Carpet making is more than an art. It is a craft that is associated with the elements of original heritage and cultural significance as well. Along with various types of creative items that you use to decorate your house, carpets are of special significance as they cover a large part of the floor. The choice of a good carpet not only reflects your interior design but also adds a lavish look to your living space. Needless to mention, people get to choose from thousands of designs of carpets that are available online and often buy carpets in Delhi as they are imported from Central Asia.
People prefer to buy handmade carpets online because of two main reasons. Firstly, online carpets are of very high quality as they are certified and go through various quality checks. Secondly, a large number of brands compete with each other on the online platforms and the pricing becomes very competitive which benefits the consumer.
That said, it is very much interesting to deep dive into the art of carpet making and examine how this product makes it to the marketplace.
History of this art
Literature largely differs on the exact origins of the art of carpet making. However, carpet making is said to have gained prominence because of the maritime silk route due to which carpet traders took this art to various European countries and other parts of the world. Literature also suggests that indigenous carpet making industry was present in many parts of central Asia like Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan.
It is said that the art of carpet making reached its zenith in Iraq and other parts of Iran. It was from here that travelers and artisans took this art to kashmir. In the valley of Kashmir, it is said that the art of carpet making received a form of longevity and immortality. Different groups of artisans developed great skill and art in the domain of carpet making and this became the chief source of their livelihood over a period of time. Needless to mention, the art of carpet making continues to thrive in the valley till date.
Art and essence
The art and essence of carpet making needs to be examined from 3 different viewpoints. From the social viewpoint, the art of carpet making reflects a cultural heritage and also a special form of historical significance. The social importance of carpet making is that it is the prime form of livelihood for women as well as the weaker sections of the society. In addition to this, it is also a part time employment for the older people as they contribute to the industry by guiding the young artisans. From the economic viewpoint, the industry of carpet making is profitable because a large number of customers still retain interest in handmade carpets. However, the shortcoming is that the advent of machine made carpets has provided a stiff competition to the industry.
Forms of carpet making
There are three primary strands or branches of the carpet industry. The first branch of carpet industry owes its origin to the Chinese civilization and its distribution to various parts of Middle East and Europe through the maritime silk route. It needs to be noted at this point in time that the material that was used in Chinese carpets was locally sourced. Consequently, when such type of industry migrated to other parts of the world, there emerged a shortage of the prime material. Various types of alternatives were tried like the usage of substitute materials but this didn’t fit well with the likes of this industry. Finally, we witnessed that the Chinese art of carpet making shredded into the background and this paved the way for the emergence of the second strand.
The second strand of the carpet making industry was the most notable one and continues to flourish till date. With its Origins in Central Asia as well as Persia, the industry made a significant mark in various parts of the world. The prime reasons due to which this form of carpet making flourished included durability, strength, design ideas and elements of novelty.
The third strand of carpet making industry owes its origins to Persian art and craft. The migrants from Persia took the art of carpet making to Afghanistan and Kashmir where it acquired a cultural significance of its own. Various types of factors led to the prominence of this industry in the valley. For instance, this art of carpet making received a lot of patronage from the Muslim rulers of Kashmir. So, this backing led to the penetration of this art into the grassroot level.
The art and essence of carpet making is centuries old and the emerging online platforms and digital shops are contributing to the revival of this industry in the present times.