Man vs. Machine: Oriental Rug Construction and the Handmade Difference

A photo of rug fibers being woven together

Man vs. Machine: Oriental Rug Construction and the Handmade Difference

The two types of Oriental rugs in terms of construction (there are several types based on geography and history) are handmade and machine-made. As one might imagine, the former type is more traditional, and because of the care and “human touch” that goes into the making of handmade rugs, they are generally more expensive than those mass-produced by machines. Still, this additional level of craftsmanship can be well-worth the price tag and may make the difference between a rug that simply sits in your home and a rug that makes an eye-catching statement.

Handmade Rugs

Handmade Oriental rugs, as the name would suggest, are knotted by hand. The weaver of the rug links the primary type of fabric (see below) around vertical strands running the length of the rug, known as the “warps.” After each row of knots is finished, a strand called the “weft” is situated between the newly completed row and the row about to be constructed, keeping things secure. Hand-knotted rugs are made using a specifically designed framework, or “loom,” that provides the necessary amount of tension on the threads. Unsurprisingly, weavers may take months or even years to finish a single rug – but the resulting piece will be both unique and supremely durable.

Machine-Made Rugs

As opposed to the careful and deliberate process of hand-weaving described above, most machine-made rugs are constructed on a device called a “power loom” – a large framework that is both electrically powered and able to interface with computers that control the weaving process. As such, machine-made rugs can be manufactured at a much higher rate and a lower price-point than traditional rugs. Depending on the quality of fibers utilized, however, these types of rugs often have a practical lifespan of 20 years or less.


The primary materials used in the construction of handmade Oriental rugs are wool, cotton, and silk. Wool is the most common material used, due to the fact that it is both soft and durable. Depending on the weaver’s geographical location, the wool used may be sourced from a variety of animals, including camels or goats. Cotton is primarily used in the foundation of the rug – though some weavers may employ it in the body to introduce additional pattern or texture. Silk, while expensive, adds a unique detail and luster to a rug, bringing it to an even higher level of quality. Conversely, machine-made rugs, while sometimes containing wool, are most often created with synthetic fibers such as polypropylene, polyester, acrylic, and nylon.

As shown above, there is a marked difference in both craftsmanship and durability between handmade and machine-made rugs. At Kurosh Rugs, we offer only the highest-quality pieces, with many being constructed from fine wools and silks. Visit us today to find the ideal handmade Oriental rug for your home!