Oriental rugs,* which first demand attention, have been subjected to alternate laudation and detraction: let us give them unprejudiced consideration.

There are some bad and cheap modern Oriental rugs, as we shall find to be the ease with everything else, and, as with such other things, we may dismiss them without delay. Rugs with zigzag lines (they are but few) may go with them, as they but distract. Those with diagonal stripes are also difficult to manage successfully. Very large and spreading patterns are usually to be avoided, though it would take all the strength of design and colour of a Kazak to redeem from drabness the " symphony in mud and mustard " we have previously described. A large pattern in a very large rug is naturally not so evident. They, therefore, have their use in spacious offices, corridors, halls, and the like.

* See "The Practical Book of Oriental Rugs" by G. Griffin Lewis.

We may now consider those rugs that are adaptable for general household use, and weigh the supposed demerits that have been urged against them. The foremost cause of offending in the eye of many is their strength of colour, and yet anyone familiar with the subject knows that almost every rug imported into America (and probably also the western portion of Europe) is "washed" to reduce its colour. When we remember not only this but the fact that in our western "civilisation" a rug cannot lie upon the floor two weeks without its shades being subdued by the soil of shoe leather and accumulating dust - be we as cleanly housekeepers as we may - the question comes seriously to the front whether the rugs are at fault or whether our culture is not growing too pale, too anaemic, for wholesome and robust man-and-womanhood. We use the word "seriously" in all advisability, for even straws are indicators, and this is a question affecting not merely decoration but character.

In any event sufficiently quiet rugs can be found among the Orientals. We all realise that in good examples' the blending of tones in the Oriental rug is beyond western ability, and as there is an infinite variety from which to choose, if the rug is not successful upon the floor usually the fault is ours. If a rug to be purchased is for a certain position it should not be purchased away from that position - in other words, such rugs should be sent on approval, seen in their place, and well considered before payment is made. In the chapter on Textiles (section Hints on Purchasing) this whole subject of trying things "in loco" is discussed.

The second objection to Oriental rugs is pattern, and this objection is at least partly justified. There are worrying, "wormy," angular and badly proportioned designs in Oriental rugs even when otherwise of merit, and such rugs should be avoided for domestic use, though they may be valued by a collector. There are other patterns that are excellent for our purposes. The Mina Khani designs found in Kurdistan Rugs are admirable, and these rugs are among the best for general household use. The Herati and Pear designs are good if we avoid those that are too small and monotonous. When we add that many of Turkish and Persian designs are most pleasing, it will be seen that we have practically said that there are good styles in all Oriental Rugs - it is our part to avoid the bad ones. The fact that by far the larger number of handsome modern interiors illustrated in Part II of this book show Oriental and Chinese rugs upon the floors certainly has its weight.

The durability of Oriental Rugs for our Western use has perhaps been exaggerated and under the constant wear of leather footgear they will hardly last the traditional lifetime. When, however, the pile is of a fair length, they are among the best floor coverings we have..

Most Chinese rugs are of good pattern and colour and there are very good reproductions to be had at reasonable prices. The Chinese products are of great variety and yet, almost without exception, they possess the happy quality of harmonising with nearly every environment. A Chinese rug, excellent in both pattern and scale, will be seen in Plate 8. The Korean rug shown in Plate 111 is decidedly attractive. The colouring of this example is whitish-grey, yellow and blue.

Domestics. The East has been the inspiration for most of the best Saxony and Wilton rugs, but there are some good ones in conventional patterns. In the cheaper grades of Wiltons and Brussels the inspiration, to use a phrase of Mr. Kipling's, has "gone very far wrong, indeed," and nothing could be more hideous than some specimens with their raw greens and reds interspersed with light cream.

Occasionally one may come across specimens of the old cross-stitch rug. Some of these are ugly, but others are good in design and colour, especially those with black ground and flowered design and border.

Certain period carpets, such as the Aubussons and Savonneries, are colourful in medium shades and are appropriate when the room is of the proper period. Too large patterns - some of them are very sweeping - should be avoided if the room is small.

Floors In The "Modern" Decoration

The tendency here is toward simplicity of design, though violent or at least strong colouring is used here as elsewhere. Block borders and sometimes block patterns are favourites, and unless these are closely harmonised there is nothing more insistent (Plate 77 A).

Oriental rugs are apparently largely taboo, owing to their pattern, and yet Chinese rugs, in which the design is simple but often more aggressive, are frequently employed.

The woodwork of the floors is sometimes painted to accord with the walls, but rather darker in shade, and sometimes stained or painted. Often black floors are used (and there is nothing better) (Plate 125) and sometimes black rugs when relieved with plenty of colour elsewhere in the room.