GREEK rugs are almost as ancient as Greece herself. Many an old love-song of this land has praised the skill of the woman deftly plying the hand loom. But if one expects to see the glory of ancient Greece, in its perfection of form and design, transmitted in any degree to the industry of modern rug-weaving he will be disappointed. From time immemorial rugs have constituted a most important part of the dowry of a young girl from the provinces. Even now the courting of a bride in Crete is often prefaced with the question whether the girl is skilled in the handling of a loom. But the modern Greek rug is seldom seen outside of its own country, for it is generally made for home use, and the weaver is not easily induced to part with it. Besides this, the foreign market would not be large for them, especially in competition with the well-known and excellent Oriental rugs.
Greek rugs are of two kinds — the heavy ones which serve for floor coverings in the winter, and the thinner, which are used all the year round. Both are made of home-produced wool, often with hemp woof, and are worked by women and girls only, in wooden looms of a primitive order.
Athens is the only place in Greece where rugs are produced in a factory. Under the patronage of Her Majesty the Queen, an Association for the Education of Poor Women exists. This philanthropic association has founded an industrial institution which employs four hundred women and girls in its various departments, of whom about thirty are engaged in rug-weaving. The best rugs are those purely Grecian in design and quality, and for these special orders are generally sent in. The rugs thus woven are durable and effective. Some-times an attempt is made to imitate Turkish rugs, but without their superb effect. Coarse rugs .of an inferior class are sold in the bazaars of Athens. The predominant color in these is a dingy white, with stripes of various colors at the ends. The rug is really durable, though the noticeable, fuzzy nap soon wears off.
( Originally Published Late 1900's )