The History of Antique Carpets – Part 2

In Part I on our History of Antique Carpets, we discovered that carpets and carpet makers existed long before the advent of modern history. As early as the 5th century B.C., archeologists and other historians determined that various tribes throughout the civilized world were quite prolific in the art of carpet and rug weaving.

That said, mass production was still hundreds of years in the future. Regardless, by the dawn of the 4th century, courts and princely types throughout the civilized world craved these unique and exquisite silk carpets. Indeed, it was a sign of good breeding and taste to possess the gorgeous rugs. Hence, the antique carpet making industry was born.

As time passed and carpets became more prolific and available to the masses, the quality of yarns utilized by the early carpet makers throughout the Middle East and Asia were of the highest quality. During the birth of carpet and to this day, the primary materials utilized were and are the finest cotton, silk, wool, goat and camel hair. The sheen and beauty of these materials are unmatched both then and now.

The process which endures to this day diverged into two significant styles during the early days of this magnificent tradition. The first emerged in Anatolia and the other in central Asia. Both the “Turkish” and “Persian” styles of weaving consist of highly specific patterns, colors and motifs. The intricate designs are breathtaking and lovely to behold. The Turkish knot is commonly referred to as double or symmetrical; the Persian knot, on the other hand, typically utilizes an asymmetrical or single knot. Either way you choose to tie the knot, the results are amazing. As popularity increased for these rugs, various trade routes opened up to accommodate the demand.

Several trade routes weaved throughout Europe and Asia crisscrossing unknown territories. These routes established an unprecedented link between east and west and introduced art, culture, and other influences across continents.

The best-known of these routes is the infamous “Silk Road” which developed from commonly utilized trade routes for this precious commodity and to satiate demand for silk from China to other parts of the world. All of these routes and the “Silk Road” in particular linked small, rural areas to major cities with modern commerce as the inevitable result.

And the rest, as they say, is history.