How Long Does It Take?

Before you begin weaving your own Oriental rug, consider this. A skilled weaver in India can tie about 6,000 knots per day. Thus the time for one person to knot a 9’ x 12’ rug in several common qualities works out like this: (Note that usually more than one person works at a time on rugs from about 4’ x 6’ and larger. To get the actual weaving time for a carpet, you’d need to divide the “Time required” shown here by the number of weavers working simultaneously on the rug).
Quality Knots/sq.in. Knots/sq.ft. Days/sq.ft. Knots in a 9’ x 12’ Carpet 933,120 Time required to knot a 9’ x 12’ Carpet ”6/40” 60 8,640 1.4 151 days (5 months) 237 days (7.9 months) 346 days (11.5 months) 464 days (15.5 months)

”7/52”

91

13,104

2.2

1,415,232

”9/60”

135

19,440

3.2

2,099,520

”12/60”

180

25,920

4.3

2,799,360

Remember that these estimates do not include the time needed to prepare the wool (for wool clipping, carding, spinning, and dyeing), to map the design (about 8 days for a 12/60 quality rug), or to wash and clip the finished carpet (more than 15 days for a 12/60 quality 9’ x 12’ carpet). The best way to keep a rug clean is to keep it from getting dirty in the first place. Removing outdoor shoes when entering the house (as people do in most rug-weaving countries) is a good idea if this accords with your lifestyle. Bare-foot or sock-foot traffic is much gentler to a rug than a hard outdoor-shoe sole (or spike heel), and leaving your outdoor shoes at the entrance to the house tracks in much less dirt. Have your rug cleaned only when it really needs it. For rugs in some areas this will mean a yearly cleaning. Rugs in other areas can go several years and more without needing professional cleaning. To judge how dirty a rug is, try one of these methods:

1.Pick up a corner of the rug and while holding it, kick the back of the rug sharply. If a cloud of dirt flies out of the pile, the rug is dirty and needs cleaning. NOTE: some dust and wool fibers are normal!

2.Kneel down on the rug and rub the pile vigorously with your hand in a short arc for 5 to 10 seconds. Look at your fingers and palm: if your hand is dirty, the rug needs cleaning. 3.With the pile facing UP fold part of the rug back upon itself so that the pile opens along a line of knots. Look down into the base of the pile at the foundation of the rug. If the warp and weft look dirty, there is dirt deep in the pile where a home vacuum cleaner cannot reach it. The rug needs cleaning.
Clean It Yourself It’s easy to clean small rugs yourself. The process is best done in a utility room or garage (on a clean floor) or outside on a clean driveway or paved walk on a nice, sunny day:

• Vacuum both sides well. • Shampoo the rug with cool water and mild liquid soap or rug shampoo (don’t use strong detergents, ammonia water or sudsy ammonia water). TEST FOR COLOR RUN IN A SMALL AREA FIRST. Use a soft, long haired brush or a firm, non-shedding sponge. Brush the pile firmly with linear motions in the direction of the nap: don’t scrub too vigorously. Wet the nap thoroughly with the soapy water.

• Wash fringes with the same soap solution. Use a laundry brush and brush repeatedly away from the pile. • Rinse thoroughly with running water. • Squeeze out excess water—a rubber window squeegee works well. Squeegee the pile repeatedly in the direction of the nap until no more water is forced out. • Lay flat to dry. When the nap feels dry, turn the rug over; the back is probably still damp. DRY THOROUGHLY. • If the pile feels a bit stiff when dry, brush gently or lightly vacuum.
Rug First Aid....
Always try to work on the spill so as not to increase the area of the spill.

Food spills/Pet urine Of the most common spills, urine presents the most severe problem. It can cause severe color run in the rug, and the odor can be very hard to remove or disguise. Urine can also chemically damage the structure of a rug by making the foundation hard and less supple, and the presence of urine in a rug can help attract moths. Repeated wettings can cause the foundation of the rug to loose mechanical strength to the point where the rug cracks and breaks when rolled or folded.

In case of a food spill or urine on a rug, the problem is much more easily handled if the spot is treated promptly, before the spill is allowed to dry. Blot up as much liquid as possible with paper towels or a clean, white cloth. Try to rinse out as much of the spill as possible. A smaller rug can be taken outside and rinsed with a hose and cool water (try not to saturate the whole rug—it will take much longer to dry if you do). With a larger carpet, the corner or edge can be laid in a plastic dishpan and saturated with cool water or a bucket or plastic garbage can can be placed under the wet area of the carpet and cool water poured through the rug (make a hollow in the carpet over the container before you pour, and don’t exceed the capacity of the container under the rug!). Add about 1 cup of white vinegar per gallon to the rinse water—vinegar helps prevent colors from running and will help neutralize the urine odor. After the rug has been rinsed, blot dry and sponge with rug shampoo or with the solution given below. Let dry thoroughly (drying a wet area of a larger carpet can be hastened by arranging the carpet so that air can circulate both top and bottom—drape the end of the carpet across a lawn chair, or put a sawhorse or painted bench under the rug in the area of the wet spot). Pet stool, regurgitation If a pet regurgitates on a rug, you are faced with removing a complex mixture of foodstuffs, saliva, and stomach acids. Depending on the foods involved, this mixture can actually work as a dilute dye to stain the pile

a different hue. If a pet regurgitates or defecates on a rug, clean the area immediately by picking up as much material as possible with paper towels or with a clean, white cloth. If necessary, use a tablespoon to scrape up all the foreign material. Blot the area dry and immediately sponge several times with rug shampoo or with the cleaning solution listed below. Don’t scrub hard —too much manipulation of the pile can spread the stain. Sponge in the direction of the nap. Spot Cleaning Solution • • • ¼ cup white vinegar* ½ tsp liquid dishwashing detergent 2 cups tepid water

*Most Oriental rug dyes are acid-fast. By adding a little white vinegar to the wash water you make the wash water more acidic, and this reinforces the bond between the dyestuff and the wool in the rug, and so helps prevent the colors from running. Finally, sponge the area with cool, clean water to finish. Use absorbent towels or a firm, non-shedding sponge. Don’t use a brush so stiff that it pulls fibers from the pile. Don’t scrub hard at the pile. Sponge in the direction of the nap. Place some towels under the spot to keep floor or pad from getting wet. Dry thoroughly. When the nap feels dry, check the back of the rug to be sure the area is completely dry.

Rug Dyes.... There exists a very widespread belief that “vegetable” or “natural” dyes are superior to “synthetic” dyes, and that a rug woven with “vegetable” dyes is in all ways a better carpet than a rug woven with synthetic colors. In fact, it is usually not possible to separate the dyestuffs used in many rugs into these two neat categories, and even were this possible, some “vegetable” dyes are much more fugitive in color or even damaging to the wool than the “synthetic” dyestuff that yields the equivalent shade. In general, “vegetable dyes” are taken to be an indication of a more traditional, more rural, more country rug weaving, while synthetic dyes are considered more characteristic of city or commercial production. Even this distinction breaks down, however, when one realizes that synthetic azo dyes (an acid direct dye that yields yellow or orange-red) were introduced to many weaving areas between 1875 and 1890, and by the turn of the century were available to many rural weavers. If a village weaver could obtain a synthetic dye, he or she was very likely to use it right alongside his traditional dyestuffs. Just because a rug is 50 years old does not mean it is “vegetable” dyed. Nor does a “vegetable” dye guarantee a longer life or higher value to the carpet. The “vegetable” black we find in so many old Turkish and Balouch rugs is so corrosive that areas of black nap will be completely worn away while nap of other colors is still thick and fully piled. Had the black been a good chrome synthetic, the rug would be in much better condition.

