Soumak Kilim Rugs Sumak Weaving


   The sumak technique is achieved by weft-wrapping rather than the floating or semi-wrapping of the zili or cicim. The best known form of sumak is wrapped with an extra-weft although the most widespread forms of sumak in Anatolia are without a ground weft to support the wrapping Structure.

Sumak technique

   The technique of weft-wrapping ap- pears on Anatolian weaves dated 7th century BC, but it is thought that it reached Anatolia from the Caucasus where it is more common than in Turkey. The term soumac is said to have been derived from the name of a town in the southern Caucasus where such rugs were known to be woven. Sumak weaving is most common in eastern and southeastern Anatolia where it is encountered on cuvals and besiks both with and without ground weave. Anatolian sumak is usually woven without a ground weave and scattered patterns are more common than those obscuring the ground weave with solid progressive wrapping from edge to edge as in the Caucasian type.

   In the better known form of sumak which is more common in the Caucasus, the weaver wraps the pairs of warps with extra vo colored wefts and works in discontinuous series across the loom from edge to edge of the piece. The wrapping threads tend to obscure the warp entirely and to leave no ground weave visible. Anatolian sumaks are mostly weft-wrapped without in l between. Sometimes the sumak weave is used in limited or isolated areas on a plain ground weave. The weaver begins by wrapping each pair of warps within a single vro colored area at the edge of which she brings colored wrapping weft back again on the back side to the beginning of the motif on the next shed. Or she floats it on the back to another independent area where she needs the same color. Sumak is generally woven with the reverse side of the fabric facing the weaver.

   The sumak technique is not commonly used for large floor covers in Anatolia although large rugs with a scattered blue and dark blue pattern on a red ground are to be seen in western Anatolia. It is often used as an additional technique or a motif filler in cicims and in contour zili.

Plain sumak with ground weft

   In plain sumak with ground weft the warps are progressively wrapped from edge to edge of the motif or fabric with extra colored wefts in successive rows. The weaver floats the design yarn in each row over a group of warps. (The floats are on the side of the fabric facing the weaver which is the back side of the finished piece.) She then wraps the design yarn under two warps and continues, producing a row of slightly diagonal strokes. This is then secured by a shoot of weft, and the wrapping proceeds in the next row. This is not a common technique in Turkey. However rugs of this type are woven in western Anatolia around Canakkale and Balikesir with the sumak contour or motif filler which is more typical of Anatolian weaves. It is also found in the sumak sack faces of some parts of southeast Anatolia, woven together with countered sumak (see below) such as those of the Kurdish asiret (nomadic tribe) groups in the regions of Siirt, Van and Hakkari, and Turkmen groups in Gaziantep and Adana. Sumak is certainly an unusual rug weaving form in Turkey, but isolated plain sumak rugs can be found in the regions of Canakkale and Balikesir.

Plain sumak without ground weft

   A commoner form of sumak in Anatolia, progressive wrapping without any ground weave as a supportive structure in between, is known as stocking weave in some areas (Malatya, Gaziantep, Diyarba- kr and Elazig. It is mainly used for sack faces. The weaver wraps pairs of warp progressively with the design yarn and without any shoots of ground weft between.She floats the design yarn on the side away from her (the face of the fabric from the edge of the motif which has been wrapped to the opposite edge of the same motif on the upper shed. This is so that wrapping can continue on the next row. This creates a slight raise on the face of the weave at that point.

Countered sumak with ground weft

   In this sumak technique the weaver wraps the pairs of warps progressively with design yarn but returns on the next design row causing the slant of the wrapped yarn to be countered from row to row. On one row it tends to slant from right to left, on the next from left to right, giving the weave a herringbone appearance. Between each row of wrapping she passes a row of ground weft.

Countered sumak without ground weft

   As in ordinary countered sumak, the weaver in this technique progresses along one row and returns with the slant reversed in the next row, but no ground weft is added between the two pattern rows. This is also known as stocking weave, especially in southeast Anatolia.

Reverse sumak with ground weft

   This technique is weft-wrapping in reverse. The weaver wraps progressively from the face to the back, passes the weft behind two pairs of warp, winds it back over the second of these on the face of the fabric and returns it to the back, leaving a longer two-span float on the back and a shorter single-span on the face. This is not frequently used as it is not a practical for of weave for a rug.

Alternate sumak with ground weft

   This is a sumak form of reverse weft- wrapping in which the two-span floats are offset by one warp on each successive row. On the first row the weaver wraps the two pairs of warps from the back side and then on the next row offsets the float thread so that it advances by one warp Then she continues wrapping in the same way. Two or three pairs of warps can be wrapped at each span. This kind of sumak may be woven with or without ground weft in between. In eastern Anatolia, it is mostly encountered on rugs, cuvals and heybes and without ground weave.





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