Rugs are named generally by the regions they are weave.
Regions in Anatolia
Bergama is a little town in northwest part of the country; here there are approximately eighty villages which weave Bergama carpets. This ancient city was one of the most powerful and richest region in Anatolia. The history of carpet waving in this region has a very old background. Bergama carpets have always been woven as wool on wool material combination while wefts are all red. Knotting density of these rugs is about 12 knots per square cm. and mostly come in three – four square meter sizes. Those woven in Canakkale are slightly larger. Motifs can be divided by two main groups: as Kozak type and Turkish type. Kozak type rugs have big geometrical designs, these ones remind Kozak – Gendje region rugs. In Turkish type usually designs are very floral and embroidered with leaves of the pine trees. They consist mainly of two colours, the dark reds and blues. In these rugs red color, which is used for dyeing the wool yarns, makes the pile less thick than the rest of the surface after a certain time, so blue motifs appear higher. The evil eyes that you see at the edges give them an exceptionally unusual appearance.
These carpets are made by Yoruk’s semi-nomadic tribes who leave near the ocean on the warm plains during the winter months. The villages are around Antalya, on the Mediterranean cost, are the main producing centers of this type of carpets are made with wool and dyes produced by the nomads themselves. The predominant colors are always bright red and dark blue, with a smaller amount of white. Distinctive patterns in the borders are the sheep’s eye and knife tip and the “hands on hips” motif, an age old symbol denoting female fertility which dates back to the time when the tribes worshipped mother goddesses. The field are usually are taken up by a large red double mihrab, edged in ram’s horn motif. Often the shape of the double mihrap is cut into by two triangles on either side. Ears of grain representing fertility and carnations are frequently seen. If there is a tree of life it’s generally made up of carnations, “the flowers of the people”. Some times one can see a strange motif, a stylized representation of the human figure which is used to guard against evil. The number of knots in these carpets is equal to 160,000 knots per square meter.
A wide variety of types of carpets are produced in Turkey with widely varying degrees of quality. For the discerning buyer or collector there are twelve recognized types of carpets, each type produced in different geographical districts and each having distinctive designs, colors and quality. They are easily noted. Once one learns to “read” or recognize the patterns or designs and colors associated with the geographical area in which produced. The finest contemporary and highest quality of silk and wool carpets currently made in Turkey are produced in town near Istanbul, called Hereke. The Hereke carpets are either woven in pure silk or cotton and wool. The pure silk carpet uses silk from Bursa. In wool and cotton carpets the warps and wefts are cotton and the best quality of wool is used for knots in the pile. The silk Hereke carpets have from 1.0 to 1.2 million knots per square meter. The knot density in the highest quality wool carpets is any where between 360,000 to 400,000 knots per square meter. In second quality wool carpets the knots are around 250,000 to 300,000 per square meter. The dominant colors in Hereke carpets are dark blue, cream and cinnamon and occasionally yellow and green are used. The traditional floral designs are common and each design has its own name, such as : Seljuk Star, Seven Mountain Flowers, Ploneise, 101 Flowers, and Tulip. The flowers in the design and the harmony of colors add warmth to a home.
Kars located near the Russian border in Turkey, produces carpets designed in the Caucasian style. The main motif used is the large cruciform. The quiet olive-green combined with a dull red-brown and lighter beige tones give the piece enormous warmth. The eight stylized trees of life in the corners are surrounded by a Caucasian calyx-and-leaf border and the guard stripes are called ‘running dogs.” The extremely valuable hand-spun mountain wool is used in the hand weaving and is especially prized by acknowledged buyers. Natural dyed wool is used with the dominate colors navy blue, red and cream. There are 200.000 knots per square meter in Kars carpet’s and for this reason Kars carpets are so noted fine works of art.
