Turkish rugs are renowned across the world, dating back to the 13th Century for their colours, motifs and patterns. As these rugs were traditionally knotted or flat woven each one was very often a bespoke design. Whereas, rugs would have been produced in many cultures for economic development, they were also popularised by Turkish people for environmental and religious reasons.
The rugs are used as a barrier against extreme weather in Turkish households and can conventionally be found on the floor, but are not uncommon to be found on walls and doorways. Turkish females traditionally take up weaving of the rugs (made of wool or cotton and sometimes with a hint of silk), as a hobby and eventually use this as a source of income. However, with recently technological advances the rugs can also be machine spun.
In the 15th and 16th Centuries the beauty and artistry of the Turkish carpets and rugs was duly noted through art-form. These exquisite masterpieces were considered to depict social and economic status and were too valuable to position on the floor unless under the feet of the Virgin Mary or royalty.
The rugs are generally made with natural dyes, which have proven popular in households as the dye does not bleed when it gets wet. Turkish rugs are normally made of the sheared wool from a live sheep, because it will be finer and smoother than that of dead wool.
Turkish Tribal Rugs From The Orient
From the earliest days, the Turkish tribes have favoured yellow. If a rug is yellow in its borders or centres which has geometrical designs, it probably is a Turkish rug. There are Turkish people living in Iran or Persia in the area of Hamadan, Kirmanshah and Tabriz or even in Khorasan Province who weave rugs, they too use yellow. These “Iranian-Turks” will have been influenced in their designs of rugs which are less severe geometrically but are often softer and quite conservative in their design form. The common characteristics of Turkish colour is derived from the Seljuk invaders and is preserved in the rugs of Yuruk by weavers who are from Amotolia on the Taurus Mountains. The weavers as such they are nomads, living in their round tents or kibitka. These rugs are always rectangular, rarely exceeding 4-6 feet in width and 9-10 feet in length and follow their nomadic designs with a touch of Turcoman. They are woven in complete panels with a medallion in its centre and use various shades of blue, coral, orange and lemon yellows. The Yivuk weaves are renowned for their pray mats and are made from wool from their own sheep and angera goats. Their irregular shaped rugs take on an exceptional lustre very like the Kazak rugs but still include little from animals.
Rugs from Kars are not dissimilar to the rugs from the Caucasus especially the Kazak rugs, Woven to the north in Kazakhstan but are quite like those rugs from other parts of Turkey. They can be identified by their extreme simplicity of design and wide and large blocks of solid colour. The background colouring includes deep mahogany browns and brick reds used for the backgrounds but always use the yellow in a single or several medallions within the rug and its borders. The Kars rugs have a tendency to be denser and heavier than other Turkish rugs. The wools’ high luste is derived from the natural oils it contains.
Yahyali rugs are similar to kar rugs are usually 4 feet by 8 feet and maximize the use of the colours yellow and gold for their background colours in the wide borders of the rugs. They use a simple medallion in the centre of the rug with a wide, clear, soft field; secondary colours used are light blue and turquoise. Sometimes the weavers use accents of Pomegranate as do the weavers of Tekke Boukaras but in silk.
Kayseri weaving has changed little down the centuries; their rugs are finely woven, low in nap and variable in size from small 2X3feet to larger specimens 10X14 feet.