Oriental Rugs and Rug Weaving in India

 The two major weaving districts in India are the area surrounding the large city of Varanasi in east-central India and the area centered around Jaipur, southwest of Delhi. Both districts produce an incredible assortment of low quality to very good quality wool rugs in a variety of sizes and in many Persian patterns (we buy many rugs in the Varanasi-district weaving centers of Bhadohi, Khamaria, and Mirzapur). In addition to Persian designs, pile-woven Aubusson and Savonnerie rugs and flat-woven tapestry-technique dhurries are woven near Varanasi. Weavers in Jaipur make a variety of floral designs (and sometimes geometric patterns like SHIRVAN) in sizes from small mats through large carpets.
Srinagar, in Kashmir, northern India, was once the source for finely woven silk and wool rugs in Persian designs, but tension between India and Pakistan over Kashmir has increased again in recent years, and most weaving has stopped in this area.

Varanasi Area

SIZE: small scatters through 12' x 20' sizes and everything in between.

STRUCTURE: cotton warp and weft in a huge variety of qualities, from horrible junk with less than 40 knots per sq. in. to excellent rugs with over 245 knots per sq. in. This area also produces lots of "Indo-Tibetan" rugs (woven in the same technique as rugs from Nepal, but at lower cost), and lots of hand tufted rugs (rugs made by inserting wool into a canvas backing). While made by hand, these tufted rugs are not knotted, and so are not Oriental rugs.

COLOR & DESIGN: every design and color combination imaginable. Many, many Persian designs, but also European Aubusson, Chinese designs, and many newly created patterns.

Jaipur AreaSIZE: small scatters through large carpets.

STRUCTURE: cotton warp and weft in only a few qualities. Most production is in "10/14" weave (140 knots per sq. in.). "13/13" weave is declining, while there is rapid growth in "9/9" production.

COLOR & DESIGN: 10/14 and 13/13 qualities are most often in Persian designs, but some European Aubussons are also woven. 9/9 quality rugs most often come in simple floral designs but in a variety of smoky, subtle colors.