Tribal Rugs

Tribal Rugs have become greatly prized for their rustic simplicity, inventiveness through use of geometric patterns, and the mastery of balance and harmony that blend perfectly in today’s modern settings.

Not sure what a Tribal Rug is?  Can’t tell the difference between Tribal Rugs and City Rugs?   That’s certainly ok.  This article will help you take the first steps to appreciating the stunning beauty of the simplest of rugs.

A modern tribal rugWHAT ARE TRIBAL RUGS?

It is widely speculated the art of rug weaving first began with the pastoral nomads of Central Asia.  So the term Tribal Rugs refers to rugs woven by the nomadic or semi-nomadic tribes along the Oriental Trading Route.  There are numerous nomadic tribes who weave rugs.  The best-known of these are the Turkmen, Belouch, Kurds, and Qashqai.

The first rugs were most likely animal pelts.  The instability of nomadic life probably led to the development of weaving cut wool into rugs resembling pelts.  These pelt rugs served as warm coverings and bedding.  The benefit of cutting wool to make a lightweight rug was greater than the cost of killing an animal for a heavy pelt.

This category of rugs includes a wide variety of styles and designs.  However you look at it,  these rugs are easily recognized for their use of mostly geometric motifs and patterns.  This simple design lends itself well to the crude techniques employed by the early rug makers and remains popular to this day.


As weavers refined their techniques, a more complex knotted pile developed which allowed for more interesting patterns and designs.  These more refined Transitional Tribal Rugs developed more bold patterns and color palettes.

Due to the rugged simplicity and austerity of the tribal life, rugs became the primary mode of self-expression.  Inspired by the dramatic mountainous environment in which they lived, tribal weavers wove abstract pastoral forms and graphic geometric patterns with familiar ease.  The joyous creativity central to the worldview of many tribal groups greatly influenced these artists.

The deeply rooted tribal bond expressed itself in shared formats, color palettes, and a distinct language of patterns used by all tribal weavers in certain regions.  A common vocabulary of forms and patterns carried a profound symbolic meaning easily recognized by tribe members and others.  Above all, it provided a basic design language from which individual weavers developed their own personal creative voices.


The advent of commercialization in the early 20th century brought the stress of mass production.  This led to a significant loss of quality in favor of quantity.

Meanwhile, weavers abandoned traditional techniques for faster methods of production.  Traditional motifs were simplified to easily-reproduced patterns lacking the appeal and artistic creativity of the originals.

The beautifully subtle natural dyes gave way to harsh synthetic dyes.  The quality of transitional tribal wool declined due to overproduction and malnutrition of the stressed animals.

Contemporary tribal rugs can reflect all these quality issues, but fortunately there are still high-quality new and vintage tribal rugs available.  A quality Persian and Oriental rug specialist will be able to provide ample choice in these beautiful rugs.

At RenCollection Rugs, we know tribal rugs. We vet all our new and vintage rugs carefully. Before we display them in our store, we ensure they reflect a quality we can be proud of and are in excellent condition. View our collection of tribal rugs here.

Want to know more? Email us at, call us at (214) 698-1000, or come and visit us at our RenCollection Rugs showroom. We are here to help.