The Beauty of Turkish-Rugs

turkish-rugs

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Turkish- rugs are hand knotted or flat woven like the Kilim, Soumak, Cicim, Zili. They are among the most popular and recognized hand-crafted works of art in the world. The name Turkish-rug tends to mean not just the merchandises of the contemporary regions of Turkey, but also those of Turkic individuals existing elsewhere. These individuals typically live to the east of Anatolia.

It is common practice for the Turks to take their shoes off before entering a household. Therefore, the grime and filth of the outside is not brought inside the home. Thus, the rugs and carpets stay spotless. And the occupants of the house, if they want to, can happily relax on the floor without fear of getting dirt on their clothes. In old-fashioned Turkish families, women and girls take up rug, carpet and Kilim weaving as a pastime as well as making money for the family.

Industrial developments which encouraged man-made rugs and carpets could not obstruct the construction of rug weaving at cottage-industry level. Though artificial colours have been in use for the last 150 years, hand-made rugs and carpets are still thought far greater to industrialized rug and carpet making.

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The Turkish people have existed through the years in the moderate regions. The temperature variations between day-time; night-time, summer and winter might differ significantly. The nomadic Turks who live in tents or the town-livers, living in luxurious homes in large cities have sheltered themselves from the excesses of the cold climate by covering the floors with rugs and carpets. And occasionally walls and entrances with rugs and carpets. These Turkish-rugs and carpets are always hand-made of wool or maybe cotton, and sometimes with the occasional embellishments of silk. Turkish-rugs and carpets are natural enforcers against the cold weather. Kilim-rugs that are flat-woven are often embroidered are used as bedspreads, hangings, and cushion covers or as covers over settees.

Table of Contents

The History of Turkish-Rugs
The Prayer Carpet in Mevlana Museum
Hereke Rugs and Carpets
Judging Excellence in Turkish-Rugs
Are superbly Knotted Turkish-Rugs Superior to Others?
Whatever is a Rug’s Drawing?
The Worth of Natural Versus Artificial Colourants
Hand Turned Wool Versus Machine Turned Wool
Old Turkish-Rugs versus New Turkish-Rugs
Can You Evaluate Excellence by the Tallness of the Pile?
Is the Final Procedure Significant For Turkish-Rugs?
Summarizing Superiority in Turkish-Rugs

The History of Turkish-Rugs

The Turkish rugs and carpets originated in the traditions of mainly nomadic Turkish folks. The Turkish-rugs, similar to the Persian-rugs, were established in the medieval Seljuk era. The Turkish rug was created in big workshops for commissions by the Seljuk court and for trade. The numerous styles of design reached maturity throughout the early Ottoman Empire, and many contemporary creations, particularly for trade, refer back to the elegance of that era. Turkish rugs, aka Anatolian rugs-and carpets, are finished in extensive choices of different styles beginning from several areas in Anatolia. The significant differences among these styles might comprise of the materials, creation technique, designs and style, geography, ethnic uniqueness and planned use for the Turkish-rugs.

Turkish rugs and carpets are among the most wanted domestic pieces from all over the earth. The opulent colours, warm qualities, and unusual designs with old-style themes have contributed to the status of Turkish-rugs and carpets which have been preserved since the 1200’s.  The 13th century adventurer Marco Polo, who journeyed through Anatolia in the late 1200’s, remarked on the attractiveness and skilfulness of the Turkish-rugs and carpets. The Seljuk rugs and carpets from this period were found in numerous mosques in central Anatolia. They were discovered beneath several layers of successively placed rugs and carpets. The Seljuk rugs and carpets are currently in the museums in Konya and Istanbul. To think that the very same rugs and carpets could be the same ones that the adventurer Marco Polo mentions in the late 13th century while on his travels.

Turkish-rugs and carpets in the 1400’s and the 1500’s are well-known through European oil paintings. In the art work of Lotto, a 15th century Italian artist, and Holbein, a 16th century German artist, Turkish rugs and carpets are seen beneath the Virgin Mary’s feet. They are also seen in non-spiritual paintings. In the Netherlands when they became a strong mercantile country around the 17th century, Turkish rugs and carpets adorned many Dutch people’s households. Vermeer, the Dutch artist, signified Turkish-rugs and carpets primarily to specify the high monetary and social position of the individuals in his art works. 

