The 10 Step Journey of a Persian Tribal Rug
Persian rugsLeave a comment

The 10 Step Journey of a Persian Tribal Rug: From Sheep to Ahwazian Ltd.

Every Persian Tribal Rug has its own story. The journey each rug takes will differ slightly, dependent on the journey the weavers take, what they see, and where and how they sell. It would be impossible to write a one-size fits all journey of a Persian rug. What I can do though, is tell you the journey I have seen the Persian tribal rugs take: beginning with the sheep from hills of the Asia middle east to landing in the Ahwazian warehouse in London.


1. The Sheep

We all know that a great deal of attention and care goes into the weaving of a Persian tribal rug, but what most people don’t realise is that an equal amount of time goes into the process before the weaving: the gathering and crafting of a rug’s materials; the wool. Shepherds from the nomadic Quashgai and Bakhtiari tribes first graze around 1.6 million sheep. The sheep graze in high mountain pastures, which produces the tough, long fibered wool, which makes for a perfect tribal rug.

Persian Tribal Rug


2. Spinning

Once the wool has been gathered, the nomadic women start the spinning process. Still today, this is mostly done by hand. You can see in the picture below, one of the women twisting the wool into long strands, whilst also having a chat with me. I was with her for a few hours and she seemed to continue with her spinning in between many other tasks. They make it look so easy, but I can tell you it’s extremely skilled work.

Weaving villages persian tribal rug


3. Dying

The finished thread is put into bundles and then dyed using natural ingredients, such as pomegranate peels for deep red or wine leaves for green. I love this part of the journey, as it’s one of the many reasons Persian rugs are such an environmentally sound choice. The use of vegetable dyes mean that it will not exude fumes or carcinogenic chemicals.


4. The Horizontal Loom

Nomadic weavers use smaller, horizontal looms, rather than the large standing vertical looms. This is mainly because the horizontal loom is easier to transport, and the nomads are often on the move. This is also why many tribal rugs are not so large in size.

In saying that, a lot of the tribes have now settled in the surrounding areas of Shiraz, which has given us the ability to build up good relationships with certain weavers. We often don’t buy in the Bazar but direct from the weavers then take the rugs straight to the washing and finishing process.

Persian tribal rug


5. The Knots

The warp strings between the two parallel bars of a loom, forms the base of the rug, onto which knots are tied. These knots form the pile of the rug. What are the knots? They are loops of thread tied by hand, one by one, around sets of warp strings. You really have to see the weaving to appreciate how intricate it is and it always amazes me how the nomadic weavers can follow a pattern from memory. They are called hand-knotted rugs for a reason, each and every knot must be done by hand and you have to look very closely as they are so quick. After they finish a row of knots they then place a weft thread through the whole width of the rug to hold the knots in place.

persian tribal rug


6. Patterns

Quashgai rugs are often geometric in style. They are mainly woven from memory and so therefore feature people, trees, small familiar animals and anything that the tribes would see on their travels or a symbol of their family and life. They also often have a centrally placed medallion, or a plain background with little figures, giving it quite a contemporary look.

7. To the Bazar

Once the rug is complete, I’d watch the tribe men roll up the rug and chuck it over their shoulder. They would then carry them down to the Bazaar ready to sell. I’m always taken aback by the amount of respect there is for the weavers. Not only do the tribes people themselves know how much time, care and skill has gone into the making of one rug, but the people at the Bazaar know it too. Each sale made is made with so much passion from each individual.

This is one of the few cottage industries that remain. There aren’t many places in the world that still have the making of hand knotted rugs run from inside people’s homes. It’s so important to me to keep supporting this wonderful and vibrant industry.


8. Washing Plant

This is where Jalil Ahwazian. Director of Ahwazian Ltd, plays a big role in creating the right look for the British market. We have our own washing plant and the finishing sometimes takes as long as 6 months before its ready. Each rug has to be trimmed, fringes finished and strips of leather put along the edges to stop the wool from curling up. It then has to be washed with a vegetable based rinse, which will make the colours fast and then finally placed into the sun to dry. This is quite a long process but worth it when you see the finished product.


9. Check & Ship

Once the Persian tribal rug is properly washed, the final checking procedures take place to ensure it is at the highest standard before shipping to the UK.


10. Our warehouse – Ready to buy!

I have selected many of our rugs direct from the weavers or from the Bazar in its raw state. But, it is only when it lands in our warehouse I can then see the finished product, even after 25 years I can’t wait to open the bales. I will never get tired of seeing a beautiful Persian tribal rug arrive at our warehouse.

‘The designer today should not help to produce more – He has to help produce fewer and better things. There is a beauty, an aesthetic and philosophy of the less’. Philippe Starch

Read More
cleaning, restoration and general care
Cleaning, Restoration and General Care Tips!
UncategorizedLeave a comment

General Care Tips:

With the right cleaning and restoration care your oriental rug will last for generations.

