while That a handmade rug can take a lot of time.
Machine-made carpet patterns are generally very accurate and the design is usually reversed from side to side, inconsistencies may be very rare if made by machine, and are more likely in hand-made ones, because in hand-woven carpets the weaver does not use a design, but often He improvises and creates from his imagination, but the result is a charming asymmetry!
Colors and dyes
Although there are some machine carpets made of sheep’s wool and other natural materials, most of them may be colored with synthetic and chemical dyes. In addition, they do not reach the density of weaving and the quality of luxurious handmade carpets. In machine-made carpets, for example, it is possible to combine 8 and 10 colors only according to its density, while there is no limit to the handmade carpets, as the variety of colors is also one of the factors affecting the design of the handwoven carpets.
In terms of the materials from which they are made, synthetic materials are also more common in machine-made carpets, while handmade carpets are more likely to be produced from natural materials, such as wool, cotton, silk, etc.
One of the striking features that encourage the purchase and use of a hand-woven rug is that it is cool in summer and warm in winter, and can be used in all seasons, whatever the conditions, but a machine-made rug does not have this feature because of its mostly plastic materials.
On the other hand, weaving methods play a big role in categorizing the differences between them, and it is the most obvious way to know the difference between hand-woven carpets and machine-made carpets, by examining the back of the carpet, as the knots and weaves on the back are very even and almost perfect on a machine-made carpet. A machine-made rug usually has a smooth and uniform back, while those that are produced by hand often have imperfections and one area of the rug may have more knots per square meter than another, and rugs produced by nomads or in small villages are better. for example.
In addition, the edges of hand-woven carpets are usually made of warp yarn, while the edges of machine-made carpets are automatically added or glued after production.
The patterns on a machine-made rug are very subtle and are often reversed from one side to the other, while the patterns on a handmade rug can vary greatly from one place to another, this is often caused by the weaver working on the knots by hand improvising the design .
Size and shapes
The rugs made by the machine are all exactly identical, i.e. they always have the same size and design but many pieces are produced all at once at one time, however, if they are made by hand, they present distinct differences in size and designs, the size and shape - shapes of the rugs made Precision machined while the handmade rugs may have some slight variation and this is due to the fact that they are handmade.
from scientifict side
Due to its weaving method and structure, a handwoven rug can be folded with ease and flexibility, like folding a sheet or a blanket, while a machine woven rug can only be rolled into a roll during storage, otherwise its structure will break.
Price and age
Machine-made carpets can provide a lower-priced alternative to hand-woven carpets, and the life of the carpet can be estimated, according to the density and quality of the yarns used in weaving this type of carpet, as the life of machine-made carpets can be about 20 years or less depending on the quality and fibers used, depending on For example, a high-quality machine-made woolen rug can last for decades if it is well maintained, the most important factor that can increase the life of the rug is correct use, hence it can be said that machine-made rugs generally hold no value for antique rug collectors.
There is another point that must be taken into account in order to know whether the carpet is handmade or made by machine, which is knowing its source. In general, the countries that traditionally weave this type of carpet care about its quality, because they consider it a national value, although there are many copies and not original carpets. Sometimes, however, the original copies are presented with a certificate of authenticity, and the countries in which rugs and original copies are made are the countries known historically for the production of handmade carpets, such as: Persia (Iran), Turkey, Afghanistan... etc. On the other hand, the countries that manufacture copies are China Pakistan, India and countries in North Africa..etc.
It can be said that machine-made rugs are a convenient option in terms of price compared to hand-woven rugs but, due to the strength of the hand-woven rug, the uniqueness of its design, and the quality of the materials used in its manufacture, the handmade rug is by far the best option if you are looking for a beautiful and functional piece of art It lasts for generations.
Tips before buying a rug
What you choose for your home should represent your personality and style, for this reason make sure you buy a carpet that represents you and you love to walk on it, but you must take into account some things in order to make a better choice, here are some tips before buying carpets:
Whether you are buying hand-woven rugs, or machine-woven rugs; There are many types of carpets in the market with different features, you can choose from woolen carpets, silk carpets, polyester or acrylic carpets, or sisal carpets. Most people consider woolen carpets to be the most luxurious types of carpets available. Buying wool rugs is the best option for high-traffic areas, as their color and fibers will remain intact over time.
Check your budget
It is very important that you always have your budget for any purchase you want for your home, even if it is for the purchase of carpets, and it is recommended that you make a list of the characteristics of your dream carpet and thus avoid spending your money incorrectly. You can also look for stores that offer discounts on events, where you can find carpets High quality at a great price.
Know the size before purchasing
Before you go shopping for a rug, be sure to measure the dimensions of each room so you know what size rug to choose. For the dining room, choose a rug that covers the dining table and chairs. For the living room, the table should be in the middle of the rug. For the rest of the house, for example At the entrance it is important to know the size of the hallway, bathroom rugs are usually oval or square.
Find the right shape
The most common shapes of carpets are rectangular, square, round and oval, and the choice of shape should be according to the size of the room and the configuration of the furniture. Most carpets are made in a rectangular shape as they are the most suitable for any size of the room. integrated. Find out more about the most important shapes of carpets, by reading this article Top 5 Great Shapes of Handmade Carpets
Study all aspects
Before you buy a carpet, it is necessary to check its design, color, material, and density, because choosing the right type of carpet depends on factors such as high quality, softness, ease of washing, non-allergic, color durability, warranty, and reasonable price. The method of using the carpet and the place where you will put the carpet play a role. It is also important in choosing carpets, so all aspects should be considered.
So, what is the difference between hand-woven rugs and machine-made rugs? This question may be simple from your point of view but, surely this question will appear in the minds of those who want to know the difference between the two carpets better, we have discovered that the main differences between both carpets lie in the method of manufacture, accuracy, duration of manufacture, and artistic value, and these elements will tell you About the process of manufacturing the carpet, whether it was made manually or by machine, and by understanding all the differences mentioned above, and following the tips, you will learn how to distinguish between handmade carpets and those that were made by machines like professionals, so that you can choose the type that suits you best.
We hope that this article was useful to you and that you were able to discover more about the history of handmade carpets and machine carpets and the origins of each one of them. If you want to continue exploring more about this timeless work of art, we invite you to read more articles, in the Weft blog .