Silk Fibers for Weaving Rugs
Weaving Rugs Using Silk
Silk is an animal fiber that is derived from the cocoons of silkworms. It is an extremely costly and luxurious material for textile and rug production. Cultivation of these fibers began in ancient China where it was a jealously guarded secret. Eventually its use spread to Persia and then to Byzantium and Europe.
The expense notwithstanding, rugs with silk pile and or foundations, are not uncommon, although they tend to be high quality pieces in the tradition of court art.
Extremely luxurious nomadic carpet weaving have been known to use the fibers as a sign of class and significance. The attraction to these rugs resides in the fineness of its fibers which are remarkably soft, as well as in it’s luminous, reflective quality.
Because of this the effect of color on silk is far more intense and brilliant than the effect of the same dye on even the finest wool. These fibers when treated (see below) are much more delicate and less durable than wool.
Consequently, many less silk rugs are well preserved. This rarity, as well as the basic cost, places antique silk pieces among the most expensive rugs.
These fibers were bought and sold by their weight. As such, some traders would treat the fibers with metal. This metal treatment, increased the overall weight which resulted in more money for the dealer.
Unfortunately, the metal corrodes with time. This is what causes some antique carpets to “break”. So when buying these types of antique rugs, it is important that the piece be in excellent starting off condition – that is a great sign that the fibers have not been treated and should last for many generations to come.