Everything You Need to Know About Turkish Carpets and Rugs

Looking back to the history of carpet and rug weaving may be traced back to the Neolithic Age (BC 7000). Woven rugs and carpets are used not only to cover floors in homes but also to decorate them. The patterns woven on carpets and rugs tell many things about society because the designs represent features of culture, such as the way people live, dress, and their religious beliefs.

Carpets and rugs are extremely important in Turkish culture. Turkish people have their origins in Central Asia. When Turkish tribes came to Anatolia, their nomadic culture and traditions merged with Anatolian civilization, resulting in a whole new synthesis.

Carpets and rugs represent the community’s everyday life and culture. As a result, major changes in the community are reflected in the patterns that are produced and woven. For example, following the introduction of Islam, numerous Islamic designs and themes were incorporated into carpets and rugs. Regional and ethnic variations may be seen in Turkish carpets.

Carpets and rugs come in a variety of styles and designs. Turkish carpets and rugs represent the daily life of the Anatolian people. It’s similar to sketching with needles and threads. Color, patterns, design, size, and even the dyes used for carpets and rugs are all significant considerations.

What is Kilim?

The rug, known as “Kilim” in Turkish, denotes a pileless thread of various uses made by one of the numerous historical weaving methods. “Kilim” is widely practiced in geographical areas such as Turkey (Anatolia), North Africa, the Balkans, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Central Asia, and China.

The difference between a kilim rug and a carpet is that, while a carpet’s design is created by individual short strands of different colors being knotted onto the warps and held together by pressing the wefts tightly, kilim designs are created by interweaving the variously colored wefts and warps, resulting in a flatweave.

What is Anatolian Rug?

The term “Anatolian rug” refers to rugs and carpets made in the Anatolian style. Geographically, Anatolia has been governed by the Ottoman Empire for a very long time. This implies that Ottoman and Islamic cultures affected these items.

Anatolian carpets use design and patterns to express the region’s culture, ethnicity, and religious heritage. The Anatolian rug is highly important in world culture since it is the most ancient hub of human civilization. Therefore it demonstrates how many diverse civilizations coexist in that region. This is unavoidably represented on the rugs and carpets.

Anatolian carpets are constructed of natural materials, which is a very distinct and important feature of them.

What are the Materials of an Anatolian Rug?

The materials of an Anatolian rug are listed below.

  • Sheep wool: It is a popular material in Anatolian carpets due to its smooth texture, low cost, and durability. It also absorbs colors quite effectively. Wool, unlike cotton, does not become filthy or show stains.
  • Cotton: Cotton is another popular material for Anatolian rug weaving. It is more durable than wool and is not readily deformed.
  • Silk: Silk is the most complex and costly material used in Anatolian carpets. It is extremely brittle and resistant to mechanical stress.
  • Camel and goat hair: Camel and goat hair is used in Anatolian carpets, although nomadic tribes and villages favor it. Goat and camel hair is a sturdy material to weave, and because of its thick structure, it retains warmth, making it popular among nomads and villages.

How Durable Are Turkish Rugs?

It is known that Turkish carpets have been woven for 3,000 years, and millions of Turks have been engaged in weaving and selling carpets for years. These colorful and frequently woven carpets are woven with double knots only in Turkey and the world and differ from all other carpets with this feature. This means that each knot reinforces itself twice around the crossed yarn. This is why Turkish carpets are said to be stronger than other handmade carpets.

How to Detect Turkish Carpets?

Wool, cotton, and silk were used in the weaving of Turkish carpets. These ropes used were tied with a Turkish knot, also known as Türkbaff. In addition to these, more double knots were used in Turkish carpets than in Persian carpets. For this reason, it is seen that more geometric patterns are used in Turkish carpets.

There are three basic types of handmade carpets, three basic types are listed below:

  • Cotton to Cotton: It is a coarser and not very thin carpet production due to the thicker cotton thread.
  • Wool on Cotton: Here, the cotton thread is knotted on a crossed wool thread. The pattern is thinner and therefore slightly more expensive.
  • Silk: It is the thinnest and most expensive carpet.

