Indian Carpet Weaving Tradition :

Weaving carpets has been a vocation in India since medieval period.The Indian carpet traces its provenance to the reign of the Mughals. Legend says that when Babur came to India, he missed the luxuries of Persia. In later years, in around 1580 AD, Akbar invited some Persian carpet weavers to his court. This was the beginning of Carpet weaving in India. The local artisans picked up the technique and designs from the Persians, and carpet weaving centers were set up in Agra, Delhi and Lahore.

The favorite motifs of these Mughal carpets were scenes from court life, floral patterns and designs of animals. These Indian hand knotted carpets were made of silk and were brightly colored. They had as high a number as 4224 knots per square inch.

Ever since the first carpet was woven in India, the carpet weaving industry has grown by leaps and bounds. Today, carpets from India are woven by hand or in a power loom. Though silk carpets and Indian wool carpets (link to article: Wool Carpet ) are the most popular, cotton, jute, bamboo, grass and coir are also used to make these attractive Indian floor coverings .

Indian Carpet Designs :

The motifs on Indian carpets are an exquisite blend of original Persian patterns, and ethnic Indian designs. Some of the popular patterns woven into carpets are:

Kashan: This is an interconnected leaf and tendril design. There is no central medallion.

Tabriz : This is a leaf and tendril pattern, with an intricate motif at the corners and a floral border. There is an elongated medallion.

Ispahan: This is a leaf and tendril pattern with intricate corners, a floral border, and a round medallion.

Bokhara : This design consists of repeated oval medallions that are called gulls or ‘elephant footprints'.

Herati : This pattern comprises diamond shapes and leaves. There is usually no medallion.

Heriz : This design used in Indian carpets is geometric. There is a medallion resembling a starburst too.

Serapi: This pattern evolved into the heriz design described above. It is geometric and consists of a medallion from which arms extend.

Mir : Also referred to as Boteh, this Indian carpet design is a paisley pattern spread all over.

Kerman : This consists of a floral medallion, intricate corners and a border.

Serouk : This is simply a pattern of independent flower bouquets.

Mahal: This is an abstract floral design, markedly geometric.

Tribal : These are irregular patterns of various kinds.

Aubusson : A large floral medallion, intricate corners, an elaborate border. This is a French design.

Savonnerie : This is an elaborate Aubusson pattern.

Bidjar : There is a hexagonal medallion, and a herati field surrounding it.

Indian Silk Carpets :

These traditional Indian carpets are procured from Kashmir . The silk carpet of Kashmir is hand knotted, and is renowned for its softness and the superb skill with which it is crafted.

The type of silk carpet created depends on the yarn used. Silk carpets of India are created on a silk pile, a cotton pile or a woolen pile. The 100 % pure silk carpets have between 400-1600 knots per square inch. This high number ensures their durability.

The most popular motif in Kashmiri carpets is the tree of life. Other common subjects are hunting scenes, bird and animal motifs and historic subjects.
The carpets of Kashmir are available in a number of colors. Red, blue and yellow mineral hues are the most common.

Handicrafts Trade
Suggested Reading