The town of Kayseri, situated in central Turkey, has been famous as a carpet making center for centuries. Carpets and Kilims of Kayseri are of various types. Silk carpets and wool ,natural wool (no dyes), and Bunyan carpets are the major categories produced. Kayseri carpets are woven both at the workshops and in the homes. Weavers usually buy yarn from shops and after finishing their carpet would sell it to the same shop in order to buy more yarn. The sizes, designs and number of knots are the same as Bunyan carpets, but the large sizes are rather rare. Cotton is used as warp and weft. These carpets are considered the masterpieces of Kayseri and as such are sought out by dealers to sell to the foreign trade. Kayseri carpets are woven entirely in silk as well and will have 600,000 to 700,000 knots per square meter. Bunyan carpets are often in floral designs of a typical Oriental carpet. The yarn is cotton and wool dyed with vegetable dyes, and about 120,000 to 150,000 knots per square meter. The Kayseri Bunyan carpets are made in different sizes; from pillow sizes of 62 by 100 cm. to the large 16 square meters carpet. Kayseri natural wool carpets have all the properties of Bunyan carpets except there are not as many colors used as in the Bunyan carpets. Colors of white, cream, light and dark brown and sometimes black are used in this types of carpets with the same number knots as in the Bunyan carpets.
Kozak carpets are woven by semi-nomadic shepherds who live in the highland regions of the Caucasus Mountains and their environment is reflected in their products. The distinctive designs in Kozak Carpets can be easily recognized. The warp and weft threads are wool with the weft threads always in red or brown colors. The wool pile in these carpets is fairly deep and the yarn used is always of excellent quality. The Kozak carpet has approximately 50 to 100 Turkish knots per square inch. The motifs used in these carpets are, formal, geometric, central medallion, repeated pattern and “Eagle.” True Kozak carpets are mostly antique pieces and were produced in the Caucasus Mountains. Currently a limited number of Kozak carpets are produced and are much prized by dealers.
Kula is the name of a town in Western Anatolia where these wool carpets are made. The village carpets of Kula are woven on a woolen warp and weft and for the most part have strong geometric designs. The colors are rich but soft with earth tones of rust, green, gold, and blue being common, however, the dominant colors are pastel. The most important characteristics of these carpets are that they are woven with 100% wool yarn and have varying patterns, colors and sizes. Kula carpets contain 160,000 knots per square meter. Along with all Kula patterns various Anatolian patterns are frequently seen in Kula carpet. Kula carpets resemble those of other Western Anatolian products like, Ushak and Gordes, with their wide borders restrained colors. They also tend to have a short and somewhat lusty pile. Borders usually consist of a number of stripes of about equal width decorated with little stars and flowers. The earliest patterns of Kula carpets were either geometrical or composed of highly stylised nomadic forms. In the last century Kula carpets often had richer and more imaginative floral designs. At the end of the 19th century they were exported to Europe by the thousands, often under the name of Ushak and Gordes carpets. The typical features were a light grey or cream background with floral patterns in pink and blue. Kula carpets which have furnished many homes are very elegant. They were particularly favored for the dining room and libraries.
Kulluce carpets are produced in a town between Afyon and Denizli. The people of this area are mostly Caucasian immigrants who have been weaving their geometric and Caucasian designs for years. Undyed natural color of shop wool used creates tones such as: Beige, dark brown, cream, light brown, black and grey. The number of knots in Kulluce carpets is approximately 140.000 to 160.000 per square meter. These carpets are made in workshops and they are very precise.
Ladik is a town located north of Konya in the hearth of Anatolia. The main sources of income in this area are animal husbandry, agriculture and carpet production. Konya and Ladik are the oldest carpet making centers in Turkey. Even during the 15th. center the art of carpet weaving flourished in Konya because it was the capital of the Seljuk Empire and a very important communication and political center. There are many notable at works in Konya and perhaps the most famous in the Green Mosque. From Arabia, Iran and other countries many artists came to Konya to practice their crafts. The surviving carpets of this era offer ample evidence of the Turkish character. During this same period carpet weaving skill spread from Konya to other parts of Anatolia. The colors in Ladik carpets are very vivid and well matched. After Kula carpets, Ladik carpets, with their 250,000 knots per square meter, are considered just as fine.
