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Textiles (R) - Encylopedia Of Antiques

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RATTEEN: A thick twilled woolen stuff from France, Holland and Italy, chiefly, and used mostly in linings. It was usually with a nap but sometimes dressed.

RAYON: Formerly known as artificial silk, it is not silk at all, although it is made of practically the same elements that the worm consumes in producing silk, namely cellulose. But the silkworm produces an animal fiber, whereas the cellulose fiber is purely a vegetable product. Spruce wood-pulp and cotton supply the major part of the raw material for manufacturing rayon.

RETICULE: A lady's hand-bag or work-bag, made of net work, originally.


RUGS: A covering for the floor, usually oblong or square and made in one piece. The use of rugs dates back many centuries, and doubtless they originated among the nations of the East. In medieval times in England and in Europe the floors of the home of the lowly or the castles of the rich were either of dirt or of stone, covered with rushes, and it was not until the time of Queen Elizabeth that oaken floors were introduced and an occasional rug used to cover them. Early in the 18th century, painted canvas came into vogue as a floor covering, followed by Oriental rugs and those made in France. In this country, the early settlers covered the wooden floors with sand or with the skins of animals. It is very doubtful if rugs were used here to any extent until toward the end of the 18th century, except in the homes of the wealthy, where rugs imported from England and France were to be found. The hooked rug was in wide use in the 19th century.

Aubusson Rugs. A tapestry-like rug made at Aubusson, France, on low-warp looms, which attained great prominence in the 18th century. These rugs were exported to England, and in this country they were to be seen in the homes of the wealthy.

Braided Rugs. It is very probable that braided rugs were made almost, if not quite, as soon as any form of New England mats. Braiding was a simple craft and rugs made in that manner were very durable. Cast-off wearing apparel usually formed the basis of these rugs.

Hooked Rugs. The best of the old hooked rugs exhibit a fine and patient workmanship, and they are of a time when the making of objects for use was also a means of amusement. The patterns of these older rugs express the designer's own personal interest, whether it was in flowers or animals or other simple subjects. The typical foundation of hooked rugs is burlap or gunny cloth, but they are occasionally found made on a linen cloth foundation. The time of the earliest use of the hooked rug has not been definitely established, but it is believed to have been before the end of the 18th century. Before the middle of the 19th century it had become very popular. The work was attached to a wooden frame which held it tight and smooth while the surface was being covered with the design. Woolen or cotton rags cut in strips and woolen yarn were the materials used. In some rugs the loop top was sheared off, making the surface resemble an Oriental rug.

Needlework Rugs. These were made with woolen yarn by use of stitches with a needle, producing an embroidery effect resembling the so-called Turkey-work (q.v.). See CARPETS, Embroidered.

Oriental Rugs. The making of these rugs is everywhere the same, the warp being stretched between two rollers, the pile being formed by the ends of rows of woolen (or silken) knots tied to the warp between weft threads that hold them in place. Sheep's wool, camel's hair, mohair from the angora goat, and silk are all used as materials from which these rugs are woven. The fineness of a rug depends largely upon the quality of the wool and the number of knots to the square inch. History and religion are woven into the fabrics of all Oriental rugs, if one can but read the signs aright.

Persian rugs excel those of other countries in artistic designs as well as in harmonious coloring, and they are unsurpassed in technique. The warp and weft of these rugs are usually of cotton, and both the Sehna and Ghiordes knot are employed in weaving. There are numerous rug-making centers. Some of the well-known names are: Ferghana, Saruk, Serebend, Mosul, Kashan and Bij ar. Among the good antique Persian rugs there are, in all, about thirty original designs, all with different borders, but there are many variations of these designs. Turkish rugs are not so finely woven as the Persian rugs, and the Ghiordes knot is always used. Warp and woof are usually of wool or of goat's hair, and the rugs are made with a longer pile and looser texture. The Anatolian are probably the best known of the Turkish rugs. The Chinese rugs of antiquity are remarkable and very rare, in fact, almost unprocurable.

Blue is the typical Persian color, as red is typical of Turkestan and yellow of China. Kazaks are North Caucasian fabrics that rank high today. The Khilims (Kilims) are woven with a form of weaving which dates back to Egyptian times, before the pile fabrics had been evolved. They are particularly appropriate for hangings and for couch covers. Any Eastern rug over fifty years old may be classed as old. Genuine antiques are almost priceless.

RUSSEL: A woolen fabric formerly used for clothing, especially in the 16th century. It was made in various colors.