AN ABBREVIATED GUIDE TO ANTIQUE AND VINTAGE RUGS

Histories of Handmade Rugs
in Rug & Kilim’s Collection

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Antique rugs have been in Josh’s resume since he began in the industry almost 40 years ago when he was already recognized for one of the largest oriental rug collections in the United States. Each piece in the internationally recognized volume was hand picked for rarity, and of course aesthetic and beauty, now complementing one of the widest varieties of Persian rug and Turkish rug collections with the utmost attention to individuality and care. Because of Josh’s position in the wholesale rug industry he’s been responsible for promoting a number of collections throughout history, from breathtaking signature Tabriz, Sultanabad, Kerman Lavar, Agra, and Oushak classics to the more unsung jewels of the luxury industry.

Vintage has also been synonymous with who we are since our beginning, particularly for our unparalleled Kilim collection, but with the rise of Mid Century collection the term vintage carpet has become very popular — especially exciting because often times many of the vintage carpets have also been treated, washed, dyed over, sheared, and modified — and has created a very successful category. We’re especially very proud of our vintage Kilims and Turkish rugs curated for our expansive collection of both area rugs and runners alike.

Antique, Semi-Antique, Vintage, Mid-Century Rugs  

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While any rug older than 80-100 years old is considered antique, the lesser-known range between antique rugs and vintage rugs 50-80 years old are labeled semi-antique. Any rug 20 years or older can be listed as vintage, but the typical consensus is vintage applies to the range between 20-50 years old. 

Among vintage rugs. mid-Century (sometimes spelled Mid Century) is the subclassification applied specifically to mid-20th-Century rugs (sometimes referred to under that exact classification, though mid-century/mid century is implied). Among many rug experts, this terminology has been used interchangeably to refer to mid-century modern rugs, a wide-spanning style often referring to most mid-century rugs including vintage Scandinavian rugs and other specific editions of the style from the 1940s until the 1960s/1970s (once again depending on consensus, given that the style often referred to as mid-century modern persisted well after the widely recognized 40s and 50s of inception). 

Origins of Rugs

In the current field of study, remnants of the tradition of handmade rugs has been traced as early as 5,000 years ago in the primitive tribes of the era, though Moroccan fabrics of origin from tribal weavers have been believed to originate since the Paleolithic Era. Some of the first rugs, made entirely for utility in these times, were hand woven from varied hairs of animals, eventually leading to wool becoming the veritably most recognized material in the construction of rugs today.

Among collectors and curators on the international scale, the 5th century rug known as the Pazyryk rug is among the oldest carpets in the world, estimated to be from 400 BC and currently located at the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia since it was first discovered in Kazakhstan in 1949. Among the many ancestral techniques used in handmade rugs — including but not limited to hand weaving, flat weaving, hand knotting, hand hooking, hand tufting and more — this rug remains the oldest-known example of hand-knotted rugs in human history. 

Collecting and Designing with Antique and Vintage Rugs 

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As the territories of academia and the luxury market intersect, the rarity of design, origin, material blend, condition, and square footage all reign among the most widely regarded factors in pricing antique and vintage rugs.

In particular, as antique Oriental rugs and antique European rugs became essential to interior design, some of the most popular homes of antique and vintage rugs of beauty and rarity have come to include classic Persian rugs, tribal Moroccan rugs, French Aubusson rugs and Savonnerie rugs, Tibetan rugs, Turkish rugs and Kilims, European rugs, Russian rugs, Chinese rugs, Indian rugs, and the rugs of varied Native American origin including but not limited to the Navajo tribal rugs made in the last 500 years. Our own collection has continued to expand in diversity and rarity as Josh hand selects each addition for these and other factors, both considering the private collector and colleagues in interior design who understand the possibilities of classic rugs as they persisted over the years. 

Antique & Vintage Persian Rugs 

With artisinal origins dating back more than 2,500 years, nomadic tribal Persian rugs shared the common denominator of utility before they eventually entered the realm of tribal and aristocratic feats of hand making in the 16th century. Among many factors, this was when the city of Isfahan began to make some of its most important contributions to the grand designs in the era of Shah Abbas.

