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Names & Places

Adana (uh-DON-uh) is a manufacturing, agricultural and carpet trading center in south central Anatolia. Large kilims, woven in two halves, are made in the Adana area with patterns of repeating medallions in the main field and with usually only one border. Cotton is produced in the region, so it is not uncommon to see that material used for warps and/or for highlights throughout the pattern.

Avanos (AH-vahn-os) is a kiln town sitting astride the Red River in the Kapadokya (Cappadocia) region of central Anatolia. For centuries, the town has been known for its production of pottery and bricks that are made from the red clay from which the river gets its name. Carpet weaving was a secondary industry in Avanos, but since the middle of the 20th century, most weaving has been done for personal use and not for commercial sale. Avanos carpets are made with good quality wool, the palette is easily recognizable and most carpets have many borders. The most common format is a prayer rug with an ornate hanging lamp sitting on a red field; however, other designs are also available.

The Beluch (buh-LOOCH) tribal group inhabits a large area from eastern Iran, across western Afghanistan to the Beluchistan province of western Pakistan. They are a nomadic or semi-nomadic people and they are prolific weavers. Several subtribes, generally identified by geographic location, have developed their own variations of design and palette, but most production is simply called Beluch.

Hakkari (ha-KHAR-i) is the capital city of Hakkari Province in southeastern Anatolia. It is estimated that more than 80% of the Hakkari Province population is Kurdish, so Kurdish carpets and kilims from the area are common.

Hereke (HAIR-eh-ke) is a town in western Turkey, about 45-50 miles from Istanbul, on the Bay of Izmit. Carpet production in Hereke started in the mid-1800's. High quality wool and silk carpets are hand woven in factory environments, and the name "Hereke" is recognized throughout the world.

Heriz (hair-EES) is a small town in the Azerbaijan Province of northwestern Iran, where carpet weaving has been a tradition for hundreds of years. Heriz weavings are coarsely knotted using the Turkish (symmetrical) knot, with knot density usually between 30 and 80 knots per square inch. Normal Heriz construction is dense wool pile on heavy cotton warps and wefts, and the traditional Heriz pattern is a central medallion with pendants at top and bottom. Heriz carpets are extremely durable and old and antique carpets from the area are among the best carpets to be found.

Karapinar (kha-RAH-pinar) is a small village located approximately 30 miles east of Konya, toward Nigde (KNEE-deh), on highway 330. Rugs are still made on home looms and are all wool with rather long pile. Runners are common and the designs often reflect a Caucasian influence.

Kashmir (cash-MEER) is an area covering portions of northern Pakistan and northwestern India. Boundaries have been in dispute since the region was arbitrarily divided by English mandate in 1947 when India gained its independence. The western part of Kashmir was given to Pakistan and the eastern part to India. Political turmoil and much fighting have been the staples of Kashmiri life for the last 60 years. The art of weaving carpets in Kashmir was known by at least the early 17th century. At about that time, the mulberry tree and silk worms were introduced from China, but textile workers continued to spend most of their time weaving shawls. Carpet weaving did not become a true industry until the 19th century, after hand-weaving of shawls was overtaken by the industrial revolution. Until the early 1980's, many good quality wool - or wool and silk - carpets were made in Kashmir. The bulk of modern production, however, is silk, and tightly woven carpets are made on both cotton and silk foundations. Except for a few old Hindu designs, virtually all of the designs used by Kashmiri weavers have been borrowed from Iran. In fact, many Kashmiri carpet dealers will introduce a carpet as Qum or Tabriz or some other common Iranian name. That can be a bit confusing until one realizes that he is talking about the design and not about the carpet's origin.

Kazak is a region covering a large area in the central and south Caucasus. Kazak weavings are known for their bright colors and bold designs.

Kerman (kur-MAHN) is the provincial capital of the Kerman Province of southeasten Iran. Carpet weaving has been an industry in Kerman and the surrounding area for centuries, but it wasn't until the middle of the 19th century that Keman carpets became popular in world markets, particularly in the United States.

Konya (KHON-ye) is a large city located in central Anatolia, about 150 miles south of Ankara via highway 715. It is at the center of one of the best known and most prolific carpet producing areas in Turkey. Not only are carpets made in Konya itself, but weaving is also done in many of the surrounding villages. Most of the regional production enters the world market via Konya. To identify products from outlying villages while keeping the Konya connection, regional carpets are identified by names such as Konya/Ladik, Konya/Karapinar, Konya/Obruk, etc.

Malatya (muh-LAHT-ya) is a town in east-central Anatolia, much better known as a market town than as a carpet weaving center. Kurdish carpets and village weavings from outlying areas find their way to the Malatya markets and there pick up the generic "Malatya" name tag. Kurdish pile rugs from the Malatya area are usually coarsely knotted and have geometric designs. The area is better known for kilim production. Multiple flat weave techniques are used and the kilims are usually made in two separate, but nearly identical panels, that can be aligned vertically and sewn together.

