Indian Rugs

Written by Helen Glenn Court
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The term Indian rugs is somewhat awkward when you consider it in semantic terms. The word Indian can be interpreted to refer to either the Asian subcontinent or the original settlers of North America. The Asian subcontinent, after all, only became known and integrated as a single nation state during and after the British colonial period, before then it was known as Hindustan.

Similarly, the American Indians were named not because Columbus thought he had found India as one might think. India in 1492 was still called Hindustan. It had not yet come under British influence. Instead, Columbus called the inhabitants of the islands he landed on simply "People of God." In Spanish, the language he spoke, this was, "una gente in Dios," from this came the name Indian.

About Asian and American Indian Rugs

Most often the term Indian rugs refers to one grouping of Oriental rugs--the others being Turkish, Caucasian, Central Asian, Persian, and Chinese. The Navajo of the United States, however, produced fine rugs as well--if completely different in manufacture and style. Both are well worth considering.

Two styles unique to modern India are Dhurries and Indomir. Indomir are characterized by a ground with a continuous rather than center-based design. Called a miriboteh, this features multiple rows--whether horizontal, vertical, or diagonal--of small uniform elements. Dhurries are flat weave Indian rugs rather than tufted. In design, perhaps ironically, they are quite similar to Navajo rugs in the United States--featuring geometric patterns rather than separate geometric elements.


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