Though the craft would see little progress in the years that followed during the invasion of the Afghani people, soon the Tabriz capital would flourish in the late 19th century beginning the territory’s renown for handmade Persian rugs that has persisted today. Among the tribal and religious Persian rug families that remain acclaimed for their accomplishments in scale, material quality and drawing, some of the most reputable include: 

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This antique Tabriz Persian rug exemplifies the large size rugs and detail renowned among this Persian rug ancestry; a stunning 11’8 x 16’7 medallion pattern from the late-19th century.

Antique & Vintage Persian Persian Kilim Rugs 

Apart from their pile counterparts, Persian Kilim rugs have held an equally important place in the history of antique and vintage rugs, especially given that the term Kilim originates from the Persian word “gelīm” (though some debate the further-back origins of the term predating the Persian Empire). Given that Kilim rugs are often perceived as more vulnerable to wear overtime (lacking the natural protection of pile height), the rarity of any well-preserved antique and vintage Kilim rugs, including antique Persian Kilim rugs and vintage Persian Kilim rugs, is an essential part of their appeal in the market as it has endured. Some of the notably celebrated tribes and traditions in antique and vintage Persian Kilims include: 

The diversity of Persian rugs and Kilims in their nomadic variations, distinctive regional styles and history of refinement over time is part of what has made the family one of the most widely acknowledged to neophyte and experienced collector alike. As access to knowledge for the care of antique Persian rugs and Kilims has become more accessible, the vintage Persian rug market has seen an interesting resurgence in vintage Persian Kilims in a surprising variety of sizes like that of their pile counterparts — with more collectors and aspiring interior designers able to learn the differences in rugs and Kilims respectively originating from the various iconic cultures of Persia leading into modern-day Iran.

While Bidjar pile rugs were known for durability and quality, for example, lesser-understood Bidjar Kilim often embody the spirit of striking intricacy with more obsequious, rich earth tones and medallion-style patterns repeated to complement a versatile nature that persists in their reputation to the present day. Conversely, while the antique Baluch tribal rug style is known to favor less definition in geometry with more attention to lush pile height and rich color, many of the vintage Baluch Kilim rugs we’ve seen over the years have favored the latter trait with greater emphasis than the lively tribal geometry.

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Antique & Vintage Indian Rugs 

While acknowledging their distinction and importance in discussing the history of handmade antique rugs and vintage rugs, it’s essential to understand that the culture of handmade rugs as we know it was brought to India via cultural diffusion with Persian style. Both techniques and inspirations introduced by the Mughal Empire (via Akbar the Great and his affection for Persian rugs in the 16th century) gradually established the basis of inspiration that would be transformed into India’s own antique rug languages in wake of the lacking luxury rug presence in this era. Additionally worth noting is that these Persian rug weavers in Akbar’s court in Agra laid the foundation for the antique Agra rugs that have become so beloved to the modern market — alongside the other centers that have, similarly, become capitals of the rug world and claims to India’s status as a leader in production today. Much of the field’s history, including beyond but especially in India and Persia, can be traced back to aristocratic patrons and their affinity for commissioning rugs for their palace. In this era, hundreds of hands and many years were spent on one piece with similar wools, silks, cashmeres, cottons,  natural/vegetable dyes and other materials to that of Persian influence. Though vintage and modern looms gradually improved the hand-weaving and hand-knotting process, the treasures of antique Indian rugs — especially large size antique Agra rugs and Agra runners — remain among the most fabulous works of art and material celebrity today. 

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Exemplifying the pieces the Maharajahs would use in their summer homes, this piece is one of Josh’s favorite antique Agra rugs — handmade in cotton with a very livable, comfortable wear.

The other aspect of Indian rug society worth noting, once again attributed to Akbar’s influence, was the history of “jail rugs” produced quite literally for and through the jails in places like Amritsar. The styles of these rugs would borrow from the same sensibilities, but would enjoy departures from traditional Oriental rugs more appreciated later in history than in their years of creation. Varying from grand treasures to approachable classics, antique Amritsar rugs in our collection have been known to embrace both form and function with a more individualistic nature incorporated into the prevailing Persian influence, more widely regarded for their beauty today in the same degree as a variety of other jail rugs Josh has studied and curated. 

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An antique Agra rug from the “jail rug” style, more widely appreciated today for regal patterns and subtle employs of alluring, rich colorway in equal part to forgiving hues.