Malayer (probably MAH-lah-yair) is a village located south of Hamadan in northwestern Iran. Malayer weavers (and others from the immediate area) construct their carpets using the Turkish knot on a cotton foundation with single wefts.

Milas (mi-LAHS) is a town situated in southwest Anatolia about 12 miles from the Aegean coast and not far from Bodrum. Milas in one of Turkey's oldest and best known carpet weaving centers. Antique Milas carpets are highly prized and demand premium prices worldwide. The pale palette and common prayer rug format of modern production are easily identifiable. I recently learned that most of today's Milas production actually comes from surrounding villages.

Mucur (MOO-jur) is a Turkish village located on highway 260 just a bit southeast of Kirsehir (KEER-sheh-heer). There are few, if any, carpets being produced in Mucur today, but the village is well known for the bold, colorful carpets, especially prayer rugs, that were woven there up until about the middle of the 20th century. Antique Mucurs in good condition are difficult to find, so even old carpets with significant repairs/renovations tend to draw premium prices in the collectors' market.

Nain (nah-EEN) is a relatively small city in central Iran, and it is well known for the high quality, densely knotted carpets that are made there. Carpet production in Nain did not begin until about the 1930's, so even the oldest Nain carpets can only be classified as semi-antique. Nevertheless, old Nains demand premium prices. Modern Nain carpets are still very well made, some with silk pile, but most with wool pile on a fine cotton or silk base. Light colors (tan, ivory, white and light blue) are dominant on the Nain palette, but quite often the field is done in dark blue, and occasionally, in red. White silk is often used to outline or highlight motifs in the design. The difference in texture between wool and silk can give the carpet the feel of being "sculpted." My supplier of Nain carpets (in Turkey) advised me in March '08 that his price for Nains has nearly doubled in the last six months, due in large part to Iran's rampant inflation.

The Q'ashq'ai (KASH-kai) tribe is concentrated in Fars Province, Iran, in the vicinity of Shiraz (sheer-AHZ). Known for excellent weaving and unique designs, Q'ashq'ai pieces, particularly antiques, are highly desirable. Carpets made in Shiraz have similar designs, and the terms Shiraz and Q'ashq'ai are sometimes used interchangeably. However, Q'ashq'ai weavings are more free-flowing and the designs, particularly in the field, are seldom symmetrical.

Taspinar (TASH-pinar) is a small village in central Turkey, located just south of Aksaray (AKH-suh-rye) a few kilometers off the E90 highway. It is noted for its deep-piled carpets that are carefully knotted with good quality wool. The traditional Taspinar design in an elongated central medallion, normally sitting on a dark blue field.

Turkmen (or Turkoman): Any of the Muslim peoples who speak one of the Turkic languages (such as Turkish, Azerbaijani, Uzbek and others) and who live in Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and in parts of Iran and Afghanistan. Turkmen weavings usually contain octagonal designs, called guls, arranged in a variety of designs. Many people, ourselves included, often refer to carpets containing any of the Turkmen gul designs as "Bokharas."

Yahyali (YAKH-yah-le) is a small village located in the foot hills of the Ala Daglar (dah-LAR) mountain range in south-central Anatolia. It is well known for its good quality weaving and very popular palette and designs. The traditional Yahyali carpet has a hexagon medallion on a red field, with blue corners and bright yellow or gold in the borders. Other designs are also made there, including very attractive prayer rugs. I was disappointed to learn recently that carpet production in Yahyali has fallen dramatically in recent years and that for the first time ever, the annual carpet market was cancelled in 2007 due to lack of product. In the past, Yahyali looms numbered close to 2000, but now only about 200 are in use. Another friend told me that this trend is widespread and could well mark the beginning of the eventual demise of village carpet production.

Yomut (or Yomud): A Turkmen tribe living along the eastern shore of the Caspian Sea in Iran and Turkestan. Yomut weavings are predominately brownish red, but other colors are common, including white, which is often found in the borders.

Yörük: Derived from the Turkish verb yürümek (to walk), this term is used to define a group of nomadic Turkish people living in and around the Taurus (or Toros) Mountains that run the length of southern Anatolia. The majority of these people have given up the nomadic life and have settled down to work in towns or to run farms. Some, however, cling to the old life. While we lived in Turkey, we were fortunate to discover a nomad family who had set up camp on the mountain north of the costal town of Silifke. We had to stop our car to allow young men to move a large flock of black goats up the road toward fresh pastures. Around the next bend, we saw the black goat-hair yurt and stopped to talk with the shepherd and his pre-school aged daughter. It was a very interesting encounter that will live forever in our memories





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