Since the last century, oriental carpets have been of value on a global level and have been effectively named as a recognized work of art, and carpet enthusiasts who are fond of it want to own it as a piece of the rich and colorful history of this type of art, as oriental carpets have the ability to transform interior designs into Unusual spaces, and it is still not known exactly at what time the first handmade oriental carpets were woven, but it is certain that the nomadic tribes in Central Asia started the carpet weaving technique, especially in the nomadic villages that were most in need of warmth in cold weather, which prompted them To the weaving of carpets made of wool, which the Bedouins invented from animal skins, due to their fame in raising sheep, it is considered a piece of decoration and practical for warmth and brushing on the floors, and hanging on the wall and doors, and some put it as a saddle for horses.
In the current article, we will discover the history of the oriental carpet industry. . .
The impact of trade in the manufacture of oriental carpets
1. The Italian start
Thanks to the Italian merchants, the weaving of oriental carpets and carpets in general became known and valuable in Europe. Venice made itself a major commercial center, and the city's residents began to spread oriental carpets along its narrow streets, and hung them on windows. It was also used to decorate river boats.
2. The aristocracy
By the beginning of the early sixteenth century, it was possible to find luxurious carpets at the ruling courts of Europe, including the carpets of "Catherine de Medici" and "Charles V", and it was reported that the Lord Chancellor of England Cardinal Wolsey had purchased sixty Turkish carpets from a merchant from Venice, in order to furnish his palace at Hampton Court.
3. The beginning of attention
After the Great Exhibition of 1891 in Vienna, Western interest in oriental carpets began to increase. Importers in the West began asking rug makers to modify dimensions, colors, and designs to satisfy the tastes of buyers in Europe and the Americas.
Oriental carpet making techniques
Many changes have taken place in the basic techniques in the manufacture of carpets, where sheep's wool, cotton and silk were among the most used materials in weaving oriental carpets. Determining it, after the cutting process, the carpet is sewn on the loom, as it consists of two types:
1. Vertical Looms
Vertical looms were mainly used in weaving the city's classic carpets; It is made of wood or metal and consists of horizontal beams supported by rigid profiles
2. Horizontal Looms
It is the more primitive of the two types, so we find that its use is usually limited to nomadic Bedouins because its design allows for easy transportation. The horizontal loom is placed flat and close to the floor; They are fixed to the ground at the corners with wooden beams tied at either end, with the foundation extended between the two ends, and the oriental carpets are either knotted or flat-woven (kilims) or sometimes a combination of both.
Types of knots in oriental carpets
There are several basic types within the knots used in weaving oriental carpets:
1. The Turkish knot (also called the Ghiordes knot or the symmetrical knot)
In the Turkish knot, the thread is passed between the two adjacent warps and brought back under one of them, wrapped around both (forming a collar), and then pulled through the central point so that both ends are visible between the warps.
2. Persian Knot (Asymmetric Knot)
On the other hand, in the Persian knot, the thread is wrapped around one warp only, then it is passed behind the adjacent warp so that it divides the two ends of the thread. The Persian knot may open on the left or right. It is known that carpets woven with this knot are usually more accurate and symmetrical.
3. The Spanish knot
coiled around alternate single stamens so that the ends are projected on both sides
4. Al-Jifti knot
which are tied around four stamens, after each row of knots has been completed, and one or more weft threads are inserted and beaten with a comb intended for this operation.
The decision to use one type of knot in the process of weaving the rug is a matter of tradition, as there are other types of knots used in weaving oriental rugs.
Types of designs in the manufacture of oriental carpets
The types of carpet designs can be grouped into two groups, either geometric or floral, and these two groups can be classified under city weaving or tribal weaving, where fine pieces are woven in cities within large production processes, and the Serabi carpet is an excellent example of small geometric city design and this carpet is woven in mid-to-late 19th century, in northwest Iran, of typical design, with its central medallion surrounded by an open field framed by recurring palms, these geometric designs, though not particularly pronounced, are in fact floral motifs woven in cross-section from the top .
The process of producing oriental carpets throughout history
1. City Rugs
City carpets correspond to tribal carpets, and are characterized by a different floral design and character. Many cities in many countries produced such carpets, including those woven in the Indian city of Agra and woven by prisoners inside prisons, later known as "prison carpets", where they were brought A group of the best carpet weavers from the most respected carpet workshops in Persia to teach carpet weaving to inmates in the prisons of India. This type of carpet has become very desirable. Prison carpets were made in large and huge proportions, and one of the most famous was that which was carried on the shoulders of many military personnel to save it from the Windsor Castle fire that occurred in 1992, which is the largest inhabited castle in the world and one of the official palaces of Queen Elizabeth II .
2. Village and tribal carpets
Outside the main cities, the carpet industry flourished in small villages as well as among tribes, from the southern Persian tribes in Qashqai, Iran, through the Kurds on the western borders of Iraq, to Russia in the north through the Caucasus Mountains. Many tribes had their own designs, which were passed down through the generations and became instantly recognizable For collectors or admirers of oriental rugs.
History of dyes in oriental carpets
As for the dyeing of oriental carpets throughout history, the dyeing process included individual threads that were left to dry in the open air and left exposed to weather conditions, which may cause a difference in the degree of dyeing for each thread. The dyes used in Persian carpets were extracted from plants, animals, and insects, and these recipes were passed down through generations. Within the carpet-making families and tribes, these dyes included:
1. Extract red, purple and blue
The cochineal (Kermes) is an insect that has been used for dyeing for centuries and has been a rich source of the bright red colour, an essential ingredient in the dyeing of Persian carpets, and the Persian madder plant has been used to extract shades of red, pink or violet depending on how it is processed Before the dyeing process, the indigo plant was also used to extract the blue colour.
2. Extract the black color
As for the black color in antique carpets, it appears less because the process of soaking iron shavings in vinegar, used to obtain a dye of black color, has a great effect on the wear of wool.
3. Extract the yellow color
Yellow was very rare and was mostly extracted from familiar cooking spices such as turmeric and saffron, and while the cultivated saffron produced a pure yellow colour, the turmeric root produced a bright yellow colour.
4. Draw another mixture of colors
Other shades of color were produced by mixing combinations of these materials with other natural ingredients, for example, the brown color was extracted from mixing the madder plant with yellow-green walnuts with which exotic gold and silver threads were dyed, reserved only for ruling courts and palaces or as valuable gifts for rulers. neighboring countries.
It is often said that not all types of carpets are completely perfect, as some minor imperfections indicate that the carpet was hand-woven. In addition, the weaver may make a deliberate error, in line with the belief that only God Almighty can create something that is perfect and perfect without flaws.