Craft

The Carpets of Kashmir

Sarah Muzaffar | 27/04/2016

A home is incomplete without a soul and it is believed that a Carpet from Kashmir “brings the entire house together” into a unified whole. The Carpets of Kashmir have a history around the world, acclaimed and renowned for their finish and exclusive designs, cherished as a treasure in every home.

History

The origin of carpets in world history still remains unknown as the art object in consideration is subject to deterioration. Kashmir Carpet history dates back to the period of Hazrat Mir Syed Ali Hamdani, a Sufi mystic who came from Persia to enlighten the people of Kashmir and brought along via the silk route highly skilled artisans and a new trade to Kashmir. Kashmir saw the epitome of Carpet Weaving in the time of Zain-al-Abidin (Budshah) and the word spread all over the world. The skill of carpet weaving stays within the family generally passing down from father to son the inherent skills and techniques of art. Kashmiri Carpets are hand woven beauties of luxurious art detailing on the texture, material, technique and ornamental imagery and motifs used.

Kashmir Carpet Making

The carpet factory in Kashmir is locally known as the Kharkhaana, the work place where weavers work together to craft the masterpieces of art. At times families sit together on a carpet during its different phases working on one carpet. Normally, one carpet takes an average of 2 years to complete. Depending on the size and the design a carpet may take more time than that.

Carpet Making is a three step process that involves many people starting from the designer, the dyer, the weaver finally ending with a trader who brings them out to the world.

Designing a Carpet: Talim

Talim, the design of a carpet is the first step. Motifs are finalized, colors are chosen and the final layout of a carpet is decided upon. Talim is the written code, the carpet language that the weavers later follow while making the carpet.

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Sourcing threads and Dyeing

Once the design is finalized, the colors chosen, the yarn is send out for dying. The dyed yarn is then left to dry, exposed to air and sunlight.

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Weaving

The design, the yarns are now passed to the carpet weaver who accordingly sets up his loom. The weaver prepares the foundation of warps and wefts. Warps are strong, thick threads of cotton, wool or silk which run through the length of the carpet. Similar threads which pass under and over the warps from one side to the other are called wefts.

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Weaving normally begins from the bottom of the loom, by passing a number of wefts through the warps to form a base to start from. Knots of dyed wool, cotton or silk threads are then tied in rows around consecutive sets of adjacent warps. As more rows are tied to the foundation, these knots become the pile of the carpet. Between each row of knots, one or more shots of weft are passed to keep the knots fixed. The wefts are then beaten down by a comb-like instrument, the comb beater, to further compact and secure the newly-woven row. Depending on the fineness of the weave, the quality of the materials and the expertise of the weavers, the knot count of a handmade carpet can vary anywhere from 16 to 800 knots per square inch. When the carpet is completed, the warp ends form the fringes that may be weft-faced, tasseled, or secured in other ways.

It is all about Knots!

All Kashmir Carpets are hand woven by tying knots on the warp strands. There are different types of knots used in carpet weaving mostly symmetrical and asymmetrical, the latter being the most commonly used one. The value of the carpet is directly proportional to the number of knots in the carpet. Knot Density is the number of knots per square inch which is an important cost factor in the carpet making of Kashmir. A normal 6x4 Silk Carpet has 1 million knots approximately.

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Kashmir Carpet Terminology

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Silk on Silk Carpets (S/S)

Silk on Silk Carpets are those wherein the warp and weft used are both silk threads. Silk on Silk carpet refers to a pure silk carpet with 100% silk and no other material blend in it.

Silk on Cotton Carpets (S/C)

By Silk on Cotton Carpets is meant that weft used is silk threads and the warp used in this carpet is cotton thread yarn. It is a blend of silk and cotton.

Wool Carpets (W)

Hand woven, knotted wool yarn is used in these carpets. The warp as well as the weft is pure wool.

Staple Carpets (STP)

Staple Carpets are hand woven carpets that use synthetic silk or merchandised cotton that is silk like soft but not pure silk. These carpets have a lustrous feel to it.

Kashmir Famous Carpet Designs

Inspired by the Persian Carpet Making, the Kashmiri weavers initially made the dame designs and motifs as them, which came to be categorized as Oriental carpets. However, with time, Kashmiri artisans improvised and newer native designs and motifs were inspired in this blessed craft. While there are thousands of different motifs and imagery used in Kashmiri carpets, following are some of the popular carpet motifs of Kashmir.

Check our collection of Finest Kashmir Carpets on Treasure Box.

Gulabdar - The Kashmiri Rose.

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Tree of Life - The majestic tree depiction home to the native birds.

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Gumm - The maze pattern.

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Bagdar – The Garden View.

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All Over – An area spread floral pattern.

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Dabdar – The box pattern.

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Lotus – The Lotus flower inspired pattern.

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Khatam Band – Intricate Wood Art inspired motif.

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Hamdan, Ardabil, Kashan, Kirman and Tabriz are other famous carpet motifs that are actually inspired by the Persian Art.

Take care of your Carpets

Take off your shoes!

The best way to keep your luxury carpet clean is to take off your shoes. Let your bare feet feel the softness of the premium silk from Kashmir. Use clean indoor slippers on your carpets that will reduce your carpet cleaning time.

Regular Vacuum

A regular vacuum will ensure the life and cleanliness of your carpet.

Remove Stains Immediately

Do not wait for the stain to soak in! Get immediately to it; apply the wiping agent directly to the stain. Let it stand for 10 seconds and then blot it away. Do not wipe it, as that will only spread the stain. Always use a sponge with clean water to remove stains.

Professional Cleaning

Go for a professional carpet washing and cleaning every year or two.