In the past twenty years there has been a huge increase in the quantity and variety of new vegetable dyed rugs available. The trend began in western Turkey in the late 1960’s, but knowledge of vegetable dyeing has now been re-introduced into Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, and Nepal. Common “Vegetable” Dyes.... Color in the rug From this Notes material red to orange root of the madder Rubia tinctoria plant salmon depleted madder as dye baths are dye re-used, the dye gets weaker and colors get lighter bright red to cochineal (dried often from burgundy insect carapace) Dactylopius coccus blue-red to lac (resin secreted often from Coccus purple-red by insect) laccae light blue to navy indigo (extracted Indigoferra from the indigo plant) pale yellow to larkspur or Delphinium yellow-brown isparuk (a sulpureum flowering plant) pale yellow to weld (a flowering Reseda luteola yellow-brown herb)

brown black green

oak bark, tree galls tannin, oak tree galls, iron double-dye of larkspur and indigo

Quercus this dye is often damaging to wool

Vegetable Dyeing Techniques.... Common vegetable dyes The most commonly used vegetable dyes are indigo (originally obtained by extracting and fermenting indican from the leaves of the indigo plant), madder (produced by boiling the dried, chunked root of the madder plant in the dye pot), and larkspur (produced by boiling the crushed leaves, stems, and flowers of the larkspur plant). These dyes produce, respectively, dark navy blue, dark rusty-red, and muted gold. Long ago dyers realized that as more wool was dyed in a single dyepot, colors became weaker and weaker. Dyers use this notion of depleated dyes to their advantage. The first dyeing produces a deep, strong color. Subsequent dyeings in the same dyepot produce lighter, softer colors (like the three shades of indigo, madder, and yellow illustrated here):

Dyers also quickly learned to combine colors to produce different hues. There is, for instance, no “vegetable” dye material that yields green (an important color if you’re interested in weaving a floral design!). First dyeing wool blue, then dyeing it again with yellow, does produce a green color. If you look closely at the green color in a vegetable-dyed rug, you will commonly see that the color is uneven, more blue-green in some areas, and more yellow-green in others. This is because of the doubledyeing technique:

So, by using the notion that depleted dyes produce different hues, and by combining some dyes through overdyeing wool, dyers can produce a surprisingly large pallette of colors from a very limited variety of materials. These people are clever!

Knot density (knots per square inch) is an important indicator of rug quality. Most weaves are measured

simply by counting the number of knots per linear inch along the warp (i.e., along the length of the rug) and the number of knots per linear inch along the weft (across the width of the rug) and multiplying to get the number of knots per square inch (or per sq. cm.). Unfortunately, this simple concept can be tricky to apply in practice. Because of the ways in which rug structure can vary, individual knots can be difficult to isolate from the back of the rug (it’s impossible to distinguish separate knots from the face of the rug). This is one Turkish knot, even though the wool wraps around two warps. Often the warps of the rug lie on the same plane. If the warps of the rug lie on the same plane, each knot (whether Turkish or Persian) will show on the back of the rug as two tiny squares of the same color next to each other across the width of the rug. The warps of this Turkishknotted rug lie on the same plane. You are looking at one cream-colored Turkish knot (surrounded by navy knots and red wefts) from the back of a Turkish rug. Can you see the two side-byside elements of this knot? If you are counting the knots

in this rug, the two cream bumps count as one knot.

Sometimes the warps are offset so greatly that from the back of the rug alternate warps are hidden. If this occurs, each knot (whether Turkish or Persian) will show on the back of the rug as a single tiny square of color. The warps of this Turkishknotted rug are offset. You are looking at one light blue Persian knot (surrounded by pink knots) from the back of a Pakistani rug. Because alternate warps are so strongly offset, you can only see one element of the knot across the width of the rug. If you are counting the knots in this rug, the one light blue bump counts as one knot. How do you know when to count one bump on the back of the rug as one knot? It’s easy—look carefully at the individual areas of color across the width of the back of the rug. If you only see colored elements in pairs, you need to count each pair as one knot. If you see lots of single colored elements, the rug has offset warps and each element should be counted as one knot. Many country rugs from Turkey, Afghanistan, and Iran show both knot elements on the back of the rug, as do Bokharas from Pakistan. Most rugs from India and China have strongly offset warps, and so show only one knot element on the back of the rug.

Think you’ve got it? Take our knot-counting quiz. Back to top of page. Knot Nomenclature.... In the Varanasi area of India, rugs are graded using two numbers, like “5/40,” “9/60,” or “12/60.” The first number represents the knots in 9/10 of an inch of the rug’s width. The second number represents the knots in 4 ½ inches of the rug’s length. 0.9” x 4.5” equals 4.05”, almost four square inches, so an easy conversion is to multiply the two numbers together and divide by 4 (sq. in.) to get the approximate weave in knots per sq. in. For example, with a “9/60” quality rug, 9 X 60=540 and 540/4=135 knots per sq. in. Note that most rugs from India have strongly offset warps, so you will only see one element of the knot on the back of the rug. In Pakistan, indicated qualities like “16/16” or “16/18” for rugs in Persian design represent the number of knots per linear inch across the warp and weft counted in the normal way. For example, a “16/18” quality Kashan has 16 X 18 weave, or about 288 knots per sq. in. Note that these rugs have strongly offset warps, so you will only see one element of the knot on the back of the rug. So-called “double” Bokharas from Pakistan in qualities like “9/18,” “10/20,” “11/22,” and “12/24” are different. In this type of rug, warps lie side-by-side and are not offset, so both elements of the knot show on the back of the

rug. Be sure not to double-count the weave across the width when examining a Bokhara. China uses a completely different nomenclature, with “line counts” like “70 line,” “90 line,” or “120 line.” The line count equals the number of knots in a linear foot measured across the width of the rug. Thus a “90 line” rug has 90 knots per linear foot across its width. A “90 line” Chinese rug has about 56 knots per sq. in.; a “SINO-PERSIAN” (a Chinese rug in Persian design) in “160 line” quality has about 177 knots per sq. in.; a “240 line” rug has about 400 knots per sq. in. Chinese rugs have strongly offset warps, so you will only see one element of the knot on the back of the rug. Back to top of page. Try our Knot Counting Quiz.... Think you’ve got it? Test yourself by counting the knots per square inch in the samples below. Each sample represents a 1” x 1” section of the back of a rug How many knots do you count per square inch? How many knots do you count per square inch?

Check your answer.

Check your answer.

Back to the knot counting guide The Kinds of Rug Knots

There are basically two kinds of “knots” used to make most pile-woven Oriental rugs: “Persian” and “Turkish” knots (but see also how are made). Both Persian (Senneh) and Turkish (Ghiordes) knots are usually tied around pairs of warp strings (but see “ ” below).
Tibetan rugs jufti knots The Persian or Senneh knot is asymmetric and may be open to either the right or left. These four Persian knots are open to the right. Turkish or Ghiordes knots are symmetric. This example shows four Turkish knots.

Jufti Knots Jufti or “false” knots can be either Persian or Turkish style. Jufti knots are tied around four warps instead of the normal two. A rug made with jufti knots uses half the material and takes only half as much time to make—but probably will only last half as long! It is common with some rug types (such as BOKHARAS) to find areas of jufti knots interspersed with regular Persian knots.
Persian Jufti Turkish Jufti

Who uses which knot type? Most weaving areas use the Persian knot. Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and some areas of northwestern Iran use the Turkish knot.

Dates in Oriental Rugs

Dates are sometimes woven into the end borders or fields of Oriental carpets, usually using Arabic calligraphy (find out about in Oriental rugs). Usually a date in a rug can be taken at face value, but not always. In the past, rugs were often woven by individuals who were functionally illiterate. Someone else would have drawn the date for the weaver to copy, and the person writing the date may have been only semi-literate. In such cases it is common to see Arabic numerals reversed, woven upside down, or so distorted as to make the date difficult to read. There is also the confusion introduced by some weaving countries switching from a “lunar” calendar to a “solar” calendar in the 1920’s. Because the lunar year is shorter than the solar year, a conversion factor needs to be applied to convert an Islamic lunar calendar date to the
signatures and inscriptions

corresponding Georgian date. Finally, there is the problem of a weaver perhaps copying a date from an older rug, or even intentionally “predating” a rug in order to create an instant semi-antique. It is also possible to reweave a small part of the rug to add a date, or to reweave a numeral or two of an existing date to add years or decades to the seeming age of the rug. So—it’s fun to look for (and find!) a date in a rug, but don’t bet the farm on the accuracy of that date!
Is That a Machine-made Rug?

This page is intended to help you tell the difference between a handmade Oriental rug and a machine-made imitation.
This discussion concerns only rugs made with 100% wool as the pile material:

• If a rug has a nap of polypropolene, polyolefin, or a nap made of a blend of synthetic polymers and wool, it is all but certainly a machine-made rug. • If a rug is identified as “a Belgium Oriental,” or as having been made in Belgium, Italy, or elsewhere in western Europe, it is all but certainly a machine-made rug. • If a rug has a tag like this:

It’s a machine-made rug! The situation gets more complicated with wool pile rugs made in Turkey, or Egypt, or in central European countries like Romania, Albania, and Bulgaria. All of these countries have produced at least some completely handmade Oriental rugs in the last 50 years, but all have also made large quantities of machine-made Oriental rug imitations. This comparison picture shows, at the same scale and resolution, a brand-name 3’ x 5’ machine-made rug next to a 3’ x 5’ handwoven Kashan from India with a weave of about 140 knots per sq. in.:

Note the strong visual differences between the machinemade and handmade rugs. In particular, the back of the machine-made rug is very different in appearance from the back of the handmade rug. The design is not nearly as colorful on the back of the machine-made rug as it is on the face. Closer examination of the machine-made rug shows why this is so:

The construction of the machine-made rug is very different from the handmade Oriental. There is an overstitch pattern across the whole back of the machinemade rug. You cannot easily distinguish individual knots on the back of the machine-made rug because there aren’t any—the overstich construction is what holds the pile material in place. The fringe is clearly applied to the end of the machine-made rug after it’s complete, whereas the fringe of the handmade rug is actually made up of the warp strings that come out of the end of the handmade rug.