These are my suggestions:

  • Use an underlay, this will avoid slipping and protect it from wear, grit and dirt.
  • Vacuum lightly to stop grit and dirt penetrating into the pile.
  • Try to avoid vacuuming the fringes as they can get damaged quickly.
  • If your rug is very old or is an antique its better to lightly sweep it and avoid vacuuming.


Tips on Removing Stains from your Hand Knotted Oriental Rug:

The KEY to removing stains is to act immediately.

  • Don’t rub! This can cause permanent damage to the rug, be patient and blot gently working from the outside in.
  • If there is a lot of liquid, remove it with a spoon as gently as possible.
  • Certain rugs you can use a cleaning product that will remove small stains easily.
  • Always make sure you dry the area as quickly as possible, as you will find quite often colour run occurs due to leaving the rug wet.
  • If it is possible, straight after removing the stain, put your rug in the sun. Alternatively you can dry it with a hairdryer.

If the stain is too big and you are not sure if the colours will run, take it to get cleaned professionally. The earlier the expert rug cleaners see the stain the easier it will be for them to remove it.


Specialist Oriental Rug Cleaning:

A high quality hand knotted Persian rug, vintage rug, old or antique rug, should be cleaned professionally every 4-5 years.

This will help remove dirt that penetrates deep into the pile and will bring the wool or silk back to its natural shine. As most Persian tribal rugs are woven with vegetable dyed wool, they will age well, maintain their vibrant colours and most importantly the washing process will preserve the natural oils in the fibre.

A real expert knows a lot about the correct cleaning procedure for each rug, they also have extensive knowledge of the areas where the rugs are made, the type of wool and dyes used. All this information is highly valuable.

Before they clean an oriental carpet or rug they will carefully examine and access the appropriate procedure. Dye stability tests are done and then a careful hand cleaning method will be used to clean dust, grit and minor stains.


Restoration / Repair of Oriental Carpets and Rugs:

Does your oriental rug need any repair or restoration?

To ensure the longevity of a vintage, old or antique rug, it’s important to restore and repair any damage straight away.

Fringe damage is quite straightforward to repair if caught early. What most of us don’t realise is the fringes are the foundation of the rug the “warp”. If they are left too long it is often not possible to repair them, instead more fringe is exposed by removing part of the pile. Having repairs made quickly can prevent further damage.

Moths Love Wool!

To repair a moth damages rug the expert must find the right type of wool, colour and texture to match the existing rug. A real expert can do this so well, it is often hard to see the repair.

Rug Sides

Rug Sides, which are often known as the selvage or binding of the rug, can often become loose. Long term this will damage the rug and if left too long it can become quite expensive to repair. However if it is repaired quickly it will look as good as new.

Wear or Low Pile

It’s often seen as a sign of natural aging of a rug. It takes years or a lot of heavy foot traffic to wear down the pile of a hand-knotted Persian rug. If you want to restore it, an expert can do this by finding the right wool and colours to carefully hand knot the worn out pile.

Always consider the value of the rug. Sometimes its just too expensive to repair and it would often cost the same or less to replace the rug.

For more information about our cleaning and restoration services, contact us today! 

cleaning, restoration and general care

Read More
The Beginning
The Beginning
BusinessLeave a comment


The beginning of Ahwazian, The Oriental Rug Centre was prompted after 20 years trading at the well-established Oriental Carpet Centre in Eade Road, N4, Jalil Ahwazian sensed major changes in the industry, many other carpet dealers had moved on, some had retired, others relocated.

There was a time when the OCC had been the ideal space for a business based in North London, but then, like so much else, the carpet trade was changing and retailers and shoppers were doing things differently.

This was exactly the right moment for us to set up our very own Rug Centre. So we made the move, the Oriental Rug Centre Waterloo Road, NW2 was launched in August 2015.

As Jalil says: “It took me over 2 years to find the right place, but when I walked in I just knew this was the perfect warehouse to showcase our amazing rugs and develop the largest Oriental Rug Centre in North London.”

It’s a great location, with easy access from the A406, M1, and plenty of on-site parking – a convenient one-stop shop for both trade and retail customers.

As specialists in Persian, Afghan, Pakistan, Indian, Moroccan and Oversize rugs, we have a vast selection of beautifully crafted rugs to choose from.

We also have on site expert weavers and repairers to help with the many cleaning and restoration project we receive.

The Oriental Rug Centre is almost 2 years old and business is always growing. Whether it’s trade customers, interior designers or people just looking for a beautiful rug or carpet for their home, they all love the location and are delighted with the service we provide.

Dan Kitwood from Getty Images decided to take a tour of our Warehouse to have a look and photograph our rug and carpet collections, some of the images that were taken you can see below.

You can now take a virtual tour of our warehouse on our website, come and take a look and see inside



Read More