Antique rugs possess the unique individuality of the artisan in personal expression and uncompromising craftsmanship. Most antique rugs offer the sublime rather than the mundane - these are pieces that express a refreshing uniqueness in taste and originality and an unquestionable joie de vivre. The design and color variations found in the various pieces differ due the geographical and religious influence of the individual weavers.
Antique rugs, ethnographic in nature, such as kilims (kelims) and other weavings have been produced by nomads and villagers throughout the Middle East and Central Asia for centuries. Highly detailed woven saddlebags, food sacks, tent wall hangings, animal pelts and floor and ground coverings have traditionally contributed greatly in a very important way to every important aspect of daily life, whose tribal and religious culture can be clearly seen as genuine artistic expressions. The geometric motifs in tribal rugs and weavings evolved directly on the loom. Traditional designs, some religious, talismanic or totemic - were passed from one generation to the next, with each weaver creating subtle variations that reflected their own artistic personality. Among the many techniques employed by the various rug makers were tapestry, brocading, soumak, knotting and warp- and weft-substitution weaves.
Antique rug making and design methods have been incorporated by antique Moroccan, Algerian, Baluch, Turkmen and Persian Afshar weft-substitution weavers. They creatively substituted variously colored wefts as desired in otherwise plain and ordinary weaves. Although there is not a name for this unique technique, the structure is truly a original. Various complex geometric designs are created entirely by hand. This type of patterning may seem mystical or even magical in nature. Moroccan weavers almost always work from the fabric's back side and Asian weavers typically work more often from the front.
Antique rugs, like most artistic tapestry, utilize a weft-faced weave. We see the warps only where they're exposed at the end of a weaving as fringe. As the artisan uses first one color, and then substitutes another in the intricate design pattern, he either lets the unused yarn portion float on the rug's reverse side, as a form of thick underlayment, or he will cut the yarns and let the ends hang loose on the back. Weavers such as the Turkmen, Afshar, Baluch, as well as others, have cleverly arranged intricate weft-substitution patterns in series of crosswise bands creating a truly unique look. The technique is also used commonly in small borders at the ends of the Baluch pile, providing an effective textural contrast. Some Moroccan weavers have pushed the design envelope further by utilizing a technique of weft substitution to an extreme level, producing a beautiful all-over design with incredible dimension and characteristics of detail.
A buyer should seriously consider ones that use entirely natural dyes, which soften magically with the passage of time. You will see these carpets often display stunningly unique color tones that you have never seen before in Oriental designs. You should also insist that the carpets are made of luminous and resilient high-grade wool. One that is truly original and authentic can bring warmth to persons heart and stimulate one's senses in a profound, and deeply motivating manner. To experience a carpet of this magnitude and depth, is similar to standing in front of a quality piece of ceramic pottery, being moved by the boundless richness of its color, shape and design. In short, they truly are a work of art.
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