What Difference Does It Make? Our only business is genuine Oriental rugs—we don’t buy, sell, take in trade, service, or spend mental energy thinking about machinemade rugs. Our biggest complaint is the ongoing effort by machinemade manufacurers and retailers to blur the difference between their product and genuine Oriental rugs. Over the years we’ve talked with lots and lots of people confused about what they bought or were given. Machine-made rugs may have their place, but learn to identify them so you can be sure about what you are examining or being offered. Is Your Silk Oriental Rug Made of Real Silk?

We don’t mean to be alarmist, but we sometimes see “silk” Oriental rugs that are made of something other than genuine, natural silk. This is not a problem if you know that the rug you are considering is made of artificial silk, but sometimes rug dealers neglect to pass on this information! The problem happens most often with just a few rug types sold in tourist markets in Turkey and India (and sometimes in Pakistan).

Real Silk Real silk is produced as the cocoon covering of the silkworm, the pupal form of the Asian or mulberry silk moth, bombyx mori. The cocoon is spun by the silk moth caterpillar of a single silk fiber that can be up to several thousand feet in length. To harvest the silk, completed cocoons are boiled or heated to kill the silkworms, then laboriously unwound into single fibers which are plied together and spun into thread or silk yarn. Natural silk is a fibrous protein composed of a number of amino acids: glycine (44.5%), alanine (29.3%), serine (12.1%), valine (2.2%), tyrosine (5.2%), glutamic acid (1%), others less than 1% each. Chemically, natural silk is C15H23O6N5 (we give the formula in case you want to

whip up a batch of your own). Silk is extremely high in tensile strength, exceeding that of nylon. It has been estimated that if a single silk fiber with the diameter of a pencil could be produced, the fiber could lift a 747 aircraft (who figures these things out, anyway?). Silk is used to make Oriental rugs because dyed silk is a fiber with rich, saturated colors, and a distinctive, almost translucent luster.

Artificial Silk Artificial silk is everything billed as silk that doesn’t come from the silkworm cocoon. Most often this means mercerized cotton; sometimes it means a manufactured fiber like rayon or a blend of chemically altered and/or manufactured fibers. It’s not that artificial silk is intrinsically evil, it’s just that the whole point of using artificial silk in a rug is to save the cost of real silk. It is not nice when this cheaper, artificial silk rug is misrepresented and sold for the price of a real silk rug.
Mercerized cotton A ripening cotton boll can contain as many as 5,000 separate cotton fibers, each fiber growing from a tiny seed and formed as a hollow cylindrical sheath of as many as thirty layers of almost pure cellulose. Cotton fiber is mercerized by being stretched under controlled

tension at room temperature while being treated with a 21%-23% solution of caustic soda (NaOH). The effect is to swell the fiber and make its surface much more reflective, thus dramatically increasing its luster (and also its tensile strength). After the chemical treatment, cotton yarn is often singed to remove whatever small amount of fuzz remains on the surface of the fibers. Sometimes cotton is calendered by being passed between heated rollers. The effect is to increase the luster and sheen of the fiber still more. However it is treated, cotton remains cellulose: C6H10O5. Rayon Like cotton, rayon is made of almost pure celulose, but rather than being grown, rayon is produced by first dissolving cellulose (obtained from cotton or woodpulp) to produce a thick yellow liquid called viscose. The viscose is extruded through tiny holes into a chemical bath that produces long filaments which can be spun into thread and yarn. Viscouse rayon was the first man-made fiber. In 1920, DuPont bought from the French the technology for making viscose rayon. DuPont first called the material “artificial silk”, and formed a company (The DuPont Fibersilk Company) to manufacture it. Other artificial fibers would follow quickly: acetate (also derived from cellulose) in 1924, nylon, (commonly, adipic acid reacted with hexamethylene diamine) in 1939, acrylic (from acrylonitrile, a petrochemical) in 1950, polyester in 1953, and triacetate in 1954. How to Identify A Real Silk Oriental Rug

With all these artificial fibers around, how can you identify a rug woven with natural silk? First of all, pay attention to whatever clues the dealer— or the rug—gives you. For instance, we have seen many artificial silk Kayseri rugs (and some Hereke rugs), both Turkish types. In Turkey, a real silk Kayseri is an ipek Kayseri: ipek is “silk” in Turkish. An artificial silk Kayseri is a flos Kayseri ( a yun Kayseri has a wool pile). The dealer might be accurately describing the piece to you as a flos rug, but by not explaining the difference between flos and ipek, he lets you jump to the intended assumption, and you unwittingly buy an artificial silk rug. Indian rug dealers are seldom as delicately circumspect as some of their Turkish counterparts. Artificial silk rugs in India are often blatantly sold as real silk, complete with certificates of authenticity and written guarantees. For many years Kashmir in northern India has been the major source for both real and artificial silk Indian rugs. Look carefully at the “silk” rug: it should be tightly woven (with more than 200 knots per sq. in., and often with 500 or more knots), intricately detailed, closely clipped, and it should have real silk fringe that is clearly an extension of the rug’s structure, not sewn on or sewn into the ends of the rug. Artificial silk rugs often have only medium weaves (less than 250 knots per sq. in., and sometimes less than 150 knots per in.), and often have cotton fringe. Good quality real silk rugs always have real silk fringe. In Pakistan we often see rugs called jaldars. These wool pile rugs often have “silk touch,” meaning that there is

artificial silk inlay in the pile (often outlining part of the design). This artificial silk is almost invariably ivory in color, and is made of mercerized cotton.
Tests for Silk

OK, you’re looking at a nicely woven, nicely patterned, closely clipped “silk” rug with what appears to be real silk fringe. You still might be looking at a rug made of artificial silk. Here are three field tests that might help you distinguish real from fake. No guarantee; your mileage may vary.
Rub it! It is sometimes claimed that you can tell real silk from artificial silk by vigorously rubbing the pile with your open palm. The real silk rug feels warm, the artificial silk rug stays cool to the touch. We sometimes think we have felt this difference. Of course, it helps to have a real silk rug with you so that you can compare a known quantity! Burn it! This test is at least good theatre, and actually can be helpful. Clip off a small piece of the fringe, or pull a knot out of the rug from the back (why should the owner object?). Burn it. Look at the ash and smell the smoke. If the material was cellulose (rayon), the ash should be soft and chalky, and the smell should be like burning paper (most paper is made of cellulose). If the sample is real silk, the burning sample should ball to a black, crispy ash, and the smell should be of burning hair (you’re burning protein, the same stuff your hair is made of). You’ve got to be a little careful with this test to avoid

smelling the smoke from the match (and to avoid igniting yourself or the rug dealer’s shop). Dissolve it! The most accurate test is one that chemically differentiates protein from cellulose or petrochemicals. One such test: at room temperature, mix a solution of 16 g copper sulfate (CuSO4) in 150 cc of water. Add 8-10 g glycerine, then caustic soda (sodium hydroxide: NaOH) until a clear solution is obtained. This solution will dissolve a small sample of natural silk, but will leave cotton, rayon, and nylon unchanged. Is Your Rug Signed? Over the long history of weaving, the vast majority of handmade rugs have been made by country people who were essentially illiterate. A farmer or shepherd might be able to recognize and write a few numbers and letters, but for almost everyone in a weaving culture there was no possibility of learning to read and write fluently. To this day literacy is still a major governmental goal in most weaving countries. Despite the difficulties, there has quite often been a desire to mark a rug in a particular way. Among village or country rugs, marking most often involves adding a date to the rug’s design. It can be a real challenge to interpret a date woven in a rug! Much less often do we find a signature in a country or village rug. This is partly because spelling is much more difficult to master than counting (there are lots more

letters to remember than numbers, and there is the whole pesky problem of matching letters with all the different sounds of spoken language), but the real reason for finding so few signed village rugs is that by its very nature village or country weaving is anonymous. Too much individuality in the village is a negative value. Weavers make designs learned from their parents and relatives, and the village design norm is reinforced by considerable peer pressure. Make a rug too far out in design or mark it flamboyantly and everyone in the village starts to gossip behind your back. Most all signed rugs are city rugs, rugs woven in a metropolitan area where someone can be found to write the initials or inscription even if the weaver is illiterate. Almost never is the signature the actual mark of the weaver; rather, it is almost always the mark of the entrepreneur or money man who caused the rug to be woven. Usually the inscription is in Arabic, or in Farsi (Persian) written in Arabic script. Usually the inscription is found in a cartouche centered at the end of the rug, inserted in a guard border. Often the signature represents the patronymic of a weaving family:

