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[Folk Arts] [Plastic folk arts]

CARPET – RUG       

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Among the textile artworks, carpeting is the one that requires the highest technique and creativity. Western Turkologists started from the Turkish origin of the word have discovered that this art form was first discovered by Turks.

There are only two types of knotting techniques used in carpeting. These are called Turkish or Iran knots. The process of finding out which one of them is more ancient from the cultural history standpoint has lasted for many years because the results of this research would put forward the contribution of one of these nations to the world culture. Finally, the Russian archeologist Rudenko found a 1.90 x 2 meter carpet in the fifth cairn located in Pazirik region of Altay Mountains and showed that the knots used in this carpet belonging to V or III century B.C. are Turkish knots and since there are no Persian carpets older than this one, proved that Turks were the first to introduce this important for of art to the world’s culture history. The knotting technique used in this carpet is known in the world as Pazirik carpet has increased the interest of art historians to Turkish carpets.

For thousands of years carpeting has been a part of life of Anatolian women and they reflected all their feelings and emotions into the motives and knots of the carpets. Carpets that have been introduced to Anatolia by Turkmen and Yoruk tribes are the products of good taste, talent and mastery and every color and motive has its own message. Red color means friendship love, blue means hope, green means separation and yellow means an evil eye. Arms on waist motif points to fertility, ram horn symbolizes power, heroism and reproduction, fork motif means a protection from an evil eyed people, crane wing means togetherness, triangle motif points to marriage and hand motif points to abundance. A dragon motif on Yagcibedir carpets tells about Middle Asia legend while mihrap (a niche on the wall of a mosques that indicates the direction of Mecca) motif symbolizes the transition to Islam and each and every motif describes a different emotion and feeling.

The main material of Turkish carpets is wool that can be obtained in large amount in the areas where animal farming is developed. In order to make a carpet colorful and increase its strength and lifetime, wool threads used in warps were painted with natural dyes obtained from the roots of plants. Another way of increasing the lifespan of a carpet is to put as much knots as possible per every square centimeter. These traditions that have been continued for hundreds of years have increased the value of Turkish hand made carpets. The authors of those carpets, as in other important products of our folk have been forgotten and lost with anonymous pseudonyms. No name of any carpet master is known. The names of those young girls and woman that have converted their feelings, dreams, nature and surroundings will never be known. The only known thing is the geographical origin of a particular carpet. Isparta, Ladik, Gordes, Dosemealti, Hereke, Sivas, Yagcıbedir, Bunyan, Milas, Konya Demirci and outside Turkey Kirgiz, Kazak, Isfahan, Horasan, Buhara, Teke-Turkmen carpets are among those ones. Some carpets were named according to their main motives. Armali Usak carpet, Cubuklu carpet, Ejderli carpet, Miniyaturlu carpet, Nakisli carpet, Kuslu carpet are the carpets named according to the motives. There are also carpets that were named according to historical periods. Examples to those are Beysehir Selcuklu carpets, Hun carpets, Konya Selcuklu carpets, Memluk carpets, Osmanli saray carpets, Pazarcik carpets, Selcuklu carpets and Uygur carpets. Even though the names of the authors of carpets in Turkey have been forgotten, motive and decoration names are remaining. Soz gelimi, baklava dilimi, karni yarik, eli belinde, gonca gul, tespih, vazo, kurt agzi, kilic, kartal, cifte yay, bulut, fincan, el and many hundreds of other flower, grass and animal motives have been created by our young girls who reflected symbols, colors and lines in their minds onto the carpets. The complexity of the weaving machinery, the abundance and diversity of tools and devices used in carpeting is interesting.

Agirsak, cikrik (spinning wheel), cile, taban (base), dislik, wool comb, egirmec (spindal), gergi (stretcher), gobal, cubuk cirpi, tokmak (kostek), ilgidir, kirmen, oreke, orguc and yumak (bobble) are some examples. Root dyes that make the carpet even more beautiful as the time passes and provide color diversity are made in a special way. What color is obtained from what plant roots are the secrets of Anatolian carpeting art. Some known plants and the natural colors obtained form them are the followings: Dry apricot leaves give a light skin color. A branch, core or root of a walnut give a slightly green, brown color but, a fresh walnut core makes the green color darker. From the skin of an onion a light brown color, from oak leaves a gold brown color, from a corn poppy a slightly pink, from corn cockle mauve color, from kok yavsani a yellow color or a brown color after mixing with ashes and waiting, from wild mint a yellow, from serkele that flowers a brown color, from sutlegen a dark skin color, from the fruits of a small tree called cehri (Rhamnus infectorius) a dark yellow and from eynik, depending on the time of boiling, light blue, dark blue or black colors can be obtained.

