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Ikat Rugs

Ikat Rugs comprise of widely popular coloring techniques and motifs employed by the Silk Road weavers for centuries. The re-evolution of Ikats to match the simplistic perfection of modern décor makes them the rug of choice for rug enthusiasts around the globe. The artistry and playful sophistication combined with vivid colors and top-notch wool are the tokens of original Ikat Design Rugs.

The brilliant colors come to life in hand-tufted, pure wool Ikat piles. Ikat Area Rugs are a league of their own. You will not find a variety as extensive and diverse as you will in Ikat runners. The bold designs, decorative patterns, and striking colors make Ikat Rugs one of the best-sellers at RugKnots.

Proud to house an exclusive collection of Ikat Rugs on Sale, RugKnots offers unique textures of wool and silk Ikat Rugs. These rugs have a classic weave and an unparalleled style. We believe true luxury is in affordability. To purchase valuable textile pieces and bask in their cozy comfort without taking a hit on your pocket is the true definition of real luxury. And RugKnots offers you exactly that. More than that, our blog on Ikat Design Rugs has everything you need to know before you purchase one of our highly sought-after Ikat runners and carpets.

What Are Ikat Rugs?

Ikat, despite appearances, is not a recent fashion trend. Today, Ikat style is everywhere from throw pillows, clothing, and bedsheets to rugs and carpets. Ikat has been around since the mid-19th century – an inspiration from Central Asian weavers. The pattern itself originates from different countries, but the name Ikat is of Indonesian origin.

Ikat refers to a resist dyeing method. The making of Ikat Rugs is different from the conventional technique. The threads are dyed beforehand. Then weavers use the dyed threads to weave the rug. The Ikat dyeing tradition has earned itself much deserved popularity with time. Today, it is a highly sought-after style recreated into modern textile creations.

The Origin of Ikat Rugs

The jagged outlines on Ikat style rugs are an inspiration of the motifs and designs of Ikat fabrics. Weavers of Ikat runners and carpets do it differently. These are hand-knotted rugs, made by a unique method practiced for more than a century. Each rug has a unique pattern stenciled into the binding spread out on the frame.

The word Ikat originates from the Malay term mengikat. It means to tie a binding. Weavers take sections of threads and bind them with cotton ties. They cover the bindings in wax and then dye them. The parts of the bindings coated in wax do not catch on to the dye, the remaining parts dye easily. This is a repetitive process that repeats itself until the bindings have all the colors from the pattern. When the weaver begins to knot the pile, the pattern begins to appear on the cloth. The perfect alignment of dyed threads is a near-impossible task, which results in jagged outlines.

These saw-etched outlines turn out to be the classic symbol of Ikat Area Rugs and all other textile sporting Ikat fashion. Homeowners and rug enthusiasts all over the world admire Ikat art. Owing to increasing market demand, weavers in different countries have honed the art of making Ikat Rugs to ultimate perfection. Today, millions of Ikat masterpieces decorate the living room and bedroom floors of modern living spaces all over the world.

The finesse and artistic flair for Ikat patterns date back to the 19th and 20th century. During this time, weavers in Samarkand, Bokhara, Kabul, and Kunduz became known for their Ikat creations.

The Colors and Designs of Ikat Rugs

RugKnots houses a versatile collection of Ikat Rugs. The rug colors range from bold and striking red and Blue Ikat Rugs to neutral beige and cream palettes. The color you choose will depend on your interior décor. If you’re going for a more 19th-century vibe, you can pick from bold colors. If you’re more inclined towards monochromatic schemes, then you can go for subtler shades like brown, beige, taupe, ivory, and white.

Weavers of Ikat Design Rugs draw inspiration from ancient Ikat patterns. This gives their creations an undertone of tradition and culture. Most of the Ikats – while contemporary – are still in touch with the ancient Ikat illustrations.

The Evolution of Ikat Designs

Today, the Ikat fashion has dug its fingers deep into fashion across continents. Ikat Rugs are one of the frontrunners in the fashion industry. But Ikat textile was not always as widespread and renowned as it is today.

The Uzbek Legacy

Many people claim that Ikats are a true creation of the Uzbeks. In the 20th century, Ikat creations reached the summit of production in Central Asia. A hundred and twenty workshops employed thousands of weavers to create Ikat Rugs. Some had been dedicated to weaving, some to dyeing and others to the production of raw yarn. Today, the number of workshops has multiplied across continents. These workshops are better equipped to handle all the steps of weaving an Ikat carpet in a single space capacity.

By the 17th century, the Uzbeks – royals and peasants alike – wore similar clothing. Donned in tunics, trousers, and robes, little could differentiate a nobleman from a peasant. In those times, Ikat textile became a method to erect a visible difference in social standing. The royals employed the Ikat dyeing tradition to expose the social hierarchy of the Uzbek natives.

Ikat textile productions flourished in Uzbekistan until the Russian conquest in the 1860s. Russians encouraged the use of chemical dyes in rugs. This took away much of the beauty possessed by the original Ikat pieces. Some Uzbek families nurtured Ikat art. And with the independence of Uzbekistan in 1991, the Ikat textile industry raised its head again, reaching the farthest continents this time.

Materials and Color Variations

Originally, weavers created Ikats in silk only. Today, Ikats are a mixture of silk and cotton. The creation of an Ikat Rug is not only time consuming with extensive tying and dyeing, but also complicated. The maximum number of colors incorporated in an Ikat is seven. Most of the Ikats you will find have about three to four colors.