Signature of the “Tabba Tabai” Weaving Family of Tabriz Sometimes the signature is much more elaborate than just a logo-like combination of a few initials:

Signature in the border of a fine Isfahan from Iran It reads: “Iran - Isfahan - Ahmad Jogaji” Not all text appearing in a cartouche in rug is a signature; some of what looks like text is not really writing at all. There is a long history of city weavers incorporating decorative Arabic calligraphy into their rug designs. Often this script is so ornamental that it is no longer readable as text. This kind of stylized writing used as design is often called “Kufic” or “Kufesque.” The rug with the Tabba Tabbai signature pictured above also has panels with “Kufic” designs:

“Tabba Tabai” Tabriz with “Kufic” Designs Notice that the left and righthand Kufic panels are mirror images of each other. The panels are designed to evoke a courtly and cultured Islamic tradition, but hold no cognitive content. Sometimes there is actual, readable text in a rug’s design. Most often the text is a verse from the Koran or a verse of secular poetry. This Kashan from Pakistan celebrates the good life of wine, women, and song with a picture and appropriate text:

Does a Signature Add Value? Does the presence of a sigature or inscription make a rug more valuable? Despite what the dealer is likely to tell you, probably not. A number of city rug types like Isfahan, Kashan, Nain, and Ghoum (from Iran), Hereke and Kayseri (from Turkey), and fine Bokharas and Kashans from Pakistan are signed. Finding a signature in the design of one of these rugs is sort of like noticing the little “Body by Fisher” plaque that GM used to stick on the doorsills of Buicks and Oldsmobiles: it’s OK that it’s there, but you wouldn’t pay extra money to get it if it wasn’t.

Of course, there is always that nomadic QashQai that despite all the odds has a neat, readable name and date worked into the pattern.... (find out about dates in rugs). In any event, have a look at the borders of your rug(s) and see if you can spot a signature or inscription that you may have overlooked before! How to Install a Stair Runner Tools and materials We’re going to do a typical Oriental runner installation on a stairway. We’ll be using these tools and materials:

The installation 1. Cut pieces of tackless strip (usually available at Home Depot or Lowe’s; comes in 4’ lengths) about 1 ½” narrower than the width of the runner. You need one piece at the back of each tread and one piece at the bottom of each riser. Mark the center of the pieces of tackless, and mark the center of the treads where the treads and risers meet at the back of the treads.

2. Attach one tackless strip at the back of the first tread. The tackless should be about 1” out from the corner formed by the back of the tread and the bottom of the riser for thinner rugs, and as much as 2” out from the corner for very thick runners. Adjust as necessary. The strip should be centered on the mark you made in Step 1. The tacks in the strip should face back toward the riser. 3. Attach one tackless strip at the bottom of the first riser. The tackless should be about 1” up from the corner formed by the back of the tread and the bottom of the riser for thinner rugs, and as much as 2” up from the corner for very thick runners. Adjust as necessary. The strip should be centered on the mark you made in Step 1. The tacks in the strip should face down toward the tread. Repeat Steps 2 and 3 for all the treads and risers to be covered by the runner. 4. Cut a piece of carpet pad for each tread. The pieces of pad should be the same width as the tackless strip, and deep enough to butt against the tackless strip at the back of the tread and wrap down over the edge or “nose” of the tread. The pad should end short of the tackless on riser below the tread. 5. Attach a piece of carpet pad to each tread. Center the pad and butt it against the tackless at the back of the tread. Fasten with a staple at the back corners and every 6” paralleling the tackless. Wrap the pad down over the nose of the tread and staple the corners and every 6” to the riser. Repeat for all the treads.

6. Rub the pile of your runner with the palm of your hand. Notice that the pile lays smoothly in one direction. Face the rug with the pile laying toward you. You will install the runner with the far end at the top of the stairs. By doing this, you arrange for the pile to face down on the risers. The pile catches less dirt this way, and the runner will last longer and look better. 7. Start the rug at the top of the stairs. If beginning under the nose of the upper landing, fold the fringe to the back of the rug, center the rug at the top of the riser, snug the end up tight under the nose, and fasten the top edge to the riser with a carpet tack at each corner and every 4” across the end. If starting the rug on the upper landing, cut a piece of carpet pad long enough to sit under the rug and extend down over the nose of the landing onto the riser below. Staple the pad in place on the landing and on the riser. Fasten the rug over the pad with a carpet tack at each corner and a tack every 4” across the end and down the edges on the landing. The attachment of the end of the runner on the landing must be good and secure to be safe. 8. Smooth the rug down to the bottom of the riser and push it back tight into riser-tread corner so it is gripped by the tackless strips in the corner. The runner should flow smoothly to the bottom of the riser. Do not tuck it back under the nose of the tread and tight to the riser. Be sure the runner is straight on the stairs. Wrap the runner out and over the next tread and check that length used to cover the riser and tread combination is what you

expected. If the rug is running “long”, you can take up a bit of extra length by re-setting the rug in the tackless corner so it is a little looser (but not much!) on the riser. If the rug is running “short”, you can pull it more tightly down the riser, or push it not-quite-so-far into the tackless corner. When happy with the arrangement, pound the runner into the corner with the blunt chisel (you can also use the edge of a narrow piece of plywood, or any other tool you have that will let you tamp the rug into the tackless corner without cutting or piercing the face of the rug). The runner should be solid in the corner, with the tacks of the tackless strips gripping it across its full width. 9. Continue down the stairs, doing each riser-tread combination in turn. 10. Finish the installation at the bottom. If the rug finishes on the bottom tread with the fringe hanging down over the riser, shorten the last carpet pad so it doesn’t show on the riser. Secure the end of the runner with carpet tacks as you did the top. If the runner finishes at the bottom of the bottom riser, tuck the fringe behind and secure with a row of tacks across the end of the rug at the bottom of the riser. If the runner ran longer than you thought, you can even fold a few inches of pile to the back and secure the rug at the bottom of the riser with 1 ½” or 2” finishing nails. If the runner is to run out a bit onto the floor at the foot of the stairs, put a piece of carpet pad under it, and secure the end and edges of the rug with a few carpet tacks.

Every carpet, with its patterns, resembles a collection of messages, beliefs and symbols. They are declarations of wish, on which all expectations are enshrined. Every patterns that is woven onto a carpet is a picture of feeling, a desire or a wish. So far as that every carpet represents a living history from the early ages to the present in which women have patiently and untiringly written their joys and sorrows in amazing codes and magic letters which are to be read line by line. They contain voices of birds, voices of children, gently blowing spring winds, flowers, leaves, branches, figures, whims, wishes and rebukes. An expectation of news by a bird with four wings and heads, but the language of these symbols has not

been fully decoded to our day. As well as being one of the most indispensable interior decoration goods, carpet has long been a precious gift item, migration on the roots of conquest and trade, carrying its patterns from one place to another and this magic work of craft has finally traveled through the ages to our times with its colors, symbollanguage and with all its beauty becoming a subject of “flying carpet” tales. Like the epic of Elbruz mountain ( a mythical mountain believed to surround the world binding the horizon on all sides- translator ), the location of the holly fire which burnt the heart of Prometheus and which is also frequently mentioned in the tales of 1001 nights, life stories and holly narratives have been using colors and language of violets, roses hyacinths and spring flowers. The so called water of life which made people immortal was also hidden somewhere behind mountains. People looked for it in vain it was not

found. Therefore , human beings failed to achieve immortality. The mythical bird of Phoenix also built its nest behind these mountains… There were also giants and dragons which embraced the universe. This old fairy tale was woven into colorful Caucasian carpets depicting an eagle and snake. The theme was also adapted prayer rugs and even woven into socks heads carves in the hands of women and girls… Like yellow narcissus and ovidius, symbolizing hopeless love, today’s Anatolian people still attribute countless meanings to flowers and narrate their day-today emotions in this way. An engaged girl preparing for marriage , expresses her love and happiness by putting a pink hyacinth motif in her lace and weaving into a carpet. Purple hyacinth denotes melancholy, white hyacinth denotes, loyalty, poppy flower denotes spring, tulip carnation denotes love and peace, clover violet denotes luck, fertility and paradise. All symbols become the young women’s language.

