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Oriental Rugs - History

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As demand for rugs grew in the early years of the twentieth century, new trading centers began springing up in India, Pakistan, and other traditional rug-making countries where commerce replaced the stream of invasions that had earlier characterized cultural exchange. Even a few Balkan countries, notably Romania and Albania, began selling rugs, particularly after World War II. Weavers still hand-knotted their rugs on traditional looms, their designs reflecting geographical preferences, but many of them, particularly in the village and city workshops, also began making efforts to tailor rugs to American and European tastes. Sizes changed to fit typical American homes - the 8 x 10 foot rug, for example, was made to fit the traditional American dining room. Chemical dyes were added and improved over the years to meet changing color palettes. While many rugs remained in the Middle East during the twentieth century, huge numbers were shipped abroad.

Today, attention to foreign tastes remains a concern, but many rug-makers are returning to the natural colors and hand-crafting of old. Workshops combine computer with age-old dye recipes and hand-shearing techniques, providing unique combinations of tradition and novelty for the discriminating buyer. Never have consumers had so many choices of colors, sizes, styles, and countries of origin.

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