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Antique and contemporary kilim rugs

Posted on 20 November 2013

Kilims are some of the most recognisable types of Oriental rug, they are flat woven, meaning they have no pile and are made anywhere from Pakistan to the Balkans. The word “Kilim” comes from Turkey where the word means “weft-faced tapestry”, because the wefts are pulled very tightly so that the warps cannot be seen at all apart from at the ends, where they are usually bunched into tassels. This is the simplest way to weave, and is a defining part of the Kilim rug. With this type of weave, the weft (horizontal strand) is woven between the warp (vertical strand), the weft is usually wool because it has vibrant colours, while the warp can be wool or cotton. This continues until a new colour is needed, when the current colour is looped back round and tied. 

 
In Kilim rugs there is a vertical slit between colours, created as the warp strings are pulled away from each other; this is why Kilims are often known to use the slit tapestry technique. This ‘slit woven’ design allows for very sharp designs and strong colours.
 
Kilims can be for decorative purposes or can be prayer rugs, in recent years they have seen a huge boost in popularity and are now a common floor-covering in houses in the western world. Their bright colours, geometric patterns and often historical symbolism makes them very popular, and because they do not have a pile they take much less time to weave, meaning that Kilims are usually more affordable.  Kilims have not changed over the years, and even the earliest Kilim ever found (dated to the fourth or fifth century BC) used the same weaving pattern as Kilims do now. 
 
Many Kilims that are around today are made for export, which has seen a surge in demand. Unfortunately because they are flat woven, many Kilims don’t survive as long as a pile rug would, very few today are older than a century.  Kilims present a sense of authenticity because they are so true to their roots, but now there are examples that have been adapted to suit the western market too. They are extremely collectable and are highly valued, and can be a great addition to any home.   The Pars Rug Gallery has a selection of antique kilims in addition to a huge contemporary and traditional collection.
 

Comments (2)

RobertTror
31 July 2015 at 18:21
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TravisEa
19 August 2015 at 05:29
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