|Fine ethnographic Oriental rugs, kilims
(kelims) and other weavings have been produced by nomads and villagers throughout the
Middle East and Central Asia for centuries. Decorative woven saddlebags, storage
sacks, tent hangings, animal trappings and floor or ground covers have traditionally
enhanced every important aspect of daily life, and are genuine expressions of tribal
The geometric motifs in these
antique tribal rugs and weavings evolved directly on the loom. Traditional designs--some
religious, talismanic or totemic--were passed from one generation to the next, with each
weaver creating subtle variations that reflected her own artistic personality.
Among techniques used by the artisans were tapestry,
brocading, soumak, knotting, and warp- and weft-substitution weaves. These are
explained briefly on this website's Basic Tribal Weaves page, and are discussed in more detail in Marla's book,
All of the tribal textiles on these pages have been
gathered by Marla on research/buying trips to the Middle East -- primarily Turkey. In Criteria For Selecting Tribal Textiles,
Marla discusses the qualities she looks for
when selecting antique weavings. For a discussion of tribal bags, go to
Varieties of Tribal Bags and Panels.
For a discussion of restoration and conservation issues, check out More
Early Kilims. For washing instructions go to
Wet Cleaning Procedures for Old Textiles and Rugs. For a discussion of rug-design evolution, go to Tracking the Archetype.
For a discussion devoted solely to kilim design evolution see
One Example of Anatolian Kilim Evolution. For recommended books, go to the Tribal Flatweaves Bibliography.
For other kinds of
textile art, return to our HOME page.