Every region in Turkey has a different carpet decoration style.  The different carpet decoration styles are listed below:

  • Milas carpets are the best-known carpets from the western region of Turkey. Carpets have a yellowish color and are generally cotton carpets.
  • Konya carpets, unlike others, are made of high-quality wool. They have many extra double knots and are usually decorated with medals of Seljuk times.
  • Yörük carpets normally use symbols from their daily lives when weaving their carpets. As an example, the scorpion is the most popular pattern as it expresses their freedom. On the other hand, the camel’s foot symbolizes transportation. In general, the Yoruks weave multi-colored carpets.
  • Hereke carpets. The best rugs with the most double knots are woven here. They are woven in both wool and cotton, and often feature a floral pattern. Until Turkey became a state, the Hereke region only weaved carpets for the palaces of the Sultans.

To understand that the rug is handmade, turn it over and take a look at the tassels on the corner of the rug. In machine-made carpets, this corner is generally sewn to the carpet. Also, try to pull the tassels. The yarn will throw across the entire carpet.

Types of Carpets and Kilims in Turkey

Carpets and kilims differ in terms of their specializations, such as where they are manufactured, the materials used, features, patterns, designs, and so on. A detailed list of the carpet and kilim types in Turkey can be found below.

  • Anatolia:  Anatolia has a very rich cultural heritage. Almost every city has its own distinct and distinct flair. Turkish or Gordes knot is utilized in the overall pattern of carpets termed Anatolian style.
  • Bergama: Bergama is a tiny district in the Turkish city of Izmir. It is located in the Aegean Region. Bergama is one of the oldest carpet weaving centers in the world. Green, blue, black, yellow, and pink is recognized to be dominating hues in the Bergama style. The motifs are typically plant-like or herbal.
  • Canakkale: Flat weaving is extremely prevalent in the Canakkale style, and wool is commonly used. The carpets’ primary hues are green, red, blue, and yellow.
  • Dosemealti: Dosemealti is a tiny district in Antalya where numerous nomads (known as yorks in Turkish) have lived for many years. They manufacture pure wool carpets with geometric patterns in dark green and red.
  • Gordes: Gordes is a town located in western Turkey. Since the seventeenth century, Gordes has been renowned as a weaving hub. Gordes carpets are the most well-known and sought-after of all oriental carpets due to their unusual pattern. Gordes has a distinct knot style that influenced Ottoman Palace carpets. Gordes carpets are recognized by their bright red background with different colors of green, yellow, blue, and cream. It has exceptionally excellent weaving quality.
  • Hakkari: Another significant weaving center in Turkey is Hakkari. Thirty primary themes are found in Hakkari kilims. The most popular designs are Her, Sumark, Samar, Halitbey, Gulhazar, Gulsarya, Gulgever, and Sine. Red or burgundy, dark blue, brown, black, and white is the five primary colors used in Hakkari kilims.
  • Hereke: Hereke is well-known for manufacturing the world’s best pure silk carpets. In the carpet literature, Hereke carpets are known by this term, and they have a special place among global carpets. They are sometimes referred to as “palace carpets.”
  • Isparta: Isparta is a significant rug and carpet production center in Turkey, located in the southwest. Floral patterns are popular in Isparta carpets, as are Gordes and Shena knots.
  • Kayseri: The carpets are woven in Kayseri and its environs constitute the majority of Turkish carpet art. Kayseri is well-known as one of Turkey’s most prominent rug and carpet centers. Natural hues such as white, black, grey, and purple are commonly used. Typically, the grounds are crimson, blue, or deep blue. They employ geometric and floral designs, and all of the threads are madder-colored. The dominant colors on these rugs are navy blue, crimson, brown, and grey.

How is Turkish Carpet Weaving?

Carpet weaving employs a variety of techniques. Thread styles vary, and it transports the history between the strings.

A carpet with a hand-knotted pile has elevated surfaces formed by the ends of knots woven between the warp and weft. The two major knots are the Gordes/Turkish knot and the Shena/Persian knot, which are seen on Anatolian and Persian carpets, respectively. A kilim is a flat or tapestry-woven carpet with no pile. The width and quantity of warp and weft threads, pile height, several knots utilized, and knot density all have an impact on the appearance of a pile carpet.

