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Agra Rugs

Posted on 19 February 2014

Rugs from Agra, India are highly influenced by traditional Persian styles, and their designs reflect this. They use the Persian knot, otherwise known as the asymmetrical knot, and they are made of cotton, wool or silk. Some silk Agra antique rugs are very fine, with up to 2000 knots per square inch.

They use a palette of very soft colours; for the field they often use yellow, beige or light green, however medallions and motifs can be a variety of colours, including more unusual shades such as lilac, pale pink and even shades of gold.

Agra rugs usually feature flowers or plants, especially roses, lotuses or trees and shrubs. It is also not uncommon to see animals on these carpets; wildlife that is native to India is very popular. Elephants, tigers and brightly coloured birds can create striking designs and are sometimes accompanied by images of people, some are pictured hunting while others are depictions of classic stories.

There are a range of styles that are used in Agra rugs; they can have thick or thin borders, or no border at all. Some have a central medallion design but others feature all-over designs. It can be difficult to tell an Agra rug apart from other Indian rugs, especially Amritsars.

Rugs in Agra were initially woven during the 1500s, when the Mughals arrived. Agra was made the new capital and the Mughals noticed a lack of textiles and fine arts. Emporer Akbar can be held responsible for the beginning of widespread weaving in Agra, as he stopped simply importing Persian rugs and textiles and instead brought the talented weavers from Persia to Agra to teach the art of pile weaving. This is where the influence of Persian designs and ideas comes from, as those who were originally taught to weave in Agra were done so by the best Persian artisans. They were woven for courts and prestigious places, meaning that Mughal Agra rugs were very large and on an elaborate scale.

Antique rugs from Agra are very popular with the western market, and new ones are still woven today. 
Agra is in the Uttar Pradesh region of India, and lies on the river Yamuna. The city has ancient origins, dating back as far as 1000BCE. Today it is mostly known as the location of the Taj Mahal, which was also built during the Mughal’s reign.

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