Gift Cottage Industries


Carpets A hand knotted carpet of Kashmir is perhaps the most coveted craft of textile weavers, a passionately ornate work of art. Carpet weaving was introduced in Kashmir from Persia and Asia . Hand Knotted carpet from Kashmir is a result of hundred years of research and practice which makes it a prized item in the international trade. Having its origin in the nomadic life, it is as old as the civilization itself. The nomads handed it over to the civilization of settled population. The Muslim saint Zanul – Abudin 650, found the earliest evidence of the hand knotted carpet years ago from the deserts of Iran . The rug discovered belonged to 5 th century B.C. having 360,000 knots per square meter (232 knots per square inch ). During the reign of Moghuls some immigration of carpet weavers took place from Persia to India and thus the Persian designs were mixed with the local styles to produce some of the greatest carpets in the history. Carpets depicting Moghul hunting were very much famous all over the world. Some of these splendid products are still preserved in museums. Today Oriental carpets are manufactured all over the Asian Continent; from Balkans to China and Caucasus to Indo-Pak sub-continent.

Carpets from Kashmir enjoy a special place of pride among Indian handicrafts. A fine example of excellent workmanship, these carpets form an integral part of Kashmir 's rich cultural heritage. Intricately designed, with attractive colour schemes, they are an artistic expression of the weavers imagination. While the music of the beautiful surroundings echo through each knot, the richness of the pastures is embedded into the surface itself. The designs and patterns in Kashmiri Carpets continued to be inspired by Persian and Central Asian rugs, though the influence of Indo- Asian art is noticeable. Besides the widely famed designs like Kashan, Kirman, Ardebil , Bukhara , Ghoum, Tabriz , Isfan, Nain, Khurosan, Djozan, Heriz, Joshrang, etc…peculiarly Kashmiri variants depicting valley's scenic splendour as well as some based on shawl patterns have also been evolved. Kashmiri craftsmen have the remarkable ability to reproduce even the most intricate designs. It is said that Kashmiri Carpets once so charmed Maharaja Ranjit Singh that he rolled on it in great joy. An interesting feature of carpet weaving in Kashmir is that the design is guided by the talim, a coded script committed to paper indicating the number of knots to be piled in a square inch as also the colour scheme along with lines in wool or silk or both ( the warp is invariably in cotton ). The talim is fixed into the warp threads for execution. A colour chart, locally called “Ranga Ticket” containing actual dyed pieces of yarn is also used for reference. The talim writer employs different symbols for various colours and shades the process being extremely intricate requiring considerable calculation & concentration. To encode a design for an average carpet takes over three months. Abstract symbols could be woven into dense ornamentation. The geometric designs can be combined with figures and florals with different meanings. Endless experimentation led to the perfection of natural dyes. Plants, flowers, vegetables, fruits and even insects were a source of colours. Sour cream was used to tone down colours. The useof colours were a part of individual skills, the nature of various dyes often being a jealously guarded secret. The quality and therefore the prices of a carpet is determined by the number of knots to a square inch and fineness of the material used. Quality of dying and finishing are also important determents.

THE BEAUTY OF ORIENTAL CARPETS can be approached not only in terms of art and mathematics, but also within the contexts of Islamic art and spirituality. Historically, throughout the Islamic world from Spain to Indonesia , patterns appear in architecture and interiors to organize space and to beautify the built environment. All patterns reflect the pure beauty of numbers, considered to be of divine origin in Islamic doctrine. And by their very nature, patterns exhibit multiplicity as expressions of unity, which is an attribute of God. Patterns in Oriental carpets may thus be seen as expressive of a world view in which multiplicity exists in relation to the unity of all existence.

ORIENTAL CARPETS have long been appreciated for their beauty. That beauty is achieved through the choice of colors and designs, as well as by the manipulation of designs and colors to form pleasing patterns.

Patterns in Oriental carpets are never quite what you expect - a surprise here, a flourish there, a change of color, the flip or rotation of a design where you might not predict it. The more you look, the more variations you will find. How can we explain this phenomenon? Is it the result of human choice, or human error? The study of symmetry offers one approach to analyzing patterns in Oriental carpets. Through symmetry analysis we may identify areas of pattern that exhibit expected repetitions, and areas that vary from that expectation.

THE BEAUTY OF CARPETS also depends upon the quality of yarns that go into their construction. The warp consists of a set of parallel yarns held taut on a loom. The weft is composed of cross-wise yarns that interlace with the length-wise warp yarns as weaving progresses. The pile is formed by rows of what are called knots projecting from the foundation of interlacing warp and weft. Each knot is formed by inserting a supplementary yarn and wrapping it around a pair of warps. After weaving, the pile is cut to a uniform height.

Only the pile yarns are visible on the surface of a carpet. It is the pile that carries the colors, designs, and patterns. Thus, Oriental carpets are two-dimensional in the appearance of surface design; they are, however, three-dimensional in structure. The type of knot used in the construction of a carpet is one of several technical characteristics which, when considered with style, provides a means of grouping Oriental rugs. Comparing rugs with similar technical and stylistic features may help in figuring out where they may have come from and who wove them.

ORIENTAL CARPETS come from traditional rug-weaving areas of the world: Turkey , the Caucasus, Iran , Central Asia, western China , and India . In the 15th and 16th centuries, they were also produced in Spain and Egypt . Over the centuries, rug-producing regions developed distinctive styles based upon local traditions of manufacture, availability of materials and dyestuffs, and preferences for particular patterns, designs, and colors. Rugs from different areas share technical and stylistic features that enable us to identify major regional groupings as shown.


Points to keep in mind when choosing a carpet :

* Whether it has been made of silk pile on silk base, silk pile on cotton base, silk and wool on cotton base or wool on cotton base. * The number of knots on the reverse of the carpet; whether one or more line in the design has been omitted completely in which case the pattern looks lopsided; * Whether any element in the design has been wrongly woven so that one motif is larger or smaller at one end than the corresponding motif at another end, etc. * Whether each motif or element of design has clear, crisp outlines; blurred edges indicate a fault in the weaving. * Whether the edges of the carpet are crooked as if it had been incorrectly mounted on the frame, so that one end is broader than another.