Carpets, whether knotted or flat woven (kilim) are among the best known art forms produced by the Turks from time immemorial. There are environmental, sociological, economic, and religious reasons for the widespread art of carpet weaving among the Turkish people from Central Asia to Turkey.The Turkish carpets have exuberant colors, motifs, and patterns. No two carpets are the same; each one is a creation from a new. Because traditionally women have woven the carpets, this is one art form that is rarely appreciated as being the work of a known or a specific artist. Nevertheless, the Turkish women silently continue to create some of the most stunning examples of works of art to be distributed all over Turkey and the world.
Persian and Anatolian carpets
The Persian carpet is an essential part of Persian (Iranian) art and culture. Carpet-weaving is one of the most distinguished manifestations of Persian culture and art, and dates back to the Bronze Age.
The earliest surviving corpus of Persian carpets come from the Safavid dynasty (1501-1736) in the 16th century. However, painted depictions prove a longer history of production. There is much variety among classical Persian carpets of the 16th and 17th century. Common motifs include scrolling vine networks, arabesques, palmettes, cloud bands, medallions, and overlapping geometric compartments rather than animals and humans. The majority of these carpets are wool.
Pakistani and Indian carpets
The art of weaving developed in the region, comprising Pakistan, at a time when few civilizations knew about it. At present, hand-knotted carpets are among Pakistan's leading export products and their manufacture is the second largest cottage and small industry. Pakistani craftsmen have the capacity to produce any type of carpet using all the popular motif gulls, medallions, paisleys, traceries, geometric designs in various combinations.
Oriental carpets in Europe
Oriental carpets began to appear in Europe after the Crusades in the 11th century. Until the mid-18th century they were mostly used on walls and tables.
Although isolated instances of carpet production pre-date the Muslim invasion of Spain, the Hispano-Moresque examples are the earliest significant body of European-made carpets. Documentary evidence shows production beginning in Spain as early as the 10th century AD. Two of the most popular motifs are wreaths and pomegranates.
Knotted pile carpet weaving technology probably came to England in the early 16th century with Flemish Calvinists fleeing religious persecution. Because many of these weavers settled in South-eastern England in Norwich the 14 extant 16th and 17th century carpets are sometimes referred to as "Norwich carpets."
The traditional Scandinavian and Finnish carpet is the rya, made from hand-knotted wool. Dating from the 15th century, the first ryas were coarse, long-piled, heavy covers used by fishermen instead of furs. The rugs became lighter and more ornamental. By the 19th century they were often splendid festive tapestries. Now, the rya is a painting in textile, with individual artists identifiable by the colors, patterns and techniques.