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Turkey, Middle East

How to Read a Carpet

In this lecture, we explored the ancient and fascinating art of carpet weaving. We began with an overview of the “carpet belt,” a cultural sash that encircles the Eastern Mediterranean, Black Sea, the rim of Africa, and the Middle East all the way Asia. We took an in-depth look at the different techniques used to weave carpets, the materials used, different kinds of knots, and the origins of natural dyes.

We next explored the meanings of symbols and colors in carpet design, and how the strictures of Islamic law dictates the type of imagery that can be displayed. We then examined the separate carpet making centers of Anatolia, the Caucuses, and Iran. To finish, we reviewed the dos and don’ts of carpet buying in the region, which hopefully prepares you for an enjoyable experience in carpet shops and bazaars.


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