The country of the Turkish rugs is the district of Asia minor, or as the Greeks termed it, Anatolia, the “land of the sunrise.” It is an area rich in history: the land of lliad and homer; the home of early Greek civilization, with its arts, industries and commerce, supplanted by Islam. Islam is the major religion in turkey. This district is about the size of France, a very fertile table land, surrounded by mountain ranges, with valleys sloping to the black sea on the north and to the Mediterranean on the west and south. Its natural resources, under Turkish rule, are being developed and still some of the finest grades of wool for rug making are produced in quantities, as well as mohair from the angora goat, silk, cotton, linen, and dye-stuffs.
Its people are diverse. There are many Greeks of pure lineage, Kurds, partly sedentary, and partly nomadic shepherds, Turkomans of the mountain district of the Taurus, Armenians, and some Europeans. With the exception of the cities like Smyrna, broussa, and adana, where European influence is strong, the life in the rural areas is still somewhat primitive.
In every few parts of this area rug-weaving is carried out in the old style where one family raises, cards and spins the wool, makes the dyes and weaves the carpet. Factories have been established for the manufacture of carpets. Where hundreds of weavers are employed, much in the same way as in the Iranian factories. Primarily the work force includes women and children, though, with stricter control on the part of government, child labor is not as extensive as earlier in this century.
The materials for rug-making are of the best quality. The wool of this area, much of which is raised by Turkoman tribes, is of fine quality, and is spun loosely, giving a fluffy appearance and producing a soft blending of colors. An attempt to introduce spinning machines failed in the early 1920’s; however, with industrialization of the rug industry taking hold, hand-spun wool is becoming rate. The Angora goat furnishes a fine grade of mohair, which produces a rug with a beautiful sheen when new, but with wear this rug becomes matted, dull, and wears more readily than does wool. Silk and cotton are both raised in abundance and are used for clothing and rugs.
For a time inferior synthetic dyes were used extensively in Turkoman rugs, especially around the 1920’s when they supplanted natural dyes throughout Iran and India. Today, synthetic dyes still predominate, but they are of good quality and produce natural-looking colors that are colorfast. Red, a favorite color in Turkoman rugs, is still at times gotten from madder, a plant which grows abundantly throughout the east.
List of Turkish rugs.