Turkish Rugs date back as far as the 5th century B.C. The art of rug weaving began in Central Asia by nomadic Turks (the oldest rug of World is also a Turkish one namely Pazirik dating back to BC. 383 -tested and proved through -C/14 – carbon tests) who made goat hair rugs to protect themselves from severe weather and to decorate their tents. Turkish Rugs were traditionally made by women, who passed down their weaving designs to their daughters and granddaughters respectively.
Today, Turkish Rugs are woven in more than 700 tribal areas and villages, incorporating similar color combinations, the same symbols,designs and colors that have been passed down through generations for thousands of years. Before purchasing a Turkish Rug, find out how to evaluate its quality. Use the following tips to purchase a Turkish Rug.
Rugs from Hereke and Kayseri are distinctive from other Turkish Rugs. Hereke Rugs are denser than other Turkish rugs, and therefore more expensive.
How to buy a quality “Turkish Rug”?
Kayseri region are known for their rugs with intricate floral designs and bold colors that are peculiar to this part of the country.
Seek for a reputable rug dealer who is knowledgeable in Turkish Rugs. A Turkish Rug expert can provide information about fiber content and quality. Reputable dealers will provide comparisons between different carpets and won’t try to pressurize you to purchase a specific rug as the main goal would be to introduce you with the art rather than directly selling the rug itself. Inquire about where each Turkish carpet was made. Although rugs are made in more than 700 villages and tribal areas, each area is known by its own designs, symbols and styles. A learnt rug dealer can provide insight into the origin of the rug by evaluating its design.
Firstly determine what kind of Turkish rug to purchase. There are 2 basic kinds of Turkish carpets: a kilim or a knotted carpet;
1. We would recommend a kilim for a less expensive alternative. A kilim is a flexible, woven rug that can be folded. It has no backing and can be used as a furniture covering, blanket, wall hanging. Kilims often are made from cotton fibers using a flat weaving technique.
2. But if you want a prestigious one you should definitely choose a hand-knotted rug for a higher quality rug. Made of wool or silk, hand-woven Turkish rugs are all double knotted onto a firm backing.
Consider whether you prefer a handmade or manufactured Turkish carpet.
1. One should choose handmade Turkish rugs for the high-quality weaving and unique story each carpet offers. Artisans create rug designs that share part of their own life stories. Handmade rugs are hand-knotted and depending on the size, can take years to complete.
2. To tell the truth commercially manufactured Turkish Rugs would have no value as the handmade ones and only produced for design control. Customers can dictate the colors, styles and patterns displayed in commercially manufactured rugs. Those are all considered as imitations by the Turks and not preferred. The pricing would be much cheaper as compared to the hand made ones.
Determine what size Turkish carpet you prefer. Before shopping for a Turkish rug, measure the room or area where the rug will be displayed. In most cases, the measurements should allow for a border of flooring to show along the perimeter of the rug.
1. Several different sizes might be considered for each room: Areas like dining rooms, hallways and entryways may not allow for many sizing options. However, in living rooms and bedrooms you may be able to use several carpet sizes based on different furniture arrangements in the rooms. The more sizes you are willing to consider, the more options you will have when purchasing a Turkish carpet.
2. Commonly known Turkish Rug dimensions: Handcrafted Turkish rugs vary in size. However, many rug weavers use the following carpet dimensions:
Yastik is 60 by 90 cm (23.6 by 35.4 inches)
Ceyrek is 90 by 135 cm (34.5 by 53.1 inches)
Kisa Yolluk is 70 by 200 cm (27.6 by 78.7inches)
Seccade is 120 by 180 cm (47.2 by 70.9 inches)
Saf 110 by 230 cm (43.3 by 90.6 inches)
Karyola is 150 by 230 cm (59 by 90.6 inches)
Kelle is 300 by 200 cm (118.1 by 78.7 inches)
Taban is 6 m x 6 m (19.7 x 19.7 feet)
Set a budget for your Turkish carpet purchase. Turkish rugs can range in price from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars up to tens of thousands especially the Pure Silk Hereke ones . The carpet’s size, material, age, design , quality and most important of them all the number of double knots per each cm square inch are the factors into the sales price. The higher the quality, the more expensive the carpet.
Purchase a Turkish Rug from a regional Rug Cooperative where aftercare services were rendered along with warranty:
Workers at Turkish Rug cooperatives will take you on a tour of the work areas, share a cup of tea with you, and then present various carpets according to your preferences. Rug Cooperatives, which typically represent the work of hundreds of artisans from dozens of villages. They do not necessarily have the cheapest prices, but they offer high / best quality authentic Turkish Rugs along with aftercare and guarantee through their offices that they have recently set up in US, EU as well as many of the Asian Countries.
Evaluate the Quality of the Rug Determine if the Turkish carpet is hand-knotted. Authentic Turkish carpets are hand-knotted and can take months or even years to complete.
1. Understand the type of knots used in Turkish rug weaving that makes it durable. The double knot, also called a Gordes knot or Turkish knot, provides the most durable carpet. In a double knot, a strand of yarn encircles 2 threads. The single knot, also called a Sennah knot or Persian knot, encircles 1 thread.
