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Too Good to Be True Persian Rug? Is it Real?



I am wondering if you can help me out.  I've recently purchased semi-antique Iranian rugs on ebay that seem too good to be true.

The wool appears of reasonable quality and even has a slight patina.  The rug shows all the markings of a hand-woven rug to my eye, but both the price and uniformity of the weaving seem odd.  The price seems too cheap - although many of these rugs have mild defects: uneven wear, a patch (not a repair), chemical fading, etc.

I've attached a photo.  Overall the most striking thing is the uniformity of the weave.  I have many older rugs, tribal and a few "master signed" and they sometimes are "wavy."  When they are extremely uniform, I've been able to find pattern defects.

But the rugs I get from this merchant remind me of perfect stencils.  The only thing I can surmise is that they were woven on metal looms in a factory consistent way or they are in fact power loomed and they've figured out some way to make them look hand knotted on the ends.

If these are hand made, can you tell me how they achieve such horizontal uniformity and why they sell so cheap?

Based on my limited knowledge, it looks like there are has been significant fading in this rug - I also notice lighter purples.  I seem to recall someone saying that lighter purples can be the sign of a dye fading because of a chemical was or aniline dye or something like that.

I didn't see any bleeding so my assumption would be that this is a vegetable dyed rug that was chemically treated and has fading in time because of the original chemical treatment???

It also looked like there might be parallel green weft or am I seeing things?

So assuming it is man-made but had a chemical wash that has caused premature fading, what kind of longevity and value does this rug have?  Is that why it was so cheap or did I just luck out?


Oriental Rug Inexpensively Had?

Bargain Persian Rug
eBay Rug, Reverse Side.  Even Knotting


You have a lot of excellent questions here, we will try and address all!

Yes, this is a hand knotted rug.  It is from Iran.  While it's not uncommon for some sellers to be deceptive, intentionally or unintentionally.  However, looking at the weft, and the general arrangement of such, we can easily determine there is no "faking" that this rug as being is hand knotted.  It actually is a true "Oriental Carpet".

Next, in line is the uniform nature of such a this carpet.   How come this rug is so square, and perhaps even hint to being a machine made piece?  Without judgment, this type of rug or carpet is what would could be considered a "highly commercialized piece".  Produced perhaps in a city, there very likely was a great volume of such rugs and similar pieces were probably produced within an informal workshop.  The objective certainly was to create an oriental rug, but more so were produced with the intention of a lower price point, and destined for world markets around the world.  Perhaps more specifically tailored for export to America. 

The best and easiest ways to work on a large commercial scale would include several things.  As you mentioned, rigid looms would help.  Perhaps metal, but possibly even with secured and well squared wooden looms.  What also would add to the uniformity of an Oriental Rug such as like this would include experienced weavers, in conjunction with implementation of technology when and where available.  Reducing the labor is also important importing.  This brings us to the the refining of materials.  Refinement of wools would be left to machine milling.  Spinning of yarn & cotton in a machine mill yields a uniform, predictable, and evenly gauged material.  With all these factors combined: a rigid loom, experienced weavers, milled materials, and other, the product rendered will have just precisely the uniform features we see in your photographs.  You are right to question the "authenticity" of such a rug, but rest assured, this is a hand knotted piece.

To address the dyes, which will also ties into the price point the rug was purchased:  In creating a rug for commercial appeal, dyes used would  mostly be synthetic for the most part.  They are inexpensive, often very colorfast, although there are drawbacks to some less widely understood dyes from this era. 

Just as a side note, and generally speaking, both synthetic and natural dyes both have potential to run.  Color run has to do with two main things: one, poor quality dyes (which has often been

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November 18. 2008 18:55


You guys are amazing. Thanks for the information. You will have saved me a lot of wasted money in the long run and you have helped me understand why I like the look of certain rugs. Increasingly I am fascinated by the tribal rugs and their less uniform appearance. It seems with rugs there are as many nuances as there with Scotch and Wines. In the end, one may prefer a blended scotch or a cheap wine, but having some knowledge of why something appears to the palate - be it a wine palate, rug palate or palate helps in the selection process.

I believe this will be a lifelong exploration for me and I am glad you have this site. Thanks for the great work.

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November 29. 2008 23:21


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