The "Bokhara" design is derived from many older stylized designs known as Tekke, Tekke Main and sometimes Yomud (Yomut) rugs. Some experts state there actually is no such thing as a "Bokhara" rug, but they have been labeled as such in attribution to the area in which they were most highly exchanged in. "Bokhara" however, is a solid search term for those of whom wish to find more commercially available rugs at a lower price point.
Like many older oriental rug Designs, the Bokhara design was often interpreted by many different weaving countries. The Bokhara design a traditional repetitive pattern using a design element known as a "gul". The gul design is actually a stylized flower. Guls often vary in shape and design from rug to rug, but in any given individual weaving, the guls are arranged in uniform rows and columns in the field. Generally speaking, the guls may come in many forms. Most often, they are slightly oblong, shapely yet geometric. The Bokhara design is also sometimes refered to as the "elephant footprint" because of the general shape of such design element. bokhara rugs are almost always wool pile on either a wool or cotton foundation however this depends highly on country of origin.
Bokhara design rugs are usually woven with very few "top" colors in each rug. It's unusual to find a Bokhara rug containing more than 6 different colors. Colors are traditionally bold, including red, ivory, rust and black. Because of popularity in many weaving countries, particularly pakistan, Bokharas are found in a rainbow of shades despite the traditional, bold past colors. These newer renditions still have few individual top colors.
*Above: a Turkmen Tekke "Bokhara". It is a wool carpet, on wool foundation. kpsi around 220 with symmetrical knots and chemical dyes. Image provided by http://www.heriz.ru/
*Above: A sample of what a "Tekke" looks like. Although this is
actually a very old "Tekke" rug from around or before the turn of 1900,
many newer Bokhara designs will be closely related to this.
Below is a very rough sketch of what a Gul looks like with much detail left out.
The gul is symmetrical in shape, however often has alternating coloring
in each quadrant.
For additional information see:
One or more example(s) photographed above courtesy Dilmaghani & Co.
inventory of their NY Oriental Rug Warehouse
or NY showroom of Oriental