Needlepoint Rugs: The Style, Origin and Care Guide

Having fine needlepoint rugs in your home or business makes a statement. Needlepoint rugs are among the oldest pieces of fine rug art and can be placed on the floor as needlepoint area rugs or on the wall as tapestries with needlepoint design. No matter where these needlepoint designs are placed, with their rich history they aren’t merely part of the decor; they are true conversation pieces and part of that discussion depends on where they come from.

Origins of Fine Needlepoint Rugs

Many people refer to fine rugs as oriental rugs in a catch all way. Generally these rugs were first developed in what is known as the “rug belt,” a geographic region that spans from Morocco in North Africa through the Middle East and into Central Asia and Northern India.

Pakistani Needlepoint Rugs

In order to get a great carpet, a lot of attention needs to be made to the actual weaving of the rug. Pakistani rugs are among the most revered. They are thought to have originated in either present day Pakistan when Muslim conquerors came to the Afghan Ghanznavids in the eleventh century or in the early sixteenth century with the Mughal Dynasty.

Chinese Needlepoint Rugs

Chinese needlepoint rugs are believed to have originated back in the 3rd Century, but those dating back before the end of the 18th century have not survived. Chinese rug design relies heavily on symbolism that is drawn from the natural world, ancient local myths, or Buddhist and Taoist religions. Popular symbols include the dragon which connects earthly and celestial forces with the Emperor, the Phoenix which represents immortality and the Empress, the lotus flower for purity and summer, the stag and stork for longevity to name a few.

Buddhist symbols are used in column carpets and include the canopy for royalty, lotus for prosperity, umbrella for authority, shell for victory, wheel for salvation, vase for harmony, and the endless knot for longevity.

Taoist symbols  include sword for victory, staff and gourd for healing, fan for immortality, flower basket for magic, flute for miracles, and bamboo and staffs  for foresight and fortune.

Beyond the Rug Belt

Some of the first decorative rugs outside the rug belt were Portuguese needlepoint rugs developed in the small town of Arraiolos in Portugal during the middle ages where the design was largely based on Persian carpets. Other Oriental designs were later modified by the French in the mid-eighteenth century in the villages of Abusson and Felletin in central France creating Abusson needlepoint rugs, which were popular with royalty and nobility. Eventually, designs began to feature more floral patterns designs evolved to stay in line with what was featured in modern paintings into the 20th century.  English needlepoint rugs developed in a similar way and gained popularity in the 19th century with the Victorian age.

Quality and Care of Needlepoint Rugs

Needlepoint rugs have almost always been manufactured in varying levels of quality. Bazaar quality has 24 knots in less than three inches. Higher quality rugs may have over 100 knots in the same area. Anyone looking for needlepoint rugs for sale should always pay attention to how densely the material is woven in order to get the best quality.

Some choose needlepoint rugs merely for the visual attractiveness of their design. Others take a closer look at the ancient symbolism woven into the fabric in order to make a statement about their home or business.

With the rich history of these rugs, it is important that they look as good as possible and are handled with the utmost care. For the most part, ordinary rug cleaning companies will not do them justice as they may use harsh chemicals or fail to closely examine each rug individually to assure that the quality is maintained or improved.

Does Your Needlepoint Rug Need Cleaning?

At RevitaRUGS, we not only pride ourselves or our 5 step needlepoint rug cleaning process free of harsh chemicals, dyes, and perfumes. We take great care restoring needlepoint rugs in an environmentally safe way. Need your rug cleaned? Feel free to contact us for more information!