Home > Articles > Rug Articles > Agra, the Weaving Heart Agra, the Weaving Heart July 26, 2016 Agra, the Weaving Heart Agra, the Weaving Heart adminPP The Agra city had such a big impact on the weaving market development, we can almost call it a Hollywood of carpets. And not because of the famous Taj Mahal, that’s located there. In that city, the antique carpet production took place for the very first time. One day, back in 1530, an emperor Akbar the Great brought here a few weavers from Persia to set up workshops and finally establish Indian biggest weaving center. Interestingly, those weaving masters taught the craftsmanship not to local people, but to prisoners! They were a large group, willing to engage in any job, so as a result, the reform managed to develop many talented craftsmen. Moreover, the system proved to be so beneficial that it still works nowadays. The position of the Agra city began to strengthen even more in 1584, when Akbar the Great established here his capital. Strongly influenced by the Persian technique, hand-knotted Indian Agra rugs became not only the most qualitative, but also unique, thanks to the touch of Indian culture. Antique Indian rugs fascinated customers also thanks to decorative Indian patterns, like ornamental vines, decorative florals and exotic animals. Motifs inspired by an enchanted garden, combined together with luxury goods (golden thread was one of them), gave to every oriental rug a spirit, enabling it to tell a story. Also materials were highly selected. Weavers used sheep wool, silk, cashmere and even gemstones to embellish the special ones. Thanks to pigments made of vegetables, they managed to create their original, subtle color palette. Agra antique carpets became most recognizable for golden and cold blue tones, but the warm shades, such as reds and raspberry pinks, were also used. An amazing feature of Agra weaving technique is called “Phera Bolna”, which means ’reading from the knots’. With a sketch of a design, an expert weaver can instruct other weavers (knot by knot) what shade should they use. The whole process was held in a coded language – ‘mithi’ means blue in the shade of sky, ‘gahri’ is the same color, but much darker. “Mogul” carpets gained fame across the world as the most desirable interior objects. Although in the beginning Agra rugs were modeled on Persian ones, later the creators of both types began to draw inspiration from each other. The best example is the Agra iconic pattern theme, featuring rows of florals in vases, which would widely appear in Persian carpets. This mutual exchange of inspiration between countries lasted until the 19th century, when the production was greatly reduced. Indian-looking rugs flooded shops in Europe, but they were nothing like the original pieces. While the market was shrinking significantly, it was decided to keep the precious weaving center in Agra. Today in Agra, hundreds of manufactures are continuing the tradition of their weaving masters. Some of them remain highly exclusive, collaborating only with a few customers. Patterns, style, technique and textures also stayed similar to Mogul originals. Although ages passed by, in Agra still is a factory, which has been running for 15 generations.