Designs of Oriental Carpets

The designs of Turkoman carpets are geometrical, with a wide silk edge and long fringes; dark red is commonly the predominant colour. Caucasian rugs are no exception to the rule in general design, but often introduce various forms of the swastika ()- Indian rugs and carpets, the cheapest of Oriental productions, have a large centre medallion, bright colours and close and heavy texture. Diamonds and squares are very usual. Chinese coverings, which are not so closely woven as most Oriental carpets, usually introduce quaint lion-dogs, dragons, tea-cups and other objects associated with the vast country of origin. Often the colours seek to reproduce the delicate shades of silks and porcelains.

Weaving a Kashmir Carpet

A VISITOR who saw a carpet in process of finishing in a hill town near Kashmir, was amazed to find a fabric measuring twelve feet by ten on a rude loom worked entirely by children. Six little boys, she writes, varying in ago from eight to eleven years, were working it, while one of them read out the pattern from a slip of paper. Their small brown fingers worked so nimbly, knotting off the ends with xi knife, that one could scarcely see what they were doing. It seemed amazing that such young boys could have attained such dexterity. We were told that they could make a carpet of the size they were then working in one month. A particularly fine example of an Indian carpet belongs to the Girdlers Company, one of the famous livery companies of the City of London. It was presented to the Girdlers in 1634 by Robert Bell, of Lahore, whose arms and those of the Company are worked into its beautiful crimson surface.

In Poland a type of carpet is made which has a durable flax or hemp foundation that renders the articles particularly durable for hard wear. The carpets and rugs are manufactured by peasants on their home looms. For use on the floor the patterns have geometrical figures, but for wall hangings flowers and animals are introduced. Smyrna carpet3 wear well and are reversible, though it should not be forgotten that there is bound to be a certain amount of wear on the side that is not uppermost. Carpets were known to the ancient Egyptians some 3,000 years before the birth of Christ, but it was not until after the conquests of Alexander the Great that the West gradually grew familiar with the products of the East. Oriental carpets and rugs became known in England long afterwards. Some of the Crusaders doubtless brought back specimens as souvenirs, but it was not until Queen Elizabeths reign that rushes were swept away to make way for carpets, and then only in the homes of the very wealthy.

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