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Oriental rugs: Art you can walk all over

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Persian carpets and other “rugs of the East” are firmly established as elegant design elements — subtle and often-unheralded — that loudly whisper refinement and good taste. Historically, many of us think of them in terms of the imagery of medieval Europe: They were considered great status symbols in the 1500s and, some 200 years beyond, were too precious to put on floors; instead, they adorned tables, chests and walls.

But the story of Oriental rugs goes back so much further — try 3000 B.C., when Nomadic tribes in Mongolia and Turkey used hair from their camels and sheep to weave carpets to keep their earthen floors warm, and 1000 B.C., when rugs with an impressive 300 knots per square inch were already in existence.

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