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Today the term Ziegler rug is applied to a particular style of carpet.
A Ziegler rug can be made anywhere. India, China, Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan all produce their own versions. There are even machine made rugs that feature the Ziegler style (we only stock Hand Made Zieglers in our shop).
The name is taken from an Anglo/Swiss trading company that operated in Sultanabad Persia (now Iran) in the late 1800's. Ziegler & Co traded dried fruit, nuts, opium and carpets throughout Europe and the USA.
The company prospered and at one point employed almost 3000 looms for carpet manufacture. Weaving was already established in the Arak area around Sultanabad, but Ziegler & Co played a key role in creating a boom in trade for the region. They took traditional Persian designs and modified them to suit fashionable European decorating styles. In London the rugs were sold by Liberty & Co a company that rode the crest of a wave of the Arts & Crafts movement. The influence of designer William Morris can be clearly seen. The cluttered over fussy Persian Mahal carpets were simplified. Carpets were woven in a much more square format and in very large sizes to accommodate the large resplendent home of the western buyers. Open field designs with no centre medallion proved eminently suitable for the English country house style.
Whilst the production was large, the quality often didn't measure up to that of the finer Persian carpets. Consequently a genuine Ziegler carpet from the late 1800s that is in good condition is a rare find. Auction prices of antique Ziegler rugs can be very high.
The majority of modern Ziegler rugs are actually made by Afghan weavers around Peshawar Pakistan and sold out of markets in Lahore. They have been commercially very successful and not surprisingly, other weavers around the world have tried to get a slice of the business by making their own versions. In general, the Afghans seem produce the best looking rugs and they dominate the market.
In effect they are reproduction of the originals. In keeping with the Ziegler tradition these rugs have evolved to follow the trends of interior design. Soft colours, subtlety and muted elegance - these are the attributes of the Ziegler style carpets of today. The same hand weaving techniques are employed to make the rugs. The wool pile with cotton warp and weft are retained and if you ask, they will tell you the dyes are all natural. Realistically it's unlikely to be true given the wide range of subtle fashion shades they employ. Great care and attention goes into creating an aged look. Using a number of different washing processes to mellow the colours and add a glossy patina to the pile you can buy a new rug that already has that comfortable lived in look.