These masterpieces of art, decorated with all the colors of nature, with embroideries and motifs, have migrated over the centuries from one country to another and from one district to another, undergoing an interaction with local cultures on the way. That’s why it is quite normal encounter surprising results in the course of studying the origins of particular motifs. While, at the same time observing in amazement how patterns, which are similar to the motifs of Anatolian origin, dating as far as back 3000 BC have been woven into Turkish carpets, one comes across certain motifs of the Pazyryk carpet found also on Seljuk bowls. However, any attempt to determine the origins of motifs as a whole consisting of all these symbols, and to study the different origin, which have overlapped in the course of their history, has understandably become a problem as complicated as untangling the complex of beliefs. Human beings, in the course of their own development over thousands of

years, have reshaped their carpets, motifs and embroidery from one generation to another. Today’s women still weave their carpets in the same frame of mind and emotions, but they no longer know the origins of these mysterious patterns and motifs. They continue this long artistic and historical adventure by attributing them with new names and meaning relating to their present lives.

There are very few documents in existence that might help to shed light on the history of the carpet weaving craft. One of the most significant Click on the photo sources in this for a larger field is the version. Pazyryk carpet. During excavations made under the supervision of archaeologist S.J.Rudenko in 1947-49 at the second tomb (tumulus) in a row of five that came to attention along the SovietMongolian border, an interesting tool was found, which has very similar to the weaving combs in use

I. HAND-KNOTTED WOOLEN CARPET 1.HS: 5701.10 2.Description: Hand knotted carpet from hand spun pure wool. 3.Uses: Floor covering, wall decoration, seat cover etc. 4.Specifications: The major production processes : sorting, wool washing, spinning, weaving, finishing, trimming and chemical washing are done by hand. Wool used for carpet is imported from New Zealand and Tibet of People’s Republic of China. Prematalised dye stuffs of Sandox, Ciba Geigy and BASF are used in wool dyeing. Some of the manufacturers also use vegetable dyes from plants such as, Madder root, Rhubarb, Berbery, Walnut, Boxbyrtle, Catechu, Emblica, Myrobalan, etc. Carpets are woven in the Tibetan double knotting system using a thick iron rod. The knot density of carpet ranges from 40-125 knots per square inch. Patterns of carpets are influenced by symbols and emblems of Buddhism. However, recently modern designs have been introduced to suit the taste of the buyers mostly in Germany. 5. Production Locations: Kathmandu, Lalitpur, Bhaktapur, and Kaski districts of Nepal. 6. Major Markets: Germany, Switzerland, UK, France, Belgium, Japan, USA etc DESIGN, MATERIAL AND TECHNIQUE Stylised animal, human and plant motifs are found scattered among the geometric designs, and the colours used bring out these motifs.

Some of the carpets with floral designs exhibit such harmony and colours that they resemble flower gardens. The carnival of flowers, branches and plants that covers the surface of the carpets is always framed by a complementing design.

Cypress: Symbol of eternity and tree of life

Wheel of fortune: Symbol of fate

Chest: Symbol of a maidens trousseau

Grain: Symbol of abundance

Eye: A motif used to keep the evil away

ursa is one of the few centres of silk productiSome of the motifs used in the designs of Turkish handmade carpets. Scorpion: Symbol of pride and liberty

Head band: Symbol of wish matrimony

Akimbo: Symbol of motherhood. Also symbolises the lady who has woven the carpet

Birds in flight: Symbol of good news

Lovebird: Symbol of love

Ear of grain: Symbol of birth and fertility

on in the world, and for centuries, the pure silk produced carpets. This striking colour expresses wealth, joy and happiness. Green symbolises heaven; blue nobility and grandeur; yellow is believed to keep evil away , and black symbolises purification from worries. Handmade carpets areThe colours also are characteristic of the region where the carpet is made. The threads used in the weavi The most important element in design is proportion. The design should be weaved in such a manner that there should be no irregularities in the corners. The carpets with a “mihrab” design (seccade) may have different designs in or around the “mihrab”, and decorations of Arabic letters may be seen in the borders. The design is drawn in sections on sheets of millimetric paper and placed on the l00rn to

Dyeing wool by the peasantry in a very traditional way

help the weaver .As the carpet increases in size, the number of these sections increase too. The second most important element is the material used, which varies according to the type ofcarpet.lt may be wool,pure silk,cottonormercerised, or silk-like cotton called floss. Bursa is one of the few centres of silk production in the world, and for centuries, the pure silk produced here has been used in the making of handmade Turkish carpets. The real beauty of silk comes out best of all in these magnificent Iooking rugs and wall carpets. Lamb’s wool is the most popular material used. The grasslands of the Anatolian plateaux are the reason behind the durability and sheep and lambs ,and therefore wool is plentiful.The wool used in carpet production must be special: strong and soft.In certain regions,the wool, as in the old days, is spun by hand to make the yarn used in carpet weaving.Today,textiles are a major industry in

Turkey, and the country is a leading cotton producer. In carpet weaving, the base (warp and weft) is constructed of cotton; wool is then knotted onto this to form the pile.Such handmade carpets made of both cotton and wool, are as attactive and durable as the others.Floss is used only in Kayseri carpets,and it makes up thepile. As floss is easily dyed, bright and attractive carpets in a variety of colours are produced by using floss. Knotted carpets are woven on a loom consisting of bars,onto which the warp threads are stretced.Onto these threads, the pile knots are tied according to the pattern.The thread ends,which make up the pile,are clipped off to get a velvet-like soft surface. Thus, the motifs are made up of thousands of individual knots.The tighter the knots,the finer and stronger is the carpet. The pleasure one gets from a beautiful carpet equals the pleasure one gets from a beautiful painting. The double knot, known as the Turkish or Gordes knot, is used in all typical Turkish carpets. Another well known system is the Sehna or Persian knot. The Turkish knot is wrapped around two warps and the Persian knot around a single warp. A kilim, which is similar to a carpet, is

woven on the l00rn but with a different technique; knots are not used. The Gordes knot makes a carpet stronger, firmer and more durable, while the Sehna knot allows the weaving of different patterns. However, once a carpet is made it is difficult to determine the knotting system used. The carpets shown in this book are knotted handmade rugs woven mostly by women. The first step in carpet weaving is to decide on a design or a motif. In regional carpet production, experienced weavers create the design as they weave, whereas in the production of tightknotted carpets a pattern to refer to is necessary. Next figure, dyring newly dyed wool. “Sümerbank”, a State owned company, after long years of research and labour , has successfully re-introduced almost all

of the designs of old Turkish carpets to the carpet market, but with a modern approach and new concepts. Leading companies too, through their own efforts, produce new motifs derived from the old ones. There is a great variety of motifs of geometric designs. Stylised animal, human and plant motifs are found scattered among the geometric designs, and the colours used bring out these motifs. Some of the carpets with floral designs exhibit such harmony and colours that they resemble flower gardens. The carnival of flowers, branches and plants that covers the surface of the carpets is always framed by a complementing design. The most important element in design is proportion. The design should be weaved in such a manner that there should be no irregularities in the corners. The carpets with a “mihrab” design (seccade) may have different designs in or around the “mihrab”, and decorations of Arabic letters may be seen in the borders. The design is drawn in sections on sheets of

Dyeing wool by the peasantry in a very traditional way

millimetric paper and placed on the l00rn to help the weaver .As the carpet increases in size, the number of these sections increase too. The second most important element is the material used, which varies according to the type ofcarpet.lt may be wool,pure silk,cottonormercerised, or silk-like cotton called floss. Bursa is one of the few centres of silk production in the world, and for centuries, the pure silk produced here has been used in the making of handmade Turkish carpets. The real beauty of silk comes out best of all in these magnificent Iooking rugs and wall carpets. Lamb’s wool is the most popular material used. The grasslands of the Anatolian plateaux are the reason behind the durability and sheep and lambs ,and therefore wool is plentiful.The wool used in carpet production must be special: strong and soft.In certain regions,the wool, as in the old days, is spun by hand to make the yarn used in carpet weaving.Today,textiles are a major industry in Turkey, and the country is a leading cotton producer. In carpet weaving, the base (warp and weft) is constructed of cotton; wool is then knotted onto this to form the pile.Such

handmade carpets made of both cotton and wool, are as attactive and durable as the others.Floss is used only in Kayseri carpets,and it makes up thepile. As floss is easily dyed, bright and attractive carpets in a variety of colours are produced by using floss. Knotted carpets are woven on a loom consisting of bars,onto which the warp threads are stretced.Onto these threads, the pile knots are tied according to the pattern.The thread ends,which make up the pile,are clipped off to get a velvet-like soft surface. Thus, the motifs are made up of thousands of individual knots.The tighter the knots,the finer and stronger is the carpet. The pleasure one gets from a beautiful carpet equals the pleasure one gets from a beautiful painting. The double knot, known as the Turkish or Gordes knot, is used in all typical Turkish carpets. Another well known system is the Sehna or Persian knot. The Turkish knot is wrapped around two warps and the Persian knot around a single warp. A kilim, which is similar to a carpet, is woven on the l00rn but with a different technique; knots are not used. The Gordes knot makes a carpet stronger, firmer and more durable, while the Sehna knot allows the weaving of different patterns. However, once a carpet is made it is difficult to determine the knotting system used. sed. ng of antique carpets used to be dyed with natural dyes, the formulas of which were known only by the family that manufac- tured the cThe carpets shown in this book are knotted handmade

