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What are Peshawar Hand-Woven rugs?

Looking into our rugs is sometimes like looking into the depths of history. The Peshawar rugs take us to one of the greatest depths. One of the epicenters of the great Silk Roads, the city of Peshawar was, quite literally on the map since the 5th century B.C. From the ancient Persians and the Hellenistic descendants of Alexander the Great, to the medieval Mongols and finally the Muslim empires. Peshawar commanded authority throughout the region, housing millions of citizens and invariably creating and absorbing culture for centuries. Some may argue the Mughal era of rule over the region was one of the most successful in last few centuries and has inspired some of the most fascinating and impressive works of art.

Example of A Beautiful Peshawar art Motif from the Mugal Age

The interior of the Mohabbat Khan Mosque (1630) © Ziegler175, 1990,

Perhaps the best time capsule of this Mughal artistry is the hand-woven Peshawar rug, whose designs evolved through the centuries but with mastery that never dwindled. In the 16th century, emperor Akbar had ordered the construction of rug weaving workshops and fostered the knowledge exchange with the Persian artisans to reinforce the local style. In the 20th, after the crumbling of British colonialism the existing industry simply needed a push from the newly independent government to survive and to flourish.

Hand Made Peshawar Design Rugs and Carpets

6’1” x 8’10” Ancient animal design Peshawar hand-knotted pure wool rug ©

Traditional Peshawar rugs are always hand-woven, and feature a pure high mountain hand-spun wool pile, although sometimes, in select rugs, fine merino wool is blended in – that makes the rugs look slicker. Occasionally silk is woven in as well, especially if the artist wants to highlight a motif. The weft and warp are cotton, for the strongest support. The resulting rugs are durable and reliable, but are luxurious and extremely soft to the touch.

The design of the rugs, as chronicled in history, is heavily influenced by ancient Persian rug motifs. The colors, usually light and earthy and derived from sun-dried vegetable dyes, give the rugs its characteristic antique and washed-out look. But whether they are stonewashed and have their piles cut shorter, or the modernist take will have the colors pop, you are sure to be mesmerized by the deep richness and artistry that are the Peshawar rugs.

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