The term Oriental carpets originally described hand-knotted pile carpets woven in Asia and the Near East. Now it describes hand-knotted pile carpets wherevever made plus flat-woven carpets of Asia and the Near East.
Most carpets are hand-knotted and have a pile. The exceptions are flatweaves such as kilims and soumaks which have neither a pile nor knots. An Oriental carpet with a pile has the same design on the back as it has on the front and has uneven edges. Each dot of colour on the back generally represents a knot. The back of a machine-made carpet has a shadowy pattern and very straight sides.