If you are into interior design, even just a little bit, you must be familiar with the term oushak rugs (or ushak rugs). But what exactly are they? Let’s find out about the origins and features of these beautiful rugs.

The Journey Begins, Oushak, 16th Century.

Well, obviously, Oushak rugs come from Oushak, a city in western Turkey. The weaving culture started with Lydians and Phrygians in the region where today’s Oushak is. Inheriting this culture before the 16th century, Oushak has become one of the biggest centers for rug weaving in the Ottoman Empire. After the new regulations Ottoman Empire implemented in the 15th century for trade, foreign traders were able to sell Oushak rugs to Europe, where they got their worldwide popularity.

Hans Holbein, Lotto Lorenzo & Oushak Rugs in The High Society of Europe.

With high-quality materials and exquisite hand artistry, Oushak rugs became very popular among the rich in Europe. An Oushak rug meant a higher status, proof of richness and taste. So when artists painted their portraits, oligarchs insisted on including the Oushak rugs to show off their magnificence. 

The Oushak rugs became on the march during Renaissance, and they were identified with famous artists like Hans Holbein and Lotto Lorenzo, who featured Oushak carpets in many of their paintings. Even today, some designs of traditional Oushak rugs are known by the names of Lotto and Holbein. 

Materials, Colors, and Designs

Oushak rugs are traditionally made of wool. Other common materials are cotton and silk. From fleecing the animal to get raw wool to dyeing the threads made from that wool, Oushak rug weavers are responsible for the whole process. The dyes used for the brilliant colors of Ushak rugs are natural dyes made from madder, plants, and vegetables. “Turkish red” is the most common color among Oushak rugs, but today Oushak rugs can come in different styles such as contemporary, traditional, etc. There are 16 known designs in traditional Oushak rugs, the most popular ones being Lotto and Holbein. Other designs are inspired mainly by nature and cultural elements. 

Qualities of An Oushak rug

Oushak rugs are known for their lastingness. Oushak rugs are durable as they are woven using a special Turkish knot called the “inclose knot.” In addition, they are soft to the touch as they are made of wool and easy to clean for their water and stain-resistant quality. 

They are also easy to decorate with as they are suitable for any room of any style. Oushak rugs come in different sizes and purposes. There are 12x18 Oushak rugs used in famous public libraries and offices (especially for their noise reduction quality). The most popular ones are 7x12 and 8x10 Oushak rugs, suitable for living rooms and bedrooms, and they can be used as bathroom rugs as well if they are taken care of properly. Oushak rugs are the way to go to complete a vintage look. 

It is only a bonus that genuine antique Oushak rugs are not only decoration elements but are also considered great investments. Therefore, oushak rugs become more and more valuable over time.

How To Know If An Oushak Rug Is Genuine?

Only natural materials are used in producing antique Oushak rugs, so synthetic fibers like nylon, polyester, etc., show that it is not an antique&vintage Oushak rug. Also, the colors should not spill when wiped with a wet cloth, as they should be made with natural dyes. Yet, some colors may be uneven, unlike chemically dyed rugs, as perfection is impossible. The same thing goes with the design too. Some motifs may be slightly uneven or asymmetrical, as there can be human flaws when rugs are hand-knotted.

Meet the Author

Bihter Ege Baskin

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