Kazak rugs are beautiful rugs that come from a country known as Kazakhstan. They are most well-known for their vibrant colors and exhilarating patterns. If you are fascinated with special types of rugs then Kazak rugs are the type for you. Listen to this podcast to learn more about what a Kazak rugs are, how they are made, why they are unique, and where they can be found.
John Maher: Welcome to The Rug Gallery with Sam Presnell. The Rug Gallery is an oriental rug company and carpet store in Cincinnati, Ohio. I'm John Maher and I'm here with the owner of The Rug Gallery, Sam Persnell. Hi, Sam.
Sam Presnell: Hi, John.
What Is A Kazak Rug?
John: Sam, today we're talking about Kazak rugs. What is a Kazak rug?
Sam: Sounds Russian, doesn't it?
John: Yes, it does.
Sam: That's a good reason for that because that's what's going on there. Basically, Kazak is an area. There's actually a country called Kazakhstan, as well, that's out there. Basically, it's an area that we define in rugs as an area in Northern Iran, [near where] the Russian border [and] Turkey come together. It's near the Caspian Sea. That's the Kazak area that we define, all the rugs from the little villages around that area that come through there.
How Kazak Rugs are Made
John: Okay. Tell me a little about how Kazak rugs are made.
Sam: Well, they are like most traditional tribal rugs, they were usually rugs that were very small. Usually, you find it very difficult to find a Kazak rug bigger than a, we call it two by three meters, or about seven feet by ten feet. Most of them are in that 3x5 to 5x7 range, is a classic size for a Kazak. They're usually very bold geometrics with bright colors. That's very, very classic. It's woven in hand spun wool usually. Usually, with wool warps, which is very rare because most people use cotton, of course, today. That can also be done in new Kazaks today, as well, cotton.
In the old days, they were sheepherders, so what did they have? Wool. What did they make their rugs out of? Warps, wefts, and everything was made out of wool. That's very classic of a Kazak rug.
Then basically, what is beautiful is about their designs. Very geometric, bold designs. Also, I think what happens to a Kazak rug as it wears, as it ages, as with veg-dyed, hand spun, hand carded wool. Whew, boy, I just love the style. The ambiance that comes off of those rugs as they get older. Very highly collectible if in good shape, and are bringing the highest per square foot dollar-wise of any rug that's in the world today.
Uniqueness of Kazak Rugs
John: What is it that makes these Kazak rugs really different from other types of rugs in that same region, and maybe other types of rugs outside of there?
Sam: In the same region, they're all kind of similar. They have different ways, of course. Everybody's like everywhere is different in how they-- It's like art. You may be doing the same thing but you do it in a different way, apply it in a different way. Sometimes it depends on what kind of wefting material you're using, what kind of wool you're using. Sometimes they'll blend it with goat. I mean, they'll do different things to create different effects to it, but basically, it's all kind of similar.
A Kazak weave is a Kazak weave. You can decide by the design which village that it came from so it's kind of interesting. There are certain elements in the designs that come out of this particular little area, like Kuba. Those are very classic, explosive geometric medallions that stack on top of each other. There's Shirvan. There's all kinds of different designs you can look up in online. I'm sure today, and find thousands of pictures, but there is a little bit of similarity in that they're geometrics and the colors are very similar.
How to Shop for a Kazak Rug
John: Okay. What are some of the things that I should look for if I'm shopping for a Kazak rug?
Sam: I think it'd be something very hard to find. You can find it online, but again, like anything, you can't always believe what you read. Everything's a collectible if you read it online. A lot of times, you got to be careful how you're buying those rugs because they are expensive. Sometimes if they're inexpensive, I would say something's probably wrong there. The bell should go off in your head. But if it has got some age to it, in good shape, and been repaired properly, or has been taken care of and there are no stains, or reweaves, things like that, you can expect to even find a small rug -- I'm talking about a 2x2, or 2x3, and spend a couple thousand dollars for it.
Sam: You find a 5x7, you could easily spend five to ten thousand dollars for it. That's not uncommon to be seen in those areas. There are all kinds of things that are not of that quality, that are not really Kazak but woven in Turkey, or some other where that looks like it. A lot of times it's very confusing for the consumer.
John: What is it that makes the Kazak rug so expensive? Is it just the quality of the weave and the wool?
Sam: I think it's because of their designs and because of the way they are hand spun, they are veg-dyed, wool warped. The designs are more primitive. I think that it just was one of those rugs that just became a timeless rug. It's really hard for me to really put into words why. I really can't tell you why, but it just is.
John: All right. Well, that's really great information, Sam. Thanks again for speaking with me today.
Sam: All right, John.
John: And for more information about Sam, the Rug Gallery, and oriental rugs or carpets, visit ruggallerycincy.com. That's rug gallery C-I-N-C-Y.com or call 513-793-9505. Make sure you catch the latest episodes by subscribing to this podcast on iTunes. If you could take the time to give us a review, as well, we'd appreciate that. I'm John Maher. See you next time on The Rug Gallery.