Mosul rugs (also known as Mussel Rugs & Mousel Rugs) originate from Mosul, a Kurdish city that today is actually located in Iraq. The Kurds, living in western and southwestern Iran, northern Iraq, southern Turkey, and in northeastern Syria, are known for the excellent traditional rugs that they weave. Mosul rugs are tribal carpets made in the Kurdish nomadic districts of northwestern Iran. They are typical of the tribal weaving style of the region, woven with cheerful, bright, rich colors and striking geometric designs. Weaving Mosul rugs is an arduous process for the nomads who relocate frequently in order to follow the grazing season. They weave diligently for months on end using extremely crude floor looms which must be well secured and transported each time they move on. These very talented artisans create Mosul rugs using Turkish knots.
History and Construction of Mosul Rugs
The distinguishing characteristics of Mosul rugs are their very bold geometric patterns. However, unlike other Kurdish traditional rugs, the Mosul weavings may include some semi- curvilinear patterns, although the overall effect will still be considered geometric. The traditional rugs of Mosul reflect its population with Caucasian stars, diagonal bands, and barber pole stripes in the designs. A popular pattern featured on Mosul traditional rugs is a paneled garden design comprised of square, rectangular, diamond shape, or hexagonal compartments filled with a floral motif. The patterns tend to be very crowded and they are extremely bright and colorful featuring deep red, bright blue, yellow, green, brown, ochre, and beige. The Mosul weavers use local wool and vegetable dyes.
The warps on Mosul rugs are mostly cotton, while the wefts are either cotton or wool. Although they are available in many sizes, most frequently they are mid-size (4’ x 6’ to 8’ x 10’). Mosul rugs are extremely sturdy and able to withstand even the heaviest traffic, making them ideal choices for kitchens, family rooms, and dens. And, best of all, they will improve with age.