2. Examine the underside of the rug for imperfections. The underside of a hand-knotted rug will naturally show some imperfections in the knots. The smoother back is the better rug.
Evaluate the knots per square inch (KPSI). The higher the KPSI, the higher the quality. Approximately 150 KPSI is considered average, while fine Turkish rugs may have KPSI counts of 500 or more. Examine the design on the underside of the rug. The greater the number of knots, the more visible and distinctive the design will be on the back of the rug.
Ask what material was used to make the Turkish rug. Turkish rugs and flatweaves are made from 5 materials: sheep wool, goat hair, silk, floss silk and cotton. Select rugs made from natural materials, which are more durable than synthetic materials.
1. Consider Turkish carpets made from wool. Wool carpets are the most traditional type of Turkish rug and are woven by hand in countryside villages. Wool quality varies by region and climate, with the higher quality wool coming from sheep found in cooler and higher elevations. The wool typically is hand-spun using a drop spindle, called a kirmen, and spinning wheels.
2. Evaluate silk Turkish carpets. The silk used in Turkish rugs comes from silk cocoons. When unrolled, the single thread from a silk cocoon can stretch up to 25,000 meters (82,021 feet). The silk fibers are strong and can be twisted easily. Because of the fine fiber, silk rugs can feature about 625 KPSI. Large silk Turkish carpets can take up to 6 years to complete.
3. Consider floss silk Turkish rugs. Often referred to as art silk, floss silk is mercerized cotton that has a sheen similar to silk. It is used primarily in rugs woven in Kayseri.
4. Evaluate goat hair carpets. While historians believe that Turkish carpets were originally woven with goat hair, very few rugs today are made with goat hair. Occasionally, goat hair will be used in the bindings of Turkish carpets.
5. Consider cotton Turkish carpets. Cotton is usually considered more resistant and less elastic than wool, so tighter knots can be achieved. Cotton is used primarily for creating flat weave Kilim rugs, although it can be used to create hand-knotted Turkish carpets as well.
Determine whether natural or synthetic dyes were used on the Turkish carpet’s fibers.
1. Evaluate natural dyes. Authentic Turkish carpets are made from natural dyes extracted from vegetables, roots, flowers and insects. Natural dyes provide greater authenticity and will increase the rug’s value. However, natural dyes will mellow over time.
2. Evaluate synthetic dyes. Synthetic dyes are available in a wider range of colours than natural dyes. However, unlike naturally dyed fibers, synthetic fibers don’t hold dye throughout the entire fiber. A closer examination of a Turkish carpet created with synthetic dyes will reveal that deeper fibers don’t have the same colour as fibers closest to the surface. Synthetic dyes usually hold their colour better over time than natural dyes.
The art of carpet weaving, which has been on for the past 3500 years, is one of the oldest professions in the world.
Assyrian, Babylonian, Egyptian and partly Hellenistic-weaving tended to produce clothes and were concentrated more on embroidery than on rug weaving, in contrast with the people of central Asia, who produced carpets and kilims with the aim of protecting themselves from the cold climate.
The art of Turkish carpet weaving first started in central Asia. The oldest known “knotted” carpet (5th BC) was discovered in the Pazyryk valley, about 5000 feet up on the Altai Mountains in Siberia.
Certainly, the people of the Altai Mountains, in the Scythian era, lived a lifestyle that was economically dependent on animal husbandry. With the materials garnered from their cattle, goats, sheep and horses, they made felt to cover the outside of their nomadic dwellings, called yurts. Surely they would have used the same materials to cover their earthen floors, protecting themselves from the cold, harsh conditions of Siberia.
The 6’0″ X 6’6″ carpet is made with an average knot count of 225 knots per square inch. It is made of a wool pile, knotted around a wool base and displays a skill matching the artistry of contemporary weavers.
As a reflection of their mythology and “animal husbandry” lifestyle, geometrical patterns and animal figures has been clearly seen on the carpet.
Carpets reflect the culture of a people and with their attractive colors and designs convey artistic messages to people of other cultures, thus become a universal means of discourse.
When you observe their surface lines and delineate the motifs in their repetitious rhythm, symmetrical harmony, dominance and hierarchy, balance and unity, you will appreciate why carpet weaving is one of the most beautiful artistic activities.
The Turkish carpet weaving underwent changes in designs, but the main characteristics remained intact. In the earlier examples, geometrical forms like stars, squares, hexagons and octagons were dominant; roses or roselike forms and other floral patterns constituted the motifs.
In the period following the acceptance of Islam, the mihrab (altar), the kandil(candle) and the ibrik (kettle) became dominant figures, especially of the Turkish Seccade, the prayer rug, a small carpet used during prayer.
The Europeans took notice of the Turkish carpets during the First Crusade, 1096-1099. Later on, these were brought to Europe by merchants to decorate the palaces, castles, houses of the rich and even the churches.
The pure silk carpets, especially, were symbols of displaying wealth. One of the aims of carpet weaving tradition in Anatolia was the preparation of a dowry for the would-be bride. In time trade contacts widened the scope of this activity and it became a source for family income.
Today hand-woven carpets occupy a foreground among the export articles of our national economy.