Flat Weave Rugs
What are Flat Weave Rugs?
Although the majority of people associate carpets with certain shagginess, flat weave rugs constitute a substantial part of the profound weaving heritage. Flat, hand-woven rugs have widely contributed to the development of rug-making techniques as they represent one of the basic forms of woven textiles. They are made without a pile and build upon the intertwining warp and weft. The simplicity and lightness of flatweaves mustn’t be taken for a sign of inferiority. On the contrary, the slightly simplified making techniques allow weavers to create ingenious pieces, often with an ethnic vibe, distinguished by appealing designs and incredible durability.
The Invaluable Significance of Flat Weave Carpets
Being one of the oldest forms of carpets, flat weave rugs might sometimes be considered inferior and more primitive than Oriental knotted pieces. However, such approach is based on misconception and superficial knowledge which does not take into account the enormous variety as well as deep history and meaning of flat weaves. They were primarily used as bed covers, coats and means of payment in barter, only later to become floor and wall coverings. These incredible textiles have greatly improved lives of many peoples contributing not only to the safety and comfort of early nomadic tribes but also to the development of fine art and abstract thinking.
First Flat-Woven Rugs
First weavers started inventing simple motifs which over time have grown in complexity and amounted to an entire alphabet capable of expressing a whole spectrum of emotions and messages, from fears and joys through wishes and dreams to representations of the surrounding world and strictly imaginative concepts. Motifs like “elibelinde” – hands on hips, “Sacbagi” – hair band, “Sandıklı” – a dowry chest, “Küpe” – earrings, “Bukaǧı” – a fetter “Aşk ve Birleşim” – love and union, “Tarak” – a comb, or “Bereket”, refer to widely understood femininity with the emphasis on marital happiness and fertility. “Koçboynuzu” – ram’s horn or “Kuş” – a bird, are rather masculine symbols indicating fertility, power, strength, heroism, luck and happiness. The overwhelming majority of feminine motifs shows how substantial was the role of women in the evolution of rugs. Considering the patriarchal model of life prevailing in old cultures, carpets were one of the very few means of free expression for female weavers. Antique flat woven rugs have most definitely benefited from the artistic sensibility, taste and imaginative approach of women who made them.
There is also a broad category of protective motifs deriving in equal measure from arduous living conditions and complex beliefs of wandering nomads. Their main concern was finding a reliable supply of food and water which is an extremely scarce resource in vast wastelands and endless desserts of Middle Asia. Thus, one of the most frequently appearing patterns on antique flat woven rugs from all parts of the oriental world is “Su Yolu” – running water presented as a zigzag or a simplified, geometric wave. The next practical threat of living in an unwelcoming environment has always been predators endangering flocks and peoples’ lives. Designs like “Kurt Aǧzi” – wolf’s mouth, “Kurt İzi” – wolf’s track or “Akrep” – a scorpion, are supposed to provide protection from the said creatures and, at the same time, tame the fear of them.
Still, the dangers of early nomadic tribes did not limit solely to those rational, noticeable to the naked eye. One of the biggest hazards, according to some Middle-Eastern religions, is the Evil Eye, a curse believed to be cast by a malevolent glare, usually given to a person when they are unaware. Many cultures believe that receiving the evil eye will cause misfortune or injury. Kilims, ergo flat woven rugs, contain special “talismans” crafted in the fabric in order to ward off the Evil Eye and secure the family and friends from tragic consequences of bad wishes made out of jealousy or revenge. “Göz” – an eye – is the strongest and most frequently applied protective motif of this sort, however it is not the only one. “Çengel” – a hook, “Muska” – an amulet, “Pitrak” – a burdock, or “Haç” – a cross, all serve the same purpose as the before mentioned “Göz”.
Finally, there are profound religious motifs referring to the concept of immortality and life after death. “Hayat Aǧacı” – the tree of life is the most iconic carpet pattern of all times which originated from flat woven rugs. The tree is a common theme for all religions worshipping a single god. Its fruit believed to bring immortality is forbidden to all mortals. Mankind, unable to eat the tempting fruit, put all their hopes for life after death in a tree of life. Various cultures have used different plants such as cypress, date, palm, pomegranate, fig, olive, wine, beech and oak to symbolize the tree of life. In Anatolia the prominent figure is a cypress tree. 'The birds on the tree of life' is a widely used theme. They are the birds of life which will fly when the time comes. This theme is also used on the gravestones.
