Mamluk rugs are characterized by a central, dominant octagonal medallion surrounded by a great variety of smaller, geometric motifs. They take their name from the Mamluk dynasties that ruled Egypt from 1250 through 1517. Rugs of this design were produced in Cairo, largely for the southern European luxury trade. The Mamluk's complex Arabesque patterns evoke the harmony and eternity of the divine. Astonishingly, they do so with patterns that appear both perfectly mathematical and perfectly mystical at the same time. Mamluk carpets are known for their lustrous wool, fine weave, and soft colors dominated by pale greens, yellows and reds. Their designs are distinctive-complex, large medallions made up of intersecting forms. These forms are based on the tradition of Islamic geometric ornament. The borders are made of oblong medallions or "cartouches". A variation of the Mamluk called Paramamluk, features allover patterns of smaller hexagons, octagons and squares. These are often known as the "chessboard" rugs.[ref. Philadelphia Museum of Art]
Placing the correct size rug in your space is as important as choosing the right color or pattern. A rug that it is too small will shift the balance of the room unfavorably. A rug that is too big, especially in open floor plans, may put the area designations off. There are a few rules of thumb, but a picture says it better. Use these handy guides by Interior Designer Lisa Ferguson to make the best choice.