Difference in an oriental rug's sides

Difference in an oriental rug's sides

The rug on the left represents the darker shade of an Afghan wool carpet while the rug on the right features the same rug but from its light side.
This area rug is part of our Wool Florals Collection. Photo retrieved from the Bashir Persian Rugs Collection.

The Difference in an Oriental Rug's Sides - March 13, 2019

The direction of a rug’s threads results in its light and dark shades. Depending on the weaving technique and fiber’s luster, some carpets have further contrast in color than others. Fibers are laid out at such an angle that they will do one of two things: they will either reflect light, or absorb it. When we talk about the rug's lighter side, we’re talking about how the light reflects off the fiber's sides, giving the rug a brighter gloss. Similarly, the dark side of the rug’s cut wool tips absorb light rather than reflect it, thus giving the rug a deeper tone.

Rug pile direction

The rug world is full of intricate designs, rich history and detailed terminology. An example of this cited terminology would be pile direction. When you run your hand with or against a rug’s fibers, you’re gaging the rug’s “pile direction". In most rugs’ cases, they have a distinctive pile direction that can be felt as well as seen. You will feel that the pile has a rough and smooth side if you run your hand on the pile of the rug either from edge to edge or diagonally. If the pile direction feels leveled, you’re observing the rug’s darker side; likewise, if the pile direction feels rougher, you’re observing the rug’s lighter side.

How the dark side and light side effects the colors of the rug

Again, every hand knotted Oriental rug has a "light" side and a "dark" side. The color entirely depends on how you view the rugs’ nape. The shade intensity from one end of the rug may be vastly different from what you see on the opposite end— this depends on whether one looks directly into the nape or with the nape. Handmade rugs have a consistency and a shine, which may affect the rug’s color. The colors of a rug will appear either several shades lighter or darker depending on where the viewer is standing in relation to the rug.