While you may not understand them, you may have heard of them.
In a world of machine-made goods, they celebrate the value of pushing the envelope of human creativity and grit. Hand-knotted rugs emphasize the human element in interior decor, quelling those generic standards forced by factory lines and computerized templates. What you see on these exquisite rugs is the natural progression of the hand-knotting craft down through the centuries.
In the 15th Century in Persia, craft centers in villages were funded by the Safavid shahs of that golden era, This is exactly what Cocoon Fine Rugs does and sells today, These rugs are created by underprivileged communities of North India with a passion rarely found in industrial contexts, these masterpieces bless households with style and sensibility.
How do these rugs differ from the standard fare found in shops on your city street? How can you know which ones are worth their cost? There are several questions that might be running through your head at this moment; this guide provides answers to commonly asked questions of this major cottage industry.
1. How do you choose reputable sources for your purchase?
Hand-knotted rugs are part of a busy cottage industry situated largely in North India. Communities in villages and towns, often below the poverty line, are employed in this organic process which aids in their economic prosperity. Manufacturers and Distributors like Cocoon Fine Rugs are responsible for designing and selling the rugs to urban clientele—giving these underprivileged people a large percentage of the money accrued from selling them.
This symbiotic system ensures high-quality workmanship, given that the village craftsmen and artisans have considerable incentives. With several hand-knotted rug distributors having digital profiles nowadays, it is easy to see the reviews and ratings they get. Rugs sold by long-established, reputable companies will have been examined for consistency, and their brand names will be treated with respect in the rug market. Peruse their Google My Business and Amazon profiles—and look for additional information on subreddits and industry forums.
2. Are subtle imperfections in the pile and dye indicative of shoddy work?
While there can be dubious dealers who sell finalized products with poor thread integrity, the majority of hand-knotted rugs are made with thorough dedication down to each knot. These small imperfections you see in the pile (the top layer of the rug), such as uneven knots, are the reason why these artistic creations are prized so high—the human element.
Humans are prone to more standard deviations in their workflow than machines, and, given that these rugs can be handled by 40-50 people in their multi-step creation process, these asymmetric knots are a natural result. You might also notice striations in the dye’s color in the horizontal plane of the rug, and this is not necessarily bad work. It is called “abrash,” the Arabic word for “mottled,” an intrinsic part of the dyeing process.
3. Are Persian Knots superior to Turkish knots?
There is no objective scale for ranking knots.
The Persian (or Senneh) Knot allows more knots to be packed in a given surface area, due to one of its loops not being tied around the warp. It provides higher-density piles with more intricate and curvilinear designs. But it is not as strong as the Turkish knot, leaving the rug more delicate and prone to disruption.
The Turkish (or Ghiordes) Knot is a symmetrical knot, with both loops tied over the warp, creating a stronger bond. Also, due to its symmetry, it provides a more consistent pile than Persian knots do. It trades off its strength with lower Knots Per Square Inch (KPSI) i.e. less density.
Both these knots are named based on the place they originated from, not from where they are now made. You can find hand-knotted rugs made of Persian and Turkish knots in India, Pakistan, and so forth—depending on the artisans, they will both be of high quality. Don’t get caught up in the jargon.
4. What is the difference between handwoven and hand-knotted rugs?
There is no pile in regular, handwoven “flatweave” rugs—or “kilims” in Arabic.
In our other blog post, we discussed the difference between hand-knotted and hand-tufted rugs, where the latter was made via a mechanical tufting gun shot by unskilled laborers. Handwoven rugs are made on a loom, like hand-knotted rugs, but have no pile, which ensures they are created quickly. This means they are made entirely of the warping and wefting with no extraneous soft material (usually wool) looped over it to create the pile. Hand-knotted rugs include the warping and wefting under the expertly constructed pile.
Handwoven rugs are low-cost, easy to use, and suitable outdoors and in high-traffic areas of the house. They are made of jute, cotton, bamboo silk, and silk and can be made within a week. Hand-knotted rugs usually need wool to get that luxurious, softer feel to them and can take 3 months to a year to create. They are suitable indoors, away from sunlight, and in rooms where foot traffic is light and dignified.
5. How do you wash and maintain these masterpieces without damaging them?
Most rugs are made with a wool pile, which is sturdy enough to withstand the action of a vacuum cleaner. One can also use a broom or brush; however, err on the side of caution, and use these cleaning tools gently. Should you notice shedding of threads in the period after you open the rug, do not fret, as this is a natural occurrence which will conclude after a while.
You will also want to maintain the color of the workmanship. These dyes are known to fade in sunlight, so you will have to ensure they get the least amount of sunlight possible; spreading them in an indoor area with little natural light is the best idea. You can also turn the rug over to mitigate the process of fading, given that the design is still visible on the other side. For more instructions for rug care, follow the link.
6. Why are hand-knotted rugs so expensive?
When you consider the profound philosophy of this undertaking, along with its historic connotations and their social equivalence today through the sheer grit of rural artisans, you begin to see why these rugs cost more than a lakh of rupees. The artistic value of a million knots threaded into both traditional and modern designs demands that the people involved be rewarded accordingly.
The labor costs are a major component of this cottage industry and for good reason—the process can involve more than 15 steps, from wool-carding to knotting to dyeing and to final trimming. This industry earns a large part of its revenue from foreign exports, but there is a considerable consumer base in urban India who are willing to pay these high costs for the sake of artistic purity. These hand-knotted rugs also accrue value over time due to their unique, individualistic designs, and can function as family heirlooms and collector’s items in the decades to come.
Do not assume these rugs as “just a luxury item.” They are investments that impart a deep, cultural value to your home. Cocoon Fine Rugs invites you to this niche market, hoping you can take that leap of faith to celebrate the spirit of human artistry!