To the eyes of those purchasing a rug for its design and beauty, the origin of the piece is often not the most important consideration. But the distinction between Oriental and Persian carpet is not simply a question of geography although this does play a significant role.
Whilst the two terms are often considered interchangeable, it’s important to recognise that whilst this is indeed incorrect, the opposite isn’t true either. Both Persian and Oriental rugs fall under the definition of ‘Oriental rug’ but not all Oriental rugs are Persian rugs. See the chart below:
The distinction of course goes further than this.
Oriental rugs that are not Persian often feature different patterns and colours differ in their usage. Whilst Persian rugs often tend towards reds and deep vibrant colours, Oriental rugs often make use of blues, yellows and apricot-like colours in higher frequency than their Persian counterparts. These differences are unsurprising given the vast scale of the area of land we refer to as Oriental. To add some perspective, the distance from the Middle East to the edge of South East Asia is over 5000 miles and covers eight time zones.
Another obvious difference is the inclusion of traditional Buddhist motifs in Oriental works, which are not featured in pieces created in the Middle East which reflects the significant cultural differences and religious beliefs.
Pieces of both definitions are equally beautiful and awe-inspiring and both are likely to last long into the future with proper care and professional attention when required.