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Culture, Arts and History of Uzbekistan
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Rugs, Carpets and Carpetmaking

Rugs, Carpets and Carpet-making

The traditions of popular carpet weaving in Uzbekistan are very ancient, and arise from the creative search of many generations. Carpets, mainly woven by numerous home-workers in the rural areas, are perfect in technique and design. Popular masters of art keep up the fine artistic traditions and develop them.

There are three types of carpets in Uzbekistan: carpets with short pile - gulyam, those with long pile julkhirs, and palas.

The characteristic feature of carpets with short pile is their red-brown tint, lit up by a harmony of light-coloured details of the principal medallions, which are frequently of geometrical form.

The finest samples of Uzbek carpets with short pile are highly appraised for the quality of their ornamentation - the depth and luster of tones, peculiar simplicity and sketchiness of the design.

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Since ancient time carpets with long pile -julkhirs - have been popular among rural inhabitants. This kind of carpet weaving was unknown to other peoples of Central Asia. Nowadays it enjoys wide popularity for its ornamentation and interlinking with modern trends in world carpet making, which are based at increasing output of carpets with long pile. Julkhirs are monumental in composition and simplicity of design, and are shown in colour.

Palas fabrics are diverse in Uzbekistan. These include: kokhma - a fabric, plain striped in various colours; terma and gadjari - a fabric woven in pattern with different methods of "criss-cross overlap" technique and ornamented with rows of small geometrical vegetal and zoomorphic motifs; and arabi - a cloth, which is woven in the so-called clearance method. All kinds ofpalas fabrics are sometimes supplemented with the superposed design method. This complex and arduous method, which resembles embroidery, is called beshkashta.

In the past 50 years the method of weaving and ornamentation of arabi palases has been practiced on a large scale in all the Central Asian Republics.

Up to the turn of the XX century weaving carpets was exclusively the domestic craft of women living in rural areas. Although the demand for carpets was stable and high among the urban population, they were not made in towns and cities. This demand was met by importing carpets from neighbouring regions of Asia.

In Soviet times workshops were set up, where carpets were woven. In the years after 1960 a few small factories went up in Khiva, Andijan and Shakhrisabz. However, weaving carpets by hand at home still remains a popular occupation among the inhabitants of Uzbekistan.
Uzbek Folk Art Supporters Community, Information Portal, 2002-2013.
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