There is a popular Uzbek saying: “The home begins where a carpet is spread”. The carpet is a symbol of a family’s wealth and prosperity, and therefore, it is always included in presents given to young people at their wedding. The carpet is highly esteemed in the East, adorning the walls and the floors of houses. Spread on the floor, it keeps one’s feet warm, while put on an iwan, it forms a nice place for rest in the open air.
In Uzbekistan the development of this art was encouraged by a large amount of available material: sheep and camels, whose hair was used in carpet making, were largely bred in the territory of Uzbekistan. At first, carpets were simple and primitive. However, in course of time, the technique grew much more complicated and the range of materials used much wider, which resulted in the appearance of a wide variety of patterns. Art is continuing to develop in our days.
Styles of carpet weaving in Uzbekistan
Traditionally, each region of Uzbekistan has its own secrets and methods of carpet weaving: a unique decorative pattern, a special technique used, an original composition. The thickness of the pile, too, can tell about the place the carpet was made in. On this principle they are divided into «julkhirses», «gilams» and «pileless» «carpets».
Gilams or thin-piled carpets are usually bright red-brown, with the inclusion of small elements of other colors. Usually, their design has simple geometric forms. The production of such carpets is centered in Bukhara. Gilams produced in Samarkand are considerably different in color. They are characterized by the domination of shades of blue and yellow; their decorative patterns are usually formed of three medallions in the middle and Greek «meander» running along the perimeter.
The thick-piled carpet «julkhirs» is a combination of a monumental composition with rather a simple ornamentation. This type of carpet has more features originating from ancient traditions. It is often woven by countrywomen with the help of stone or wooden spindles. The thick and rough yarn makes the carpet soft and furry, and rather light at the same time. Pileless carpets are made of cotton, kenaf, and wool, and are divided into several types: koshma, arabi, gajari and terma.
Koshma is one of the earliest types of carpet, made of camel and sheep wool. In design, it may be simple, without patterns, used for covering the floor of a yurt, as well as ornamented, meant for decoration of a room. Today there are three methods of production of carpets used in Uzbekistan: handmade carpets, those made at a plant, and carpets made at a small private factory. They all produce high-quality articles conforming with the world standards and, certainly, reflecting the traditions and customs of the region.
Handmade carpets are produced in the Fergana Valley, Samarkand, Nurata, Kashkadarya, Surkhandarya, Syrdarya, and Karakalpakstan. The carpet weaving and carpet trading are centered in Samarkand, Urgut, Kokand, and Khorezm, which offer the widest variety of carpets.