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Carpet & Textile Glossary

The complex world of carpets involves many different technical terms that are easy to mix up. In this section a few of the most prominent terms and their definitions are described.


In case of any questions we are happy to answer these at your visit.

Is a color tone variation within a colour. It can be seen clearly in solid colour fields. They are a clear sign that the carpet originates from a small provincial production.


Typical term for Turkish carpets.


Is the description of the natural wool destruction process, which is caused by dyeing with iron oxide dyes. (later relief effect).


Leakage from poorly fixed red tones.


Description  for embedded metal threads into the fabric.

Central Motif

Is the main motif which fills the fond.


The chain is the total of all longitudinal threads of a carpets under-fabric. These threads are usually made of cotton, which are stretched during manufacturing parallel between the two cross-beams of the weaving chair.

Cloud band

It is a band-like ornament that resembles the Greek letter. It comes originally from the Chinese culture. It can be symmetrical and asymmetrical and its shape is reminiscent of a snake winding. 


Description for measures of 3,00m x 1,50m. These carpets are often double as long as wide. Farsh

Persian for carpet.


A Persian style handknotted carpet.


The field is the inner part of the carpet which is embedded in one or more borders.


Is the description of the ends of the warp yarns, which are knit at the ends of a pile. This is done to prevent the opening of the pile.


A Gabbeh ist a high pile carpet with multiple Durchschuss. It is soft and bendy. Often due to its character it is used by nomads as blankets. 


A name for a carpet format.

Garden carpet

Known from the Persian provenience where the field is divided into „Flower beds “.


Name of the tribal character of the Turkmen.


Name of the Turkish carpet making knot also known as the symmetric knot.


Name of the stylised motif of a flower. 


Behind this term hides a very high-quality wool (fluff wool). Ovine and caprine animals generate them for their winter coat. Fabrics and carpets made of this high-quality wool are often estimated as being of higher value than similar carpets made of silk. The characteristics of this wool type are that they are very soft and shiny. It gives the carpet pile a very velvety feeling.


Are elongated carpets for example for corridors. One also calls them Kenares or Galeries. Lüster

Is the european description for the glance of the carpet pile.


Reflects the main subject of the field and is often present in Persian carpets; often also with supporters and/or repetitions.


A prayer niche in the mosque and on prayer carpets.

Natural Colours

Term for non-synthetically manufactured colorants; its manufacturing is made from plants, animals and minerals.


The visible surface of the carpet is known as pile. This consists usually of wool, the so-called yarn, which is made mostly of short pieces in the warp yarns.

Prayer Carpet

A prayer carpet is characterised above all the facts, that he is used for daily prayers. The field is completely filled with the prayer niche, the Mihrab.


Often used in carpet trade and has the simple meaning of origin. Proveniences can be named after: 

-The country,

-The geographical place,

-The market place,

-The district,

-Or the nomads which manufactured the carpet.


Is the repetition of the motif.

Rapport, infinite

Is a motif which overlaps into the next motif making it thus an into one another reaching motif. 

Relief yarn

The cutting out emphasis of the contour of the motif border.


Flower ornament in roundform.


Other than the fringes on the edges are the warp yarns on the sides with a solid color wool spun around in mostly neutral tones. 


One or multiple across to the chain bound threads.

Stroke direction

Direction in which the pile shows (always to the beginning of the carpet).


It is the small specimen for establishing new patterns. In today’s language you could speak of some kind of prototype. One can see how the colours of the center field and the bordure stand on wool.

Weaving char

Working unit on which a carpet is manufactured.

Alternative Literature

Alternatively we can recommend the following literature:

  • Ford, P.R.J. (1995), Der Orientteppich und seine Muster, Die Bestimmung orientalischer Knüpfteppiche anhand ihrer Muster, Symbole und Qualitätsmerkmale
  • Formenton, Fabio (1982), Das Buch der Orientteppiche
  • Jacoby, Heinrich (1949), ABC des echten Teppichs
  • Martin, Heinz (1983), Orient-Teppiche
  • Zarif, Mehdi (2008), Teppiche, Farben, Muster, Symbolik, Herkunft, Bewertung, Pflege

The above described terms are partially in reference to these literature sources.

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