rugs woven mostly by women. The first step in carpet weaving is to decide on a design or a motif. In regional carpet production, experienced weavers create the design as they weave, whereas in the production of tight-knotted here has been used in the making of handmade Turkish carpets. The real beauty of silk comes out best of all in these magnificent Iooking rugs and wall carpets. Lamb’s wool is the most popular material used. The grasslands of the Anatolian plateaux are the reason behind the durability and sheep and lambs ,and therefore wool is plentiful.The wool used in carpet production must be special: strong and soft.In certain regions,the wool, as in the old days, is spun by hand to make the yarn used in carpet weaving.Today,textiles are a major industry in Turkey, and the country is a leading cotton producer. In carpet weaving, the base (warp and weft) is constructed of cotton; wool is then knotted onto this to form the pile.Such handmade carpets made of both cotton and wool, are as attactive and durable as the others.Floss is used only in Kayseri carpets,and it makes up thepile. As floss is easily dyed, bright and attractive carpets in a variety of colours are produced by using floss. Knotted carpets are woven on a loom consisting of bars,onto which the warp threads are stretced.Onto these threads, the pile knots are tied according to the pattern.The thread ends,which make up the pile,are clipped off to get a velvet-like soft surface. Thus, the motifs are made up of thousands of individual knots.The tighter the knots,the finer and stronger is

the carpet. The pleasure one gets from a beautiful carpet equals the pleasure one gets from a beautiful painting. The double knot, known as the Turkish or Gordes knot, is used in all typical Turkish carpets. Another well known system is the Sehna or Persian knot. The Turkish knot is wrapped around two warps and the Persian knot around a single warp. A kilim, which is similar to a carpet, is woven on the l00rn but with a different technique; knots are not used. The Gordes knot makes a carpet stronger, firmer and more durable, while the Sehna knot allows the weaving of different patterns. However, once a carpet is made it is difficult to determine the knotting system used. The colours also are characteristic of the region where the carpet is made. The threads used in the weaving of antique carpets used to be dyed with natural dyes, the formulas of which were known only by the family that manufac- tured the carpet. Today , chemical dyes are used along with vegetal dyes. Natural dyes are produced

from leaves, roots, and fruits. Many of the villages engaged in carpet making have a grazing land called “Boyalık”. Plants from which dyes are made are grown there. The various formulas for dye produc- tion have been passed down from generation to generation. Thus the col ours traditional to Turkish carpet production have survived till today .Red is dominant in Turkish carpets. This striking colour expresses wealth, joy and happiness. Green symbolises heaven; blue nobility and grandeur; yellow is believed to keep evil away , and black symbolises purification from worries. Handmade carpets are generally called after the region or town where they are produced. Contemporary carpets are made in various sizeş and with combinations of different materials. In some regions, the threads used in weaving and the knots may be only wool, and in other regions, the base may be cotton and the knots wool. In still other regions pure silk is used in the weaving of carpets.

Besigning the technique using special tools for the carpets DIMENSIONS AND NOMENCLATURE Handmade carpets that can be used as rugs, wall hangings and divan covers are manufactured in various sizes. Different names are given to carpets of different sizes. Although the names given according to size are the same for all regions, the carpets, because they are handmade, may show minor differences in dimension. While some regions manufacture carpets of all sizes, others manufacture carpets in standard

sizes. Whatever the size is, a hand- made carpet adds beauty and elegance to the place where it is used. Two or three handmade carpets laid over wall-to-wall carpeting will add colour to the rooms Standart dimensions in centimetres Small yastik (Pillow) 40 * 25 Yastik 100 * 60 Ceyrek 135 * 90 Seccade (prayer rug) 180 * 120 - 200 * 130 Karyola 220 * 150 Kelle 300 * 200 Taban over 6 sq. meters Yolluk (runner) different sizes CARE OF A CARPET Handmade carıpets are used either as rugs or wall hangings. To preserve their beauty and durability, constant care is necessary. In order to control the bleeding of the colours later, quality carpets are marketed after a special washing. The pile attracts dust and dirt, therefore, regular cleaning is required to keep the carpets bright and attractive. Vacuum cleaners used in homes, are ideal for cleaning handmade carpets as they suck away the dust and dirt Carpets which have not been cleaned properly for many years should be sent to professional carpet cleaners Handmade carpets should not be cleaned like machine made, wall-to- wall carpets. Moisture, grease and moths are the enemies of carpets. Wet carpets should be dried immediately in shade. From time to time, carpets may be wiped with a

damp sponge or a white piece of cloth dipped iQ soapy water , in the same direction. Care must be taken not to get the underside of the carpet wet. A hairdryer may be used to dry damp carpets. Handmade carpets are a part of everyday life and naturally , they are used a lot. When not used for a certain period of time, they should be rolled with moth balls, wrapped in a piece of cloth and stored in a dry place. Worn-out fringes may be replaced in time. Carpets should be repaired by experts only . CARPET WEAVING CENTRES Technically, Turkish handmade carpets may be classified as Anatolian carpets. The carpets produced in towns and villages, and by the “Yörük” nomads, reflect their art tradition. However, the personal feelings and taste of the weaver may be reflected along with the traditional pattems. The sale of handmade carpets contributes a lot to the income of the family .Almost every region of Anatolia still produces great numbers of handmade carpets İn tradİtional ways, making up beautiful collections. The village folk weave carpets characteristic of the region on the looms in their homes. Besides such local centres, carpet weaving has become an industry in certain cities and towns High quality handmade carpets are manufactured in homes, private workshops or in Institutions subsidised by the govemment, and they display a rich variety of colour , desİgn and size. The demand for handmade carpets can only be met by the production coming from these centres.

The carpet weaving centres and regions, as well as the different materials used in those centres are shown on the mao overleaf. BUYING A CARPET Handmade Turkish carpets are useful, functional objects as well as in- vestments for the future. When choosing among a wide range of exquisite carpets, the first criterion is falling in love at first sight. The carpet must fascinate and enrapture the buyer .However , quality is also very important, and that can vary greatly .A reputable and expert dealer carefully chooses beautiful high quality carpets and keeps an extensive stock. Expensive, antique carpets are beyond the reach of many people, and difficult to find. Every old carpet is not considered an antique piece and is not a collector’s item. Both the buyer and seller

of such antique carpets must be well informed. Antique carpets are difficult to export, as well as hard to find and appraise. For centuries, Turkish handmade carpets have been produced using the same techniques, the same designs and the same knotting system, and to day , there are as many varieties as before. The carpets with the tightest knots, and displaying quality workmanship, are the most valuable. Similar carpets may differ in quality .Reputable firms neither produce, nor buy or sell loosely knotted, bulky carpets. Because of the high quality carpets. marketed by such leading firms, the Iate 1900’s has been another golden era for Turkish handmade carpets. A

couple of generations Iater , contemporary high quality Turkish handmade carpets will be a valuable heirloom. Even a single carpet, matching in colour with the other furnishings in room, adds charm and creates a cosy atmosphere

The most famous and finest pure silk carpets in the world are produced in the small town of Hereke, 60 km east of Istanbul. Pure silk carpets made here are unrivaled in value and quality . Since the 19th century , Hereke has been one of the most important carpet weaving centres.

The first looms were installed there upon the orders of the Sultan, for the making of carpets for the palace, the nobility , and important people. On these looms expert craftsmen of exceptional ability create valuable masterpieces full of charm. Naturalistic floral decoration is typical of the pure silk Hereke carpets. Plum blossoms, tulips, carnations, roses and other flowers create an atmosphere of spring. With a million knots per square metre, the natural silk Hereke carpets represent the supreme achievement in contemporary carpet weaving. Some of the carpets are brocaded in gold thread.

Besides pure silk carpets made from the silk produced in Bursa, Hereke is also famous for its wool carpets. Hereke pure silk “Ceyrek” and prayer rugs Natural silk carpets are manufactured in various sizes; they may be as small as a table mat, or big enough to be a tapestry .Hereke wool carpets on the other hand. are for use in living rooms, dining rooms and bedrooms. Increase in demand has forced the production of these special carpets outside Hereke too. Different size carpets bearing Hereke designs are produced in other regions. Collectors’ items referred to as “fine and super”, have extraordinarily tight knots, and they are the highest quality and the most valuable carpets of all. YAGCI BEDIR The pure wool Yagci Bedir carpets produced in the mountain villages of the Aegean region, are some of the best quality of their kind. The dominant colours of these very soft carpets are dark blue and red. The deep blue of the Aegean gives the basic colour. They are patterned with geometric forms, stylised birds and numerous stars of Solomon, and framed in a border of five or seven bands . The warp, weft and knots of these carpets are made of pure lambswool. Due to the short clipped knots, the pattern is easily seen on the pile.

