Pronounced In the Farsi language as “gilims”,
where the “G” is sounded as in “Good”. they
are hand-woven on vertical or horizontal looms, using dyed threads
produced from sheep or camel wool as well as cotton and occasionally
silk or horse and goat’s hair. usually
the warp is of cotton while the weft is from wool.
Kilims are a part of nomadic heritage and have been woven for
thousands of years around Persia, as well as other parts of the near
east and east Europe.
Each area has its own unique style of patterning and coloring. thus
as with hand-woven rugs, one can with experience, distinguish origins by
the characteristic patterns and colors apparent in a kilim.
Female members of nomad or
village families, perform on the whole weaving with the children helping
during free time, usually in winter months when agricultural activity is
at the minimum. The more
experienced older members in each family produce the finest of kilims.
Dyes for coloring the threads are usually produced from naturally
available raw materials such as fruits (berries, pomegranates, etc.),
fruit-skins (walnuts, pomegranates, etc.), flowers, plants and so on.
More recently threads from some commercially produced kilims are
chemically dyed and therefore pose a handicap during washing, due to
possibilities of the merging of colors. Naturally produced colors have
the advantage of permanence as well as richer and more sober tones. All
kilims can be washed with water at a temperature of 10o-300c,or
if size allows, dry-cleaned.
hand-woven rugs, which must be designed beforehand, there are no
specific patterns or designs pre-set for kilim weavers. Improvisation
according to personal tastes and lifestyles plays an important part of
the finished product. Therefore understandably, each kilim, even if
produced in the same tribe or village tends to be unique unto itself,
and finding two exactly similar works can be virtually impossible; ,just
as searching for two similar paintings by different artists would be an
mind and life experiences directly influence Works. consequently due to their simple life styles, kilim patterns
are often abstract, consisting of symbols of rural life and nature such
as plants, birds and animals. On other samples one will find geometrical
patterns with broad horizontal stripes and figures with bold motives
assembled in harmonious colors.
kilim weaving, contrary to carpet weaving, it is possible for the weaver
to start and finish one side or a particular column of patterns before
returning to conclude other parts yet untouched. thus
it may be that on first look some kilims may seem perfectly symmetrical
whereas in actual fact on closer scrutiny one might notice slight
irregularities and differences in detail, even though this would not
alter the value of the finished product.
Some kilims, when finished, are embroidered; others known as “sumac” have
a mass of loose threads at the back. These are called “ needlework”
and many are very attractive as well as valuable pieces for collectors.
outer borders and the fields of kilims are more often than not densely
patterned as weavers seldom leave empty areas. Outer borders are
sometimes black goat’s wool for the purpose of durability once in use.
best kilims of Persia are
woven in Kurdistan of W. Iran, Azerbaijan of N. W. Iran, Turkmen of N.
E. Iran and Qashqai of S. W.
Iran. but many other areas also produce kilims of quality and
nomadic households kilims have always played a multi –purpose role.
Most often it is used as a carpet covering floors, as well as wall
hangings for decorative purposes. They are used as saddle covers
carryall bags, door drapes, cushion covers and many a time as protection
from wind and storm as a blanket.
modern homes kilims can also play the above roles as well as table
covers, curtains, bedspreads and material for furniture upholstering.
Being in actual fact a sort of tapestry and very colorful they are very
often hung on walls of modern homes lending a cheerful and lively
atmosphere to rooms.
when worn and used are categorized as antiques and many knowing
collectors are at present active in buying available kilims as a secure
source of investment.