The term “kilim” symbolizes a pileless textile produced through several flat weaving techniques with a heritage from the Taurus Mountains in the northern part of Iran. The art of the kilim spread through other regions of the rug belt. Kilim rugs bear a name similar to their native areas, such as Keles, Sarkoy, Bergama, and Yunchu.
Kilim rug vs. Oriental rugs
Most people classify this rug among the broad range of oriental rugs, but the kilim has certain qualities that set it apart from the rest.
Flat weaving technique- weavers of make kilim designs by interweaving different colored wefts and warps to create a flat weave. On the other hand, weavers create pile rugs by knotting individual strands of yarn onto the warps then holding them together by pressing the wefts tightly.
- Decorative purposes – since the kilim has no pile to protect the warps and wefts, it is less durable and therefore better suited as a wall hanging than a floor covering.
- Split weave technique – kilim rugs have gaps between two blocks of color. Collectors love slits because they produce sharp-edged design, thus enhancing their geometric design.
- Diagonal patterns – weavers of kilim rugs have more room to experiment with different designs as compared to the plain weave technique. Kilim rugs boast of predominantly geometric designs.
How to choose a kilim rug
The choice of kilim rug highly depends on the type of material used to make them, which in turn affects the quality of the rug. Consumers have a choice between the following materials:
- Wool – this natural fiber is the most common material used to make kilim rugs. Weavers prefer wool because it is easy to handle while spinning, it is durable and easily takes on dyes. Wool is readily available in the kilim-making regions of the rug belt.
- Silk – this material remains the most luxurious fiber used in carpet making. Early weavers of the kilim used silk to make pricey rugs for elite families who would use them in their homes or gift them during special occasions such as weddings.
- Cotton – this fiber is sturdy, and it retains shape even with regular usage. Kilim carpets made of cotton keep their natural whiteness even after many years of usage. Cotton is also readily available.
- Animal hair – weavers often incorporated the hair of camel, goats, and horses to boost the strength of the wool. These animals were core to the nomadic lives of these weavers, so they did not have to travel to find this material. They would also make decorative fringes using the tail of a horse.
Kilim rugs are luxurious rugs with superior geometric designs that reference the nomadic tribes that made them. These rugs are lightweight and simple, making them an ideal option for beautiful rugs with a cultural significance to the origins of carpet making.