Friday, April 28, 2006


Our beautiful carpet has arrived.

It’s wool-on-wool, meaning there’s a wool pile on a wool “frame” (warp and weft). It’s a “Sumak,” meaning the pile covers the entire carpet. The pile is hand-knotted into the carpet using the double Turkish knot, with something like 250,000 knots per square meter. The carpet took the weaver about 300 man-days to complete— actually woman-days, since handmade Turkish carpets are almost all made by women in their homes. (The only Turkish men who make carpets are inmates serving long sentences in the prisons.)

The wool is dyed with natural dyes, madder for the deep red color, pomegranate for the black, woad for the blue knotted fringes on the ends of the warps, possibly camomile for the yellow. The natural dyes mean that the colors will mellow over time, particularly if the carpet is exposed to the sun.

The colors change as you look at the carpet from different angles. Pick the rug up, shake it, and throw it down again, and the colors will be different.

The carpet originated in Bilecik, a town famous for its carpets since Ottoman times, and was sold to us by Yüksel Carpets in Cappadocia. The weaver is anonymous, which is deeply unfair. The women who create such beauty have never been known outside their homes.

When we visited the factory, Kathy pointed out to the head salesman that when you buy a Navajo rug, you get a Polaroid photo of the weaver attached, so that you get a feeling of a personal connection with the artist. Let’s hope we’ve successfully transplanted this meme to Turkey.

The cats have already made friends with the carpet. So have I. I study it from different angles, and walk on it, and get down on my knees to knead the pile. I jump on it in sheer happiness. (Carpets are made for jumping on.) I study the patterns and try to figure out what they mean (they seem mostly floral).

I haven’t laid flat on the carpet yet. I’m saving up that luxury for later.

Today is a day for savoring.


Blogger Foxessa said...


The later luxury.

Congratulations on the carpet that will be around for many generations, I bet.

Love, Fox

7:57 PM  
Blogger dubjay said...

Our purely theoretical grandchildren (Sam, Missy, and Muffy) should be able to enjoy this rug for years, assuming of course they can decide who gets to own it.

We'll probably have to two more rugs, just so each can have one.

1:58 PM  
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