History of Kilims

Antique Kilim Rug

Kilim rugs are quickly growing in popularity. They have a worldly look that complements any design style. Where did this trend come from, you might ask?

The word Kilim is of Turkish origin and is used to describe pileless rugs made using a flat-weave technique. These beautiful textiles were not just made in Turkey - their origins range from regions like the Balkans to Northern Africa, to name a couple. Now these cosmopolitan treasures are appreciated in households all over the world.

Today, Kilim rugs are characterized by spiritual and tribal patterning, as well as rich colours. More mainstream companies have appropriated the look, making them accessible to any home, anywhere in the world. These beautiful textiles have been repurposed as upholstery fabrics for pillows and ottomans to add bohemian flair to your space.

Kilims are flat woven textiles that are made of intersecting warps and wefts. For thousands of years, kilims have been woven to serve utilitarian purposes, such as for floor coverings in tents, tent covers, tent bands, baby cradles, and numerous other functions.

Throughout history, however, kilims have also been enjoyed not just for their utilitarian benefits, but also for their great beauty and unique aesthetic. In recent times especially, kilims have gained a wide popularity in American and European interior design. This article aims to provide a guideline for how to care for hand-woven kilims so that they can be preserved and handed down to future generations.

The different techniques of flat-weaving are legion, but the simplest is the weft-faced plain weave. In this, the warp threads are arranged on the loom as for almost any other fabric, but the dyed weft threads are woven in and out of the warps and then back on themselves to build up blocks of a single colour. In other forms of weaving, the wefts are taken all the way across the warp threads, side to side.

The oldest record of Turkish Kilim comes from Catal Hoyuk Neolithic pottery circa 7000 BC, the oldest settlement ever to have been discovered. It is located south east of Konya in the middle of the Anatolian region.

The excavations to date (only 3% of the town) not only found carbonized fabric but also fragments of kilims painted on the walls of the houses. The majority of them represent geometric and stylized forms that are similar or identical to other historical to contemporary designs.

Flat-woven fabrics required far less material and labour to produce than knotted pile and they were widely used as portable floor coverings, draperies and for day-to-day bags.

Kilim fabrics are highly versatile. Rugs can be used on the floor or the wall, and the material makes fine cushion covers and bags

Flat weave Kilim Rugs” is another name for kilim which was used in past. When we come to know Scandinavian, Polish-Romanian and Hungarian kilims, it is hard to believe that the origin of these traditional hand-made is desert dwellers of Africa, Central Asia or South and Central America.

Hardness of season migration, as well as difficulty of pastorals, or hard life in desert, have made no effect to process these crafts.

Incomparable culture of kilim weaving is an answer to the basic needs of farmers and migrants who look for dry and carpeted tent and also warmer bedding.

Many different kilims and felts belonging to the 4th and 5th centuries B.C. are very remarkable specimens of the first weavings in East; so it could surely be said that, this region is the first centre of kilim weaving; but it would not be known that, how much the ancient traditional techniques of kilim weaving have been developed throughout the world.

In the past, only the woollen yarns were used in kilims weaving, so it became more flexible and specially fine and smooth. Nowadays, pile grades of single yarns used in kilims , are usually “3 to 5”, and those kilims woven with double skein yarns are stronger.

Considering the Developed civilization of Anatolian (especially at the 6th century B.C.), could assume that, they are accustomed to kilim weaving and even caused to new styles of weaving come into existence.

One of its reasons was exchanging experiences of different methods in social common life. One of the oldest carpets remained, is weft warping kilim supposed to have Ottoman’s origin. Kilim weaving was highly developed between the 7th and 18th centuries. Seljuk, Ottoman, Mongol, Safavid, Mamluk, and Barbarians of North Africa were supporters of this art.

In the past, kilim weaving had an important role in women’s life and it was the major part of their dowry and also a source of income. So brides had to learn this craft; of course, it must be considered, that weaving has only been allocated to woven and yet it is one of their routine tasks of tribe women.

Kilims have greatly changed during centuries, i.e., more marriages among different tribes, make different styles mixed together. By the end of 19th century, kilim weaving was damaged by undesired chemical dyes imported from European Countries.

It is obvious, that the reasons of kilim weaving have been vastly changed, in recent years; cultural motives and personal usage of weaving gave its place to benefits of trading. A glance at various kilims of different regions, either old or new, shows that the original kilims have their own special place, as before.