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Carpet Use Throughout History

Though carpets are most commonly used today as home floor coverings, historically, they have had an
array of other uses that have contributed to their rich history.

The practice of hanging and displaying carpets as treasured artwork originated prior to the 17th century when carpets hung from castle walls as decorative pieces, and lay flat on tables, benches, and trunks as artistic coverings.

Other historical sources point out that carpets and rugs were used as curtains, blankets, canopies, saddle covers, and even tomb covers for those that could afford the fine art.

In addition, carpets also had many regal purposes as their value and intricate weavings were highly prized by aristocrats and royalty. In such cases, carpets were sometimes used as tribute money, gifts from one state to another, and ground coverings for special ceremonies.

In the US, during the 19th century, a new use for carpets came about along with the term “carpetbagger.” This term, designated for opportunist Northerners arriving in the Southern US with their belongings in bags made of old oriental carpets, has remained a term still in use today. Along with this term, the trend of using old carpets as material for bags and luggage has continued in women’s fashion.

A departure from these traditional uses of carpets, today, different types of carpets are used for soundproofing music studios, Astroturf carpet is used in stadiums and other playing fields in replacement of grass, and cat-scratching posts for beloved pets.

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