The Cultural Choices Of Carpets Cultural Studies Essay

Published: Last Edited:

This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

Across the world, carpets have been a subject matter for many aspects discussed, ranging from fantasy, subjective, culture, history, and medical, etc. The intrigue for carpets and rugs is such that the presence of several mythical nonfiction matter is available that can be referred in print as well as on internet. The inevitable search for such kind of information rests on stories like The Magic Carpet. According to various informative websites, a magic carpet, also known as a flying carpet, is a legendary element derived from the Arabic literature of One Thousand and One Nights.

Excerpts from world history also show presence of ancient woven and antique carpets. Big auction houses such as Sotheby's and Harrods possess very old and traditional yet highly valuable pieces of rugs and carpets that are also termed as rare.

Carpets have also been a fetish for celebrities in every corner of the globe. According to Oprah Winfrey, "It's much easier for me to make major life, multi-million dollar decisions, than it is to decide on a carpet for my front porch. That's the truth." They also contribute greatly in helping the environment around to remain clean by trapping dirt and grimace to a level. If the fibers are organic in nature then it works wonders being an anti- allergen. is a stop for carpet and rug readers where they can find some unique details about such marvelous floor coverings. The details vary from interesting to useful and practical ones like cleaning tips for special kinds of pieces. Talking of origin, believably, carpets and rugs have been an adopted art form from the nomadic and semi-nomadic tribes of the Middle East and central Asia. The oldest rug found, Pazyryk Rug is said to be a Persian form of rug woven.

Gradually, as invasions happened in different areas in the world, it also paved way for the birth of various unique blends of art forms. Then travelers recorded their views and experiences of other foreign lands too. For instance, when Marco Polo went to Turkey, he said for the people there that, "They weave the choicest and most beautiful carpets in the world." Nevertheless, a description of major styles, which evolved from steady development of hand woven art forms that we see today, would be quite useful.

The geography of the oriental carpet production spans from Anatolia, the Caucasus, Persia, western Turkestan and eastern Turkestan (central Asia), India and China.

Anatolia (present Turkey)

During the 16th and 17th centuries Ushak, a region of carpet production in Turkey, was the main center of the Anatolian production under the reign of the Ottoman sultan. They closely resemble the Persian carpets in respect to designs and decorations.

The Anatolian carpets and rugs show a strong loyalty to their ancient weaving and use of decorations and motifs. The modern layouts and the motifs are a reflection of their local traditions and are religiously meaningful. The colors and shades are much lively, numerous in numbers, and strong tonalities are employed. Colors like yellow, red, blue, and balmy shades in general are seen in Anatolian carpets. The knotting is asymmetrical. They say that, the art of the knotted carpets was passed onto here from the Seljuk dynasty in the 11th century. The Seljuk rulers came from Turkestan and imposed the Islamic faith and their culture in this region, until 1229.

The most typical of the Anatolian decorative motifs is the Kufic script (Kufic script consists of early Islamic scripts accorded in carpets, usually with borders) with eight-pointed stars, hooked octagonal and borders. The traditional Seljuk motifs have also been seen in Holbein carpets. Holbein carpets are named after the German painter Hans Holbein, the Younger. There are two kinds of Holbien carpets based on their size.

The smaller pattern layouts see decorations and motifs that are more elaborate. Small octagons with a star are set in rows crossways to the field. The carpets are framed by typical geometric arabesques (a famed design with continuous scrolling of flowers, vines, branches or buds) forming triangular interweaving resembling hearts.

Similarly, the prayer rugs are also a noteworthy form of carpet weaving of Anatolia. The birth of the prayer rugs took place in the16th century in Ushak. They are as called as Belini Rugs.


Persian woven art forms can be called as creations par excellence. Persian carpets possess the rival position of historically stylistic and historical pieces along with its Anatolian counterpart. They are distinctly considered carpets and rugs due to their highly calligraphic and extremely complex nature. The more emphasized ones are line and design. In addition, the geometric forms of designs are also a specialized feature of Persian carpets and rugs. Elaborate usage of palmettes, various shapes, and other intangible embellishing motifs are arranged. Nevertheless, the Persian ones also possess realistic portrayal of floral and zoomorphic figures especially birds.

