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Intrepid explorers all returned with tales of great wealth and beautiful works of art found on their journeys to faraway places. Even today, in this fast moving, mechanised age, we can still appreciate the skill and craftsmanship in the artifacts and souvenirs found in the bazaars and souks of the East, and certainly none give more pleasure than the fabulous rugs and carpets that are still produced with so much skill and dedication.

The oldest known hand knotted carpet is said to be the Pazyryck rug found below the permafrost in a tomb in Southern Russia, estimated to be over 2,000 years old. The tradition of spinning wool and knotting and weaving it into a bedcover or floorcovering spread through the Near East and on up into Spain and in the opposite direction to China and taken by the Persians to India.

With the increasing interest in wooden floors and the universal spread of central heating and double glazing, hand made rugs and squares (which are larger rugs and oblong), are becoming popular again. Every rug is an individual work of art and you will always be able to find exactly the rug for your own room. Its unique style indicates a specific country of origin and often a particular area, tribe or family in that country.

Throw rugs or sumptuous carpets can each have a different effect. The bright designs of the Turkish Kelims clearly sit better in a modern setting while the Milas style are usually more ethnic. Bokhara motifs, look superb with traditional furnishings while deep pile Chinese pieces find favour in elegant interiors.

Many shops specialise in hand-made rugs but, if you cannot find exactly the rug for your home, ask them to arrange a visit for you to the importers warehouse. They will be pleased to organise it and I guarantee that you will be thrilled at the huge selection. A veritable Aladdin's cave.