With their soft color palettes and subtle patterns, Ziegler rugs are a very sought-after style of antique, handmade carpet that not only blend in with both contemporary and traditional décors, but also enhance them.
Unlike other Persian carpets, “Ziegler” is the name of a design — rather than an actual city or tribe — produced by the Manchester, England–based Ziegler & Co. Starting in 1883, in the town of Sultanabad, the firm kept a great many locals employed. They became the first successful, and one of the largest, non-Persian-owned producers and exporters of Oriental carpets.
Ziegler Zigged While Everyone Else Zagged
Their goal was to take classic Persian designs and modify them to meet Western demands.
Because Western architecture dictated spacious, large-scale rooms, the patterns on Ziegler rugs offered a sense of openness, yet were also elegant, featuring a central medallion or all-over muted floral pattern, which differed from the more intricate and elaborate Persian carpets.
In addition, traditional local dying techniques were improved, creating new possibilities in color and tonality. Yarns were delivered to weavers pre-dyed, therefore controlling the quality. With bold, allover patterns and softer palettes than their vibrant Persian counterparts, antique Persian Sultanabad rugs and carpets attracted an immediate following, leading to a demand for Oriental carpets from the Sultanabad district.
The weave contributed to the airy effect of Ziegler rugs as well. Much coarser than traditional rugs, their pile was high and therefore soft. Their high quality, hand-spun Ghazni or Himalayan wool made these rugs very durable.
When they became status symbols, all carpets from Sultanabad and its surrounding area became known as “Zieglers”, even if they were not made by Ziegler & Co.
The company was in business from about 1885 to 1934. At the turn of the century, Ziegler had about 2,500 looms in more than 100 villages around Sultanabad. We can surmise that during their half century of production, the company wove and exported thousands of rugs to Europe and America.
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