Chinese Rugs Open Vs. Closed Back
Historians cannot accurately date the origin of Chinese Oriental weaving; however, it is widely accepted that Chinese Oriental rugs are some of the most beautiful rugs on the market.
Chinese Rug Styles
Rug experts tend to say that weaving products were introduced to the Chinese culture in the mid 12th century. The Turkestan and Mongolian cultures influenced the Chinese people, and historians believe that they integrated weaving techniques to the Chinese culture in the mid 1600s.
Since then, the Chinese have taken the weaving techniques of others around them and created their own unique styles. The higher quality rugs use a very complex combination of different wool and silk threads in order to ensure that the rug is durable, soft, and plush.
Like other typical Oriental rugs, the Chinese weaving products are graded on the fineness of their knotting. The finer the knot is, the higher the rug’s knot density per square inch. Rugs with high knot densities are more durable and take longer to produce, earning them a higher quality grade.
The fineness of the knotting is referred to as lines; the more lines that a Chinese weave has, the better the product quality.
Closed Back Rugs
Closed back rugs make up the majority of top quality Chinese weaving products on the market. These types of weaves range anywhere from 70- to 360-line, and the 360-line products are incredibly detailed and intricately woven.
The pile – or height/thickness – of the rug can range from half-a-centimeter to a centimeter-and-a-half thick, depending on the type of thread used and the purpose for the product. It is most common for a closed back weave to use 90-line grade knotting techniques and have a deep pile. However, some of the other rugs have the highest quality, 360-line grade, and they are highly sought after as many people claim them to be the best rugs on the market.
Closed back rugs still adhere to the ‘typical Chinese’ style and feature animals, landscapes, and floral arrangement motifs with pastel colors. In some cases, the closed back rugs are made of silk thread, which makes the motifs and colors stand out.
Open Back Rugs
Open back rugs fall in the middle of the line-grade, and they typically range from 70- to 90-line. Open back rugs have a much lower quality than their counterparts, as they are much less dense and have a less solid construction than closed back rugs. In addition, open back weaving utilizes a different weaving technique that has heavier wefting in the row of knots. This lower quality is reflected in the price, as an open back rug is usually 25% less expensive than products with a closed back.
In some open back rugs, the weaver will not finish the knotting process and instead will use a ‘tufting gun’ to coat the back of the rug with latex and covering it with a piece of material. Tufted rugs should not be considered hand-knotted and are of much lower quality than open back rugs.