Carpets & Textiles

 

Carpet weaving is one of the most ancient crafts in Turkey, and for centuries, women have played a pivotal role in their creation. Historically, the Turks were among the earliest carpet weavers. Turkish carpets come in distinct styles from different regions of Turkey. Important differentiators between the types include the materials, construction and patterns.


Wool on wool (wool pile and wool warps and wefts) rugs are generally the least expensive type of carpet. Wool on wool carpets
have been made for much longer and use more traditional designs than the other types of carpets. Because wool cannot be spun finely, the knot count is often not very high, compared to wool on cotton and silk on silk. High knot count is also not necessary for wool on wool carpets because they are often traditional geometric designs, or otherwise non-intricate patterns.


Wool on cotton (wool pile on cotton warps and wefts) carpets can be much more intricate because cotton can be spun finely and the knot count is generally much higher. In wool on cotton rugs, floral designs are often found, as well as complex geometric patterns.


Silk on silk (silk pile on silk warps and wefts) is the most intricate type of carpet with very fine weave. These carpets can be stunningly beautiful.


Carpets can be made with n
atural or chemical dyes. With wool on wool, and wool on cotton carpets, natural dyes are preferable. Natural dyes are more expensive than chemical ones and the price of the carpet will thus be higher. Silk carpets are almost always made with chemical dyes.


Kilims are flat tapestry-woven carpets which are produced by tightly interweaving the warp and weft strands of the weave to produce a flat surface with no pile. The patterns are predominantly geometric and the most common layouts are medallions, multiple connected diamond-shapes, and all-over octagonal shapes. The most recognized design is the famous Mahi (Herati) design - a diamond medallion and small fish throughout. Some modern weavers have begun to favor bold geometric patterns over the traditional Mahi design and have added colors such as turquoise and purple to the more traditional red, pink, ivory, green, and blue.


The art of embroidery, which belongs to an ancient tradition with roots extending from the dawn of history to the present day, has traditionally occupied an important place in Turkish life. Needlework found a particularly wide range of applications among the Ottoman Turks, especially in the court and its circle which produced embroidery of such high quality that it has all the characteristics of fine art. This is true even of terms used in the daily life of the palace, such as men’s and women’s garments, for example robes, kaftans, underclothing, a variety of decorated headscarves, numerous kinds of headgear, waist bands, belts, and handkerchiefs. The most striking examples of Turkish embroidery, however, are those that were used in the furnishings of the palaces; divan and cushion covers, floor coverings, wall and door curtains, and covers for the throne. Embroidery, however, was not an art limited to the palace. On the contrary, because textiles of all kinds were so closely connected with the Turkish way of life, embroidery was produced and used at every level of society, from the most exalted to the humblest. Whether made for a sultan or a peasant, it added colour and beauty to everything from military campaign tents to the most delicate hand towel.