Each with its own special value carpets are being made almost in every part of Anatolia. The most famous carpets are Bunyan, Avanos, Ladik, Isparta, Dosemealti, Yagcibedir, Kula, Taskale, Milas and Hereke carpets.

Bunyan carpets

The characteristic property of Bunyan carpets are light colors that are in harmony with each other and their specific patterns. Bunyan carpets that have an international fame are being made in almost every house on carpeting machines. Threads needed for the carpet are bought in Usak and painted in Kayseri. Carpets are being decorated with such traditional motives like "ince cicek bugdayli, uzumlu, donmeli and kirpikli". Bunyan carpets that are made with gordes knots have cotton warps.

Girls from Bunyan say that on average it takes about one month to make a six meter square carpet and they say that there are around 25 knots on each centimeter square of carpet. Girls that make carpets start from a very young age and make about 10 thousand knots a day. After finishing one carpet they usually take a break for a few weeks.

Hereke Silk Carpets

Carpets made in Hareke are famous in the whole world. These highly demanded silk carpets have one million knots in each square meter and are products of a hard labor. First the silk cocoons are bent and made into a silk. Then those are laid onto the machine. A separate group designs patterns for the carpet making group. One person can make only one silk carpet in a year. These carpets can only be made by a patient, hawk eyed, talented women who are very good at their profession.

Ladik Carpets

Although it is seen as a solution for non-employment by some people and thus considered as a women’s job, even men make carpets in Ladik. Ladik carpets that usually have about 200 thousand knots in every meter square are famous both for their quality and design. Producers say that the distinguishing aspect of Ladik carpets is the usage of fine, wool threads and the treatment of the carpet after preparation. Wool obtained from sheep and lambs are cleaned and turned into threads and then spin manually. After the carpet has been weaved with colorful wool threads, long wools are trimmed. Then the extra wools on the bottom are burnt, the carpet is washed and dried. In order to protect Lidik carpets from deforming, instead of flapping and clapping it, try to clean it with a broom, wash with vinegar water and leave under the sun sometimes.

Yagcibedir Carpets

The talking carpets of Yagcibedir are world famous. Hearing that a carpet can talk can sound weird for you. However, Yagcibedir carpets talk in their own way. A dragon motif on Yagcibedir carpets tells about Middle Asia legend while mihrap motif symbolizes the transition to Islam and "ask dolambaci” (love labyrinth) motive expresses the inner emotions of the carpet making girls. Many years ago, girls that fell in love were making these carpets with ask dolambaci motives in the form of two snails going in opposite directions and sending them to the families of the men with whom they wanted to marry. In this way young girls sent messages to the family without actually talking, thus the name - talking carpets.

Yagcibedir carpets that are made in Sindirgi district and some other regions of Balikesir are magnificent, with dense knots and colors like dark blue, dark sour cherry and dirty white.

Yagcibedir carpets are being sold on both sides of the road passing near Balikesir and have many colorful motives on them like a motive of a dragon eating a sheep herd that symbolizes one Middle Asian legend, a tent, horse, mihrap, balances, evil eye water used on the edges of a carpet and ask dolambaci motives. A red color is obtained from the boyalik plant and dark blue color is obtained from the roots of Alahorta plant. The fame of Yagcibedir carpets that take their colors from seven hills and their secret from seven climates has gone beyond the borders of Turkey.

Sivas carpets

Sivas carpets that have a special position in the world’s carpet industry are the products of long lasting tradition starting from the Seljuk’s period (13th century). The most apparent properties of Sivas carpets are the thinness of used threads, originality of paintings, weaving mastery, the high number of knots as well as the harmony of motives, patterns and colors. At least 12 and usually about 20 – 25 different colors are used to paint the carpets. These carpers are weaved using Turkish knots in Divrigi, Gurun, Kangal, Sarkisla and Zara. They are known as carpets with round contours and medallion and small flower motives.

Dosemealti carpets

These carpets that are known as Dosemealti carpets on the sides of Toros Mountains of Antalya and many villages in that region, loose their color on some parts after being lay on the floor as a result of the sunlight unevenly falling on the carpet and therefore they are laid under the sun in open areas at certain times. Under hot sun of Antalya, the carpets get pale much faster and evenly and thus reach their original color. In this field of carpets, the ones with incorrect paining are easily spotted. Dark blue and red colors are the most widely used colors in these carpets geometric motives called Mihrapli and Akrepli are predominating. Wool used to make Dosemealti carpets are painted with dyes obtained by boiling of roots of plants in pots.

Kula Carpets

Dark red color predominates in these carpets but, blue, dark blue, green and yellow colors are also used. Lined up side borders, small flowers, thin border stripes are the characteristic properties of Kula carpets. Today, Kula carpets are also known as Manzarali Kula, Vazolu Kula and Yilanli Kula. Kula is famous not only for its carpets but, also for live, colorful rugs.