Milas is the center of a weaving area in Western Turkey near Izmir. It gives its name to all the carpets produced in the region. Those made in the immediate area of Milas are different in style to those made in the South-west Peninsula, around the center of Karaova. There are four sub-types which constitute the Milas family,’ the prayer carpet with the lozenge shaped niche, the bright red medallion Milas, the antique Milas which is woven in shades of red-brown and yellow and the Ada Milas which is quite restrained in design. The prayer rugs are the most important sub-type, with their unusual shaped Mihrab, elongated, terminating in a lozenge, representing the immortality of the soul. Carpets from no other region have Mihrabs in this shape. There are approximately 160.000 knots per square meter in the Milas carpets.
Milas colors mostly include earth shades of rust red, brick red, and tawny yellow and Brown, along with a characteristic subdued mauve. The range of major and minor border stripes is narrow, with the same elements remaining unchanged for the last 100 years more.
With its pastel colors, it is a quite decorative rug.
Taspinar is a small hamlet in the carpet weaving areas of the Nigde. Nigde is one of the main roads that cross the Taurus Mountains. Taspinar produces excellent carpet of a thick pile, knotted in high quality wool. They have a predominantly blue and red field enlivened by delicate motifs in lighter shades. The yarn is dyed with natural vegitable dyes by the Caucasian methods. Taspinar carpets are among the most beautiful of all Anatolian carpets. In the old Taspinar’s carpets the Persian influence can be seen which are plant figures and geometric designs used simultaneously. However, the rich colors and beautifully proportioned somewhat formal design prevent this unusual mixture from this pleasing the eye. Well cared for, old Taspinars have a wonderful silk like quality. As the lanolin in the wool rises to the surface it gives the pile a soft rich velvety sheen. New Taspinars are made in the same rich colors as old ones, but the designs are becoming more varied. Caucasian and nomadic pattern have become more regular in recent years. The knot density of Taspinar carpets are 140,000 per square meter.
Ushak is a small city located in west-central Anatolia. Since the 15Th century it has been an important carpet weaving center. Its importance comes from the revolutionary change on the design of the carpets. Normally most Anatolian carpets have classical tribal motifs which are generally geometric but on Ushak carpets it had shift to curvilinear and decorative motifs. This happened due to demand of Ottoman Palace. Unlike tribal carpet they were produced on workshops and special designers made the designs. That resulted on wider range of design and size. At the beginning, they were woven wool on wool foundation but as the sizes increased , wool on cotton foundation production started because on oversize carpets wool foundation is not strong enough.
These carpets, made in the vicinity of Kayseri are of a very fine quality and are considered very attractive. A rich red with indigo colored blue is used throughout the field with a border of brilliant shades of yellow and gold. This carpets are very popular, because of the traditional flawless workmanship of the Yahyali weavers. The main ornamental motif of a contemporary and antique Yahyali is the hexagon which is similar to those of the Yoruk carpets, but they are more linear in execution. A double hexagon encloses a light blue centerpiece. The hexagon may be single, double or triple. Most Yahyali carpets have these common characteristics. A main border with stylized flowers and an “old gold” ground, surrounded by two lesser borders with a dark blue ground. The main field is nearly always red, with a blue medallion and corner pieces, which have stepped edges. The warm color harmony and beautiful designs along with good quality make the Yahyali carpets one of the most popular carpets of Anatolia. The number of knots in Yahyali carpets are equal to the number of Milas carpets (140,000 knots per square meter).
Yagcibedir carpets are produced in the mountainous areas of the Aegean regions, in the nomad inhabited villages of Mazilar, Islamlar, Karakecili, Yenikoy, Karaoba and Kocaoba (the oba ending means ‘nomad tent”). According to the legend Yagcibedir was a butter seller from Kayseri who made excellent quality carpets to supplement his income. He shared his skills with the people of the villages he visited, so when they started to produce, they named their carpets after him. The warp, weft and knots are made of pure lamb’s wool, and the pile is clipped short to allow the pattern to be clearly seen. The dominant colors are dark indigo blue and rich madder red, sometimes with the inclusion of cream, brown, softer shades of red and pinks. As the carpets age they become more and more lovely, as the dark reds fade to a beautiful soft red-brown. The colors and patterns of Yagcibedir carpets have remained the same for countless generations. They are very distinctive and easy to recognize. The dark blue ground is patterned with geometric forms: stars, flowers, stylized birds and numerous stars of Suleyman.
