Barry O'Connell Jr. of Spongobongo for Oriental Rugs and Persian Carpet Guide explains the difference between open and closed back Chinese Rugs!
Select information below may have been paraphrased from this video.
Looking at the first of the two examples, this is an
"open back". The white wefts are clearly visible, with a two
cord white selvedge which is actually a continuation of the weft itself (runs
horizontally through the rug)
The second example is a newer, more commercially available
chinese using a "2 level knot": For each knot seen on the back of the
rug, there is actually an "identical" half half which is unseen,
tucked behind the one which is visible. This is technical information
pertaining to both the type of knot used, in addition to the offset of the
How will this translate in your hand? You can see as
Barry moves the first blue rug, it's slightly more floppy, and more
malleable. The second example in ivory is slightly more rigid. While this
may not always be the case, as weft material, gauge and thickness also have a
great deal to do with the handle of a rug, it's worth mentioning there is a
greater dimension to the second rug packed into the same area creating a
slightly "stiffer" final piece.
Video courtesy Barry O'Connell of Spongobongo for Oriental Rugs and Persian Carpet Guide
The Chinese have a long and extensive history in
weaving. It is said in the 16th century, expert Chinese weavers were
actually brought to Persia
to aid in a revitalization of the art of weaving. Design elements used by
the Chinese soon spread all around Persia and surrounding areas. The
cloudband is one example of the previously mentioned. It is said to be a
Chinese interpretation of a cloud with it's undulating contours, often but not
always, symmetrical. Such design elements have been integrated into
Turkish and Persian weavings for many, many years.