Rug Origins: East Turkestan Rugs - Arsin Rug Gallery
Back to Blog

Rug Origins: East Turkestan Rugs

Gers in Xinjiang (Photo by Yang Shuo on Unsplash)
Antique Khotan rug. Use rug number 73801 as reference for more information.

East Turkestan carpets are made in Xinjiang in the northwest of China. Carpets were being manufactured in the cities of Kashgar, Yarkand, and Khotan. Khotan is eastern of the three old Silk Road oasis cities with Kashgar more far west and Yarkand in the center, but since the trading city of western people mostly were in contact with was Samarkand, all three types and even older carpet productions are still known as Samarkand carpets in the market.

Khotan rugs are characterized by Chinese details and Asian designs ranging from medallions, pomegranates, to Buddhist and Asian motifs, and Persian and Indian designs. Many Khotan carpet patterns were inspired by the mountains and items traded along the Silk Road.Colors of Khotan rugs are generally mellower than those of Yarkands, with soft yellow, rust red, dark and medium blue.

Yarkand carpets are more brightly colored and tend toward geometric designs, often with three abstracted peony medallions on open red fields, framed by striking wide reciprocal borders. There are Chinese touches, including fret minor borders and fretwork field corners.

The Kashgar rugs are difficult to distinguish from the similar ones of Khotan and Yarkand. Antique rugs from Kashgar are most influenced by Persian rugs with allover repeating patterns, close weaves, often silk piles with metal thread brocading, and white cotton foundations.

East Turkestan carpets are usually woven with a wool pile although there are some rare examples with silk pile.The knotting system is asymmetrical with a medium-low density of knots. Cotton is usually used for the foundation, while both wool and silk are used for the pile, and metallic threads are sometimes used together with the silk. The pile is usually trimmed medium-low. The shapes are very elongated and as a rule, the length is nearly twice that of the width.

Back to Blog