The field is framed by a border of five or seven bands. The double ended prayer niche, which indicates that the weavers were Shi-ite Moslems, is very distinctive with an edge of three stepped lines, ending in a ram’s horn motif. These carpets are often the favorites of male carpet lovers, due to the masculine colors and simple geometric designs. The knots density in these carets are 160.000 per square meter.
Regions in Caucasus
The unique beauty and grandeur of Shakdag and Tufandag, the snow-capped peaks of spurts of the Greater Caucasus Range, spreading out into the Caspian…
The forests running right down to the golden sands of the Caspian shores the orchards spreading out beyond the horizon, the rich soil of the valleys, the Samur – Divinchinska lowland…
The country spreading westward of the Apsheron peninsula, from the ancient Shemakha up to the Derbent barrage, for centuries waging the struggle, repulsing the foreign invasions…
The legendary Derbent of Beireklers and Banuchichens, Dede Korkud and Fatali Khan… The beautiful country of Kuba is lying here. Sheer rocks, rapid mountain streams, multicolored valleys, all these gifts of Kuba were handed over in the wealth of their unique hues to the popular arts – i. e. carpet-making, poetry and metalwork(copper items).
Shirvan means high mountains, boundless forests, ancient strongholds, the voice whispering thousands of legends… The name Gyulistan, which means “flower garden” can be given not only to the capital of Shirvanshaks but to the whole Shirvan region. In truth , Shirvan is the flower garden of Azerbaijan. Not only Diri Baba and Djavanshir strongholds, but every cemetery keeps still unread stone pages of the chronicle of the history of our Motherland. From Kobystan preserving the traces of great art of our people for ten thousand years up the eyes of Shirvan, which are piercing the sky, through the Pirkuli observatory, along the old caravan route passing through ancient towns and villages disappeared in the past, up to now, as it was many centuries ago, numerous springs gust out from the rocks, like Goch-bulag, as an embodiment of the inexhaustible source of people’s inspirations. Home country of Djavanshir and Khagani Shirvani. Imadedin Nasimi, and Rasul Riza… In the daytime and at night one can hear the tapping sound of the copper-smiths of Lagich. The flowers give their colors Shemakha Kelagais, the crimson blood of the pomegranate is mingled with a pure song of the green trees, tipping out onto the silks of Shirvan, onto its carpets and articles of its jewelers.
Historians cannot give the exact age of the old Ganja. But about a thousand years ago Ganja was the largest town in Transcaucasia, its population being a half million people.
For many years old Ganja was the capital of Northern Azerbaijan. Now Ganja is one of the largest centers of culture and arts in this country. It carefully preserves the fine ancient architectural monuments of the past… The indelible traces of Ganja’s wisdom will live in the Ganja carpets forever.
Kazak occupies an honorable place in the economic and cultural life of the republic due the famous horses of the Dilboz stock and the flocks of sheep, the saz and poetry, the ashug (popular bards) and the carpets.
Every inch of the land is the history alive, and those who live on the land of Kazak now, the heirs of this history, preserve and further promote the creative work of people, thorough whose efforts Kazakh has acquired its frame.
On the plains of Karabagh the herds of horses are prancing, the stocks of Karabagh horses being world renown; on the Karabagh Mountains the flocks of famous sheep is indispensable in making carpet woolen yarn.
The carpets woven in Karabagh in the 16th-17th centuries are now on display in the Berlin Arts Museum, the New York Metropoliten Museum and other museums of the world, as many a time these carpets decorated the exhibitions of art works in Paris, Vienna, Berlin, Petersburg and Moscow.
You can see related products at: Oriental Carpets