From the rich tapestries of ancient times to the intricate designs of contemporary masterpieces, the story of these mesmerising works of art is truly fascinating. Once you start learning about them, you find out that there is a lot of information about hand-knotted rugs that is not common knowledge.
However, those who know the history of the craft as well as how it is practised can only truly appreciate the rugs for what they are. So, here is an insight into the background as well as the process of creating hand-knotted rugs,
History of Hand-Knotted Rugs
The history of the art of hand-knotting traces back more than a couple thousand years. Rugs have existed for a very long time in various corners of the world and many different forms. Hand-knotting, in particular, is one of the oldest forms of creating rugs. This craft first made its appearance in the Persian Empire (Iran in present-day) but slowly spread to other parts of the world. With time, it made its way to the Ottoman Empire and Spain under Islamic rule. In both of these places, different styles of hand-knotting developed.
Around the 16th century, the Mughals brought this art to India and created a big impact on not only the culture and economy but also the very fabric of the realm of art established in the country. Aside from becoming a popular method of rug-making in Asia, hand-knotted rugs also reached the homes of noble and wealthy families in Europe and America. The Industrial Revolution reduced the demand for these rugs for a while but the 20th century saw the enthusiasm for handmade goods return with full force..
Popularity of These Rugs
Since the revival of interest in hand-knotted rugs, the popularity of this craft has only risen. It has reached a point where each handmade rug can either be considered a collector’s item or a precious artifact worthy of becoming an heirloom. Hand-knotted rugs are coveted for their intricate craftsmanship that takes hours upon hours to complete. The level of detail that goes into each rug is truly remarkable, making it a valuable addition to the interior of any space.
These rugs are highly prized in various parts of the world but in India, they have held a special place since they were introduced during the reign of Emperor Akbar. In fact, the rugs made in India are also in high demand Internationally. Many rug manufacturers in India have an export-only business for this reason. However, many other manufacturers manage to draw tourists and other international clients to their business without focusing solely on exporting their products.
Types of Hand-Knotted Rugs
There are various types of hand-knotted rugs available in the market. They are usually identified by the place where they have originated. So, a distinct style of hand-knotting developed in Turkey will be known as Turkish hand-knotting, while the same belonging to India will be known as Indian hand-knotting. However, that is not all. The categorisation of the types of this craft becomes even more complicated when we delve deep and look into the small regions where it is practised. Some of the popular types of hand-knotting rugs are Indian, Persian, Turkish, Oriental, Afghan, and more.
There are so many things to think about when it comes to different crafts like what materials are used, how they are made, and even the cultural and historical background behind them. All of these factors play a big role in giving each type of craft its own unique identity. It is extremely intriguing that there are such a large number of ways that this craft is practiced in the world. Even more intriguing is the fact that there is always something new to learn in this regard.
Process of Hand-Knotting
Hand-knotting is a process that takes several hours, days or even months to complete, depending upon the level of detail being added to the rug. Each rug contains a certain amount of knots that are created by the craftsman with painstaking detail, by going from row to row and individually tying warp threads together. The number of knots depends on how much detail is required in the rugs or how high-quality a product needs to be.
Due to a high knot density, these flat weave rugs become extremely durable, which allows them to survive the test of time and stay in perfect condition for quite a number of years. When the knots are created, they make up a pile which grants texture to the rug and reveals its true pattern. The extra material is removed by shearing to get rid of any unevenness in the rug. Then the washing and dyeing of the rug takes place, after which the craftsman makes the final touches and gets the rug ready to be bought.
Home of the Art of Hand-Knotting in India
There are several regions where hand-knotted rugs are created in India but Agra is the true home of this art form. It was this city that first saw this craft make its way into the culture of this country. The artisans of this city were the first to learn it and the people of this city were the first to experience it. This is why you will find hand-knotted rugs in every rug showroom in Agra.
Hand-knotting is an art form that has been taught to generation after generation in the families of craftsmen. It is a knowledge that has been passed on to the artisans of today by their ancestors. When craftsmen use the combination of this knowledge and their inherited skills to create a hand-knotted rug, they produce a beautiful and unique piece of art. The process of knotting and weaving the fibers together results in a one-of-a-kind rug that is the fruit of their labour and determination towards creating a mesmerizing piece of art.
The level of craftsmanship required to make a good hand-knotted rug makes it quite a difficult craft to practice and yet makes it equally rewarding. The craftsmen pour their hearts and souls into making these rugs and then become immortalized when those rugs are either preserved as an heirloom or a collectable item.
The Bottom Line
Rugs are already considered brilliant pieces of artwork that manage to evoke deep emotions but hand-knotted rugs are even more special. They are masterpieces because of the very way they are created. Places like Kalra’s Cottage Industry are where you can not only find such masterpieces but also discover how they are made. This knowledge is just another way to appreciate the work of the artisans who create these rugs.