Overtime antique Indian rugs drew more and more from a wider array of European influences in floral rugs and geometric rugs that influenced the style. Some of this gradual variety can be seen in the vintage Agra rug styles in and beyond our own collection, visibly incorporating more geometry and geometric floral patterns in a heavy preference toward soothing repetition than the majestic, regal rugs of ancestry. The modern connoisseur should note that current Indian productions in New Delhi, Jaipur and other regions once born of the imperial presence have seen great resurgences in classic inspiration while creating the modern Indian rug (though Josh and his peers continue to hold a special place in their hearts for antique Agra rugs, antique Amritsar rugs and classic prayer rugs exhibiting the rich history of Indian rug culture).  

Antique & Vintage Turkish Rugs 

Another home to some of the most famed antique and vintage rugs — particularly antique and vintage Kilims in arguably greater abundance than any other center of production — Turkey’s history of handmade rugs is another story of diverse influence since the first Anatolian tribes began their take on the craft. Once a foothold of the ancestral Ottoman Empire with influences to and from Persia and Morocco then and since, the reach of regional treasures among traditional antique Turkish rugs and Kilims (as well as their transitional counterparts seen in vintage Turkish rugs and Kilims) became some of the most dynamic works of art with the arguably widest base for name recognition in the world of luxury Oriental rugs. 

Antique Oushak rugs (also spelled Ushak rugs in origin), antique Sivas rugs, and antique Hereke rugs remain among the most sought-after styles of classic Oriental rugs, particularly in decoration where the diverse representations of marrying regal and forgiving moods in Oushak rugs have led to some of the most cherished and complementary rugs in home decor — known for naturally smooth, lustrous wool and very mature senses of pattern and symmetry like those Josh enjoys the most in our archive.

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A rare square sized antique Oushak rug of one of the most majestic, uncommon plays of pink and red colorway — complemented by the subtle green accent in the medallion field pattern.

Heavily sharing sensibilities to select Persian rug families, if understanding the beauty of a rug is learning to read it like a language then Oushak rugs speak eloquently to the fine line between majesty and approachability weighing into their reputation as masterpieces in luxury Oriental rugs. This boast can be measured not solely in the high price point and desirability of good-condition Oushak rugs, but also in the practice of so many European rug nations in Ireland, Spain, and beyond who emulated the style for a long time after.

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One of the rarest antique Hereke rugs we’ve seen from Turkey, employing a unique lack of repetition in each individualistic pattern within the field.

Hereke rugs were the product of a similar dedication given that the region was home to the main workshop of the Ottoman Empire well into the 1800s. While continuing traditional Oriental sensibility and quality, antique Hereke rug designs are particularly sought after for many aspects including their appeal in European decoration that made it into the feats of craftsmanship, movement and color range revered today. 

Antique & Vintage Turkish Kilims

As the practice of flat weaving Turkish Kilim rugs evolved between the 7th and 18th century, ancestral Turkey was among the first homes to the style alongside the tribes and regions of Persia, Kurdistan, Europe and surrounding regions. Traditional Turkish Kilim rugs  exemplify the variations of the pileless rug style from region to region, while the general style since antiquity was known for bold, tribal-style geometry that would go on to influence a number of styles of Kilim in other parts of the world.

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To the collector, antique Turkish Kilim often celebrate rich reds and earth tones, a dignified traditional pallet gradually giving way to the more lively, transitional variations seen more commonly in vintage kilim rugs highlighting the varieties of natural yarns available to a weaver. Some of our favorite selections, both long-time and recent, prefer the regional Kilim rugs hailing from the cities and provinces of Central Anatolia, the Aegean territories, the Mediterranean territories, and the Eastern Anatolian territories among the fully encompassing geography represented in our antique, vintage, and modern Turkish Kilim rugs. 

Favorite Kilims from Central Anatolia, Aegean and Mediterranean Turkey: 

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Coming to represent the full spectrum of regional Kilims from each major section of ancestral and present-day Turkey, some of our most rare and favored traditional and transitional selections have come from the Sivas, Kayseri, Konya, Afyon, Denizli, Bergama, Antalya, and Fethiye  regions of Central Anatolia, the Aegean territories, and the Mediterranean region respectively. Beyond Josh’s own reputation for hand-choosing each Kilim to join his collection, the classic and luxury rug communities have arguably recognized these particular ancestral Kilim centers of Central Anatolia with the utmost regard for quality, colorway variation, and diversity of pattern—though only representing a fraction of the Turkish rug centers in our Kilim & Flat Weave Collection. 

