Kilim rugs are true treasures of textile art, carrying with them a rich history and cultural heritage. The kilim is a hand-woven carpet with its origins in ancient civilizations. It represents a unique mix of geometric patterns, vibrant colors and traditional symbols. Let's delve into the fascinating world of kilim rugs and discover their centuries-old heritage.
The history of the kilim
The word "kilim" is commonly used to designate a woven wool carpet originating from the Near East, the Caucasus and Central Asia. These rugs have been around for almost ten thousand years, an assertion supported by numerous archaeological remains. Until recently, their function was not commercial. They remain an authentic reflection of the memory and identity of the sedentary, nomadic and semi-nomadic peoples who weave them. Each tribe and village has its own distinct style, ranging from bright colors to more sober motifs, depending on the region.
The diversity of designs is remarkable. Each region has its own patterns and styles, reflecting its rich history and traditions.
The creation of a kilim is a complex process requiring traditional skills handed down from generation to generation. Its technique is similar to that of tapestry. Consisting of warp threads running lengthwise, vertical weft threads run between them to form the distinctive patterns. Although made without velvet, the kilim technique ensures a tight weave, guaranteeing its sturdiness.
Originally, these weavings were the work of nomadic or village women to meet their domestic needs. They used the raw materials available to them, mainly wool, with the occasional addition of cotton for the warp or to highlight certain motifs. The quality of the raw materials was decisive for the beauty and strength of the weave. High-quality wools bring shine and silkiness to the weave.
Traditionally, kilims were woven from hand-spun wool. This technique, handed down from generation to generation, preserves the yarn's softness, brilliance and strength. In addition, hand-spinning gives the yarn a grain that brings the weave to life and allows the dye to impregnate the wool, bringing out every nuance of color. Finally, it requires no additives such as the grease generally used in machine spinning.
With industrial development, machine spinning of wool began. This technique tarnishes wools and produces a more regular, less lively yarn. The use of substances such as grease made the yarn heavier and dirtier.
All TRIFF kilims are or have been woven with hand-spun wools.
Originally, wool was dyed using natural dyes derived from plants and minerals. Artisans extracted pigments from sources such as indigo, madder root and pomegranate skins to create a palette of deep, rich colors. These dyes were also more stable over time and in light.
However, with the advent of chemistry, aniline dyes were developed in the late 19th century. Offering a much wider range of colors and being easier to use, they were to replace vegetable dyes as and when they appeared in different regions. As they were less stable over time, the bright colors faded and gave a "powdery" appearance to the tints.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, when the TRIFF gallery launched its own kilim collections, it reintroduced the use of vegetable dyes.
Each kilim is woven by hand with exceptional meticulousness and precision. Turkish weavers use traditional looms to produce these unique carpets.
For ancient kilims, these craftswomen wove without drawing boards, interpreting the traditional motifs of their region or tribe themselves, handed down from mother to daughter. Today, this authentic know-how makes it possible to determine a kilim's region of origin.
TRIFF's contemporary kilims are woven from our own drawing boards using the same ancestral technique. Each kilim is therefore unique, because even if the motif is identical, the woman's interpretation will personalize it.
The evolution of the kilim
This term refers to weavings made when chemical dyes did not yet exist in their country of origin.
A greater or lesser number of years does not necessarily add value to kilims. Only the notion of authenticity conferred by the use of vegetable dyes and the making of these rugs for personal, non-commercial purposes is taken into account.
It's the type of dyes used to dye the wools that differentiates vintage kilims from antique kilims.
Indeed, as soon as chemical dyes appeared on the market, women were gradually abandoned the use of vegetable dyes.
Not woven for commercial purposes, they remain the expression of local traditions. This gives them their authentic character and charm.
Since the late 80s, Galerie TRIFF has been developing its own collections, contributing to a revival of the kilim.
Galerie TRIFF kilims are made with the finest quality wools and dyes. The entire production process is carried out by hand, from spinning the wool to weaving the carpet. In addition to reproductions of traditional designs, this enables us to offer a wide range of contemporary models that combine color and material effects.