Slit tapestry/slit weave is the most common weaving technique used to make geometric and diagonally patterned kilims. The slit in the space between two blocks of color. It is made by returning the weft around the final warp in a color region and then returning the weft of the subsequent color around the adjacent warp.

Double interlocking and dovetailing, also known as shared warp or single interlock weave, refers to wefts from two separate color blocks that return (in opposing directions) around the same warp that defines the border between them. Wefts from neighboring color fields interlock with each other between the warp threads that run between them in the double interlocking technique.

Soumak/sumak is the popular word for the weft wrapping method that is used to produce intricate and diverse motifs. Colored yarns are wrapped in mathematical patterns around the warps, allowing the weavers to create free-flowing intricate designs that form reliefs on the work’s surface. As it is a difficult technique, it is frequently alternated with thin plain-weave ground wefts and is frequently employed for smaller works like purses, prayer sheets, and mats.

Brocading is a challenging method, valued by Yoruk and Turkmen tribal weavers in Anatolia. They are the supplemental weft or extra-weft weaving techniques that allow weavers to add designs to the regular weft that keeps the warp thread together. They resemble an embroidered addition and generally result in a raised design.

Jijim/Jajim/Cicim weaving process, different colored threads are put on the reverse of the weave between the weft and warp threads.  It is frequently used to embellish a plain-weave object or to produce little decorative patterns that might be dispersed or in series. The ground weave beneath shines through, giving the appearance of an embroidered design, and it is frequently used to fill negative space. Bristle wefts are frequently used to provide texture to bags, mats, and blankets.

Tulu (filikli) is derived from the Turkish term ‘tuylu,’ which means ‘hairy,’ this method generates long-piled soft mats used by pastoralists in central Anatolia to give comfort and warmth during the hard winters. Extra wefts, manufactured from loosely spun yarn, are interwoven into a plain-weave kilim using a Turkish Knot, resulting in tufts of soft wool.

How is Turkish Carpet Dyed?

The most important feature of Turkish carpets and rugs is that they are only made of natural materials. The dye for a carpet, rug, or thread is also produced from natural local resources. For long years, colors were produced naturally from plants, animals, and minerals.

The dying ingredient is heated with the wool and strings until the desired color is obtained. The quantity and quality of dyeing ingredients are critical. The temperature of the water and the length of time spent soaking must be properly planned.

What are Turkish Carpet Motifs?

Turkish rugs and carpets include several distinctive and distinguishing themes. A Turkish carpet may be identified by its unique patterns.

Muska and nazarlik (amulet and evil eye) are common Turkish carpet motifs. Some people are said to have power in their eyes that brings damage, injury, misfortune, and even death. Evil eyes are different things that lessen the effect of an evil look, therefore safeguarding those who possess them. The term “Muska” refers to a written charm/talisman that is said to have magical and religious power to protect the bearer from hazardous external forces. It’s a blue circle with an eye in the center.

Bird (kus) designs seen in Turkish carpets have a variety of meanings. While owls and ravens represent bad luck, doves, pigeons, and nightingales represent good luck. The bird represents pleasure, joy, and love. It represents power and strength. It is the imperial emblem of several Anatolian nations. The birds are also symbolic of heavenly messengers and long life. The Anka bird (phoenix) battling the dragon represents spring.

Burdock (pitrak) is a plant with burrs that clings to people’s clothing and animal fur. It is thought to have the ability to fend off the evil eye. However, because the phrase “like a burdock” implies “full of flowers,” this design is used on flour sacks as a symbol of wealth.

Chest (sandik) is a theme that represents a young girl’s wedding chest in general. As the items in this chest will be utilized in the husband’s home, the young girl’s aspirations and hopes are represented in the pieces she has woven, knitted, and hat-stitched.

A dragon (ejderha) is a legendary monster with lion-like paws and a snake-like tail, as well as wings. The dragon is the ruler of the elements of air and water. The flight of the dragon and the phoenix is said to bring spring showers. The dragon, said to be a large snake, guards valuables and secret items, as well as the tree of life.

