What Is “Abrash?”
So I had a client ask me once, "Do you think I got ripped off when I bought this rug?" I was looking at an absolutely gorgeous rug that I had just returned to her after we gave it our expert Oriental rug washing in Boulder, CO. "Well, why would you think that?" I asked. She followed up with, "Well, I paid thousands of dollars for this rug, but the color is not consistent. Is it fading in some places?" I assured her that she had a very valuable rug in her possession and what she was noticing is known as "Abrash."
Hand knotted rugs possess certain inherent characteristics which aid in their uniqueness (and value). Color variations in the field and or border, known as abrash , is a beautiful example of such a characteristic. The term abrash, from the Arabic word for mottled, is typically used to denote color changes or striations running horizontally across the face of a rug. These color changes will appear within the same color or can also refer to a more general variation of color throughout a certain field of color causing the area to have a mottled appearance.
Abrash results from variations in the dyeing process. Most commonly, different dye lots may not result in a perfect match, particularly if small dye batches are used. The weaver might run out of one batch and then will restart with another which may result in a shade difference. Differences within the same dye lot are also possible. The time spent in the dye bath may also affect absorption rates since the yarns on the outside of the skein will absorb color faster than the yarns on the inside of the skein. In addition,variations in the yarn density and twist, especially with hand spun yarns, allow for different absorption rates of dyes.
Occasionally abrash may appear more apparent after we've performed expert Oriental rug washing in Boulder, CO. Sometimes the true colors are obscured by soiling, and often you, the rug owner, will very closely inspect the now clean rug, noticing slight variations which were pre-existing, but had been long been forgotten and hidden.
Although some may prefer consistent and precise coloring in their rugs, abrash is often prized as a beautiful characteristic of an oriental or hand knotted rug. Many machine made rugs often incorporate abrash in their designs just to enhance their appeal and make them appear as hand made. Abrash is often discussed in the rug community about how much of abrash is an “accident” of the dye process or how much is intentional by the weaver. The question only adds to the mystique of oriental rugs. Aren't you glad you own one?
For more information about expert Oriental rug washing in Boulder, CO, call us 303-530-0646.