Consider how rug color changes when placing an Oriental rug in any room.
Before placing a hand-knotted wool rug in your room it’s always a good idea to check for rug color changes. Those are due to the luster of the wool combined with the thickness of the pile and the direction in which the knots are tied. When light hits the rug it can have color-changing effects. The darker variation will produce a deeper, richer color whereas you may prefer the lighter color tone. Here’s how to judge.
The pile of a hand-knotted rug is formed by the knots, tied on a loom. Some rugs have a denser, longer pile than others. Some, like flat-woven rugs, will have no pile. This Kirman rug, shown a side-by-side in different directions, shows the evident contrast in color. The photo on the left looks into the nap or pile; the photo on the right is looking with the flow of the nap.
To understand nap flow, think of the coat of a dog or cat. When you pet in the direction its coat runs, it is smooth. The same applies to a carpet. With hand-knotted Oriental rugs, looking into the nap produces a darker appearance because we are looking at the cut ends of the knots which create the pile. Stand at the opposite end and the color will appear lighter because you are looking with the flow of the pile.
This wall-to-wall example displays a high and low sheen created by the direction the vacuum was passed across the fibers. The darkest areas are where the vacuum cleaner was pulled against the pile.
Some rugs will display pile which appears to run sideways instead of up or down. This is especially evident on this Kirman. The pile looks blotchy but in reality it is merely the way the fibers in those areas flow and reflect light. This is most common on a light, solid-colored area in a rug. The photo below shows that the uneven pile flow extends into the borders as well.
This type of color change should not be confused with an abrash. Abrash is created by different color-dye lots, not the directional flow of a rug’s pile. Not all rugs will display a color variation as obvious as the one in this green Kirman and some will not be noticeable at all. Pile height, quality, wool luster and knotting style all can greatly affect whether a rug looks different from one end to the other.
(Sources: Aspire Auctions, Flickr)
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