Literally referring to ‘the land of the setting sun’, it is a term traditionally used to distinguish from the Occident and to describe the civilizations of North Africa, the lands to the east of the Mediterranean and beyond. Our western conception of the orient is of a rich, vibrant and exotic place; in addition to the Middle-East and the Balkans, it now encompasses the far east, China, Thailand, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Java, Indonesia and the Indian Ocean islands, which costumes, colours, textiles, temples and music are so markedly distinct from western approaches and histories–seeming both more mystical and in some ways more rooted.
Oriental rugs, or carpets, have been used in European homes for centuries, prized for their vibrant and varied colours and designs. Oriental rugs are sometimes called Persian, but strictly speaking are hand knotted in Asia, i.e. Iran, China, India, Russia, Turkey, Pakistan, Tibet and Nepal.