A big part of Josh’s pride in his antique and vintage Turkish Kilim collection is the meticulous level of scholarly care our Kilim rugs receive on a regular basis. Having collaborated with and learned from fellow experts over time, the process of regularly inspecting and maintaining our naturally dyed Kilim rugs against fading and wear has helped Josh begin to dispel the myth of Kilim rugs as a risky, difficult-to-clean rug classification. More than utility, the diversity of patterns, attitudes and sizes in our Kilim & Flat Weave Collection can be credited in no small measure to the range of century-old and mid-century Kilim rugs from Josh’s personal Turkish selections. 

Antique & Vintage Moroccan Rugs 

Moroccan rug making has somewhat of an enigma among historians regarding the exact origin of the tradition, with most believing the practice extended back centuries to thousands of years before the style began receiving attention in the Mid-19th Century. The common denominator of distinctive geometry and color — a great deal of which borrowing notable Anatolian Turkish influences via cultural diffusion — has persisted well into the centuries to follow to the point where it arguably remains the most recognizable signifier of Moroccan style. Still, even as the traditional geometric influences of Turkish motifs persisted in impacting the Moroccan tribal rug styles, the ancestral styles of the nomadic and primarily matriarchal tribal weavers in Morocco maintained their own cultural distinction in the colloquial meanings behind primitivist, outstanding motifs — a lexicon of which can be seen in vintage Moroccan rugs and contemporary Moroccan rugs alike today.

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Before the current tenure as a known resource for designers and collectors alike, Moroccan rug and Kilim making knew a long history of utility and cultural aspiration over Western decorative appeal, a departure from the gradually emerging tendencies of the Turkish, Persian, and Chinese rug industries in the degree to which they catered to the european market. While we’re no stranger to a deep affection for European sensibilities in classic rugs—Josh has made his love of 18th-Century Aubusson and Savonnerie rug styles known among our peers over time—this remains among the unsung distinctions of Moroccan rug making that its nigh-unmistakable identity had persisted for so long through varied cultural influences.

Eventually, though, the desire for the ‘exotic’ rug family in Western culture played no small part in the entrance of Moroccan style to the world stage and the gradual western influence on the style we see today. Among the wide-spanning nomadic techniques of roughly 45 known Moroccan tribes spread geographically throughout Northwestern Africa, perhaps the most examplative common denominator of the culturally distinct antique and vintage Moroccan rug pattern would be the diamond pattern—sometimes historically referenced as a “lozenge” in and beyond a shared context with traditional Turkish rugs.

Even accounting for the distinctive approaches of familial linages and the gradual cultural blend of styles, the diamond lozenge could be argued to be the most regarded symbol of Moroccan rug patterns in the field today, but fewer connoisseurs understand that the motif is widely regarded to connote a representation of femininity, often a fertility motif keeping with the primitivism of ancestral Moroccan rugs and the basis of their symbology in survivalist cultural language. 

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An uncommonly large size Moroccan runner from our vintage Moroccan rugs.

Though entire books can, and have, been written on the study of Moroccan rug and tribal symbols in Morocco, cultural designers and home decorators seeking a Moroccan rug for the tribal subtext in equal measure to their fabulous appeal can learn to read these pieces starting from the base concept: it’s been widely agreed among anthropologists and rug experts that symbols representing masculine subtext were often depicted in straight, geometrically simpler motifs in long forms, while symbols for feminine subtext favored lozenge diamond patterns, chevron patterns, and other more dynamic motifs.

It’s arguably rare, from our perspective as long-time collectors and curators of the style, to find a rug solely emphasizing masculine tribal symbols — especially considering many antique Moroccan rugs were meant to represent the union of men and women both as lovers and as parents. Moroccan rug symbols were less concerned with decor and more with the spiritual, religious, and magical aspirations of the weavers, often weaving these symbols together to promote a healthy birth or loving union calling back to the survivalist concerns of Moroccan tribal rug weavers and their deep sense of community.

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Though feminine rug symbols have been found more often on their own — often to promote a healthy birth holding to the spiritual beliefs of mothers in their tribes — Moroccan rugs with rare emphasis on solely masculine symbols, such as the mallet/hammer, have been found in equally stunning beauty to that of their counterparts.

