Carpets these days are made all over the world, but historically the Asian countries are market leaders of this intricate and skilful trade. While the Persian carpet remains the most prolific and sought after floor covering, it does not necessarily mean that the carpets made in other Asian are any less inferior, and at times may even be superior to the prototype.
Considering the high cost of the item, you would surely want something authentic. Here is a list of some of the best destinations in Asia from where to purchase an oriental rug of your choice.
The Central Asian country of Turkmenistan abounds in the magical art of carpet weaving.Their classic product is in shades of crimson, complemented with other colours for patterning. The most popular motif is Tekke or octagonal flower and most commonly called Bukhara.
Carpets from Iran are highly prized and are used to decorate the floors of holy places like mosques, shrines and homes. They are also hung on the walls to keep homes warm during winter. The most beautiful carpet made in Iran is the Ardabil Carpet which is not only stunning but linked to the political dynasties of the country. The carpet has a four-line inscription at the bottom detailing the date and commissioning of the carpet.
Over the years India has become the largest exporter of hand made carpets made in towns like Mirzapur, Varanasi and some fine silk ones from Kashmir. Another centre Bhadohi in eastern UP is one of the finest and oldest makers of carpets and is referred to as the ‘Carpet city of the world’.
Though carpet making began in the same way as in India, the carpets in Pakistan are made of Australian wool yarn, making it similar to silk carpets. These are mass-produced in stores of Rawalpindi, Lahore and Karachi with patterns copied from old districts of Persia. They are sold under different names like Bahawalpur, Multan, Peshawar or Quetta.
Afghanistan adjoins Iran and Turkmenistan, both leading carpet makers. Afghani carpets which are popular are Khal Mohammadi and Afghan Aqche which are handmade by the Turkomans, who have crossed over from the Pakistani border. Their motifs are usually gols and octagonal with flowers in dark blue, beige and ochre colours.
The carpets made here are from the areas around the mountain chain of the Caucasian mountains. The four popular groups are Kazak, Karabach, Kuba and Dagestan. Their significance lies in the beautiful geometric and imaginative patterns. The older ones were made of wool, weft and pile, while the newer ones are made of cotton.
Tibetan carpets are made by fugitives who mainly reside in Nepal. The wool used is obtained from nomads who wander between pastures and sell the wool from the sheep as a source of income. They are similar to Chinese carpets, but are smaller in size and used in temples and homes.
Nomadic Turks have been using carpets as valuable decorative pieces for their homes since centuries. A Turkish carpet is defined either as hali or kilim, with the most exclusive being made of naturally dyed 100% silk thread with the weaving process of six months to several years for larger carpets. They are made by Antolian women who mark their carpets with traditional motifs to be passed on to the next generation.
A handmade carpet is the ultimate trophy for a living room, but shopping for one is not easy. If you leave the carpet boutiques for the rich and travel directly to the destinations mentioned above you are sure to get your authentic shimmering rug for a third of the price to be found elsewhere.