Taskale carpets

Some traditional motives used in Taskale carpets are Bicakucu, Amber, Akitma, Zavrak, Ayna, Lale, Cevrim, Takke and Tarak. In Taskale, where you can find even small, five year old girls making carpets, there are about 500 carpet machines. Wool obtained from Karaman sheeps are used to make widely known “Kizillar” carpets. These yellow-red carpets on which 39 Middle Asian motives are used are made pale with some substances that give them an ancient look and then sold to other countries. Taskale carpet producers are able to fit 40 – 45 knots on one centimeter square area when using wool obtained from a goat.

Milas carpets

Milas carpets that have their own characteristic properties are also known as "Ada Milas, Patlicanli, Cingilli Cafer, Gemisuyu and Elikoynunda". According to the legend, Ada Milas carpets got their name from the Karia Queen named Ada who lived in IV century B.C. Today, figures and motives used in carpets made around Milas carry the spirit of the past. Because of the different weaving techniques used in different villages, Milas carpets are divided into two groups - Karacahisar and Goreme carpets. Karacahisar prayer rugs are weaved with Gobekli and Medallion pattern and decorated with plant motives such as flowers petals and branches. While white and red colors are used in carpets, prayer rugs are made from sheep wool and have many knots per unit area and thus are very strong. The carpeting machines used to make brown – yellow colored Milas carpets with or without a mihrap are most frequently seen in Bozalan, Gokbel and Asagi Mazi villages located between Milas and Bodrum. For the Ada Milas carpets dyed with natural dyes from plant roots, the yellow color is obtained from the typical plant of Ege region Pirenotu, apricot and peach leaves, brown color is obtained from walnut leaves, light brown color is obtained from bonito, dark green is obtained from mint and black color is obtained by leaving the wool in a mud for one week. The borders of the carpets with tera, carnation, leather, kedi izi and centi motives are called su yatagi (water course).

Isparta carpets

Isparta is one of the most important carpeting centers. Carpets made in the city and villages that remind a carpet garden are being sold in the carpet markets where they find their new owners. Among the carpets that are appraised according to their area, Kos Gobekli, Camdalli and Besyildizli are the most popular models. Isparta carpets have lesser number of knots per square area. Carpets made in Isparta half-open prison are called “Super Isparta”.

Avanos Carpets

In the entrance of the Avanos district of Nevsehir, you will see a statue of a young girl working on a carpeting machine. On the upper part of the statue there is a pottery making master. Young girls without any education used to make carpets starting from the age of 10 – 11 using techniques that were passed from their grandmothers and making at least 6 – 7 carpets for their wedding are not doing it anymore because of the increasing price of carpet materials and because of the developing tourist industry in the area. Avanos, Urgup and Nevsehir carpet makers are now selling the carpets made in other regions. Old Avanos and Urgup carpets are found only in collectors now and since these carpets are not made any longer the price for the old carpets have increased.

Anatolian Rugs

Rugs can be found in all parts of Anatolia. Live and colorful rugs made in the villages of Kula, Altinbas, Toplu, Hurriyet, Albas and Gicikli rugs made in Usak and Esme with various geometric patterns fascinates the observers. Along with Bayburt rugs with their specific Bayburt motives, rugs made in Bingol and surrounding areas with animal patterns, decorations and geometric – symmetric motives, Cankiri rugs made in Turkmen style, Kayseri rugs, Oren rugs made in Malatya, there are also many other colorful and live rugs in Anatolia. In Mus, making rugs is also developed along with carpeting. Barak rugs specific to Kas region are very famous too. Turkmen Yoruk rugs and saddlebags made in Aydin are known for their specific decorations and colors. Again, rugs made in Gaziantep region differ from all other for their decoration and weaving styles. Rugs of Hakkari region are important for their region specific motives and colors. Motives used in each region have their own meanings. Rugs made in Karabag district of Igdir mostly take their patterns from nature. Rugs with Ottoman palace motives made in the region are reflecting traditional Turkish motives. Rugs made by Turkmen people in the mountain villages of Mersin have very live colors. With their region specific motives, carpets and rugs of Kars are also worth seeing. The famous Karatepe rugs of Osmaniye are made exclusively from natural wool and painted with natural root dyes and have very specific motives and colors. Local rugs can be purchased from Karatepe – Kizyusuflu Village Cooperative. Kandira rugs of Sakarya region, Yoruk rugs made in Karacakilavuz and Ferhadanli villages of Tekridag, rugs of Tunceli are among the currently continuing handicrafts of Anatolia.