Rug and carpet, any decorative textile normally made of a thick material and now usually intended as a floor covering. Until the 19th century the word carpet was used for any cover, such as a table cover or wall hanging; since the introduction of machine-made products, however, it has been used almost exclusively for a floor covering. In the United States the word rug is often used for a partial floor covering as distinguished from carpet, which frequently is tacked down to the floor and usually covers it wall-to-wall. In reference to handmade carpets, however, the names rug and carpet are used interchangeably.
Handmade carpets are works of art as well as functional objects. Indeed, many Oriental carpets have reached such heights of artistic expression that they have been held in the same regard in the East as objects of exceptional beauty and luxury that masterpieces of painting have been in the West.