It is a well-known fact that anyone who goes into a mosque has to take off their foot wear. The mosque is a place of prayer for the Muslim community. Furthermore, the ceremonial prayer necessitates the faithful to kneel and touch the ground with your forehead in modesty before God. A Turkish mosque is frequently covered wall to wall with numerous layers of rugs and carpets. Many Muslims carry their own prayer rugs.

Turkish-rugs and carpets have vivid colours, themes, and designs. All Turkish-rugs and carpets are different. This is because customarily tribal women have woven the rugs and carpets and this is one fine art practice that is seldom valued as being the effort of a recognized or a particular artiste. Yet, Turkish women quietly and humbly carry on crafting some of the most spectacular samples of works of art to be circulated all over Turkey and the earth.

The Prayer Carpet in Mevlana Museum

Amid the masterworks in Konya Mevlana Museum is a silk prayer carpet that has to be perceived to be respected. Countless tourists who visit to the museum have heard of its beauty. The silk prayer carpet has 144 knots to every square centimetre. According to experts it took 5 years to make the carpet.

The famous silk prayer carpet is displayed in a wall case left of the altar niche in the Mescid of Mevlana Museum. It measures 175 by 111 centimetres and was woven with silk, wool and silver yarn. The dyes used were black, red, navy blue and yellow. The prayer carpets narrow edges are adorned with Rumi designs. The prayer carpets extensive edge is adorned with flowers; on each side are transcribed two verses in Persian. On the top of it is an image of the Kaabe in Mecca. On the bottom of it are flowers and hatayi designs. 

So, that is the description of the silk prayer carpet. The question is who wove the carpet and how did it get into Mevlana’s Tomb? Basically, before replying to this question it is vital to analyse the ode, written in Persian, on the carpet:

“This prayer carpet was woven with the help of that high being who followed the path of the prophets, carefully completed near the grave of the children of the prophet. It was laid in the place of worship of the exalted shah who is the protector of canonical law, and the shadow of God. This shah is such a prince of religion that he is as great as Alexander and thousands of Alexander’s are his subjects and slaves.”

Yavuz Sultan Selim is the name that instantly springs to mind because Selim always showed a profound interest in the Tomb of Mevlana in Konya. He visited it many times between his travels to Egypt and Persia.

Every time Sultan Selim called at the Tomb he would take some presents or have something created for the Tomb. Selim had water features erected and water transported from the Dutlu area. Around the time he was fighting against the Persian Shah Ismail, he visited Konya in April 1516. He was again in Konya in June 1516 before he set out on his Egyptian battle. Yusuf Dede wrote in a manuscript, now at Mevlana Museum, about the expensive gifts given by Sultan Selim to the Mevlana Tomb when he travelled to Konya on his way back from a campaign. It is accepted that the silk prayer carpet in the museum today was given at this stage by Yavuz Sultan Selim. So, the silk prayer carpet must have been woven in Kerbela for the shah to use for prayer. Basically, this means that the silk prayer carpet is over 400 years of age.

One of the most fascinating things about the silk prayer carpet is that it has lettering adorning it. Inscription was mainly used as an ornamental component in rug and carpet manufacture throughout the era of the Turkish Seljuks. The rugs and carpets woven in Konya throughout the Seljuk age frequently had ornate Cafic lettering on the edges. Basically, these are primarily the first specimens of adorned rugs and carpets. Later phases of the method spread from Konya to Turkey and from here to Persia.

After the 15th century this methodical expansion ran to a style of rug and carpet adorned with inscription that shaped a superior set in the eastern skill of rug and carpet creation. The 17th century rugs and carpets adorned with odes started to be often seen. Basically, these rugs and carpets were frequently woven for palaces or mosques. Samples of these rugs and carpets can be seen in museums both around the world. Yavuz Sultan Selim’s silk written prayer carpet is one of these collections. It is also the oldest and best amongst them. Also, the fact that the silk prayer carpet was not immediately put on display but directly put in a container can be perceived from the worn outlines where it was creased. So, in 1927, when the Tomb was opened as a museum, silk prayer carpet was taken from the container and exhibited in a glass display case.

