Kilim Rugs - Turkey's name has long been attached to very fine rugs of oriental origin. Among the oldest of all rug designs are kilims and these are now arousing many collectors' interest.

 

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Kilim Rugs


 Turkey's name has long been attached to very fine rugs of oriental origin. Among the oldest of all rug designs are kilims and these are now arousing many collectors' interest.

 Oriental rugs were first imported to Europe through Venice in the 16th and 17th centuries, though their manufacture in their home lands had been developing for over 1000 years beforehand. Many of these rugs came from Asia Minor, centering on the Anatolian area of Turkey, but the region embraced a greater compass than Turkey's present-day boundaries. Eventually, the name 'Turkey' was attached to virtually all oriental rugs, regardless of their true origin.

 Today, all rugs are generally known by their place-name of origin, but there are important distinctions between names which indicate a type of rug and those which tell where they are from. The clearest single distinction lies in the name 'kilim': this is a type of rug, not a place-name, and indicates that the rug, or fabric, is flat woven. In this respect kilims are set apart from all other rugs whose pile is made up from closely packed individual strands knotted vertically to a backing.

WAYS OF WEAVING

 The different techniques of flat-weaving are legion, but the simplest is the weft-faced plain weave. In this, the warp threads are arranged on the loom as for almost any other fabric, but the dyed weft threads are woven in and out of the warps and then back on themselves to build up blocks of a single colour. In other forms of weaving, the wefts are taken all the way across the warp threads, side to side.

 Weaving one block of colour in one area of the design is called the slit-tapestry technique because, when wefts of two different colours small slits occur between them. Various systems of overlapping avoid the inherent weakness in this method and some kilims use diagonal patterns specifically to avoid gaps.

 Flat-woven fabrics required far less material and labour to produce than knotted pile and they were widely used as portable floor coverings, draperies and for day-to-day bags.

 Kilim fabrics are highly versatile. Rugs can be used on the floor or the wall, and the material makes fine cushion covers and bags.

COLLECTOR'S NOTES

 There are few bargains to be had in the world of oriental rugs. Good quality kilims are a fast appreciating asset and are not available at knock-down prices. It is safest to buy from a reputable dealer or major auction house where the provenance of the rug is guaranteed and you know you will get what you pay for.

 A rug's colour and condition are the main factors in assessing its value. All colours fade with time and in strong light, but naturally dyed rugs often to produce a more mellow effect than the synthetically dyed rugs that were common after the late 19th century. Though very old rugs may be expected to show some wear, certain types of damage or repair are acceptable while others are not. For example, dramatic colour variations may be due to a poor repair, yet small variations from one part of a rug to another are prized by collectors as this is often evidence that the yarn has been dyed by hand in small batches.

 Loose threads connecting patches on the back of djijim kilims are perfectly normal as, unlike shahrkurd kilims, they are not designed to be reversible. However, if the rug has been made by hand the design should still be strong and clear on the back. Machine-made rugs show a less distinct design on the reverse side. The fringes of kilims may be worn right off or have become thin if the rug is genuinely old, but even so this has very little effect on value.

Antique Kilims of Anatolia
by Peter Davies, et al

Kilim, The Complete Guide: History, Pattern, Technique, Identification
by Alastair Hull, et al

Kilims: A Buyer's Guide
by Lee Allane

Kilim Rugs: Tribal Tales in Wool (Schiffer Book for Collectors and Designers.)
by Susan Gomersall, Bruce M. Waters

Kilims Wall Calendar 2004

 

Kilim, The Complete Guide: History, Pattern, Technique, Identification
by Alastair Hull, et al
Some books are classics in their field and deserve to be described as "essential" reference tools. This is one such book. It is informative but, even more important, comprehensive, well written, and beautifully illustrated with more than 600 photographs, many in color, of Kilims--classic rugs from the Middle East that have become increasingly popular. In the opening chapters, the authors have provided information on how kilims are made, the construction of looms, and the dyes and dyeing techniques used. They also analyze motifs and symbolism employed by the weavers. In separate sections the authors next discuss the four major kilim producing areas of the world: North Africa, Anatolia, Persia (and the Caucasus), and Afghanistan. The book concludes with a chapter on new kilims and how to evaluate them, an excellent glossary, a chapter on rug care, and a list of kilim dealers and auctioneers throughout the world. Despite its relatively high cost, this book is essential for all art libraries and most public libraries.

Antique Kilims of Anatolia
by Peter Davies, et al
The authoritative account of the acclaimed and collectible kilims, the tribal flatwoven rugs of Turkey. From fleece, yarn, dyeing, looms, and weaves, to the visual language, tribal weavers, and meaning, origins, and aesthetics of the kilim, this book provides an ideal summary of the subject. It is illustrated with over 80 colorful examples, fine ethnographic photographs, and drawings that explain structural features and designs. An account of the kilim, the flatwoven rug of the peasant population of Turkey. The kilim is placed in its ethnographic context in order to reveal the significance and meaning of this tribal art. The controversy about the origin of the kilim is also covered. Peter Davies's Turkana Gallery specializes in kilims. He lives in New York City.

Kilim Rugs: Tribal Tales in Wool (Schiffer Book for Collectors and Designers.)
by Susan Gomersall, Bruce M. Waters
For those seeking inspiration from these striking, tribal rug designs and those who want to own them, this is the perfect guide. It's packed with 235 big, striking color photos, and simply presented as a guide for both would-be buyers and for rug owners seeking the story behind their precious finds. Buying a rug can be a traumatic experience. Author and rug dealer Susan Gomersall sets out to answer the questions you always wanted to ask a rug dealer, but felt too intimidated to do so. Each chapter tells one tribe's story: a little bit of their history, a little bit about their present-day circumstances, and descriptions of the rugs they weave. Both antique and modern rugs can be found in each chapter, and some indication of what these generally cost in a retail situation.
About the Author
British author Susan Gomersall's fine arts studies first took her to Greece, and an adventure into Turkey led to her great love and enthusiasm for Kilims and the people who weave them. This love led to her eventual career as an importer. Her company, KeaKilim, is located in New York City, and she has become a renowned expert in the field, often invited to address rug and textile groups, including the Oriental Society at the University of Chicago.