A palette consisting of wide variety of colors is practiced in such carpets and rugs. Colors used are never gaudy and do not contradict with the background. However, there is a balanced choice of shades, which are approved in a careful balance.

The type of knotting is symmetrical in some places and asymmetrical in other. However, the most popular one is asymmetrical knotting in the Persian art of carpet weaving.

The Caucasus

Caucasian carpets and rugs are set apart from the Persian and the rest of the important styles of woven carpets and rugs based on intense and accurate geometric features, a frequent usage of abstraction, and a habit of a few yet bright and contrasting colors.

With symmetrical knotting, the Caucasian carpets are seen with quite elemental forms of compositions. The compositions consist of polygons small and big in size but not sophisticated. For example, hexagons, pentagons, rhombuses, etc., that sometimes are shown with stylized figures of animals, plants and humans also. Overall, there are many striking similarities in between Anatolian and Persian carpets. The beautiful portrayal of motifs shows a close resemblance from Persia, Anatolia, Turkestan, and there are expressive similarities between the Caucasian and those of Anatolia. However, Caucasian carpets differ in their more archaic, lively and simple style as compared to their Anatolian counterpart.

The Caucasian large size layouts are seen sporting large medallions in between accompanied with lesser decorative motifs. The lesser ones are formed by a repetition of a single geometric motif like a stylized or geometric one.

The antique forms of Caucasian carpets exhibit a Persian influenced way of weaving carpets that was seen during the Seljuk invasion in 11th century. There are no strong evidences of such an art form recorded or any specimens of such original creations or any pictures related to them. The only oldest form of a carpet known from this region belongs to the 16th to 17th century. It seems that the area had already been influenced with the floral themes of the Persian type.

After 19th century, newer forms of styles were seen that are floral carpets and dragon carpets. Both these types were made on large sizes manufactured in city workshops.

Western Turkestan

The carpet production in the region named Turkestan has been distinct within its boundaries. Factually, western Turkestan carpets are easy to be recognized based on their singular style, no change in designs and colors since history. Extremely geometric motifs have also descended seemingly without any alteration from the original way. It appears as if the carpet weavers from this region strictly follow a fixed carpet code.

Predominantly, red color is used in all its tonalities, in fields, grounds and borders. For decorations and styles, blue, black, and white are used. The tribal motifs that are actually the emblem of each tribe of the western Turkestan region are also used on their carpets and rugs. They are usually in the form of guls used in rows kept matching across the complete field. The typical kotchanak motif with twin hooked essentials is usually seen in the borders. However, that would not seem that the carpets would seem monotonous with a similar taste in every specimen.

The original nomadic character of the carpets of the western Turkestan is also astonishingly maintained by the regular migrations of the people from the nearby regions. They were made for the daily, religious, and art piece usage by the nomads and semi-nomadic people. Young girls and women, both weave such carpets and rugs on simple horizontal looms in asymmetrical knot. Without any perpetual change in their products like an heirloom tradition, woven with style and intricacy, they have been passed orally to the next generation. Referred as Bukharas or Royal Bukharas, the carpets were named after the place that served as the center of the collection and marketing.

Eastern Turkestan

Embellished with major styles like pomegranate tree-carpet, herati and floral themes adopted from Persia, etc., is a specialty of this region. However, the smaller number of embellishing motifs set the carpets of eastern Turkestan from the other carpet types. The carpet styles of this region are highly inspired from China, Persia, western Turkestan and India.

Eastern Turkestan is situated between Mongolia and western Turkestan. Most of the part of this region is under Chinese dominance of Sinkiang. As similar to its other half, its tradition has not changed with time that is pre-Islamic and Buddhist but also shamanistic. Motifs that are frequently used in the border range from frets, local trefoil, and the T-element. The impressive layouts used are seen as the super imposed-medallions, complete field guls, saph carpets, and a pomegranate variety carpet.

The carpets from eastern Turkestan are woven with asymmetrical knotting style with a cotton foundation. Traditionally known as Samarkands, named after Samarkand, which was the main center of the collection of the carpets to be sold and bought.

If ever you have considered buying an exotic style carpet with an antique value, this portal could come to a good help providing a basic info about almost every known region, region famous for their distinctly fashioned carpet. In case you feel overwhelmed by the absolute variety of patterns, styles and designs of carpets and rugs, the matter above could help you get on a satisfied conclusion.