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Hereke Rugs and Carpets

Hereke-rugs and carpets are woven in the Turkish town Hereke, where their name originates from, and the Izmit Bay area. These rugs and carpets are acknowledged by this title in the literature about them.

Hereke rugs and carpets form a singular group in rug and carpet weaving skill and are known by the name of “Palace carpets”.  They were woven in workshops inside the royal palace in Ottoman era. They were prepared for the Sultans and their entourage. The Ottoman’s court looms, the first models of which were in the Seljuk age, were established in Usak, Gordes, Cairo, Bursa and Istanbul in the 1300’s, 1400’s, 1500’s and 1600’s. The Hereke workshop which was put in as a royal factory in agreement with Ottoman manufacturing procedure in the 19th century, worked on textiles. Though, later on rug and carpet weaving took over instead. The rugs and carpets were intended for palaces and great houses and were created by court artists.

Though “Palace”, “Yoruk” and “Turkmenian” rugs and carpets have similar practical appearances, they completely vary individually in their charms. While, various stylist designs dominate tribal rugs and carpets; naturalism is predominant in Court rugs owing to the industrial possibilities. It gives way to much more intricate designs and themes. Nowadays, Hereke rugs, which are the finest and best silk rugs in the world, have increased in celebrity because of these features.

Judging Excellence in Turkish-Rugs

Specialists devote a huge part of their time evaluating which Turkish-rugs are praiseworthy of their hard earned collections. Basically, in the conclusion all it comes down to what you want in a Turkish-rug. Though, there are standards by which Turkish-rugs are frequently adjudicated on and that are generally agreed upon by most ardent rug collectors. What is looked for in Turkish-rugs:

  1. Decent rugs lie flat on their backs; minus wrinkles along their boundaries. Turkish-rugs with creases, curly boundaries, in addition to troubling the eyes, will wear away too early. Though, remember perfection is something hard to come by, particularly from tribal floor covers completed under challenging circumstances.
  2. Remember, some hand-crafted rugs are out-of-shape. Out of shape rugs come off the loom broader on one end than the other. Though it has to be said that an even, geometrically precise outline is more desirable to an evidently shapeless one.
  3. Some people adore rugs that have worn away and have a lack of dye. Though these people should not be astonished when their cherished rug is rejected by other folk. Decent rugs have hues that repel vanishing in regular light and bleeding when water is introduced to it.
  4. Obviously, Turkish-rugs that are in a decent condition are esteemed above those in not very good condition. Damage by moths, holes, tears, spots and blemishes, missing boundaries are acceptable to most folks only when the rugs are really time-worn.
  5. Remember, some wool is superior to others. Decent wool has a visible radiance. Good quality wool feels fleecy, a little greasy and soft to the touch. Good quality wool sucks up colourant well and it takes substantial usage. Substandard wool is full of kemp and hair. It is irritating, arid, lacklustre and unable to correctly suck up colourant. Clearly, decent wool is better than bad wool.

As well the concerns directly overhead there are other concerns that are more provocative. And are more personal and are more problematic to label.

Are superbly Knotted Turkish-Rugs Superior to Others?

Usually, superbly knotted or excellently woven rugs are more wanted than those that are less fine. Basically, there are numerous explanations why that is the case:

  • Rounded outlines in a rug’s design can be drawn more easily and elegantly in a rug with numerous knots per square centimetre. It is similar to pixels in a TV screen which allows for extra natural looking lines.
  • Rugs that are superbly knotted have such thick exteriors that light is mirrored from them in an outstanding way. Nonetheless, it has to be said that sufficient knotting alone does not make a rug decent. For example a sufficient weave is not suitable in certain types of tribal rugs. Though, in many people’s books, an excellently knotted rug is more eye-catching than a less superbly knotted rug.

Whatever is a Rug’s Drawing?

