The Nomads


   Carpet, being an invention of nomads, was an important means created to insulate.the cold ground wich was an important problem when the tent was erected. It was laid down to avoid stepping on bare ground under the tent. Hides were used  in its place before, however they were easily torn and wore out. A final solutin to keep out the cold could only be the use of a very strong and durable material. Therefore, a softer, thicker and more durable item, wich would retain warmth better and also double up as a bed or duvet, was needed. Kilim was in use much earlier, but it was insufficient at keeping out of the cold and damp from ground. It was primarily used as a cover on cradles or hung in the middle of the tent as a partition. Priscus, a member of the delegation sent by the  Byzantium to West Hun Emperor Attila, wrote that a rug was laid before his seat in the tent and told that his bed was partitioned from the feast room by an embroidered linen. Different  functions ferformed by carpet and kilim are, therefore, evident.

Nomadic Turkish Carpets

   The first carpets were woven with wool knots on wool warp. At the beginning the ends of knots(pile) must have been left uncut. In this way, a long, dense and thick surface could be obtained, and this thick layer of wool could ensure protection against th cold in areas where winters were harsh. This new weaving technique, developed as knots on double  warp threads by making use of the kilim weaving technique, evolved as the carpet that we know today. The single knot system, on the other hand, did not become very popular among nomads. The most important thing for nomads was the durability of the goods. For they could not find the raw material required for producing a new carpet whenever  they needed it and wherever they went, if the ol done became unusable and had to be replaced. Lambs could not be sheared in winter to obtain wool for weaving carpet; it had to wait until spring. Consequently, a new carpet could not be woven at any time of the year.

   Therefore, to avoid such an unexpected problem, nomads had to produce reliable and long-lasting goods. That is how they have developed the double knot technique (also known as Gördes knot)wich considerably increased th strength of the carpet.

   Today there are more than 400 vilages and settlement areas with a tribal name. As it is time-consuming to weave a carpet and looms are difficult to move about, nomads have not been able to weave large-size carpets. They were only able to weave carpets in varying sizes as they became settled , still using their traditional colours and motifs. This in turn helps totrace the origins of such carpets, i.e. where it was woven.

   Turkish carpets are named after each districh which respectively have their own individual  designs and characteristics reflected on each carpet. These carpets, which are usually woven on looms at high planes and villages have standart sizes. With a difference of a few centimetres, they are usually woven in size of 60x100, 90x135, 130x200, 150x200 or, 200x300 cm. but they may also come in larger and different sizes. However, it is almost imposibble to find carpet i a certain, required size. Also some carpets are very rarely available at all, in any size other than its standart size. Since these carpets are usually geared for the use of their weavers, it is sometimes imposibble to find nomadic carpets in very large size (e.g. exceeding the ground dimensions of a tent). Today there are about 300.000 carpet looms in Turkey, producing annualy an average aggregate sum of 4.500.000 m2 of carpets.

   Sheep wool is an indispensable material of nomadic carpets. The quality, flexibility and strength of wool depends on the feding of sheep as well as the way in which the wool is spun. An unfading shine can only be obtained from the wool of well-fed sheep. The age of the animal is equally important: the wool obtained from an aged sheep does not have the same quality as that from lamb. The most prized wool is that obtained from mature sheep shorn in spring. The herd is guided through a brook, i.e. püre water, and each sheep is individiually washed there with soap. The soap does not damage the shiny substance on the wool hair, on the contrary it helps to make the wool brighter and whiter.




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