Turkish Carpets22 May 2018
In Turkey, one of the most visited places are carpet workshops by both domestic and foreign tourists.
Almost all regions of Anatolia have carpets that own their unique patterns and colours. These gorgeous pieces are reflect a tradition that transferred from generation to generation.
History of Turkish rugs, goes back to nomad roots of Turks from Central Asia. Carpets have a special place in nomadic people’s lives. For people always switching places and living in a tent, carpet was easy to move and an useful object that kept them warm.
At first carpets were used just for these functional qualities. In time, they were decked with designs that matched with nomads’ tents and the environment. And carpets acquired decorative qualities.
Oldest Seljuk rugs that known are from 13th century situated in Aleaddin Mosque.
In the time of Great Seljuk Empire characteristic of the carpets are mostly blue and red colours, some arabesque figures and kufi writings. Kufi is describing Arabic letters with straight and cornered lines. Kufi patterns take part in Seljuk rugs’ neat lines with patterns like hooks or arrows.
One of the thing makes these rugs special is the Turkish knot technique peculiar to Turkish rugs. Turkish knot is a weaving style loomed with double knots. Therefore this style add more durability and strength on the rugs.
In 13th century, when famous traveller Marco Polo was passing through Anatolia, noted that the finest quality rugs waved in Sivas and nearby cities, in his words Turkomania.
In 14th century another traveller Ibn-i Batuta, praised for beauty of Turkish rugs and noted that these carpets being exported known world’s all trade centres.
Turkish patterns attracted Europeans’ attention too. Aristocrats’ palaces and mansions were floored with Turkish rugs. Artistic potential of these breath taking carpets catch attention of famous artist from Europe.
Turkish carpets took place in world wide known artworks like paintings of Hans Holbein, Lorenzo Lotto, and Hans Memling from Renaissance.
Today, big part of the carpets that European artists made famous, being exhibited in Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum, Sultan Ahmet.
In the time of Sultan Selim the Stern when Tabriz and Cairo were counted in the Ottoman Empire, Turkish carpet patterns went through great changes. Geometric designs of the Anatolian rugs were abandoned. Based upon carpet weaver from Cairo and Persian affects from Tabriz, Turkish rugs started to be decorated with more complex patterns.
The most distinctive features of Ottoman classic term rugs are the medallion insigne that represent sultanate and great amount of flower designs in their patterns.
Carpets waved in Konya, Kayseri, Uşak and Pergamon tittivated palaces of European dynasties.
Italian city-states which led shipping trade from Istanbul to Europe, and especially Venetians made these rugs very lucrative merchandises.
In 1850’s , Sultan Abdulmecid moved from traditional Topkapı Palace to Dolmabahçe Palace. He wanted the most splendid carpets of the world for this new palace. For this purpose he decided to set up a great extent carpet workshop in Hereke.
The most tight-knit carpets of the world waved for Dolmabahçe Palace. Consequently, Hereke region became a brand with its rugs.
In the present, heart of the carpet art belongs to Istanbul, Izmir, Kayseri. Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, Ephesus and Kuşadası in Izmir and Cappadocia region are the places which the biggest carpet workshops and stores situated.
Carpet waving succumbs to the understanding of rapid consumption of modern times because it requires a great care and patience. And unfortunately number of people who can wave shorten day by day. In consequences of carpet labor cost increasing, production dislocates to India and China where labor cost are cheaper.
Today, Hereke and Oushak carpets, which are the big brands of Turkish carpets, are very rare and expensive by the reason of low production. Anatolian rugs with geometric patterns are easy to find and for this reason cheaper. Purchasing the right carpet at the right price requires certain knowledge and expertise, such as purchasing jewellery.