CARPET HISTORY


Hand-made carpet weaving is a traditional art around the world that has been practiced by numerous populations from different ethnic, religious and cultural backgrounds. It initially spread among people of North Africa up to the Middle East, Central Asia India, Persia and Turkey at the turn of the 5th and 6th centuries.

tThe Pazyryk carpet is the most antique hand-woven specimen.The Pazyryk carpet is the most antique hand-woven specimen.


Pastori nomadi, gregge di pecore

The history of carpets begins when first carpets were woven by populations that had to endure adverse climate conditions and, on account of their geographic position, also had the raw materials needed to produce them. Living in an area mainly covered by desert, populated with flocks of sheep, these rough nomadic tribes made their living primarily from pastoralism. Wool has thus been the first material used in carpet weaving. It is easy to gather and treat; it absorbs heat and serves as a source of insulation. As a consequence it was used to make carpets to cover floors, which were conceived not only to offer beautification, but also to divide spaces with different functionality. Nomadic populations also used them as wall-hangings to protect themselves from the cold and damp, and as saddlebags.


Carpets became an essential part of nomadic people’s life, a sort of magic space, a familiar territory which could be transported to the next camp site. They scared malevolent forces and turned into a prayer space.
On account of their symbolic and spiritual connotation, carpets were gradually associated to more complex manufacturing. They were accurately woven and decorated with all the typical symbols, ornamental motifs and heraldry of a nomadic culture, for which they represented the only vehicle of expression.

Ancient Persia Persian cultureAncient persian arpet production


In cities carpets were emblematic of the social class of the person who owned them. When nomadic tribes become sedentary, carpet weaving turned into a specialized production organized in workshops. The first ones were set up in Iran (the reknown ols Persian Carpet), Turkey (Turkish Carpets) and produced only carpets for palaces. These were actually the finest pieces which exhibited intricate and minutely-detailed decorations.

In the spirit of Islam, which was spreading through Persia, Turkey and Middle est, carpets were viewed as the trait d’union between nomadic and settled people.

Carpets weren’t introduced in Europe until the 14th century when they reached this market through commercial exchanges between the Maritime Republics. Venice in particular established itself as a major trading hub with the East. Over time carpets progressively developed into exquisite forms of decorative items looked upon as signs of wealth, prestige and distinction. Only few people could afford them as we can see in numerous renaissance paintings depicting them.
These carpets have preserved their charm up to modern times.

   
 

Renaisance frescos

 
 

Beato Angelico, San Marco Alterpiece, 1440

 
   

Nowadays, traditional carpets better know as Persian Carpets are still produced in their place of origin (Iran), and marketed alongside new kinds of handicrafts inspired from the western choices and demands.

Carpet production, oriental rugs


Carpets have always been woven on looms. Regardless of the type of loom used, the weaving process remains the same. The structure of a carpet always consists of warps and wefts that make up the carpet foundation. This is the base where knots are secured and cut to form the compact and velvety pile.

Handmade carpet weaving is a time-consuming process that requires great technical expertise. It takes even months to weave a handmade carpet. Weavers are not just craftsmen, they are real artists. As a matter of fact, each discipline requiring manual ability was considered a form of art in the Islamic world.

The ability to pass skills and expertise to the younger generations, the tasteful colour harmonization and the close contact between who designs, who conceives and who weaves the carpet contribute to the creation of this handicraft. Weavers produce their carpets with passion, being aware that they will not be considered mere decorative items. As real works of art they will become a vehicle of emotion and witness an outstanding form or art that has remained unchanged over centuries.