Practically all kilim and tribal symbols gradually transitioned to pile carpets as nomads and semi-nomads roamed the continent with their flat woven rugs. Deriving mostly from Anatolia and Caucasus, antique kilims were made in a simple flat woven or tapestry technique, in which the pattern was produced entirely by horizontal wefts that cover the vertical warps. The astounding variety of designs, wide array of natural yet vivid colors and upmost importance for the evolution of weaving makes flat weaves one of the most beautiful and important textiles in the world.
Flat-woven rugs in the World
Flat woven rugs are so universal that they appear in almost every culture in the world. From Turkey to Peru, everyone can enjoy their beautiful patterns and stunning colors. Among oriental, flat woven rugs are well known kilim rugs as well as soumaks, although Scandinavian pieces are one of the most popular carpets of this weave. What is characteristic for all types of flat woven rugs and carpets is the fact that loom is necessary to make them. They are created by interlocking warp (vertical) and weft (horizontal) threads. Because of that, flat woven have no pile whatsoever and tend to be thinner than knotted rugs. Their versatility makes them useful in many situations- flat woven rugs have been used for centuries not only as flooring, but also wall hangings, and saddle pads.
Fibers used during rug weaving can vary greatly, depending on the region. Most typically, the warp threads are made from linen, silk, cotton, or wool, but there are few limitations for weft, as it can be made from an assortment of things. Although wool is the most popular choice, many people choose flat woven rugs made of plat fibers such as hemp or sea grass.
Patterns and color palettes of flat woven rugs tend to wary greatly. While Scandinavian carpets tend to be more conservative, Turkish kilims are extremely colorful and rich in design. This is why we are constantly exploring new textures and pile lengths for almost all of our designs. Chosen with the utmost care, the custom artisan rugs are made to celebrate the beauty and integrity of the natural materials and are individually crafted to the highest standards. In addition to the custom options described above, we also have a diverse selection of new rugs for sale, which also serve as excellent samples of some of our custom designs. We encourage our customers to browse through our gallery and see the diversity of flat woven rugs for themselves.
Kilims – Oriental Flatweaves
One of the finest examples of flat weave rugs are Moroccan or Turkish kilims. Permeated with magic of the Orient, these weaving wonders beautifully fit into contemporary interior arrangements, creating an exceptional, free-spirited boho atmosphere. Kilims, because that is the commonly accepted name for Oriental flat woven rugs, have always been an astonishing means of expression for the middle-Eastern weavers. Each Oriental flat weave rug is a separate story written in the language of symbols and long-established motifs, clear to those who have possessed the knowledge about the secrets of antique rugs. Women, who for the most part deal with the making of oriental rugs, have discovered textiles as not only means of artistic exposition but also as a way of communicating their dreams, fears, needs and blessings. Flat woven rugs are then an early form of feminism as they empowered women to speak out their mind long before the Suffragettes.
Rollakans – Scandinavian Flat-Woven Rugs
Another iconic type of flat weave rugs are Scandinavian rollakans – since the mid-20th century probably the most desired floor coverings in design. Scandinavian flatweaves constitute the essence of the Northern philosophy. They are practical, durable, affordable and utterly mesmerizing. Bearing uncomplicated patterns based on breathtaking natural surroundings of Sweden, Norway or Finland, flat weave rugs show how simplicity can exhibit utter sophistication. Their general shape was honed by fabulous designers, including the Grande Dame of Scandinavian rollakans – Marta Maas-Fjetterstrom or Judith Johansson, who, by means of geometric motifs and a wide array of toned colors characteristic to Scandinavian flatweaves, conveyed their artistic vision.
Flatweave Rugs for Sale at DLB
We are constantly exploring new textures and pile lengths for almost all of our designs. Whether producing a hand-tufted, high-low, flat weave rugs, we continuously encourage our clients to collaborate with us as part of our team of designers, textile artists, and factories to locate the correct fibers and techniques to enhance our design patterns. Chosen with the utmost care, the custom artisan flatweave rugs are made mostly by hand to celebrate the beauty and integrity of the natural materials and are individually crafted to the highest standards. In addition to the custom options described above, we also have a diverse selection of new flat weave rugs for sale, which also serve as excellent samples of some of our custom designs. Whether you choose a new or a custom flat weave rug, we are confident in the durability of the rug to withstand decades of use and we are confident that its Doris Leslie Blau Gallery pedigree will only increase the value of your rug over time.