History of Carpets

History of Carpets

  • Amir Ghods
Since childhood, Carpets have been the best place for us  to rest our worries, spend the best moments, think, write and create wonders.Throwing a few pillows on the ground and reposing on that comfortable surface which wraps you around with warmth is of course  the Carpet in your home, which is probably one of the few things which pitch in to the coziness of your house's interior.

Wonder about the people from Ancient era who took shelter in caves. How difficult it would have been for them to survive on cold discomforting floor? Sooner or later they began to use animals skin, fur, leaves and other materials to separate themselves from the icy cold rocks in their underground hollow space.

Though when people started to breed and train animals for utility, their dependency on using fur to cover floors decreased and they began to use wool of sheep and goats to fulfill their purpose.
Evidently, they were began to be sheared for wool and hair which was spun and woven as far back as 9k BP.

'Pazyryk- the earliest surviving carpet'
The oldest surviving carpet in the world  is the 'Pazyryk carpet' dating back to 5th Century BC.It is over 6k years old. Being excavated by Sergei Ivanovich Rudenko in 1949 from a Pazyryk burial mound in the Altai Mountains in Siberia,it has been preserved in ice since then which is thousand of years now.
Specifically Armenian in origin, this carpet is 200 x 183 cm and framed by a border of a mythical animal that is half eagle and half lion known as griffin. This richly colored rug is woven using the Armenian double knots. Ulrich Schurmann, which is a preeminent authority of ancient carpets says of it, "From all the evidence available I am convinced that the Pazyryk rug was a funeral accessory and most likely a masterpiece of Armenian workmanship".
In the 5th Century BC, writing of the historian Herodotus informs that Caucasian inhabitants wove beautiful rugs with brilliant colors which would never fade.

Due to the contact of crusaders with Eastern traders in the 11th century, Carpets began to appear in Europe.Until 1750's they were mostly used on tables and walls. Except in use for the church or for the royal settings, they were considered extravagant to cover the floor. Around 1200's they begun to appear in paintings.
The 17th-18 French EIC's,the Dutch and the British introduced indo- persian design rugs to Europe.

In USA,the earliest carpets were made of woven wool. William Sprague began a woven carpet mill in Philadelphia,
Pennsylvania in 1791. The industry expanded over time when high quality carpets began to be manufactured with the improvement in technology.

The traditional art of Azerbaijani carpet weaving was added to the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity of UNESCO in 2010. This presumably shows that Azerbaijani was one of the most important centers of carpet weaving since centuries. Carpet weaving became a family tradition in Azerbaijan and also linked with the daily life and customs of it's people. A variety of carpet and rug types began to be made in Azerbaijan which makes Azerbaijan rugs world famous such as silk, wool, silver and gold threads, pile and pileless carpets, as well as, kilim, zili, mafrashi, sumakh,verni and khurjun.

With the coming of the first Muslim conquerors from the West, "The Ghaznavids and The Ghauris" , Carpet weaving was introduced to India. Certainly it can be traced to the beginning of the Mughal Dynasty. Persian techniques and designs were adopted by the Indian craftsmen under the patronage of the mughals.Motifs and decorative styles found in Mughal architecture were used to wove carpets as well. Akbar, the 3rd Mughal emperor in India is attributed to have introduced the art of carpet weaving during his reign.Persians rugs were even patronized by the Mughal emperors for their royal courts and palaces.

Carpets in Afghan are commonly known as Afghan rugs.They are unique and well recognized handmade material design which exhibit intricate detailing. They come in a variety of patterns and colors. But until now the most common example of Afghan carpet is the octagon-shaped elephant-foot i.e Bukhara

Anatolian or the Turkish carpets both hand knotted and flat woven  are among the most famous hand crafted art works in the world.
Turks have protected themselves from extreme cold by covering their floors with handmade carpets or rugs made of wool or cotton which acted as a natural barrier.
With the great Turkic Migration of 8th-9th Century it is believed that the knotted rugs reached Asia Minor and the Middle East.
In the European paintings of The  Renaissance, is has been depicted that the Anatolian rugs have been often used to indicate high status of the owner.

Around 20th century, woman named Catherine Evans Whitener of Dalton made a handcrafted bedspread as a wedding gift.She sewed thick cotton yarn onto unbleached muslin fabric using a quilt pattern.To make it softer, she clipped the ends of the yarn, so that they would fluff out.By and by her way of making bedspreads became extremely famous for next several decades. Demand for these was so high that it spread to large cities around the U.S as well.

Gradually, machines began to do the tufting process. Mills opened on a large scale in and around Dalton, and new products were developed.

Dalton, the Carpet Capital of the world, remains center of the carpet industry, producing over 70% of world-wide carpet output.

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