Indian Rugs: Undiscover the ancient art

The effortless mixture of modernity and traditions.

Einstein proposed the fourth dimension: Space time. With lots and lots of debates going on around it, we might not be sure that the fourth dimension exists everywhere, but it definitely exists in one place: the graph of change of culture. Not only with the locations, culture changes with the time also.

Paintings in the Bhimbetka Rock Shelters

Royal Artistic furniture from India

Indians , from the ancient time, are well known for their interests and skills in art. India’s rich culture speaks of their artistic nature and talents. Whether it is the rock paintings of Bhimbetka, the town planning of Mohenjo-daro or the music by A.R. Rehman.

The different forms of art have also been practiced in designing, giving each thing a sense of antiquity and vintage. This also consists of drawings, paintings, embroideries, carvings, etc. that have been used in décor, textile industries, architectural details. To attain a versatile style, such designs are incorporated for décor in furnishings, especially in the form of handicrafts, Meenakari, Kalamkari, different forms of paintings, textiles etc.

Artistic representation of what Mohenjo Daro might had looked.

Indians have successfully tried their hands on all the arts, including the art of weaving. India has always been a renowned place for its unique and interesting weaving designs, maintaining its reputation in the world to be the land of art and craft. Ancient traditions have been passed from generations to generations, giving this folk art a unique form! India, being culturally diverse and distinct, the variety of design elements have evolved in a modernized way, adapting to the new colors, trends and materials; all admirable and inimitable in their own way.

In the 19th century the art of weaving in India was dying, but somehow Indians were able to revive the traditional art of hand made carpets and rugs. Pairing different pieces of rugs and carpets with the furniture have been a common design scheme then and now. It creates a focal point and a sense of symmetry on integrating different colors, fabrics, and embellishments.

Indo persian Rug at Metropolitan Museum

Although Indian rugs were inspired by the Persian rugs, it didn’t take their much time to add the traditional Indian touch to it and thus every piece made here is unique and reflects the soul of India. Ancient carpets from the 15th century are mostly made of silk and wool and have the elements that show overwhelmingly rich aspects of the art and prosperity of ancient India. Most of them used vegetable dyes and were hand knotted, worthy of the Shahs, whom they were made for. After that, English culture influenced the rugs and carpet weaving in India.

The rug designs have been affected further by the distinct cultures of the cities, once famous for their art and craft as they fell under different dynasties, having different preferences and tastes of art. Also the rural designs were unique and fascinating as they consist of the elements that were based on their myth, legends, snippets from epic, multitudinous gods born out of dream and fantasy.


        A rural design rug


Following were some of the famous rugs in India

Amritsar Rugs – While other Indian carpets have a long history, Amritsar rug designs stand out as they are the products of 19th century and thus are influenced by the western culture. The cities under the ancient Mughal rule manufactured the rugs with the Persian design elements following the taste of the royal buyers, who preferred their traditional design elements, but the rug manufacturing in Amritsar had the modern design elements following the demand that had raised in United States and European countries because the weavers and designers were not molded in any culture till 19th century. In the present rug world, Amritsar floor coverings remain especially alluring, highly desirable and widely collected, as it were, in light of their versatile formal accumulation and tone. The Western effect on nineteenth century Amritsar textile was so solid and significant, that the wonderful styles that rose up out of this place at the present time are extensively regarded by art historians, critics, and commentators, many years after their introduction onto the world stage.

Mirzapur rugs – This city is a center of the richest and the most cultured part of India, situated in the neighborhood of Allahabad and Benares. Apart from its rugs, it is famous for its brass work and is fairy populous, with the strong sense of Hinduism as it is situated on the south banks of river Ganga. The rugs from this city had a strong blend of Persian and Hindu designs. Instead of scattered floral elements they displayed the medallions, which contained all the floral designs. Today Modern rugs from Mirzapur are in high demand.

                             A Rug of Mirzapur
Kashmir Rugs – Kashmir rugs are the hand knotted oriental rugs from Kashmir. Kashmir had been already famous for Pashmina shawl. The history of rugs dates back to 1341 – 1385 A.D. when a Sufi saint Mir Sayyid Ali Hamadani brought along highly skilled artisans through the silk trade route in India and thus laid a base for the rug industry along with the cottage industry in Kashmir. After the vanquishment of the other rulers by the Mughals, Akbar also brought weavers from Persia to Kashmir, but the great period in the history of rugs from Kashmir, came in time of Badshah Zainul Abadin. Today Kashmir rugs hold a high place in the rug world and mostly consist of floral designs and motifs like Chinar trees, paisley, etc. They consist the colors like sapphire blue, ruby red, emerald green, aquamarine, amethyst, and ivory.
   Kashmiri Pashmina Rugs

 Agra rugs – The city famous for TajMahal, was the empire of The Mughal Empire and so, it was the center of the Indian art forms, raised during that era. The rug industry that was disappearing was revived in the 19th century with stunning results. As it was the center of the Mughal rulers, the designs here were totally influenced by the Persian rugs. Nonetheless, some of the most fascinating and breathtaking examples of the craftsmanship and the talented weaving has been seen in the antique Agra rugs. Although they are difficult to classify from the rest of the Indian rugs, they remain the highly collectible carpets that blend in the vast variety of interiors.


Jaipur Rugs – The center of Rajput rulers, this city boasts of a rich tradition and the history of art and craft. Today Jaipur rugs are It is a huge plain, surrounded on most of the sides by hills which the ancient rulers made sites of remarkable fortifications. This rugs mostly used the elements from the nature on the rich color backgrounds of dark red, ivory white or blue. Today they remain the representatives of the Rajput rule in India.

Finally, there are many other cities like Pune, Jabalpur, Madras, Ahmedabad, Bijapur, Delhi, etc, who all had had a considerable rug manufacturing history.