Carpet History

Determining a rug’s country of origin can help you truly understand the monetary and emotional value of a rug. You will learn to appreciate each culture and traditions once you’ve know the history of each.

 

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The certainty of the origin of the carpets would always continue to be shrouded in mystery. However, it is definitely out of the debate that woven forms of floor coverings were present during the Neolithic Age (7000 BC).
The very mysteries of how the carpet actually came into existence would always remain the same in the absence of the documentary evidence. However, according to Enza Milanesi’ The Little Brown Guide to Carpets’ there are two theories to ponder upon.


The first theory says that the carpets were invented to serve the practical purpose of the rough nomadic populations. They were thickly knotted to protect the people from adverse climatic conditions. This also served the purpose of them not to give up their valuable animals for their hides. Therefore, it also fulfilled their original intention of no direct contact with the ground.
It is believed that such carpets came as rudimentary forms of floor coverings what we see today. Evolved since the early times, the previous forms of the decorated tents of the nomadic lifestyle were specimens, uniquely colored and decorated with the particular sorts of motifs and established beautification styles. In addition, they wove on the vertical loom that could be dismantled and transported easily.


The advocates of the second theory pronounce that the knotted carpets did born early. However, they evolved as artistic pieces with the settled people that were artistic and utilitarian both, in function. Forming as the permanent parts of homes, they became important during festive and traditional ceremonies, leading their way towards becoming an essential part of peoples’ lives.


Interestingly, the knotted ones were woven on the horizontal looms, which developed from its vertical cousin.
The Pazyryk Carpet was excavated from the tomb of the Shiite chief in the Pazyryk Valley in the Altai Mountains, Siberia, encased and thus, preserved in ice. It dates back to 5th century B.C. It is the oldest specimen found of the ancient weavings done in the world. Such is the refined artisanship of the carpet that it definitely confirms the overview that the carpets were woven as articles to decorate the dwellings, representing them to be more inviting.
The above important archaeological excavation did lead to a fact that whatever be the actual reason behind the birth of the carpets and rugs, they serve all the intents of providing insulation from the climate along with offering beautification.


Places of Origin
The gradual spread of the art of the knotted carpet, over the centuries, around the globe has proved to be a hindrance in solving the mystery of its origin. However, many different carpet fragments have unearthed during excavations around the world. Strong evidences collected from the Middle East region say that carpet weaving was extensively carried out there during the 2nd-3rd BC. Therefore, it is termed as the cradle of carpet weaving. People migrating to areas from Turkestan to the west, the Caucasus, Persia, Anatolia, to the east to China, and then later to India, extended this art form to the natives of these places. Moreover, this complete range of locations is known as the Oriental Carpet Belt.
Marco Polo, the Venetian merchant and traveler, while travelling through Turkey said, “They weave the choicest and the most beautiful carpet in the world. They also weave silk fabrics of crimson and other colors, of great beauty and richness, and many other kinds of cloth.” He added greatly to the fact that it all flourished in the Islamic culture that he perceived, during his world expedition.


An antique carpet is like a “living thing”
Most of the antique forms of carpets and rugs that we see today reflect their rich weave and decorations of Persian styles. Sustaining through decades and centuries, such significant objects have lived through & are looked up with great respect and pride. Carpets woven before circa 1920 are categorized as antiques. In spite of this, there is a detailed segregation for ‘antique carpets’.
Other than the year wise tagging, the traditionally woven carpets made with natural dyes or before the introduction of the synthetic dyes (occurred during 1860-1870), are fondly termed as antique carpets.
‘Semi antique carpets’ are those that were …

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