Antique & Vintage Moroccan Kilims 

Though they reside in the lesser-known families of Kilim, the flat weave carpets from the tribal Moroccan rug weavers that’ve endured to the market today are no-less worthy of celebration than the more widely understood counterparts. It’s worth noting that while the most popular antique and vintage Moroccan Kilim rugs have departed from the North African style’s predisposition to bold geometric symbolism, their approach to lively color and natural yarn variation remains a signifier of the celebrated Moroccan style — learning toward more transitional colorway pallets with less defined but equally intricate patterns. 

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Conversely worth noting in broaching the lengthy discussion behind how any of the Kilim and flatweave families we’ve mentioned have been reproduced in the modern day, the more reserved adaptations of the Moroccan style favoring minimalist tribal geometry and texture of frenzied color remark the traits arguably most popular in contemporary and modern Moroccan Kilim on the market today.

Turkish looms — ancestral cousins to the Moroccan style in both pile and Kilim rugs — have particularly taken to attacking the eternal need for Moroccan style in the unique large-size Kilim emerging from Turkey today (while modern Moroccan looms capable of producing larger sizes continue to favor the equally gorgeous pile rugs of their ancestry with new capabilities). 

Antique & Vintage Chinese Rugs 

Next in the line of antique and vintage rug capitals of the world with hand-knotting traditions traced to the 15th century, the many and revered classifications of antique Chinese rugs that have been studied over time were a symbol of status since inception — though many agree the rug was not as widely perceived as an art form until the late 18th century. Even in the delayed cultural acknowledgement of handmade rugs as an art form well before the arguably most widely known Peking rugs and Chinese Art Deco Rugs entered the field, the dynastic changes in Chinese history led to some of the most beautiful accomplishments in the field known today. 

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An antique rug exemplifying Chinese dragon patterns in medallion style — widely regarded as symbols of power, fortune, an other cultural omens.

These dynasty rugs — some of the most widely regarded including the antique Kangxi rug, antique Ming rug, antique Nangxia rug and various other time-honored traditions — are where the legacies of handmade rugs draw their names as they’re known among connoisseurs today. Even so, it’s worth noting that the many-faceted achievements in medallion style, pictorial storytelling and material creativity laid the groundwork for the antique Chinese Art Deco rug style that’s been essential to the Chinese rug market since the 1920s.

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Preferences in white, gold, blue and brown hues stretching back to the origins transitioned heavily into a wider color diversity that lends a major factor in the pricing of antique Chinese Deco rugs; including those in our own collection with rare variations of the Chinese Deco rug style. Though Chinese Deco rugs remain some of the best 20th century representations of how the revered Chinese textile industry has grown over time, the subtle, graceful mythology even their most direct interpretations enjoy were the result of a long tradition in dynastic Chinese rugs, owed heavily to decor including antique pottery, painting and other artistic mediums that first told of story and status in Chinese homes long before entering the international luxury rug market. 

Antique Peking rugs share a similar sensibility to the inspirations behind Chinese Art Deco rugs with mannerisms also borrowing from Central Asian techniques (among various influences on the vertical loom technique from Persian, Indian and other rug traditions). Among the most notable departures, however, is that most antique Peking rugs depict similar floral, mythological and geometric designs with a limited color palette — often favoring deep blues and browns with lesser gold presences in the wool, silk and varied material blends used in their pile. It’s widely agreed, while their origins date further back, that Peking rugs saw their halcyon days in the mid-19th century before they became popularized in the United States generations later. 

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Some of the best examples of the understated range of sensibilities of Chinese rugs in our collection have included antique Mongolian rugs and antique Indochinese rugs — two major classifications of the historic Chinese influence famed for embracing all manner of symbols, diverse yarns and sizes going back centuries. Some of Josh’s favorite Mongolian rugs and Indochinese rugs have become super platforms for the butterfly and dragon motif respectively — two among the most culturally fascinating symbols in antique Chinese rug history that have persisted as much as florals have into vintage Chinese rugs of influence. 

Antique and Vintage Khotan Rugs 

Though its own celebrated, individualistic style native to East Turkestan, the Khotan rug style is essential in understanding the reach of Taoist and Buddhist imagery from China and Chinese influence in the history of handmade rugs. Antique khotan rugs, for example, often celebrate each rug’s own interpretation of striking Chinese medallion patterns and shou symbolism seen in both styles today — one of the many distinctive preferences in antique Khotan rug symbols like that of meandering borders, ruyi clouds, lotus floral patterns, cloudbands and more intermingled with the Islamic hands in the long-recognized international rug center in Khotan. 

