Turkish Anatolian Carpets & Kilims
The Carpet Bazaar, Cairo, by Charles Robertson, signed and dated 1887
The history of Turkish rugs date back to the Central Asia steps. Carpets are broadly used by Turkish clans. Since the Turkish nomads were moving very often and lived in tents, carpets were very portable objects which made the ground easy to step on.
Turkish carpets in Anatolia are slightly different than the ones used in Central Asia. The oldest Turkish carpets in Anatolia found in city of Konya and carpets are from the 13th century. Konya was an important city for many Turkish tribes and later for the Ottomans.Konya was considered as the center of carpet production for a long period of time. In many other cities in Anatolia, carpet production also continued through long ages. As a result Turkish carpets are commonly named as Anatolian carpets and for this reason people think Turkish and Anatolian carpets are different kind. Depending on the region it can be seen that each carpets has unique design. These hand-made art pieces reflect a tradition that is passed on from one generation to another.
Turkish Anatolian carpets are usually categorized as Seljuk (Nomadic) carpets and Ottoman (Traditional) carpets. The first category is refers to Turkish tribes from Central Asia. Weavers of tribes mainly used geometrical motifs with animal and nature portrayal. On the other hand Ottoman carpets are adorned with flower motifs with medallion in the center.
The story of Turkish carpets in Anatolia started with well-known battle of Manzikert.In general acceptance this battle opened the gates of Anatolia to the Turks for the first time. Then Turkish tribes moved to Central Anatolia and they settle into those lands.Beautiful mosques, caravanserais, and palaces are built by Seljuks and they decorated these building with the their carpets.The oldest Anatolian carpets found in Alaeddin Mosque,Konya.Distinctive characteristics Seljuks carpets are they weavers mainly used mainly blue and red tones and arabesque motifs and kufic scripts.
Interestingly Turkish carpets are introduced to world by famous traveler Marco Polo.During his visiting Anatolia he noted that the best carpets weaved in these lands.Later on another well-known traveler Ibn Battuta wrote about Turkish carpets and noted that Turkish carpets are now traded in all the known trade centers of the world.
One event had a massive influence on Turkish culture and inherently on Turkish carpets.The capture of Tabriz and Cairo by Ottomans led to enormous cultural influence on culture of Turks.As a result of this cultural influence, motifs of Turkish carpet changed remarkably.Instead of geometric motifs of Anatolian carpets other carpets preferred by carpet masters.Also new carpet master hired from Cairo and Tabris and then Turkish carpets were adorned with floral and busy motifs.
Later on Venetian and Genoese merchants that ruled the sea trade from Istanbul to Europe made carpet trade a profitable business. Carpets made in Bergama (Pergamum), Kayseri (Caesarea), Konya (Iconium), Hereke (Nicomedia) and Usak (Oushak) decorated the palaces of European dynasties for long years and also Turkish carpets can be seen in work of Renaissance painters.
How about Turkish Carpets of today ?
Hereke and Usak carpets survived through years but it can be mentioned that due to low production they are also rare and expensive.Wool-made geometric motif Anatolian carpets are easier to find and therefore they are cheaper. Carpet production continues in some cities where weavers has unique speciality.The most common carpets today are manufactured on a smaller scale in Ankara and the Konya area, and are called Jerevan-, Kayseri-, Mekri-, Hereke-, Ghiordes-, Kula-, Oushak-, Yahyali- and Yagcibedir carpets.Carpets that are waeved in these famous cities are then imported to Istanbul and they take their place in shops of famous Grand Bazaar and displayed to local and foreign visitors.
To find the right carpet at the right price might require a special expertise.As one the oldest Anatolian carpet shop in Grand Bazaar we'll be glad to assist you and share our knowledge about Turkish carpets.