Carpets : The indistinguishable floral garden

As narratives, stories and evidences dictates, carpets have remained a part of  the real and the fantasy world of human beings since for quite sometime.

From the legendary flying carpet of Aladdin having the magical power of transporting people instantaneously to their destinations to the red carpet rolled out as a mark of expression to invite guests and dignitaries warmly and handsomely, the presence of carpets have a long tradition of being associated with tales and other events.

The history of carpets can be traced back to 2nd and 3rd millennium B.C. with material evidence from various parts of the world. Also, from the 5th century writing of  historian Herodotus we get to know about the beautiful rugs with brilliant colors woven by the inhabitants of the Caucasus.

From the old French term carpite, meaning heavy decorated cloth  to the old Italian term carpita, meaning thick woolen cloth,  modern day carpets has evolved over time with intricate designs and sizes and has shifted its meaning as floor coverings in the late 15th century.

Historians, archaeologists and scholars believe the Pazyryk carpet excavated by Sergei Ivanovich Rudenko in 1949 from a burial  mound in the Altai Mountains in Siberia  to be the earliest surviving pile carpet is the  world. It is a richly coloured carpet measuring 200 cm x 183 cm and framed by a border of griffins which dates from the 5th-4th century BC.

Also, Dr. Ulrich Schurmann, the author of the classic text on Oriental rugs, Caucasian Rugs and Central Asian Rugs, says that from all the evidence available, Pazyryk rug  can be considered as a funeral accessory and most likely a masterpiece of Armenian workmanship.

There are multiple ways of making a carpet technically termed as woven, tufted, needle felt, knotted(oriental rugs), embroidered, flatweave etc. Normally many colored yarns are used and this process is capable of producing intricate patterns from predetermined designs (although some limitations apply to certain weaving methods with regard to accuracy of pattern within the carpet).

The carpets  produced on a loom is quite similar to woven fabric. These carpets are usually the most expensive due to the relatively slow speed of the manufacturing process. These are very famous in India, Pakistan and Arabia.

In India under the patronage of the Mughals, Indian craftsmen adopted  the Persian techniques and designs. The market of carpets and carpet making industry flourished in India with Timur and Babur bringing in  the mastercraftsmen from Persia. The Mughal emperors patronized Persian carpets for their royal courts and palaces.

Initially, the carpets made in India showed the classic Persian style of fine knotting but gradually it blended with the Indian art. Thus on the later period the carpets produced became typical of the Indian origin and slowly the industry began to diversify and spread all over the subcontinent.

**Image Courtesy: Ali Nasir