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Borrowing in equal measure from Eastern and Western elements since the 18th century, antique and vintage Khotan rugs have also earned fame for their depiction of the classic pomegranate pattern — a literally dubbed geometric floral pattern widely regarded to signify themes of abundance, fertility and harvest in the debated cultural subtext. Whether depicted in the rich tangerine and crimson red hues, sky blue hues, gold-yellow hues or rustic beige-brown and black hues that mid-century vintage Khotan rug makers loved, the pomegranate pattern has almost become as synonymous with more transitional Khotan rugs as the Silk Road was with helping put Khotan rugs on the map. 

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One of our antique Khotan rugs exemplifying a pomegranate pattern in beige brown and red.

Besides the equal representation of varied styles in quality silk and wool over time, another appeal that has become synonymous with Khotan rugs to the modern designer is their particular size preference — with many of the rare variations we’ve adopted in our collection being long area rugs, runners and well-suited choices for hallway and entryway projects. The range from bold to neutral seen in antique and vintage Khotan rugs over time opens the conversation behind their admiration more to each piece’s subtle variations on style, durability and of course quality condition as the lineage endures among collectors today. 

Antique European Rugs and Kilims

Among the wide-spanning pride Josh has taken in the cultivation of Rug & Kilim’s European Collection, the European Kilims represented have always held a special place among his sensibilities as a connoisseur of the market in the last 40 years. Among Europe’s many celebrated flat weaves, the Aubusson — especially the 18th-Century Aubusson — reigns among Josh’s favorites in the antique and contemporary Kilim market for their notorious large size, graceful sensibilities, and consistent quality sought after by both apprentices and aficionados alike in French rugs and decoration.

Equally noteworthy in the history of European Kilim favored in our collection are the Romanian and Russian Kilim rugs — the latter of which has been known for particularly celebrated tribal variations over time while the former two borrow a distinctive French sensibility that permeates their contemporary Kilims as it has their antiques we’ve seen. 

Antique Aubusson Rugs

Often synonymous with neoclassical terminology, to say the Aubusson Kilim is the most famed flat weave in Europe is to meet little resistance from the luxury rug industry and the new home decorator. Named for the eponymous territory where rugs and tapestries have been celebrated since the 15th Century, Aubusson Kilim connote a feeling of luxury and idyllic European grace, with our favored 18th-Century counterparts favoring intricate all-over medallion patterns, cartouches, and precision of symmetry from the center outward. 

Having been designed for aristocracy and royalty in their earliest days, there is a misconception that the Aubusson rug style is synonymous with a bold grandeur when the opposite is more often true. Aubusson Kilim rugs favor cream and neutral, forgiving tones with equal frequency to the more lavish reds, blues, and other bombastic colors available, and more often than not an Aubusson can represent the ideal quiet complement to an interior as it could complete the opulence of a castle hall. The style is so beloved that many reputed workshops, including our own, have adopted the style in their contemporary rugs made for the market today. 

Cleaning and Caring for Antique and Vintage Rugs 

Even as Rug & Kilim is proud to maintain our own facilities for cleaning and restoration available to our colleagues and clientele, the conscious level of care needed in maintaining antique rugs and vintage rugs is one Josh has always strived to impart when a piece leaves our archive to become part of a new home/project. This is an essential factor in why we continue to offer custom-cut padding even for pieces in pristine condition, given that ideal padding like ours exists to offer lift to the bodies of rugs and Kilims, protect against dust and promote the general longevity of antique and vintage rugs.

Understanding how different materials and ages of rugs — and especially Kilims — react to high-traffic, stains, dust, oxidization and other factors is the first step in protecting the value and beauty of luxury rugs over time, though the process can be perceived as intimidating for non experts and new collectors.

Owners of luxury antique rugs and vintage rugs are welcome to reach out for restoration, appraisal, cleaning, spot removal and other consultation services related to any classification, however rare. 


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Scandinavian

The Scandinavian Collection presents geometric designs delineated with varying pile heights for tactile emphasis, with numerous fresh, refined patterns woven in a unique variety of yarns and classic colorways. Often referred to by Josh Nazmiyal as “a new language in design” the modernist collection celebrates our unprecedented textural diversity, a formidable Kilim line never seen in these spacious sizes, and an exciting departure from traditional geometry that simultaneously embodies the original design.

