Kilims, aka kilim rugs, are a hugely popular flat tapestry-woven carpet that have been produced since ancient times in the middle east from the Balkans in the West to Pakistan in the East.
Kilim rugs have been identified as old as from 4th or 5th century China. The term kilim is Turkish and originates from the Persian ‘gelim’, meaning to spread roughly.
Kilim rugs are created with a tight interweaving of warps and wefts to produce a flat carpet surface without a pile. The on display weft strands give the rugs their colour and design, and are usually made from wool. The hidden warp strands, visible only at the end of the design emerge as a bunched fringe, and are usually made from either wool or cotton. One of the attributes of Kilims that make them much beloved by collectors is the weaving strategy they employ creates a vertical slit between different colour areas which makes for a very sharply defined designs that emphasize the geometry of the design.
Kilims have been made for centuries with basic tools including a loom, a beating comb, shuttle and a knife or scissors. Naturally dyes were masterfully created from plants, animals and minerals for hundreds of years up until the introduction of synthetic dyes in the mid 19th century. Many experts believe that natural dyes appear softer and more muted, and that the colours of natural dyes blend together more harmoniously due to the more complex collection of wavelengths perceived by the human eye.
Soft and thin kilim rugs are often used as wall hangings, and ornamental pillow cases. There is a rich symbolic language used in the designs of kilims, with each kilim producing region having traditional patterns and motifs associated with it. Turkey has in fact patented their own specific brand of kilim rug.
Though kilims are usually cheaper than pile rugs, they have become increasingly popular in recent years. Their indigenous motifs and authentic hand weaving and dyeing of the yarn have transcended trends with a universal appeal that sees them exported all over the world.
A Persian rug is one that is produced in Iran and the surrounding areas that once comprised the Persian empire. Stretching from China to Turkey, the Persian Empire was one of the mightiest in the history of civilisation, and perhaps the most commonly appreciated export of that era is the ubiquitous ‘Persian Rug’. Some people consider a Persian Rug to be from Iran only (the epicentre of what was once the Persian empire), and rugs from other areas in ex-Persian empire countries such as Afghanistan, Turkey Pakistan or India to be ‘Oriental Rugs’
Persian rugs are highly sought after for their beauty, craftsmanship and durability. A genuine Persian Rug of the highest quality can command a price tag in the millions of dollars.
Also known as Persian Carpets, these historically significant works of art are made for commercial and residential uses, and also for cultural symbolism.
Usually a Persian Rug is understood to refer to pile-woven textiles, however flat weave Kilim and Soumak rugs, and embroidered Suzani carpets are also threads of the dare we say it, ‘rich tapestry’ of Persian rug making.
The earliest roots of the ancient art of Persian carpet weaving can be traced back to 400BC, when classic Greek author Xenophon describes them as precious works of art worthy of use as diplomatic gifts.
Most Persian rugs use a pile of sheep’s wool with cotton warps and wefts tensioning the foundation of the rug. Warps are strong thick threads which run the length of the rug. Wefts pass under and over the warps from each side of the rug. Sometimes silk is used for warps and in pile, either to highlight elements of design or as the entirety of the pile material, which is most commonly seen in wall hangings.
Weaving a pile rug is an enormously time-consuming and skilled process which can take anywhere from a few months to several years depending on the size and quality of the rug. A commonly used indication of the quality of a rug is its knot count per square inch. On average Persian Rugs range from about 30 to 300 knots per square inch.
For more information about Persian Rugs and what to look for when buying them feel free to get in touch with West End Co.’s Daniel Axiak by clicking here.
We have recently landed a very unique Chobi rug in rich Blues, reds, creams, and greens at West End Co. It is a very different rug from the typical vegetable dyed rugs we usually have. The colours are more like very fine Kazak rugs, rather than Chobi.
The rug in this image is similar to ours, although I think ours is more complex in its design. We are glad to see some fresh designs and risky colours recently with these decorative and very unique Afghan rugs.
There is just a look and feel to an older hand knotted rug that stops people in their tracks. I often hang an older persian rug outside on the wall of my store…. More often than not, someone wonders into my store and says, “I want that one”!!!
With time, Persian rugs soften in colour and mature. Older Persian rugs also have Abrash, ribbons of inconsistent colour, throughout the rug. With very old Persian rugs, there might be a spot of repair here and there. Further testament to their longevity and the value of old world hand crafted items, in an age of mass produced throwaway consumerism.
