Kilim Rugs: Pride of Persian Empire
Updated: Aug 3, 2019
You may have come across a Kilim while shopping for floor coverings. Now let us take a closer glimpse at them.
The Kilim is a traditional flat-weave technique, commonly practised in the areas of Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, North Africa and Central Asia. The word “kilim” originated in Turkey, and it is believed that this weaving technique migrated from Turkmen to Afghanistan in 11th century A.D.
Archaeological evidence, however, suggests their existence dates far back to 7000 B.C.
Kilims were made by the nomadic tribes during the early times. They had several uses of kilim rugs, such as protection from the icy winds or scorching heat. Since they are made on a flat weave technique, they do not weigh much and are quite easy to transfer from one place to another. That explains why nomadic tribes used kilim rugs.
How To Identify A Kilim Rug?
A kilim rug is a hand-woven, flat weave rug that has no pile. One most important characteristic is that when you run your hand over the surface of a kilim rug, it does not feel soft like wool or silk. Instead, it feels like a hard and rugged surface. That rugged feel comes from animal hair, (camels, goats, or horses) which are sometimes, used in combination with wool. Gold and silver threads are also used in kilims that are used as wall hangings. Beads and other decorative pieces are also attached in kilims when they are being used for decorative purposes.
How Is A Kilim Rug Made?
Kilims are woven using the slit-weave technique. The slit means the gap left between the two blocks of colours.
The wefts are tightly packed by the weavers by pushing the warp down with a hammer-like tool, called beating comb, making them quite close to each other. The diagonal patterns are generally made to avoid weakening the structure of the rug, producing bold and sharp patterns. Kilims are hence more closely associated with geometrical patterns, even though they may have floral designs and patterns as well.
The kilims are made mostly with 100% wool where the warp and weft, both, are of wool. Nowadays, a blend of cotton and wool kilims are also available, where cotton is used in the warp because of its high strength.
Designs And Patterns In A Kilim
Kilims are differentiated from other types of rugs – pile rugs – because of their rectilinear design, irregular colour and asymmetrical patterns. They resemble the artists’ true creativity and originality. They generally describe the weaver’s heritage.
Kilim designs are traditional. They are passed down from generations to generations. Sometimes they carry a particular meaning and sometimes, they are fabricated purely for their artistic value. Each region where the Kilim has been woven has its own different designs and patterns. Each region will have its own signature. Each region will have motifs that are symbolic in their own territory. For example, a kilim woven in Turkey will have different motifs, designs and patterns than one woven in North Africa.
African kilims have Aztec patterns, whereas Turkish kilims have bold geometric and floral patterns. The colours used in them also have significant importance. African kilims have striking bright overdyed colours like bright red, brown, forest green, jet black, yellow etc. Africans have their own traditional values and beliefs which they show on the kilims.
On the other hand, Turkish kilims have unique blends of colours that are subtle and resemble their antiquity. They show their traditional creativity and tell stories through the rugs. The colours and symbols resemble well wishes, such as good health, fortune, fertility, warding off the evil, etc.
Oriental And Modern Kilim
Kilims are very popular in the modern-day world.
They provide a great bohemian feeling because of their tribal past, traditional patterns and intricate designs. They are contemporary as well as versatile. A small kilim can be used both as a table mat and a scatter area rug. In Africa, people use kilims as the body coverings while in Iran, they are also used as pillow and cushion covers. Kilims can also be used as wall hangings. In comparison to pile rugs, they are fairly inexpensive.
It is essential to know that the original kilims are oriental rugs since they originated in the oriental countries. Big brands use tribal designs and motifs in their machine-made rugs. You can also find a hand-knotted rug having a kilim design made by a modern brand. But an authentic oriental kilim will have colours much more intense than a modern kilim. This is due to the natural vegetable dye used by the oriental rug weavers. The modern brands use a synthetic dye which brings a lighter tone in the kilims.
People love kilims because they make them feel their attachment towards their culture and tradition. Antique kilim rugs have become popular among collectors of rugs, and many of them consider antique kilims as pieces of art which they show in the art exhibitions.
Rugs.Usv offers a wide variety of Kilim rugs in various patterns and designs which can give any place - home, office, anywhere a delightful upgrade!
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