These beautiful West Anatolian carpets are always produced in the same colours and patterns. The town of Kayseri, which is the capital of Cappadocia situated in Central Anatolia at the intersection of caravan roads and trade routes , is one of the most famous carpet manufacturing centres of Turkey .Here, carpets are produced using a variety of techniques and materials. The thousands of looms are an importaırt source of income for the town itself and the nearby villages. Kayseri is the only centre where carpets of all sizes are manufactured. Kayseri and Hereke are world centres for best quality natural silk carpets. The carpets made with the natural silk produced in Bursa are very bright in colour and extremely decorative. Fine knotting and close pile make every detail of the design clearly visible. The same characteristics are found in the floss silk carpets produced in Kayseri. The handmade carpets produced using floss silk are very attractive and display excellent colour harmony .With their varying sizes, they suit homes decorated in either classic or modern styles. These carpets adorned with traditional floral designs, fill the home with joy and create an atmosphere of a heavenly garden. The Kayseri wool carpets produced in large sizes, are available in different colours and designs. Some Kayseri carpets are also known as “Bünyan” carpets, after a nearby town.

MILAS The Milas carpet, with its varied colours and compositions, has an important place in Western Anatolian carpet production. Instead of the colours used in antique pieces, contemporary Milas carpets are made in pale, delicate tones produced with vegetal dyes. The warp, weft and knots are pure wool. The domİnant colors are yellow , the colour of tobacco, dark and Iight brown and reddish brown. The geometric patterns which suit the production of pure wool carpets are the predominant design. Another characteristic feature is the use of the “mihrab” (prayer niche) pattern. Milas carpets are manufactured in a Iimited range of sizes. DOSEME ALTI The Yürüks, who are semi-nomadic tribes, spend the winters on the warmer plains. They produce the handmade carpets called Döşemealtı, by using the pure wool and vegetal dyes they themselves make. The villages around Antalya and the Turkish Riviera, are the centre of this type of carpet making. The design reflects the

nomadic taste, which is expressed in geometric pattems. and a colour harmony of blues, dark greens and reds. Dösemealti carpets are made in a limited range of sizes.

CARPET WEAVING IN CENTRAL ANATOLIA Volumes of books are required to describe all the carpets produced in the cities, towns and villages of Turkey. Volumes have already been written about antique Turkish carpets, but a similar number is required for contemporary Turkish carpets, therefore, only a few examples of each region have been mentioned. However, it should be noted that no photograph can reflect the actual brilliance, beauty and lustre of a handmade carpet. Kayseri, one of the main centres of this region, was mentioned in the previous pages. Carpets with different features and characteristics are manufactured in Kirsehir, Avanos, Urgup, Nigde, Maden and other centres. Sometimes the characteristics differ from one village to the next, which may be only a few kilometres away.

YAHYALI Yahyali carpets are produced in a very small region. Pure wool and vegetal dyes are used in the making of Yahyali carpets. These carpets, adorned with stylised floral patterns and geometric designs, are famous all over the world. Manufactured in villages, they reflect local colours and the use of high quality materials. The artists produce theit own materials for weaving and dyeing. Dominant colours of a Yahyali carpet are navy blue, red and brown; other colours are used among these. The major designs of a ‘ ‘mihrab’, or a medallion are elaborated with the addition of geometric patterns. Yahyali carpets are manufactured in a limited range os sizes. MADEN These are also created by pure wool threads and vegetal dyes. The main colour is red, and designs are woven in soft colours. Geometric designs are

enlivened with the addition of stylised floral pattems. The characteristic design is that of a medallion or a “mihrab”, Maden carpets are manufactured in a limited range of sizes. TASPINAR Taspinar carpets, made of high quality wool dyed with vegetal dyes, are manufactured in a small region. Y ellow frames the centre of the carpet. Other domİnant colours are bright red, navy or dark blue. The borders bearing geometric patterns, are enriched with the addition of stylised floral and rosette patterns. Taspinar carpets are manufactured in a limited range of sizes. KONYA-LADIK The oldest known carpet making centre in history is Konya. Marco Polo mentions the existence of workshops under the patronage of the Seljuk Sultans during the 13th century. Rare pieces from that century are exhibited in the carpet museums in Istanbul and Konya. The Konya-Ladik carpets, with their high quality , varying sizes, soft colours and fine knotting, are rare pieces always in demand in the carpet markets of the world. The carpets manufactured in Konya and the nearby town of Ladik are copies

of antique carpets. Konya-Ladik carpets with their cotton base and wool knots are very popular , and suit tastes of all kinds. These carpets come in different sizes that can be used in living rooms and large spaces. Generally, natural dyes are used in the production of Konya-Ladik carpets. The to the carpets produced in other regions, these carpets do not have such tight knots. dominant colours of these high quality carpets are mostly soft hues displayed in tasteful combinations. NIGDE-KARS The motifs of Kars and other Eastern Anatolian centres are used in the carpets produced in Nigde. Different colours, especially pastels, are the characteristics of these high-piled carpets. Compared EAST ANATOLIA The mountainous regions, with fertile plateaux where durable yarn is pro- duced, are excellent areas for the making of knotted carpets and kilims. In every valley and every town of the region, carpets of various types are manufactured. Carpets for use in the home are loosely knotted. Besides these, high quality and very fine pure wool carpets, also known as Yörük (Nomadic) carpets, are made here.

Preparing to start a new carpet KARS The carpets of this region are very distinctive and popular.Pure wool and vegetal dyes are used in their making.The predominant geometric paterns are of Caucassian origin. They are manufactured in a limited range of standart sizes.

Kars pure wool carpet

Materials Used in Rug and Flat Weave Weaving

Rugs and the various flatwaves are made from five basic materials; sheep wool, goat hair, cotton, floss silk, and silk. Sheep Wool : The quality of wool varies according to the climate, the breed of sheep, and the time of year of the shearing. Wool from sheep that live in warm and arid regions is normally dry and brittle, and since it breaks so easly, it ends up being short and feels lifeless. Good quality wool comes from helthy and well fed sheep found in cold regions or at high elevations with good grazing lands and lots of water. In the colder regions, sheep grow a full fleece to keep warm and their bodies store fat which then translates to a high lanolin content within the fiber which reaches lengths of 10 cm. and more. The wool so obtained feels silky smooth and yet springy. Wool from the higher elevations (cooler also) and from the spring shearing is considered to be the highest quality. Wool is hand-spun by using primative utensils called kirmen (drop spindle) and by spinning wheels. Women usually spin the wool during idle moments and the street while spinning. In

hand-spun wool, the original length of the fiber stays the same through the spinning process - a fiber tahat measured 7 cm. before spinning will still measure the same after spinning. Wool can also industrially spun, but the hard twisting of the fibers by the spinning machines tends to berak some of the fibers. Although the broken bits and shorter fibers can be made to adhere together through the use of oils during the spinning process, the fiber will have lost some of its strength, which, in turn, will shorten the life spun of the rugs to be woven. Cotton : In rug and kilim weaving, cotton is used mostly for the warp threads, as well as for the wefts. Compaired to wool, cotton is generally considered to be a more residant fiber and it is less elastic. So, tighter knots can be tied on cotton warps as opposed to wool. If very tight knot are tied to a wool warp, the fiber will break much more frequantly than if the warps were of cotton. Consequentl, woolen pile rugs with high knoting

density counts will normally have cotton warps, for example, in Hereke, Ladik, and Kayseri Bunyan carpets. Goat Hair : Goat hair occosionally found in Oriental rugs in the side bindings (selvedge), but is more frequently found in saddle bags, cushions, various types of stacks, etc. Floss Silk : Floss silk, or art silk as it is some times called, is actually mercerised cotton and is used in certain rugs that are woven in Kayseri. Although not identical to silk, a somewhat similar look is obtained by mixing cypress tree fibers with cotton that has been washed in citric acid. Floss silk rugs are woven with natural cotton warp and weft threads. Soft and pure, silk has come down to us over thousands of years. Sultans once worn silk

caftans, palaces were furnished with fine silk carpets. Today silk is a fashionable fabric for garments. And it’s all made by a tiny insect, the silkworm. Here is the story, pure and simple, of silk and the silkworm. Because of this fabric, which soothes the eye and caresses the skin, thousands of kilometers of caravan routes developed over the centuries and became known as the Silk Road. The Chinese were the first to discover the silkworm and obtain silk from it. Starting to raise silkworms in 2600 B.C., they found ways of producing silk and began selling the valuable cloth to the four corners of the world. Silk production in Turkey commenced about 1500 years ago. Developed to an art by the Ottomans, it remains an important branch of industry today. Bursa is the first place that comes to mind at the mention of silk in Turkey. Silk and the raising of silkworms was so highly developed here that an inn for caravans was erected in its name. Known as the ‘Koza Han’ or ‘Cocoon Inn’, silkworm growers used to arrive here with baskets full of cocoons which they sold to merchants.

