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What Is a Dhurrie?

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  • Written By: Andrew Kirmayer
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Last Modified Date: 25 August 2016
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A dhurrie is a woven rug that originated in India. While usually made of cotton, wool, or silk, it can be composed of a blend of materials as well. The rug is flat and consists only of the weft material, unlike a carpet that also has a backing and pile. Most dhurrie rugs are still made in India, as well as in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Myanmar, and Tibet. In traditional form, the rug has existed for thousands of years and is used for an under layer for bed sheets and as a way to cover floors without being decorative.

Weavers began to change the nature of the woven rug in the 1940s, when various patterns and colors were used to decorate floors as well as furniture. Dhurrie rugs are used to accent floors under coffee tables, in the center of the room, or in corners. They are also used as bath mats. Woven patterns are visible on both sides of the rug, and the threads of the fabric are not visible from the surface. The rugs can be turned over at any time if one side gets dirty before it can be adequately cleaned.

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It is not hard to clean a dhurrie, and most of the time stains can be wiped away using a carpet cleaner. The rug can often be cleaned in a washing machine if the manufacturer’s guidelines specify so, and dirt can also be shaken out. Cleaning is also possible by using a vacuum cleaner, but one caution is to make sure the fabric on the end of the rug doesn’t get caught inside the vacuum. Unless there are instructions with specific cleaning guidelines based on the material, cleaning is done the same as with any other rug. Each rug should be thoroughly cleaned often.

Variations of the dhurrie are found in different parts of India. Some local communities make rugs out of old pieces of clothing, while elsewhere dhurries are made from leather scrap to form a unique variant. In northern India, the rugs often feature clouds or dragons, which are common symbols seen in Tibet. Versions with a wide array of colors are made in the southern part of India. Dhurries are a less expensive alternative to carpets in the United States and elsewhere, and their ability to be washed easily has contributed to it being a popular commodity in the textile market.

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