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Rug Weaving In Turkey


THE term Turkish Rugs includes all those rugs that are manufactured within the Turkish Empire, whether the manufacturers be Kurds or Circassian or Christians ; the last of these names comprises the Armenians, the Greeks, and the Syrians. Turkish rugs are not so finely woven as Persian ; they have a longer pile and looser texture. As they are usually very soft and thick, the foot when walking upon them feels as if it were treading upon a bed of moss.

The principal rug-manufacturing district of Turkey is Karajah Dagh. Much weaving is done also at Caesarea. The rugs found at Adana are generally from the latter region, while those sold at Urfa are either from the Kurdish territory or from Persia. In Constantinople are seen rugs from almost every part of Asia, but the greatest number are from within the Turkish territory of Transcaucasia.

Each rug-weaving district of Turkey seems to have a distinct and individual class of rugs ; and this is not surprising, for there are a number of different tribes, each of which impresses its individuality upon the work. The surface configuration and the climate of a place have much to do with the quality of the rugs manufactured within it. Naturally, in the rocky, mountainous regions the flocks consist of goats instead of sheep. The sheep would be injured among the steep, sharp crags, and much of their wool would be lost, as it would adhere to the rocks. The goats, however, being hardy, easily jump from crag to crag, sustaining no injury to their hair

The hair of the goat is woven into the mohair and so-called Smyrna rugs, and also into what is known as Paul's Tent Cloth. This last is woven quite differently from other rugs; it is the coarsest of all, and the women weave it on the ground. To make it firm enough to keep out every drop of rain requires laborious work with the fingers, but when the cloth is woven with care it is a most excellent shelter from the storm. A large Paul's Tent, such as a rich man owns, costs about four hundred dollars. It shelters the women of the house-hold, as well as the cattle ; and one part is partitioned off for a guest-room.

In Turkey the floor is always covered with matting, and the matting, in its turn, is so closely covered with rugs as to be quite concealed. In large cities rugs are used in the Summer for divan and couch covers; in the Winter the same rugs serve as beds.

Constantinople is the greatest rug market in the world. Every known nation is represented in that wonderful city, where the ancient industrial skill of Asia meets the steadily increasing demands of the West. Nothing can be more interesting to the rug-lover than to wander through the streets and byways, observing the different phases of his favorite industry. The Custom House, where enormous bales of rugs await transportation; the great warehouses, which handle only at whole-sale; the bazaars, and even the street vendors, possess each an absorbing interest. The travelling merchants from Persia, who yearly journey to Constantinople, establish themselves in that busy section of the city known as Stamboul. Here they erect their khans, covering the walls and floors with rugs, many of which are really splendid in tone and quality. The large retail houses at Constantinople usually have collections of very choice rugs.

The Turkish Ministry of Commerce issued an order, effective June 1, 1926, that all rugs manufactured in Turkey and intended for export must have a small lead seal thereon, otherwise they will be prohibited from export. This is done to discourage imitations and also to prevent fraudulent transactions in the rug trade.

( Originally Published Late 1900's )

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