In Turkish carpets, the ram’s horn (kocboynuzu) signifies production, valor, power, and masculinity. It is also worth noting that the weaver who employs this theme is assumed to be content.

The fertility (bereket) pattern is made up of two elibelinde motifs for the female and two kocboynuzu motifs for the man. The eye motif in the composition’s center is utilized to safeguard the family from the evil eye. A man and a woman are represented by the motifs of hands-on-hips (elibelinde) and ram’s horn (kocboynuzu).

What is the History of Turkish Carpets?

Turkish carpets have a long history dating back to the Turks’ nomadic roots in Central Asia. In nomadic tribes, the carpet had a significant influence. The carpet was a moveable device that made the ground easier to step on because they moved about a lot and lived in tents.

Rug weaving, which began with the Seljuks, was carried on by the Ottomans. Animal figures began to emerge on rugs after the Seljuk Turks and before the Ottomans, during the 14th-century transition era. These rugs are known as “Rugs with Animals” because of the animal figures on them.

Animal designs on rugs had become more varied by the 15th century. Around this time, a new group of rugs with animal motifs and geometrical patterns appeared.

The second successful period of Anatolian rug weaving began in the 16th century. This period’s rugs are known as “Classic Ottoman Rugs.”

The motifs, which include twisting branches, leaves, and flowers like tulips, carnations, and hyacinths, are woven realistically and form the rug’s foundation. This style was carried on in various parts of the world, and it can still be seen in Turkish rugs today.

Kirsehir, Bandirma, and Canakkale, as well as Usak and Bergama, became important rug-weaving centers in the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries.

Rugs woven at Hereke (near Istanbul) achieved international recognition at the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth century. Originally, these rugs were solely made for the Sultans of the Ottoman Empire. The best silk rugs in the world are still being woven in Hereke Turkey today.

Which Cultures Influenced Turkish Carpets?

Turkish carpets and rugs are influenced by the nomadic culture of Turkic tribes that moved from Central Asia, Islamic culture, and the Anatolian-Ottoman Empire. There are numerous symbols and traits associated with these subcultures.

What Makes Turkish Carpets so Special?

Turkish carpets are particularly unique and hence costly for a variety of reasons. One of them is naturalness. Originally, these carpets are handcrafted rather than machine-made. As they are weaved by hand, they take a long time to make.

Another explanation might be the cultural themes. It has a historical past that is reflected in its design. These carpets and rugs are considered part of Turkey’s cultural heritage. Women also play an important role in making Turkish carpets so special for ages.

What is the Difference Between Carpets, Rugs, and Prayer Mats?

The distinction between carpet, rug, and prayer mat is vital.

Carpets are known as hali in Turkish and are commonly found on home floors and corridors. They are thicker and larger than rugs, although rugs are considerably thinner and flat-woven.

Prayer mats, on the other hand, are tiny, rectangular mats designed specifically for worship. Prayer mats are exclusively used for prayers, and they are found in homes and mosques.

What Are The Regions of Turkey Famous for Making Carpets?

Dosemealti Antalya, Bergama Izmir, Kayseri, Konya, Kars, Hereke, and Hakkari are some of the bestcarpet and rug-producing regions in Turkey.

What You Need to Know When Buying Turkish Carpets and Rugs

If you wish to buy Turkish carpets and rugs, you need to be aware of a few key points.

Due to their naturalness, Turkish rugs and carpets are quite costly. You may barter and negotiate, but be cautious of phony carpets. Turkish carpets are produced using high-quality materials. It is critical to understand that some materials are more precious than others. Wool and silk, for example, are more costly than cotton and wool.

Knowing the types of Turkish before buying is important, which can be defined as hali, kilim, cicim, and sumak. Hali is the thicker of the three, but they are all flatweaves with no knots. They’re frequently utilized as wall hangings and tiny carpets.

Why Are Turkish Kilims Expensive?

Turkish rugs are expensive because they contain a wide variety of motifs, as well as being very high quality and durable.

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