Some of the most well-received patterns have drawn inspiration from mid-century pioneers of the aesthetic, reimagined with Josh’s deep reverence of the style and his drive to present the vintage style with the utmost quality and possibility. To that end essential functional concerns were innovated, especially in the flat weaves where the original pieces were fewer, smaller and more vulnerable to folding underfoot and we’ve achieved a durable body resistant to buckling or shifting like traditional flat weaves. A number of our Scandinavian Kilim pieces likewise enjoy a subtle, intriguing colorway variation created through the aforementioned blend of undyed, natural yarns, lending to a unique, tasteful sense of movement complementing the classic geometry.

Our goal was to ensure that the soul of Scandinavian design aesthetic in both functionality and minimalism was observed, while durability, beauty and restraint were addressed in kind.
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Antique & Vintage

Antique rugs have been in Josh’s resume since he began in the industry almost 40 years ago when he was already recognized for one of the largest oriental rug collections in the United States. Each piece in the internationally recognized volume was hand picked for rarity, and of course aesthetic and beauty, now complementing one of the widest varieties of Persian rug and Turkish rug collections with the utmost attention to individuality and care. Because of Josh’s position in the wholesale rug industry he’s been responsible for promoting a number of collections throughout history, from breathtaking signature Tabriz, Sultanabad, Kerman Lavar, Agra, and Oushak classics to the more unsung jewels of the luxury industry.

Vintage has also been synonymous with who we are since our beginning, particularly for our unparalleled Kilim collection, but with the rise of Mid Century collection the term vintage carpet has become very popular—especially exciting because often times many of the vintage carpets have also been treated, washed, dyed over, sheered, and modified—and has created a very successful category. We’re especially very proud of our vintage Kilims and Turkish rugs curated for our expansive collection of both area rugs and runners alike.

Rug & Kilim maintains our own facilities for cleaning and restoration exclusively for carpets we’ve sold to ensure their lasting beauty and care long after a piece leaves our collection.

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New & Modern

Since establishing our trade-only showroom in New York over 20 years ago, the interest in modern and contemporary flooring has been equal parts motivation and inspiration for Josh, who has long invested efforts innovating material and pioneering the designs we add to this aspect of our collections. To that, Josh’s passion for the history of design has inspired our growing geometric, abstract, and neo-traditional designs with exciting additions, particularly our Homage and Mid Century collections standing as pillars of the collections. 

 The Homage Collection from our Classic Style Sub Collection enjoys inspiration from Josh’s love of European rug sensibilities with a new take on distressed shabby chic. The Mid Century collection, too, draws influence from icons of the 1950s in its growing selection of patterns, both the effort of refining large-scale graph, texture, and color over three years and collaborating with classic and current designers who’ve embraced the style as a new face of modern.

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European

Equal to any pillar of our collections, our European category encompasses some of Josh’s favorite selections reflecting with time-honored and contemporary designs from as early as the 17thcentury and onward. The consistent popularity of French Aubusson pieces has always influenced our antique collection with some of the finest rarities, as well as our modern and contemporary inspirations blending the style with Josh’s signature approach. Our additional admiration for Tudor Neo-Classical, and Arts & Crafts design elements led us to an ample collection of Tudor and Art Deco inspirations with the same enthusiasm, and the response from designers and decorators alike has spoken volumes to the growing potential of these and other lines in our European Collection, including treasures from Ireland, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, Spain and more.

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kilim

The common denominator of nearly all of our lines, and the passion from which we found our name, lies in our unparalleled Kilim rug collection with selections from all over the world in both the most celebrated and unsung designs. In our antique and vintage collections our Persian, Turkish, and Moroccan Kilim collections alone enjoy rarity, versatility, and beauty with constant additions. 

 In line with Josh’s pioneering spirit, our flat weave line in Rug & Kilim’s Scandinavian collection enjoys fresh, invigorating designs and a durable body we’ve come to consider the hallmark of this collection; never buckling underfoot like traditional Kilims and blending a beautiful variety of yarns for a high-quality wool.

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Moroccan

From the antique and vintage riches of the Berber weavers to the exciting newer loom productions, our Moroccan collection enjoys a diversity of wool and fabric pieces equal to our variations of colors and pile heights. 

 The vibrant, very distinguished and intricate beauty and colorway options of the classic tribal pieces have been very well received by a variety of projects and spaces, enjoying both minimalist beauty and more eclectic, culturally fascinating options with rich symbolism and history.

