Collectors searching for the finest Persian rugs on the market can attest that it can be an overwhelming experience. While the search for quality handmade rugs can be arduous if done properly, attention to detail often produces rich rewards. Familiarizing yourself with the types of knots used in luxury rugs is a vital step in being able to appraise not just a rug’s authenticity but also its quality.
One of the most common knot types you’ll see in pile-woven Oriental rugs is the Persian knot, sometimes referred to as the Senneh knot. Persian knots lack symmetry, with their ends rising between the warp pairs and a knot collar cinching around two warps. The ends have full liberty to open to either side. The nature of the Persian knot lends to a denser, more compact knot without gaps, further distinguishing it from Turkish knots. Because of this, you’ll find Persian knots to be the preferred style for luxury rugs boasting more ornate patterns. Countries such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, India, Tibet, Nepal, and China are well known to favor the Persian knot.
Turkish knots, often referred to as Ghiordes knots, adhere to a greater sense of symmetry. Like Persian knots, the knot collars of Turkish knots wrap around warp pairs, however these knots utilize both yarn ends when rising through the warp pairs. These knots are often notable for giving off a double-knotted appearance, contributing to a bulkier appearance than the Persian variety. While the Turkish knot is obviously the preferred knot type for handmade rugs in Turkey, you’ll also find it commonly used in northern Iran, Azerbaijan, and Armenia.
While pile-woven rugs are traditionally woven using only one of the two knot types above, one must stay aware of the far inferior jufti knot. While both the Persian and Turkish knots wrap around singular warps with a knot collar wrapping around the warp pair, the jufti knot wraps around four warps. This means a rug comprised of jufti knots is woven in half the time with a fraction of the materials, negatively impacting the overall quality of the rug. Jufti knots can be made to imitate either Persian or Turkish knots. Some rugs are even comprised of a mixture of legitimate Persian or Turkish knots and jufti knots, so it pays to be shrewd when evaluating a prospective purchase.
When a Knot is Not a Knot
While Jufti knots have earned themselves the nickname “false knots”, it should be pointed out that none of the knots above are actual knots by definition. Rather Persian and Turkish knots are simply loops embracing warps in concerted configurations. The one exception to this rule is the Spanish knot; a symmetrical variety that ties around each singular warp in a legitimate knot.
Knots per square inch (kpsi) is a measurement commonly used to assist in determining the value of handmade rugs, but the type of knot should also be given merit when evaluating your rug purchase. A rug artisan spends roughly 1 year tying 10,000 knots per day to create the luxury rugs we treasure. But it falls on us to inspect those knots to guarantee that they’re meeting the highest standards of quality.