The History of Carpet Making

Posted on 2nd July 2012

Carpet making is an art form with a unique history. There’s evidence of carpet making dating as far back as 6000 years before Christ. Sheep and goats were being sheared for their wool and hair, which was then spun and woven for the sole purpose of making a rug. Carpets suited the nomadic way of life, and was put to a variety of uses such as tent furnishings, pillows, bags for food storage, and sleeping places.

In 1953 an Egyptian fresco of a handloom from 1480 BC was discovered, and a few years later, in 1960, a woven Pazyryk rug was found in an ice filled tomb in the barren landscape of outer Mongolia. Interestingly, this item had all the characteristics of a modern Persian rug, complete with a Ghiordes knot and pile.

In year 1000 Marco Polo reported carpet making in Central Anatolia (modern day Turkey). He confirmed that he saw a quantity of “fine and rich silks in crimson” and said that spices and silk cloth was traded from Anatolia to the Mediterranean region. These were later transported by boat to Venice and Genoa. Turkish carpets could often be seen in religious European paintings of the Renaissance, because of the Italians great liking for them. From Anatolia carpet making also spread all the way from Caucasus down to the Kashmir region.

The first carpet was imported into Great Britain when Robert Rothe, the first mayor of the city of Kilkenny, imported weavers in 1537 to weave a rug for his Kilkenny estate. Three years later, in 1540, Cardinal Wolsey started importing Turkish rugs to England on a large scale for the first time. Later a carpet factory was built in Wilton, where what was to become the Wilton carpet was produced. The British dynasty Brintons started making carpets in 1770. Previously cloth makers, the company still exists and was the largest privately owned carpet company in the UK in 1997.

The evolution of carpet making has been affected by social, economical and fashion factors along the way. The introduction of man-made fibres, loom widths and increased machine efficiencies made carpets available to a mass market. Soon fitted carpets in public buildings, shops and offices were being developed. Tiles and printing, among other things, all increased the ability of the carpet trade to cater for a wider audience.

Today in the 21st century, there are so many textiles and types to choose from so as to make the possibilities seem almost endless. Colour, texture and warmth can all be adjusted to suit your own style. Persian rugs are still seen as one of the most luxurious type of carpets in the world.

Given its long and interwoven history, we at Russdales are proud to continue this tradition which might be as far stretching as humanity itself. A lot of craftsmanship has been put into the finished product and we want you to be completely satisfied with yours. Come in and have a look at our wide selection today!

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