Soumak Weave

Soumak Weave Techniques in Rugs and Carpets

How Rugs and Carpets are Made

Soumak Weave Technique

Soumak Weave – The art of fine rug making is ancient and complex. Over the centuries, a myriad of disparate cultures from every corner of the globe have developed methods of creating tight, long-lasting weaves, such as rugs, carpets, and kilims.

As such, there is no singular, universal method for creating a fine weave; rather, there are several different, totally distinctive techniques that have been developed over time.

Soumak Weave by Nazmiyal
Soumak Weave

One specific example of a type of weave that was developed and is still used to this day is the Soumak weave. The Soumak weave is a type of brocading or flatwoven pile. Thicker than kilim, which is in fact that the thinnest type of rug, the Soumak weave is accomplished by looping the yarn horizontally around successive pairs of warps in between passes of over-under wefts.

When compressed vertically with a weaver’s comb, the resultant texture looks like cabling rising slightly from the surface of the rug. Soumak is named for the village of Shemaka in the Caucasus where this technique was widely practiced. However, it is interesting to note, that while the artistans of Shemaka have long been utilizing the Soumak weave, the technique was definitively not invented there.

Indeed, the Soumak rug weave has been practiced extensively across the entire rug producing world, from Central Asia to Iran, the Caucasus, and Turkey. The widespread adaptation of the Soumak weave by such a wide range of different rug-producing cultures is certainly a rather strong testament to the quality and reproducibility of the process — cornerstones of any long-lasted artistic technique.