The History And Evolution Of Antique Oriental Rugs
History Of Antique Oriental Rugs:
History of Antique Rugs With Nomadic Origins
To most people the concept of the rug, especially the pile rug, is virtually synonymous with the Orient, above all Persia and Turkey. Flatwoven floor covering in plain weave or tapestry technique is to all intents ubiquitous. They were developed all over the world, in various materials, from the earliest times by all peoples who possessed the skill of weaving. Below is a guide to antique rugs.
More about the Nomadic origins of Oriental rugs and carpets
History of Seljuk and Beylik Dynasty Rugs and Antique Anatolian Carpets
When Marco Polo traveled to China in the thirteenth century, he remarked upon the beauty and quality of the carpets produced in Turcomania (Anatolia) which was then under the rule of the Seljuks.
In the mosques at Konya and Beyshehir in south-central Anatolia which belong to this early period of Turkish rule, a series of carpets or carpet fragments has been preserved that scholars have attributed to the period when the buildings were first erected.
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History of Ilkhanid Dynasty Rugs & Carpets
The Mongols are famous, or perhaps infamous, for having brought Islamic culture in Central Asia, Iran, and Mesopotamia to the brink of destruction in the thirteenth century.
But by the early fourteenth century, the Ilkhanid Mongol rulers, newly converted to Islam, had become great patrons of the arts.
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History of Timurid Dynasty Carpets and Rugs
The Timurid Dynasty, which controlled a region stretching from Central Asia to Eastern Turkey, was founded in the later fourteenth century by Timur, a Chaghatai Turk who claimed descent from Genghis Khan.
Under Timur and his descendants in the fifteenth century, art and architecture flourished throughout this realm.
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History of Ottoman Dynasty Carpets & Rugs
In the late fourteenth century, the Osmanli or "Ottoman" Turks were only one of many competing Anatolian principalities or Beyliks.
In less than 50 years, however, they emerged as the pre-eminent Turkish dynasty that would rule the Eastern Mediterranean and Western Asia until the First World War, manufacturing exceptional pieces in the history of antique Oriental rugs.
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History of Mamluk Dynasty Rugs and Carpets
The Mamluk Dynasty, originally "slave-soldiers" of Turkic descent, came to power in Egypt in the mid thirteenth century. By the fifteenth century they had established a thriving carpet industry in their capital, Cairo.
Many examples of these Malmuk carpets have been preserved. Their designs are quite complex, consisting of large medallions made up of intersecting compartments of various forms adapted from the great tradition of Islamic geometric ornament.
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History of Safavid Dynasty Carpets and Rugs
The Timurid dynasty did not far outlive the fifteenth century. In the west it had already lost power to Turkoman dynasties in Mesopotamia and Northwest Persia.
But these were swept away by Shah Ismail about 1501 who, supported by nomadic Turkoman troops, established a new "Safavid" dynasty all across Iran which lasted until the early eighteenth century.
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History of Mughal Dynasty Carpets and Rugs
The early history of antique Oriental rugs in India is obscure. If the early Aryan rulers there in ancient times had carpets like their nomadic Iranian and Persian relatives, they have left no trace in the archaeological or historical record.
By the thirteenth century, Northern India had been conquered by Muslims who establish the Dehli Sultanates, which had strong cultural ties with Persia.
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History of Carpet and Oriental Rug Weaving in the Far East
It is hard to be sure how early pile carpets came to be be produced in China. Archaeological finds on the western periphery of China prove that that pile rugs were already being made at least as early as the Han period (first to third centuries A.D.).
It would seem that the Altaic nomads who invented pile carpets spread their technique south and east into China, Tibet, and East Turkestan as well as westward into Iran and the Middle East already by ancient times.
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History of Europe and Early Oriental Rugs & Carpets
Although examples of knotted carpets were known and produced in the classical world by late Roman times in Egypt, they do not seem to have been part of the larger Roman heritage that passed down to Medieval Europe.
Once the emerging Islamic Empire conquered Egypt in 642, thereby cutting it off from the late Roman or early Byzantine Empire, the antique oriental rugs disappeared from the European material culture, with the exception of Spain, which was conquered by the Muslims in 711.
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History of the Nineteenth Century Rug Revival
The loss of the European markets in the eighteenth century certainly affected rug production throughout the Middle East, but it was not the only adverse factor in this process.
The decline of Ottoman power stimulated an interest in western styles and tastes among the Turkish elite which weakened official artistic production, including textiles and carpets.
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Contemporary Rugs History
The interest and involvement of Europeans in the later nineteenth and twentieth centuries gave enormous incentive to Oriental rug production, but it also had negative effects. The most important of these was in the realm of dyes.
At about the mid nineteenth century, German scientists developed synthetic, chemical-based dyes that involved far less time and labor than vegetable-derived colors.
More about the Contemporary Rug Revival