 For a more modern appeal, the larger area-sized pieces in our contemporary Moroccan line enjoy bold variations of mixed pile height options complementing the very lush, inviting wool pile and the elegant contrast of cream white and black. The classically inspired field designs play beautifully off the reserved, sensible chic of these pieces and we’re excited to see the life they bring to projects.

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Burano

The Burano Collection celebrates Josh’s deep admiration for classic European sensibility and Oriental grace as they’ve transitioned into rare, unique fusions over time. Reflecting a symbiotic history of high fashion with an ostentatious, unsung traditional appeal in the cultural diffusion of these aesthetics upon each other, these very time-honored, sophisticated, beautiful melting colorway pieces marry the look of age with fabulous attention to texture, graphically and historically hoping to exhibit some of the most important patterns in the history of rug making.

What’s so groundbreaking is this collection’s ability to draw on any period— some creations including 17th-Century Kangxi to 18th-Century Aubusson pieces to 19th-Century neoclassical pieces and more in the growing collection all the time—like no one has ever offered in our trade before. With the common denominator of notoriously soft Ghazni wool and our own special blend of additional yarns, each hand-knotted piece can be crafted in the same weft and pile height with a new comfortable, rich aesthetic that is becoming recognized as a revolution in luxury rugs; a new, encompassing design language more than a collection.

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Custom Rugs

Rug & Kilim’s exclusive custom collection enjoys a culmination of all our team has learned through 40 years in the industry in a refined approach to scale, graph, color, and texture never seen in such an encompassing array of classic and modern bespoke rug patterns. Clients selecting a custom piece from this and our other custom-capable collections have access to our full sample archive for any additional inspiration, selecting any size and colorway variation working closely in constant communication with our Art Department from start to finish in realizing your vision with the utmost precision. Our designers provide an in-depth rendering once a 50% minimum deposit is placed, to be approved with your confidence and hand-made with any of our unique blend of exotic yarns and materials, the sheer variety of which has become a trademark of several collections including our celebrated Scandinavian, Mid-Century Modern, Texture of Color, Burano, and Homage collections to name a few.

Become a Member to access our full Custom archive and begin your project today.

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Padding

Rug & Kilim’s custom cut padding is available for any order, offering longevity and value to a variety of pieces by offering a keylift to the body,mitigating dust accumulation, and protecting special orders in transit for various projects. Click below to find the ideal padding for your order or email info@rugandkilim.com for more information.

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mid-century modern

The Mid-Century Modern collection by Rug & Kilim represents founder Josh Nazmiyal’s hope to honor the iconic aesthetic pioneered by designers of the 1950s in the limelight of modern design. These newly released additions represent the first major production of mid-century style fabric patterns as custom, high-quality luxury rugs in our collaboration with both established and up-and-coming artists sharing our passion for the style.


The collection is the product of several years researching and refining our approach to large-scale drawing, texture, and color in a constantly refined method of capturing the pattern. These new additions marry post-war and atomicage design sensibilities with new design elements as our team collaborates with foundations representing the pioneers of the design as well as contemporary artists sharing Josh’s passion for the historic style.


Including quality wool, a blend of exotic yarns from our collection and brilliant, luminous silk highlighting key colorways in varied pieces, the library in our Mid Century Modern Collection promises to become one of the most uniquely joyful and reliable resource for decorators sharing our passion for both offering homage and embracing something new in the world of luxury interiors.

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Homage

The Homage Collection represents Rug & Kilim’s ambitious approach to reimagining iconic Oriental patterns with fresh European influences from a range of inspirations. With more than 75 designs and numerous full-sized stock pieces and samples available with this exceptional colorway selection, Josh sees the representations of traditional, transitional, modern impressionism, abstract, and even as far as American hook rugs in the collection as some of the best of each category in his experience.

Likewise seeing the line as an encyclopedia of designs and a handbook for everyday use at very reasonable prices, our team is particularly proud of the custom service, fast delivery, and consistent production this new archive offers. Even seen as a natural complement to the aesthetic of our respected Scandinavian Collection, pieces in the Homage collection have been washed to achieve a comfortable look of distressed, chic aesthetic and texture—though clients are certainly welcome to ask for pile in custom projects. The Homage Collection is an especially ideal choice for second homes, studios, beach houses, country homes, farm houses, and young families; easy to maintain, adaptable, and lending a reserved, dignified tone to many projects

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