Please welcome our guest hosts today: Gary Dicus and Harry Chittenden of Addison/Dicus. Their expertise in the world of fine rugs creates a contagious enthusiasm that might find you hopping the next flight to Tampa to go shop with these characters. My clients always appreciate learning about the fine things we are acquiring. When shopping for oriental rugs, education is key- there are so many different kinds of oriental rugs. It is important to understand the value of your investment.
Today Gary and Harry share some of the identifiable characteristics and historical significance of the Oushak rugs. Their knowledge is valuable, entertaining and educational. Enjoy the read: and when you decide you must have one, their contact information will be at the end of this post.
Brown and Blue Oushak Rug
For hundreds of years rug weavers in Turkey used left over wool to spin a thick, tough yarn. They used it to weave rugs called Oushaks which they marketed to anyone who could afford them. At one time they were so plentiful that the Turks used Oushaks as a packing material for large shipments. Producers sent the tighter woven, more intricate rugs abroad for sale or reserved them for the Turkish aristocracy. But in the early 20th Century Oushaks got the nod from American Interior Designers and have been enjoying great popularity ever since.
Oushak with fleur-de-lis like pattern
Why Do They Endure?
Oushaks are classic and modern at the same time. The ancient patterns are recognizable and fit into the most traditional schemes. On the other hand the open field design can be uncluttered and clean, getting out of the way of the rest of the room, no matter how spare and modern. Oushaks can be simple enough without being overwhelming. Like many rug-producing countries, Turkey is enjoying the fruits of a modern economy. This is great for the Turks, but probably spells the end of genuine Turkish Oushaks. The weavers there can make more money doing lots of things other than hand-knotting rugs.
Oushak Supports Traditional Design
Here an Oushak is the foundation of a gorgeous two-story room in Florida. It is totally supportive and seems an inextricable part of the scheme. Yet, it’s calm and unobtrusive.
Oushaks in Contemporary Design
This Oushak accentuates the simple, right-angle theme of this room by Terry Hunziker.
Photo Credit: Aaron Leitz
We love this painting by the great Dutch artist, Johannes Vermeer. It’s called The Procuress. According to the super-informative website, The Essential Vermeer, the rug draped over the bannister in front of the characters is an Oushak, a medallion Oushak. With the rapid expansion of trade in the Netherlands in the 17th Century (this painting was done in 1656) colorful Oriental carpets became very popular.
The rugs were so highly prized that they were deemed too valuable to lay on the floor and consequently used to cover tables and chests as well as banisters.
More on the Vermeer/Oushak connection: http://addisondicus.com/blogozine/vermeer-builds-design-rug
About our Oushak Experts:
Gary Dicus is the founder and owner of Addison/Dicus. Twitter: @garydicus. More info.
Harry Chittenden is Internet Marketing Director at Addison/Dicus. Twitter: @harryc. More info.
Very informative! Always interesting to hear the historical origin of these beautiful rugs. This knowledge will definitely assist designers in the “romancing” of these valuable pieces with their clients.
So true, Joan, the backstory adds considerable value. These rugs are investments. Thanks for commenting.
michael bailey says
Working in a rug showroom, often people inquire about what is my favorite rug. As a sales staff that answer is simple, what ever the last one that I sold. Lately and often my favorite rugs have been Oushaks. Whether Turkish or Indo, the are all very beautiful.
I love them too~ thanks for your well informed input, Mike!
Pavitra Soans says
Thank you for sharing! I had never heard of Oushaks before, during my trip to Istanbul i had picked up a couple of kilims because they were beautiful , not as intricate which well suited my semi modern semi classical apt. and most of all AFFORDABLE. next time i will be on the lookout for Oushaks i love the designs! Thanks again
The kilims are of course beautiful too, how wonderful that you found yours while in Istanbul. There is so much to learn in the world of oriental rugs, they are fascinating. Thanks for your comment!
Norma Gene Lykes says
I found the articles to be most informative. I have owned Oushaks in the past and found them adaptable for both traditional and comtemporary interiors. The sheen of the silks is magical as the light changes throughout the day. I enjoy knowing more about the history of these beautiful carpets.
You are so right about the silks, Norma! Thanks for sharing your experience with Oushaks-