Design Progression

Ikat textile gives off a hazy and dreamy look. It never fails to make an impression on rug lovers. The dyes bleed into each other, outlined by jagged markings in mostly primary colors of red, yellow, and blue. In older times, weavers drew their inspirations for Ikat patterns from plants, fruits, animals, and insects. Today, these simplified figures have been replaced by abstract art and geometric designs.

Ikat Artistry

The Ikat artistry is highly valued throughout the rug industry today. The artistic vision of Ikat weavers has been instrumental in furthering the Uzbek legacy of Ikat textile. To this day, Uzbeks wear the bold Ikat colors and designs for festivals and holidays.

In rural Uzbekistan, people still wear clothing from Ikat textile in everyday life. It is an integral part of the Uzbek culture and tradition, and over centuries, the Uzbeks have nurtured their art.

Ikat Fashion and Diversity

Ikat textile has seeped into the very roots of contemporary fashion. Used by interior designers for wallpapers, furniture upholstery, tapestries, pillow covers, and duvets; they have broadened the spectrum of design and the nature of modern décor. Fashion designers have employed Ikat textile in tunics, cardigans, jackets, swimwear, bags, scarves, and dresses. Today’s contemporary rugs have taken a page out of Ikat fashion to resemble the original Uzbek creations.

Types of Ikat Weaving Techniques

There are three different Ikat weaving styles: warp Ikat, weft Ikat, and double Ikat. Let’s have a quick look to see how these different weaving techniques differ from one another.

Warp Ikat

In warp Ikat weaving, weavers dye the weft yarn in bold colors, but dye warp yarns in Ikat pattern. The pattern is clearly visible when they wind the threads on the loom.

Weft Ikat

Oppositely, in weft Ikat, the weavers dye weft threads in Ikat pattern. This weaving technique is slightly more complicated as compared to the warp Ikat technique. The pattern on the rug forms as the weaving goes on. This requires diligence from the weaver to constantly check and readjust the yarns for a proper pattern.

Double Ikat

This is the most complicated weaving technique of the three. Weavers resist-dye both the warp thread and the weft thread before they proceed with the weaving. This technique requires ultimate skill, precision, and plenty of time. This is why double Ikat rugs are one of the most expensive rugs on the market. 

Ikat Rug Weaving in Other Countries

The art of weaving Ikat Rugs has obliterated the regional boundaries of Central Asia. It has spread far and wide and now countries all over the world have skilled Ikat rug weavers. Let’s learn about Ikat fashion in some of these countries.


Most of the Ikat Design Rug productions in Cambodia are weft Ikats. Weavers exclusively use silk as the weaving material. Woven on a multi-shaft loom, these rugs have an uneven twill weave. As a result, the weft threads show more prominently than they do on the back.

By the 19th century, Cambodian weavers had honed the art of Ikat rug making to near perfection. The Cambodian Ikat textile soon became known as one of the finest in the world. The king of Thailand visited the US in 1856 and gifted a fine piece of Cambodian Ikat cloth to the then US President Franklin Pierce.

The Cambodian rug industry took a hit during the mid-20th century during Indo-China wars and little remained of the skilled Ikat Rug weavers and their mastery. Kikuo Morimoto from Japan revived the Ikat rug weaving tradition in Cambodia. He located two of the remaining rug weavers from the Khmer Rouge Regime survivors and had them teach their techniques to the new Cambodian generation.


Thai weavers also prepare Ikat weft rugs known locally as Matmi. Woven for daily wear amongst Thai royals, the Matmi cloth soon integrated into Thai culture and became a symbol of nobility and prestige. The tribes of Karen and Lawa in northern Thailand are skillful weavers of warp Ikat cotton rugs.

Latin America

The Mexicans dye their silk and wool rebozos similar to Ikat fashion. These shawls are part of Mexican national identity and most women have at least one Ikat shawl. The Ikat pattern is also common amongst the natives of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Venezuela, and Peru. 

What Rugs Do You Put with Ikat Print?

If Ikat were not a pattern but a person, they would be someone who is bold and energetic and would call you out on your nonsense. Ikats don’t do shy and demure. They are striking and daring. As a result, you can’t expect Ikat Rugs to work with just any décor. We swear by the advice that you must pick your battles, and trying to match an Ikat to a suitable interior might turn out to be a tough one.

Ikats with Neutrals

Ikat’s multi-dimensional patterns stand out against a monochromatic scheme of colors. A neutral interior always works best with Ikat Rugs’ dauntingly beautiful appearance. The solid neutral shades give Ikats the chance to soak up the attention. The solids don’t clash with Ikat’s mix of vivid coloring, and the rich Ikat patterns have a proper chance to outdo any other piece of textile in the room.

Ikats with Patterns

If neutrals are not quite your style, you can pair up Ikat Rugs with patterns, too. The key is to match the proportion and avoid color clashes. Do not choose something as glaringly bold as your Ikat carpet. Allow one of the items to take up the limelight in your interior décor.

Decorate Your Home with Ikat Rugs!

Patterns like paisley and most plaids and tartans are strictly traditional while geometrics spell contemporary. So while dealing with patterns may be a bit finicky, Ikat Rugs will hardly give you much grief about whether to pair them up with modern décor or with a traditional one.

Luckily, RugKnots has all the variety of Ikat Design Rugs that you could possibly need! Shop at our Ikat Rugs Sale and bring home the centuries-old Ikat patterns for unique décor.

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