Vintage Turkish Rugs

Vintage turkish rugs are prized for their evocative color palettes and intricately rendered compositions. From the polished and royal Authentic Oushak collection to the tribal Caucasus Kula pieces, each piece offers a one-of-a-kind blend of elegance and earthy charm that can be used to transform any space.

As the country of Turkey spans two continents, its rug weaving tradition reflects the cultural influences of both Europe and Asia. From its earliest days, rug production was a flexible and dynamic enterprise, adopting new styles and patterns as demand shifted over the centuries.

It is also unique in its ability to offer a diverse range of weaves at all levels of sophistication – from the nomadic tribal pieces to the elegant town rugs produced throughout the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. During this time, the first Turkish rugs arrived in the West, which was already experiencing an Oriental revival. The rugs were admired for their evocative, symmetrical design and the quality of the wool, which is a link to the weavers’ ancient sheep herding culture.

The majority of rugs in Anatolia are hand-knotted using the symmetrical Turkish double knot. This is a form of knotting where each pile thread is twisted around two warps, creating a continuous surface that resists shedding. The symmetrical knot allows the weavers to create intricately detailed designs, as well as bold geometric shapes such as squares and rhomboids.

From the seventeenth century onward, a number of regions in the east and southeast of the country developed their own rug traditions. Milas rugs from the southeastern city of Erzurum use soft, strong wool and are famous for their pastel colors and finely composed geometrical patterns. Yervans from the province of Kars are similar in construction but use darker, more muted tones. Milas and Yervans rugs are often decorated with stars, flowers and leaves. The symmetrical design and use of natural dyes make these rugs particularly durable.

In the nineteenth century, a second wave of turkish carpets came into prominence. The rustic tribal pieces woven in traditional village areas gained popularity with Western consumers as they provided a more authentic connection to the weaving culture that was their heritage. This was especially true for the kilims that were woven with a combination of flatweave techniques and a more elemental, primitive style.

The best kilims are the ones that showcase the finest wool, which is why many collectors prefer the older examples. The more modern examples tend to use a lower-quality wool that has a less desirable sheen. However, these rugs are still well-crafted and the color palettes are just as appealing.

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