As one of the world’s most historic rug producing countries, Turkey has been home to numerous distinct weaving traditions. From rustic tribal designs to regal central medallion patterns, vintage turkish rugs are coveted for their intricate oxidized colors and beautifully stylized arabesques. Their lustrous pastels and expansive botanical motifs make them essential designer carpets for rustic spaces as well as palatial drawing rooms. Their symphonies of color, varying shapes and sizes, have inspired some of the most renowned European painters in history.

Located at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, ancient Turkey acted as a natural go-between for many great civilizations that ruled the region. As the need for carpets rose and fell over the centuries, Turkish weavers adapted their craft to suit their needs, adopting new styles and weaving techniques as they went.

In the 13th century, Safavid Persian symbols and patterns were introduced to Turkoman weaving, resulting in a broader range of design options. It was at this time that the central medallion pattern became a defining feature of the Turkish rug. The Timurid dynasty, who overtook the Seljuks in 14th century, made significant advancements in rug production as well.

But it was during the Ottoman empire’s reign of the sixteenth and seventeenth century that a true renaissance in Turkish rug design took place. This period saw the rise of Ushak (also known as Oushak), where weavers honed their skills to produce exquisite room-sized pieces that would grace the floors of the Ottoman court. Ushak rugs embraced the geometrical designs of the previous century, but now they were more refined and often utilized blossoming “tree-of-life” or lantern motifs.

While the art of Turkish rugs grew, so did their popularity in the West. By the middle of the nineteenth century, the rug revival was in full swing and Turkish rugs found a new audience. Rustic tribal rugs and the more sophisticated Bergama and Hereke designs both became cherished for their cultural verisimilitude.

Unlike modern factory-made rugs that are woven with synthetic fibers, vintage turkish rugs are all wool and hand-knotted. Using the Ghiordes knot (which wraps the weft yarn around two warp threads), vintage turkish rugs are woven with a higher knot count and offer a luxurious, silky texture. The aged look that makes them so popular is created by a process called “updating” where the rug is collected, cleaned, sunned to mute its colors and shaved down to give it that distressed antique feel. Because of this, vintage turkish rugs are very durable and stand up well to years of use. In fact, they become even more beautiful with age, like fine wine.

By Admin

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