Silk products are still sold at the Koza Han, but these are factory-produced rayons today. Forty thousand families in Turkey are currently engaged in silk production, supported by incentives from the Silk Worm Institute at Bursa. FROM MULBERRY LEAF TO SILK The production of pure silk is a painstaking process. The first signs of life appear in the seeds in spring when the mulberry trees begin to leaf. Following a 19-day incubation period, the caterpillars emerge. Only millimeters long, these tiny worms undergo four metamorphoses, becoming gradually larger and lighter in color every time they shed their skin. Following the fourth metamorphosis they reach eight centimeters. The worm, which is mature at the end of this 20-25-day period, stops eating and begins to weave his cocoon. Proceeding to the end of one of the branches, each of which has been specially prepared, he chooses a place to make his cocoon. These are actually the last days of the silkworm’s brief life. Twisting and turning,

he begins weaving his cocoon with the silk he secretes.

The weaving process is completed in 2-5 days on average. Then the cocoons are then tossed into boiling water. The silkworm eats only one thing, the leaf of the mulberry. The higher the quality of the leaves, the higher the quality of the cocoon and, in turn, the silk. The mulberry leaf is extremely sensitive, susceptible to everything. Once, for example, when they were spraying the olive trees at Trilye, the mulberry trees were affected and shed all their leaves. Due to this sensitivity, strangers are not allowed into the rooms with the silkworms and mulberry leaves in some villages where silkworms are raised. THE SILK DANCE When you enter a room where silkworms are raised, you’ll hear the sound they produce as they eat the mulberry leaves. So soothing is it that you won’t want to leave, and your heart will

be filled with peace and astonishment. It’s dark inside. The worms don’t like light.

Then, as you come closer and try to hear the soft rustling up close, you will marvel at their elegant contortions. To raise new worms, some of the worms are left in their cocoons. When the time comes they are placed on special adhesive paper and left to wait. Soon the cocoon begins to sway, one end becomes moist and a new silkworm emerges to his job. Beating his wings rapidly, he seems to want to fly, but he cannot. His job is to wait. He will find himself a mate from another cocoon. Their union is like a ritual. While the male stands quietly by, the female beats her wings incessantly. Their union consummated, the male dies. The job of the female is not done yet. She must lay the eggs for the next season. Commencing shortly to trace circles in place, she starts laying her eggs. Thanks to the adhesive, they don’t fall to the ground. When the female’s mad dance is ended, her movements slow and

she dies. Her job is complete. It’s time now to process the cocoons. Approximately 1000-1500 meters are silk thread are obtained from the single cocoon left behind by the silkworm in his brief two-month lifespan.

In those two months, 600 kilos of leaves are consumed in a room the size of a box with 20 thousand silkworms. Exactly forty mulberry trees are needed for this amount of leaves. Have you ever seen this lovely insect? Or held one in your hand? Their soft wet feel may not convince you of what a beautiful fabric they are the original producers. But let us remember that this tiny insect occasioned the building of thousands of kilometers of roads, and gave us his gift of soft, pure, bedazzling cloth.

Carpets constitute a branch of art that has been synonymous with the name of the Turks for centuries. Travel accounts and documents attest to the beautiful and valuable carpets woven in Seljuk Anatolia, and the carpet was an important Anatolian export in the period of Principalities that followed. The Ottomans, who inherited the art of the carpet as a legacy, raised it to even greater heights. Examples of carpets from the Seljuk and Ottoman periods right up to the present day are exhibited at the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Art, which has the world’s richest collection. THE SELJUK TRADITION Carpet-making is believed to have started as a nomadic art. Knotted carpets, the oldest examples of which were found in a region heavily populated by nomadic tribes, in other words west and Central Asia, were spread on the ground for protection again severe climatic conditions. Their invention was motivated by the need for something to replace the animal skins that constituted the backbone of the nomadic economy. The ready availability of wool, the basic stuff of the carpet, and the easy assembly and

dismantling of the horizontal and vertical looms used for weaving as well as versatility and portability of the product closely link the origins of the art of the carpet to the nomadic tribes. Turkish tribes played a major role in bringing this art to the West in the great westward waves of migration out of Central Asia. The art of the carpet underwent a major development in Seljuk Anatolia, making carpets an intensively traded commodity. Many travellers who passed through the Seljuk lands beginning in the 12th century mention the extraordinarily beautiful carpets woven there. Like many other arts, the Ottomans took over the art of the carpet from the Seljuk tradition. The group of Seljuk carpets dating back to the 13th century and known as ‘Konya Carpets’ for the area in which they were found has a special place in the history of carpets and constitutes the best known group after the Pazirik carpet, the oldest known example of a knotted carpet, which was found in a fortress in the Altay Mountains and dates to the 4th-5th century B.C., and the findings from Lou-lan in East Turkestan which date from the 3rd-4th century A.D. and, finally, the Turfan findings, again in East Turkestan, dating from the 5th-6th century A.D. Some of these carpets are in Istanbul’s Museum of Turkish and Islamic Art

today. With their striking reds and dark blues, these carpets exhibit geometric shapes and, on their borders, Kufic letters. OTTOMAN CARPETS IN PAINTINGS Stylized animal motifs and the mythical creatures we know from other branches of art are found on the carpets produced in the major weaving centers of 15th century Western Anatolia. Due to increasing stylization, however, they have become almost unrecognizable. The Kufic letters used as border decorations on Seljuk carpets, for example, diminished in size in the 15th century, eventually giving way entirely to geometric forms. Although Ottoman carpets are known to have been exported in large quantities, on account of their high prices they were purchased in the West only by the palace and its circle and the newly emerging class of wealthy merchants. On account of their prestige value, they were also a popular decorative element in western painting in portraits as well as depictions of religious subjects. Certain types of Ottoman carpets are therefore known by the names of the western artists who frequently painted them. The general composition that predominates in these carpets, known in the literature as ‘Holbein’, ‘Crivelli’, ‘Memling’ and ‘Bellini’, is that of a field covered

with geometric shapes such as squares or octagons of various sizes. THE GIANT CARPETS OF USAK Although Ottoman carpet production was concentrated in several different regions, the most important center was at Uşak with its colossal looms. Bergama was a second center. Meanwhile Konya, the leading city for Seljuk art, always maintained its importance in carpet production. The classical period of the Ottoman carpet commences in the 16th century. The small prayer rugs and giant carpets woven in workshops there from a repertoire of designs developed by palace artists have an important place among the furnishings of the period’s great mosques, palaces and stately mansions. The best known types of Uşak carpets are the ‘medallion’ carpets inspired by the art of bookbinding, the ‘star’ carpets with their geometric designs, and the ‘bird’ carpets so-called for their foliate compositions reminiscent of bird shapes. With some variations in size and composition, such carpets were produced to the end of the 17th century.

PALACE CARPETS With the conquest of Cairo in 1512, Ottoman art underwent a transformation. A new type of carpet emerged, recalling the Mamlûk carpets in pastel colors woven of extremely soft wool and, dismissing the compositions predominant to that time, incorporating vegetal forms scattered over the entire field. The prayer rugs among these carpets, which came to be known as ‘Palace carpets’, are striking for their small medallions and large foliate compositions. Palace carpets are thought to have been made in Istanbul and Bursa. The subsequent rise of centers like Konya, Ladik, Gördes, Kula and Mucur in the 17th and 18th centuries did not hamper production at Uşak. Meanwhile carpets known as ‘Izmir’ or ‘Smyrna carpets’ took their name from the port in the west from which they were shipped up to the 19th century. Nineteenth century western taste

and the houses and palaces furnished under European influence naturally triggered a transformation in the art of the carpet as well. Workshops were established like that at Hereke, where carpets that copied the compositions of Persian rugs were woven with the Iranian ‘Sine’ knot which allowed a finer and denser weave, replacing the typical Turkish technique known as the Gördes knot, and at Feshane in Istanbul, where large-size carpets of Baroque design were produced. The IstanbulKumkapi carpets known for their high quality silk prayer rugs also stand out in this late period carpet production. The art of the Turkish carpet was widespread outside these centers as well, with the production of carpets as a folk art, known by the name of the locale in which they were woven.