Central Anatolian Kilim Series

Source: Central Anatolia, Turkey, c. 1850, 4’4″ x 3′, Skinner Auction, Boston, April 2019

A kilim is a is a flat tapestry-woven carpet or rug traditionally produced in countries of the former Persian Empire, including Iran, Azerbaijan, the Balkans, and the Turkic countries of Central Asia. Like pile carpets, kilims have been produced since ancient times. They are produced by tightly interweaving the warp and weft strands of the weave to produce a flat surface with no pile. The weft strands that carry the visible design and color are almost always wool, whereas the hidden warp strands can be either wool or cotton. The warp strands are only visible at the ends, where they emerge as the fringe. This fringe is usually tied in bunches, to ensure against loosening or unraveling of the weave. As kilims are much less durable than rugs that have a pile to protect the warp and weft, it’s not surprising that few of great age remain. Those considered antique tend to date from the late 19th century. The best known and most highly regarded Anatolian kilims are traditionally distinguished by the areas, villages or cities in which they are produced, such as Konya, Malatya, Karapinar, and Hotamis. In this series, the original multicolor pattern of black, yellow, scarlet, blue, gray, and white has been reduced to red and black on white.