THE fineness of a rug depends largely upon the quality of the wool and the number of knots to the square foot. In one yard of the best made Persian rugs there are between twenty thousand and thirty thousand stitches made by hand.. The wool must be of fine quality, but not too soft. It should be closely woven, and evenly cropped. A great deal depends upon the manipulation of the wool in the rough, and careful attention should be given to this particular.
The quality of the wool is affected by whatever circumstances affect the well-being of the sheep, and in a marked degree by climate. Hence there is a decided difference in the wools of various districts and sections of a country.. It is a well-known fact that the wool produced in cold countries is soft and fine, while that of the warmer climates is, on the other hand, harder, firmer, and more lasting. Hard wool is easier for the weaver to handle, and the tufts can be cropped with more facility. It is partly owing to these facts that the rugs of the cold districts are most in demand.
The fact that some rugs are so much better than others is a natural result of the superior skill of the makers. Weavers are like other workers, some doing perfect work, some indifferent, and others very poor. But the quality of the rugs offered for sale in this country depends also upon the knowledge and the conscience of the wholesale buyer at the place of manufacture. When the buyer for an importing establishment brings over quantities of rugs not all of which are artistic, the question may be asked : " Why do you not always select rugs that are beautiful?" He may reply that it is his business to get those that will sell, and that as there is a great variety of taste among his customers he must try to please every one; or he may say that he buys a thou-sand rugs at a time, and does not see them individually. It is in the retail shop that the final purchaser may pick and choose.
The most famous rugs of the Orient have been selected with great care by men who have special knowledge of the subject, and they are owned by museums and connoisseurs. Some have been brought to this country by distinguished soldiers and statesmen, to whom they have been presented by potentates as tokens of respect. Others have been obtained through the fortunes of war.
( Originally Published Late 1900's )