Archive for March, 2013

Persian Rugs, Oriental Rugs: Authentic Klims

Klims (also spelled Kilims) are the hard, double-faced floor coverings that lack a pile. They are generally made of wool but flat-woven, and are exported to many countries from different parts of the East. Klims possess a prominent place within the Persian and Oriental rug industry for their strong Oriental character. Recently, a large volume of Klims have been produced in parts of Turkey, Persia, as well as India and Pakistan, the majority of which are exported to Europe and North America. In so many respects, there are no Oriental rugs or Persian carpets which are more attractive than genuinely good Klims. In the right environment, a Klim can look a lot more attractive than the highest quality hand-knotted rugs with a KPSI exceeding 500. Since the earliest times, these works of art have been used as floor coverings, wall decorations, drapes, as well as bed covers. In many Klims the artistic geometric designs together with wonderful color combinations result in the most beautiful pieces of Oriental art. The hues are broad and in some degree crude. The yarn used in Klims is twisted so that it is harder and more linen-like than any wool fabric used in pile rugs, and where entirely different colors are brought close to one another, Klims make the most severe line of demarcation.

Old Persian Shiraz Klim

Old Persian Shiraz Klim

It is safe to assume that Klims present the more primitive, less complicated fashion of weaving by passing the weft threads around the warp displaying similar patterns as knotted rugs. In almost all types of Klims, the methods of weaving are much the same. The work is done with shuttles, on which the threads of weft are wound. By passing them the colors are carried in and out across the warp, making an even, corded surface, the “grain” of which is the warp itself. Sellers of rugs rarely have the knowledge to distinguish between the several varieties of Klims, and in fact, it may be difficult to do so, except in the case of Persian Senneh Klims which differ radically from all the rest. In everything except the difference of method they are exact reproductions of the Senneh piled rugs. As for fineness, they excel, by far, all other types of handmade Klims. Some Kurdish Klims are made in two or more sections and sewed together afterward. The discrepancy between the two sides, where parts of the pattern are supposed to unite at the seam, is greater or less, but rather adds to the interest in the fabric than detracts from it. Kurdish Klims are made allover Kurdistan, but those from the Persian side of the border are the finest.

Many seemingly intentional irregularities are often found in Klims. Where, for example, some figure is to be repeated several times in white, it may be woven in gray or some other color once or twice, or it may be woven once or twice in cotton, while all the rest are in wool. Also, unlike piled rugs, the border stripes are not the same all the way around the fabric. The rotation of colors is by no means regular either. There is just so much latitude for the exercise of individual innovations when it comes to genuine Klims. In fact, weavers have been given a lot more freedom in their work during recent years whereby producing very unique pieces. It seems the trend is toward more and more popularity of flat-woven Klims and it will be interesting to observe newer pieces that reach Western markets in the near future.

Old Persian Senneh Klim

Old Persian Senneh Klim

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Persian and Oriental Rugs: The “design”

Hunting Scene

Hunting Scene

It has been said that Persian carpets and Oriental rugs are written pages. In their maze of design is a symbolic language, the key of which, in its endless transmission through the centuries, seems to have been lost. A rather deep and complicated symbolism pervades every denomination of these rugs no matter what type of ornamentation they employ. The general pattern forms an endless universe of animated beauty in every single piece. Every color used has its own significance, and the design, be it mythological or natural, geometric or floral, has its hidden meaning. Even the representation of men hunting wild beasts have their special indications. It would be interesting to note that irregularities in drawing or coloring, almost always apparent in any hand-knotted rug, are seldom accidental, the usual deliberate intention being to avert the evil eye and insure good luck.

In view of studying genuine fabrics of Eastern countries, we must consider ourselves misfortunate as time has left very few, if any, of the more common authentic examples of extremely old pieces of Persian and Oriental rugs. As a result, actual comparison of rugs entering the American market today, with those woven for everyday use hundreds of years ago, is practically out of question. However, some of the modern Persian rugs preserve features of the wonderful old carpets contained in existing collections around the world. It is then fair to presume that the more common varieties of these rugs cannot be much different from those of the older times. Perhaps, this will explain the reluctance of experts to assign a date, or point out a definite locality of manufacture to most of the superfine antique pieces of rugs.

Cartoons for a Design

Cartoons for a Design

The strongest form of Oriental art would definitely be pieces of handmade rugs woven by the native for his own use, necessarily free from Western influences. Not pressed by outside modifying influences, nomad rugs would be the best samples of this class. Far below the high-class Persians as exponents of artistic status, the products of the mountain districts and nomads outrank many of those in point of consistency, and are to be prized as truthful reflections of the native life and character. Perhaps less credit is to be accorded to the nomad weavers for having adhered stubbornly to their distinctive colors and patterns, since inhabiting the deserts and unpopulated regions, knowing no contact with society other than their own, they have met with no temptation to vary the character of their handicraft, or to stray into the fields of strange design in quest of some device better calculated to attract the attention of buyers. They are races which do not change from decade to decade. Therefore their product, being, at least until very recently, made for their own uses, and not to please the tastes of Western decorators and homeowners, has remained unaltered. The designs are, or at least were, tribal property, almost as unmistakable as a native accent. Consistency is as decisive a virtue in an Oriental rug as in human conduct, and the lesson to be read so plainly in some of these nomad rugs is one that may well be borne in mind in judging the merits of the finer varieties. The fact is, any really good fabric should stand the test of consistency, and so many of these gorgeous rugs do.

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