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History & Culture

The 2000-year-old tradition of carpet weaving is so ancient and rich that it can hardly be described in just a few short pages. Our aim is here to provide a brief overview of the history and culture of handmade Turkish rugs. Most handmade rugs are classified according to their country of origin. The history of Turkish carpets begins in central Asia where the people of this region where generally nomadic-roaming and resettling from place to place throughout the year. Their homes were essentially tents that could be assembled, disassembled and transported with them to their subsequent destinations.

Given this attribute of constant relocation, the necessity for lightweight, mobile and easily compactable commodites arose. Thus, the manufacturing of rugs used as floor coverings for their tents suited this purpose. A flat woven rug, called a kilim, could be produced simply and quickly and was the first style of rug to be developed. The Kilim is considered ' The mother of all carpets.

Over time, these nomadic tribes slowly migrated to the region we now knows as Anatolia, and manufacturers of kilim rugs began to incorporate intricate designs (commonly geometric) patterns and colors into their weaving, these patterns, designs and colors were unique to each tribe, symbolic of their journeys and adventures, and embodied a rich sense of spirituality and emotion.

Traditionally hand-woven kilim rugs were manufactured by woman, a custom passed on from mother to daughter. Young Turkish woman, before marrying, would begin learning this tribal practice by weaving small rugs for their future husbands. Until roughly twenty-five years ago there where approximately 250-300 different regions in Turkey where these rugs were still being produced. Sadly, this tradition is dying. Today there are no more 80 or 90 villages in Turkey producing these works of art. At the beginning of the 18. century, a new style of carpet began to emerge. This revolution was characterized by changes in 
material, weaving techniques, designs patterns and colors. At this time, an innovative combination of wool and cotton materials was used to produce rugs, and allowed for a greater variety of weaving techniques as well as more detailed designs and patterns to be created. The pile weaving techniques was developed by tying knots of wool material onto a cotton based grid.
Although this technique was much more tedious and time-consuming than the kilim technique, the results were extraordinary. The typical tribal geometric patterns and designs were now being replaced with very fine, detailed and desirable floral patterns. Hence, the pile technique became a worthwhile endeavor. Since the emergence of the pile technique and the use of the wool and cotton combination, other material combinations were subsequently utilized to create even finer detail and richer textures for carpet manufacturing. Finally silk rugs became and have remained the finest and most prized possessions of the carpet industry.

HEREKE carpets, particularly those of pure silk, are considered the absolute finest throughout the world. Until the political revolution in 1923, Hereke carpets were exclusively manufactured for Sultans, palaces or mosques. Regarded as extraordinarily valuable and prized possessions, Hereke carpets were often given as gifts from Sultans to other great Kings, Emporers and rulers. Many of the finest and rare examples of Hereke rugs can be seen at the Dolmabahce and Topkapi palaces in Istanbul. With your purchase of a fine Turkish hand-woven rug, you will bring a piece of history and culture and beauty from our country into your home...

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