The thing about rugs is, they have been there for us since the beginning of time! Let’s take a look at how rugs have evolved over the years, from bare, animal skins of the past to the refined, modern carpets of today.
The Bare Essentials
Animal skins served as the first rugs for humans, who used them to soften the rough, dirt ground and keep their feet warm from the cold, hard surface beneath their feet. Later in the Middle East, people eventually learned how to weave, and started using reeds to craft the earliest kinds of woven rugs.
Around the 5th century BC, Asian shepherds started using their sheep’s wool as rugs and carpets, and a frozen “Pazyryk Carpet” of the time, found in Siberia in 1949, enabled researchers to study the unique weaving style (the Turkish knot), colors and details of the rug.
A Luxury for Europeans
Even though the Persians take the credit for making woven woolen rugs popular worldwide, the rugs actually originated in Asia and the Middle East around 4,000 years ago. Some of them were woven with silk and wool, and ornamented with gems and precious stones between the weave.
When rug-weaving finally made it to Europe, it was not until the 17th century that rugs became common items, instead of being reserved for only the upper-class and royalty. Most rugs of that time were also imported and usually Persian, according to ancient art.
The Era of Commercial Rugs
Mid-1800’s were interesting years for the development of rugs. During this time, rug-making became an industry in Europe, and were made of different materials using machines instead of manual labor. Navajo rugs from the American Southwest also became popular during this time.
Rugs have come a long way since the earliest times, and today, they are mass-produced in countless designs. Most modern rugs use artificial fibers, which make them durable and washable, but people who are looking for a more environmentally friendly option still go for rugs made from natural fiber.