Persian Kilims and Other Flatwoven Kilim Rugs

Persian Kilims, Kilim Rugs and Other Flatweaves

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Persian Kilims and Flatwoven Rugs – Kilims or flatweaves constitute a distinct type readily distinguished from the thicker, fur-like structure of pile or knotted rugs. The Turkish word kilim (Persian gilim) refers to a rug woven in “tapestry like” technique.

Simple in structure, the kilim weave consists of a series closely set parallel vertical warps intersected by horizontal wefts. The wefts pass horizontally over and under each adjacent warp.

Kilim Carpet Weaving Technique Diagram by Nazmiyal
Diagram Image Of The Kilim Carpet Weaving Technique

During the process of weaving the horizontal wefts are compressed so that they fully conceal the warps to produce ‘weft-faced’ tapestry, where the design is achieved by using yarns of differing color. Some flatweaves, like Persian jajims, may reverse the technique by compressing the warps so that they conceal the wefts to produce a ‘warp-faced’ design.

Antique Silk Persian Jajim Flatwoven Kilim Rug Nazmiyal
Antique Silk Persian Jajim Flatwoven Kilim Rug

Another flatwoven weaving technique is known as soumak. This weaving technique involves a more complex looping of the wefts in various configurations producing a thicker, more textured cable-like surface on the Caucasian Soumak rug.

Antique Flatwoven Caucasian Soumak kilim Rug by Nazmiyal
Antique Flatwoven Caucasian Soumak kilim Rug

Flat woven rugs are generally thinner and more lightweight than pile rugs, almost like heavy fabrics, although soumaks are somewhat heavier. Persian kilims and soumaks tend to be woven in highly abstract bold, graphic geometric rug designs and patterns rather than in curve linear patterns.

Persian Kilims by Nazmiyal
Persian Kilims – An Antique Flatwoven Senneh kilim Rug

Some Persian kilims, however, are woven with figurative designs, while others like those from Mazandaran have completely abstract, almost modernist compositions.

Antique Flatwoven Persian Mazandaran Kilim Rug by Nazmiyal
Antique Flatwoven Persian Mazandaran Kilim Rug

The above article about Kilims and flatwoven rugs was written as well as published by Nazmiyal Antique Rugs which is located in the heart of Manhattan, New York City.