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Why great oriental rugs have abrash?

Updated on September 25, 2013

What is abrash?

Abrash is a term used to express the color variations in hand knotted oriental rugs, specially the ones weaved under tribal or nomadic settings. The hand-spun wool possesses fibers that vary in diameter naturally. As a result different fibers absorb dyes to a different extent and the overall colors differ slightly. This difference becomes more visible with the use of natural dyes. Due to the natural dyes, the dye lots vary and are never similar to each other.

Qualities of abrash

Abrash enhances the beauty of oriental rugs and is highly desirable. It is visible only in wool dyed with natural dyes.Real abrash is difficult to find today because diverse artificial methods are used to produce abrash. The reason behind this is the minimal use of natural dyes and more emphasis on using artificial dyes for coloring the wool. Few rug lovers place great value over abrash and give high price for purchasing the rugs with real abrash.

Intentional Abrash

The nomads believe that man is imperfect and make errors while Allah is omnipotent as well as perfect. It is quite natural and common to commit mistakes that are reflected in weaved area rugs. This is a true reflection that Allah is superior over man and man can make intentional mistakes.

Inconsistency in dye lots

The nomadic weavers dye with the help of vegetable dyes mixed in small proportions. The vegetable dyes are extracted from leaves, seeds and roots of different plants. However; the soil conditions in different plant picking seasons affect the quality of resulting hues. The ground minerals vary in terms of concentrations all the year-round disturbing the pigment variations.

As you all know that hand woven rugs require months to complete so the artisans mix the dyes in small lots after certain months. This automatically results in varied intensity and color shading. The shade differences also reflect the particular life style of nomadic artisans who keep on migrating from one place to another.

Wool spinning procedure

The rug weavers belonging to small tribal regions have limited financial resources. Therefore, they mix dyes in small batches and spin wool in small amounts after certain months. This allows for variations in dyeing and spinning processes. In addition, the quality and source of wool is mostly not consistent so the dyes absorb differently making variable pigments in hand made rugs.

Abrash is a flaw or not?

Abrash is not termed as a flaw by the experts although certain people appreciate uniform perfect rugs. It varies on the basis of preferences and tastes. Hand made oriental rugs are not perfect and abrash adds real charm to these rugs. The shading irregularities are natural and rug lovers get aesthetic pleasure in buying such rugs. The machine made rugs have features of abrash for adding real charm to tribal rugs and oriental area rugs.

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Abrash effect


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    • mikebarbaro profile image

      mikebarbaro 17 months ago

      Abrash color variations can add various quality to a rug. We have some examples if you would like to add them from our website at