Indian carpet weaving was at its height during Mughal dynasty. The earliest Mughal carpets from the 16th century reveal the heavy influence of Persian carpet weaving traditions, which were brought to India by Persian rug weavers. However, by seventeenth century, Mughal rug designs had begun to reflect more Indian motifs and had also become more naturalistic due to the affect that European trade had on the arts of India. Despite the array of influences, the rugs of Agra, Lahore, and Fatehpur Sikri as a whole reflect the Mughals' great respect for and appreciation of nature, along with their high standards of craftsmanship. The steady demise of the Mughal Empire was accompanied by a decline in the production of fine Indian rugs that was only revitalized by the British in the nineteenth century.
While the rugs that were made during the late 19th century in India recall Mughal designs, for the most part, they were finely-knotted interpretations of both classical Indian and Persian designs, often in subtle color palettes to cater to European decorative preferences. The two main cities of late 19th century antique Indian carpet weaving are Agra and Amritsar. While Amritsar rugs are often whimsical, informal and in soft earthy tones, Agra rugs are frequently characterized by their deeper colors and fine weaves.