Classic Turkoman designs known as Bokharas were originally made by nomadic tribes. Bokhara rugs were named for the city where they were once collected which was once an important trade center in Turkestan. Bokhara rugs are now one of the most popular designs of hand made and machine made rugs on the market. This design is copied in Iran, India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.
Characteristics of Bokhara Rugs
Bokhara rugs are one of the easier rug types to identify. Bokharas vary in quality from very poor to very fine. Bokhara rugs are most commonly a deep shade of red with a repeating pattern of octagonal guls that resemble small medallions. An Octagonal gul design is also known as an elephant’s foot. These guls are commonly dark blue, black or brown with ivory accents.
The shapes and colors of guls varied from one tribe to another, these differences were traditionally used to identify the source of the rug. In traditional Bokharas, wool was generally used as the foundation material. The wool pile was most commonly tied with Persian knots and clipped short. Pakistan and Indian Bokharas can be found in rust, tan, orange, light and dark blue, green, aqua and gold. The pile is higher, the wool is soft, and the foundation is usually cotton in Pakistan and Indian Bokharas. Note the traditional guls in the photo below.
Types of Bokharas
Popular variations of the Bokhara include the Tekke, the Yomut, and the Salor.
Salor Bokharas were made by the Salor tribe who once lived just North of the Afghan border. Salor Bokharas are of excellent quality and very rare. The field is usually red with two rows of octagons. Each octagon has a small octagon within it which is quartered. The interior sides of each octagon have three trefoil flowers.
Tekke Bokharas woven by the Tekke tribe were typically woven with a red field with deep blue accents. These might also come in a prayer rug design.
Yomud Bokharas are named after the large Yomud tribe which is found over most of Central Asia. Yomud rugs have a more Caucasian-like design. They have a deep red field with either Persian or Turkish knots. One of the most common designs has the field divided into four by a Greek cross, with smaller geometric motifs woven in the quarters.
Ersari rugs commonly have dark red fields with designs woven in blue, red or yellow and usually have the Persian knot, although they can have Turkish knots.
See more examples of Bokhara rugs on our Pinterest Board!