In spite of being accused of invidiousness because of the numerous errors I am obliged to point out in what has been written by others on the subject, I cannot refrain from asking you to laugh with me over the statement frequently made that:
"In the good old days Oriental rugs were entirely of wool, and it is due to modern commercialism that the warp is sometimes of cotton. So look first to see if the warp is of cotton, and if it is reject the rug."
Which, of course, is simple "rot." In some rug-weaving districts, and particularly among nomadic tribes where cotton is difficult to procure, webs have always been entirely of wool, but in other districts cotton warps have been employed since cotton was available, and are found in the most precious museum antiques.
Cotton warps and webs are not used for cheapness. They are used because they make a more satisfactory hide for the furry nap to grow from. Among large modern rugs, Kurdistans have a woolen warp - and almost without exception are crooked.
The web, it must be remembered, has to stand all the strains and stresses that come to a rug in being rolled or folded or pulled from one place to another. For shipment across the ocean, large rugs are invariably folded and the folding usually pulls them out of shape, so that it is desirable for the dealer to straighten them again before he sends them to the customer's house. This re-shaping to symmetry is possible in most rugs where there is no imperfection of weave, and should be insisted on.