In the Winter 2022 issue of RUG INSIDER Magazine, one of the questions explored is that of the New Traditionals, as the question is asked, are today’s buyers sticking with Modern designs and colors, or are they returning to more Traditional styles?

For many years, the trend in the area rug trade has been to move away from Classic Traditional Designs, with their bolder colors, centralized stylistic elements, and busy fields, and to move toward more Modern designs, which tend to be characterized by softer, more subdued colors, and decentralized, uncluttered designs, often taking an Abstract form.

When we talk about area rugs, whether new reproduction rugs or the antique originals on which they are based, one of the most common ways of categorizing them is by their level of fineness.

Specifically, the fineness we refer to is the fineness of weave density, with the finest rugs being those with the tightest weave density. In the West, we often express this level of weave density in terms of KPSI, or knots per square inch. In the East, the more traditional expression is in terms of RAJ, or knots per 7 centimeters. The higher the KPSI or RAJ, the finer the rug.

Antique Persian Lavar, Kerman-Shah & Kerman Rugs

There are endless debates among vendors, collectors and enthusiasts of vintage and antique rugs as to which of these styles is the best. We have discussed in previous issues the differences in the fineness of the weave of a rug, with some defining fineness based on weave density, others defining it based on intricacy of design, and yet others defining based on the unique artistry of a given carpet. Thus, there are many different opinions as to which antique rug style can definitively be called the finest.

The Eastern Carpet Long Beloved By the West

Within the wide world of oriental rugs, one could rightly say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, as each person has their own criteria as to what makes one type of rug more beautiful or desirable than another.

Is a rug’s beauty defined by the intricacy of its design, with the most intricate designs being the best? By the fineness of its weave, with the finest weave being the best? By the richness of its color palette, with the brightest and most colorful being the best?