Persian & Oriental rugs and carpets come in three broadly different basic styles or categories. Along with various other factors, these categories affect the value of the item, although it should be noted that this is not a definitive way of determining value – a small exceptional tribal rug may be more valuable than a larger village carpet; the worth of the item is dependent on a number of other factors.

The story of each of these kinds of rugs and carpets is fascinating, and this rich history is one of the appealing aspects of Persian and Oriental carpets.

(Remember, the term ‘Oriental’ here means from those other regions of the East that, like Persians, have a long tradition of hand-crafting rugs & carpets in the same basic technical methods, materials and general designs & colours. They include Turkey, India, Pakistan, Central Asia, China and others.

As a good analogy, fine wines are made not only in France, but in much the same way from the same basic grapes and methods in Italy, California, South Africa, Australia etc. And in each of these regions, qualities vary from ordinary, to good, to exceptional!)

Tribal or Nomadic Weaves

Example of a tribal-nomadic rug, work of the Qashg’ai of S.W Persia (Iran)


As the name suggests, these Persian & other Oriental carpets and rugs are woven by nomadic people belonging to various tribes. They are usually the less valuable carpets.

However, as mentioned, this is not a hard and fast rule – some nomadic weaves are simply technically exceptional, as well as beautiful, and are worth a great deal.

As these carpets are woven by people who travel from location to location in search of pasture for their sheep, they are often slightly irregular in shape and even a little haphazard in their patterns.

Furthermore, designs are generally quite simple and geometric. Their purpose is primarily for utility as floor coverings, tent hangings, or dowry items rather than being made for the marketplace or export.

They can nevertheless be beautiful, decorative and even collectors or museum pieces at their best! A good comparison in the world of paintings would be “naïve art”.

Their colours tend to be somewhat more bold and primary, depending on the availability of materials from which to make dyes. These Oriental rugs and carpets are made using a portable, horizontal ground loom. As these tribal people move regularly, they need a weaving loom that can be rolled up and transported easily. n

Village Weaves (or Cottage Industry)

Typical Village/Cottage industry Persian runners from W. Persia (Iran)


These are the mid-range rugs and carpets in terms of craftsmanship – they are woven mostly by the skilled and patient mothers and daughters within villages. Their patterns, colours and weaves tend to be more regular and consistent, as opposed to those of nomadic rugs and carpets.

Once again, as above, it is important to note that, while most often they are mid-range in terms of value, some of them can be crafted magnificently, making them not only beautiful and decorative, but collectible and valuable.

Additionally, colours tend to have more variety, with various shades of reds, blues, greens, yellows and cream/white used most often. These carpets are woven on fixed vertical looms in the homes of the weavers, which are not easily transportable like those used by the nomadic peoples.

Village Weaves (or Cottage Industry)

Example of the renowned and refined ‘city’ craftsmanship of Tabriz carpets, N. Persia


The craftsmen and women who make these carpets are usually more skilled and do so for a living. The best of them are highly prized. The best of those Persian and Oriental carpets produced in towns or cities are typically woven under the direction or supervision of a master weaver, and from designs created or adapted by master artists, who will have extraordinary knowledge and skill.

This expertise leads to a finished rug or carpet that is denser in texture, with a finer weave, refined and intricate designs and colours – at times there can be hundreds of knots within one square inch. Patterns tend to be complex and colours are as varied as the imagination.

All of these attributes of city weaves tend to make them the most valuable of the three. But again, grades of quality and excellence vary from ordinary, to good, to masterpiece levels, and are valued accordingly.

All of these magnificent Persian and Oriental rugs and carpets then find their way to the markets and homes of the rest of the world. At Victor Lidchi, our three generations of the family’s international dealings and knowledge enable us to buy at the best prices at the source, choose the best for our customers, and to know true value and quality. nnWe take great joy and excitement in bringing the finest ranges of Persian and Oriental carpets to South Africa. And to satisfy the tastes and décor styles of all buyers. nnThe range of prices start from under R3, 000, but range mainly from R5, 000 to R25, 000. The best and rarer items go up to R100, 000 and above. Our policy is: sell only what we could recommend to a friend, and advise and guide buyers as we would a friend. nnVisit our Victor Lidchi showrooms for free advice, to view our range, and to acquire your own unique fine Persian or Oriental carpet, after a memorable experience! nnServices include: * Free Appro (trial & advice in your own home.) * Full-credit Exchange guarantee * Expert cleaning & repairs * the renowned Victor Lidchi Certificate of Authenticity & Value & more. Ts & Cs apply.