This small Hamadan piece is around 50 years old and in perfect condition for its age. The colours have softened and the pile is still thick and soft. Please take a closer look at:
I came across this shot of a beautifully presented room with lots of layered tribal Afghani rugs. The mixed texture of the different rugs, together with the rustic coffee table has been used to great effect. The result is an inviting, warm, and homely room.
This kind of look with Afghani rugs can be achieved quite easily, and with Afghani rugs being relatively well priced, it can be done at a reasonable price as well.
We have a very large stock of tribal, Persian, and Afghani rugs. If you are looking for a beautiful hand knotted Persian or Turkish rug in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Perth, or Adelaide, look no further than West End Co. Our Brisbane Rugs store has the largest range of hand knotted rugs in QLD. online store
I have just returned from a buying trip in Pakistan. Due to the political and security situation in Afghanistan, all of our trade is done in Pakistan. We have a container full of beautiful hand knotted rugs on the way, many of which are exclusive to West End Co. Most notable is a new range of vegetable dyed Chobi rugs… See the image below for an idea of our Chobi range…. these rugs are drying in the sun after their final wash. Chobi rugs are hand knotted in the Herat region of Afghanistan. They are knotted with Vegetable dyed hand spun Ghazni wool. These rugs have to be seen to be appreciated.
If you are looking for a Persian rug, Turkish rug, or Afghani rug in Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide, or Perth, look no further than Wet End Co. Rugs.
Our Chobi rugs drying in the sun
This is an appropriately named collection of pieces carefully selected by West End Co. Our collection of Afghan revival rugs are created using old dying techniques and feature designs both ancient through to designs influenced by the Arts and Crafts movement of the early 20th Century. These pieces are perfectly knotted and the colour palettes sublime.
This exclusive collection of rugs is available for viewing in our Brisbane rug store. Alternatively, you can shop online for free Australia wide delivery.
The other day I had some clients describe my kilim rugs as being “gypset”… I had never heard this word before. A cursory google search revels that the definition of gypset is:
“Gypset Style explores the unconventional, wanderlust lives of these high-low cultural nomads and the bohemian enclaves they inhabit, as well as their counterculture forbears, such as the Victorian explorers, the Lost Generation, the Beatniks, and the hippies”.
I guess I was showing my age by not being up to date with the latest buzzwords. Nonetheless, I was encouraged by my client’s youthful appreciation of our handwoven rugs, and inspired by the genuine interest in decorating their home with something real and created with love and care. Whilst ‘gypset’ is the latest fad word that will, like other buzzwords, eventually become unfashionable, the kilim rugs that gypset describes have been around for centuries and no doubt will continue to be sort after decorative items for generations to come.
The image below is a vegetable dyed kilim. We have a very large selection of these kilims as well as the darker and richer coloured kilim rugs called Gulmori.
West End Co. is Brisbane’s largest retailer of hand knotted and hand woven rugs. If you are a Queenslander in the market for a Persian rug, Turkish Rug, or Moroccan rug, please visit our Brisbane store. If you are looking for a Persian rug, Turkish Rug, or Moroccan rug in Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Perth, or Tasmania, then look no further to our range available on our online store.
One of our favorite rugs at West End Co. is the Khal Mohommadi. The rugs are named after a legendary Ersari Turkmon named Khal Mohommad. This gent was said to have perfected the art of red dying, and this is evident in the rich, deep colours of the rugs that bare his name. He is also said to be a father to 25 children; pictured below with his son Ibrahim.
Like other Afghan rugs, they are essentially tribal rugs, with the repetitive guls we see in other Turkmon rugs. We also see similarity with the Persian rug design of Heriz carpets. However, distinct from Baluchi rugs is the high knot count of these rugs. The pile is cut low to add the depth and definition of the pattern. On close observation, you will notice several notes of red, and a significant difference in the tone of the rug when observing the rug from its dark side.
For many years, traditional Persian rugs were the preeminent choice in style and quality. We are currently seeing a revolution in style and choice when it comes to tribal rugs. From a price and design perspective, Khal Mohommadi rugs are an excellent choice.
West End Co. is Brisbane’s best choice for quality hand knotted rugs and kilims. If you are in the market for a Persian rug, Turkish rug, Moroccan rug, or Kilim rug, please be sure to visit our Brisbane rug store. Alternatively, please be sure to visit our online rugs store to see our range.
Afghan rugs are a beautiful piece of cultural heritage from Afghanistan. Today, we’re going to have a quick look at what they are and why they’re special.
Khal Mohommadi rug
Afghan rugs, as one might expect, traditionally come from Afghanistan. Nearly every village or tribe has its own designs and fashions when it comes to rugs, but for the outside consumer, the rugs you’re most likely to meet come in two different flavours: those from the Turkmen minority who live to the north by the similarly named Turkmenistan who reside in the west and south west of the country by the border of Iran.