Specialists of Turkish-rugs frequently mention to the drawing of a rug. I don’t know if all these “experts” would reach agreement on what drawing means but everyone would agree that it is essential. I know that drawing denotes not to just a rug’s design, but to how well the design is accomplished. For example a drawing means whether the rug is flowing and elegant or awkward and stagnant. It comprises the matter of whether there is agreement between a rug’s numerous mechanisms such as its edge and turf. Although that the Turkish-rug, to a huge degree, has to do with the colourant selections, as well as drawing. Unquestionably, some rugs are more handsomely drawn than others.

The Worth of Natural Versus Artificial Colourants

Nearly all antique rug collectors agree that natural colourants in a rug are better than synthetic colourants. Though, the matter is clouded by the point that it is often difficult, without costly laboratory testing, to be sure whether an agreed colourant in an antique rug is natural or artificial. Though, I think it is safe to say that no rug purchaser will ever regret obtaining a rug or carpet with well realistic natural colourants. Though, natural colorants certainly increase to the price of a rug, but they too add to the rugs worth.

Hand Turned Wool Versus Machine Turned Wool

Weavers, for 1000 of years, spun wool by hand to make the material that creates up the pile of Turkish rugs. Then, by the 1940’s, almost all wool was spun by machines. Currently, since 1985, a minute but significant amount of weavers are once again spinning wool by hand. It has to be said, though, that not many people like the evenness and ceremonial presence that machine spun wool conveys to rugs and carpets.

Almost all Turkish-rug collectors and experts price the result formed by hand spun wool. Hand spun yarn absorbs more colourant when it is loosely spun and a smaller amount of colourant when it is spun tightly, therefore making pleasing variegation in the hues of a rug. Of course there will be disagreements about this. Though, I believe that the best Turkish-rugs are woven with hand spun yarn.

Old Turkish-Rugs versus New Turkish-Rugs

The question is, are old rugs better than new rugs? When an old rug is in good condition they are certainly worth more than new rugs. The reason is because age, or rather usage, appears to enhance appeal to rugs. Well, in the eyes of some rug enthusiasts that is true. Hues mellow; wool pile obtains a dis-colouration. Though, I think that reason for people’s penchant for old rugs over new ones was formed from the early 1930’s to the early 1990’s when new rugs were obviously substandard to those woven earlier.

Rugs produced in those 60 years were practically always prepared with artificial colourants. However, currently, a rebirth has taken place in rug weaving. Natural colourants and hand spun wool are back in use in the manufacturing of some rugs. Old motifs have been returned to the list of contemporary weavers. Nowadays there is less reason to like old rugs to new ones. The answer is, you cannot evaluate whether a rug is a good one or not by its age. It’s up to the individual taste of the purchaser.

Can You Evaluate Excellence by the Tallness of the Pile?

New rug purchasers occasionally mistake a dense pile for superiority. The best rugs often are the thinnest. Though, if a rug is going to get lots of traffic, it should have a copious amount of bulk.

Is the Final Procedure Significant For Turkish-Rugs?

The answer to that question is, yes. Decent Turkish rugs have a natural radiance. There are two methods in creating a decent rug. One method is that they are left to naturally age. The other method is that at the very end of the rug making procedure it is delicately washed in ingredients that faintly tone down the comparatively bright hues of the rug. New rugs are not bleached too much. Nor are they washed to make them really glossy.

Summarizing Superiority in Turkish-Rugs

Basically, the outline of a decent quality rug is this: it should lie flat and straight on the floor. It should be reasonably consistent in its form. The rug should be in decent condition and have buoyant and radiant wool. The rug’s hues should neither be bleached nor fleeced. Its hues should have been tinted from natural flora ingredients and its wool spun by hand. Also there should be a pleasing variegation in its hues. The rug should feel that it has a character or personality of its own.

The rug should have been logically “finished” which means that it is not washed out, unusually glossy nor disagreeably bright and harsh. And that the rudiments of the Turkish rug’s design should to fit together agreeably and its hues are pleasant. And not least, it should have a hook that draws you personally to it. A hook is what attracts you to the rug.

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Sources for this article:

http://en.wikipedia.org

http://www.turkishculture.org

http://www.seeingisdreaming.com