It is often said in Kashmir folklore that a home is incomplete without a soul – a Kashmir carpet, which is said to “bring the entire house together” into a unified whole.
They are amongst the most sought after artworks by art connoisseurs around the world due to the exceptional brilliance of workmanship that has become a rarity in today’ times. Kashmir carpets are handmade, hand-knotted, and are primarily made using pure wool, pure silk and occasionally wool and silk blends. These are available in wide-ranging colours; designs and sizes. Carpets are primarily made in the vicinity of Srinagar, Kashmir in North India and neighboring villages in rural parts of Kashmir. These carpets are available in a range of standard sizes, such as 3’x2′, 4’x2’6″, 5’x3′, 6’x4′, 7’x5′, 10’x8′, 12’x9′, 14’x10′, 15’x12′ and 18’x12′. Larger sizes than these dimensions are mostly custom-made.Kashmiri Carpets are renowned to have bright, jewel-like colour tones such as sapphire blue, ruby red, emerald green, aquamarine, amethyst, and ivory.
The idea of Carpets is nearly 1500 years old and it is not exactly known where and by whom the first carpet was made. The culmination of the artistic magnificence of Kashmir carpets dates back to the period of Said-ul-Auliya Mir Sayyid Ali Hamadani 1341-1385 A.D. The famous Sufi Saint of Persia who came to enlighten Kashmir with his spiritual guidance and brought along highly skilled artisans through the silk trade route and laid base for the cottage industries in Kashmir Valley.
After the Mughal conquest Emperor Akbar 1580 A.D. also brought weavers from Persia to Kashmir. A great period in the history of carpets in Kashmir came in the times of Zainul-Abadin 1730 A.D. and our carpets started winning fame in far regions.
The skill of carpet weaving has been handed down by fathers to their sons, who built upon those skills and in turn handed them down to their offspring as a closely guarded family secret.
The process of Kashmir carpet making is quite laborious for it involves a lot of time and different steps right from cultivation of silk or wool, treating and dyeing it, deciding the pattern of the carpet, weaving and then adding the final touches. Nakaash is the person who designs the carpet, a Kalimba is the weaver and the ranger is the person who dyes the carpet in the local Kashmiri language. In the making of the Carpet the weaver follows the Talim chart which is a coded colour chart. This chart indicates the number of knots which has to be weaved according to the panned colours. As the day starts the master weaver reads out the code and assistants follows the instructions carefully. The final stage in Carpet weaving is the washing which adds shine and glimmer. The wash is followed by sun drying and then clipping. The carpet then comes to the finishing stage which needs the hand of skilled artisans and is done piece by piece in hand knotted carpets. The radiance of the carpet is increased by constant polishing of the pile with the feet.
The Kashmir Silk carpet is usually woven with mulberry silk and its quality is tested based on the number of knots it has. It takes at least 8 to 10 months for weaving an intricate and a high quality carpet. The magic behind the entire process of carpet weaving involves the entire family or the household sitting around a handloom throughout the day with dedication and concentration weaving magic with their fingers to convert mere silk or woollen threads into perfect designs of beautiful colours.
Place of Origin
Jammu & Kashmir, India.
3’x2′, 4’x2’6″, 5’x3′, 6’x4′, 7’x5′, 10’x8′, 12’x9′, 14’x10′, 15’x12′ and 18’x12′.