Turkmen rugs are visually distinct by their typically rich, red colouration and fantastic patterning. Thick and with distinctive symbology, they are an expression of diligence in craftsmanship.
The Baluch (Ba-loo-k) are recognisable by their darker, slightly more sombre colouration (though they certainly don’t lack in their geometric patterns and are most well known for their prayer rugs). Their patterns are driven by deeply personal meaning, but they do feature similarities – the most commonly featured motif being the octagonal Bukhara, or elephant’s foot.
The brilliant hues that feature prominently in such rugs are from the same sources as they have been for generations – natural dyes. The rarity and price of synthetic dyeing technology means that the Afghan rug has kept its rustic charm, as its colours are derived largely from plants like madder, sparak and pomegranate and other natural sources.
Afghan rugs: composition
The rugs are made entirely of wool – traditionally the most easily acquired textile material, which after shearing, is spun into three different varieties of thread, known as the warp, weft and knot. Long warp threads form the framework, then the weft and knot threads pull it all together in a extremely time intensive weaving process. The work required is so intensive that it is believed it requires 12 hours of hard work to produce just 30.5×30.5 of carpet. Perhaps even more incredible is that the designs are woven in line by line, to a design held entirely in the weaver’s mind by memory over a period of weeks to months. Truly incredible stuff.
The designs have evolved over time, reflecting the changes of the world. Starting during the Soviet occupation in 1979 and continuing to the modern day, Afghans wove poignant and powerful images of what they saw in every-day life into what are called war rugs. It’s a shows the effect of such conflicts on a culture and how things have changed. Not just for the decorations, but for the weavers themselves as well.
Nothing finishes a room like a well chosen rug. A kilim rug, with all its colour and vibrancy, is the perfect choice for a Brisbane home. Kilim rugs are woven, so more portable than their rug knotted cousins.
Origins of the kilim rug
Kilims are thought to have originated in Mongolia and soon became popular from Persia to the Balkans. The word kilim in Farsi means, ‘to spread roughly’. Highly durable and hand knotted with beautiful, intricate designs, Kilim have always been a popular item in West End Co.
Our 3 * 2m kilims start at $220. View our range of kilim rugs in stock or visit our rug showroom in West End, Brisbane, to see and feel the rugs in person.
Below we answer some frequently asked questions and provide some insight into the finer details of what it takes to bring one of these pieces together.
No one rug is the same as another
Maliki Afghani Kilim rug
Despite what you know or may have heard, no authentic handmade rug (such as the rugs in West End Co.) is exactly the same as another. Each rug is actually individually handwoven by artisans and craftsmen, making each design unique and entirely different from one another. Craftsmen use a variety of symbols and hallmarks to imbue individual meaning into each weave (such as stars for spirituality and good luck and camels/trees for wealth, endurance and prosperity) ensuring no single design is ever the same.
Durability: will the rug last?
Burjesta Kilim Rug
So something handmade must be delicate and easily ruined, right? While your logic might tell you this, it’s also untrue where these rugs are involved. While it’s true that silk rugs are less durable, woolen weaves are so tough that many Oriental mothers are often heard telling their children to go and play on the rug as it is often the only thing in the house that can handle the excitable energy of a young child and come out unscathed! This is due primarily to the tightness and skill in the weave. As all authentic rugs are handmade, the quality and precision going into each individual rug is second to none and allows for a much more robust weave. One small rug of 3’ x 5’ can take many months to complete and some bigger ones taking several years!
Telling the difference between handmade and machine made rugs
Ziegler Arts and Crafts Movement Rug
With technology and competition in the worldwide rug market increasing everyday, it’s no surprise that the cautious consumer might be skeptical on approach when on the lookout for an authentic rug. While handwoven and machine made designs can often come very close, there are a few key differences that distinguish an imposter from the real deal. One only needs to look at the back of the carpet to see. A machine weave will leave a distinct warp and weft grid that appears completely different from the subtle variations and slightly wavy nature of handwoven rugs. In addition the tightness of the weave is a hallmark of the authentic design and will always have a tag indicating the country of origin. In some rare cases, a master weaver will ‘sign’ their rug which will be incorporated into the design on the upper edge of the carpet!
Rugs of all variations continue to be growing staples in the homes of families worldwide, especially because of their timelessness and characteristic artisanship. Like many other aspects of Asian and Middle Eastern Culture, they exhibit a mysterious, undeniable quality of richness and wonder that captures the mind and ensnares the senses.