Among the many terms that you may encounter when you are perusing oriental and Persian rugs is ‘kilim’, which refers to a flat tapestry-woven carpet or rug. These items are produced from the Balkans to Pakistan and have been found to date back to at least the fourth or fifth century CE in Hotan, China.
Kilim rugs are sometimes included by rug and carpet sellers in the generic category of ‘oriental rugs’, but it is generally accepted that they belong to their own category.
A pile rug’s visible design is made by individual short strands of different colour knotted onto the warps and held together by pressing the wefts tightly. Kilim rugs differ from this in that they are made through the interweaving of the variously coloured wefts and warps, resulting in what is known as a flatweave.
Kilim rugs are associated with a distinctive weaving technique and aesthetic
When you pick up a kilim rug, there’s a good chance that it will have been woven with the slitweave technique, the ‘slit’ in this instance a reference to the gap left between two blocks of colour.
Such a gap is created when the weft is returned around the last warp in a colour area, with the adjacent colour’s weft later being returned around the adjacent warp. Weavers completely cover the warp by tightly packing the weft, with diagonal patterns often preferred so that the rug’s structure is not weakened by vertical slits.
This technique frequently results in geometric designs characterised by bold, sharp patterns, although floral designs are also not unheard-of.
We are a leading source of quality kilim rugs in the UK
While many collectors and traders once regarded kilim rugs as poor relations to oriental knotted carpets, they have risen in popularity in recent years on account of their often lower price compared to pile rugs. Today, perceptions of kilim rugs’ inferiority have been largely replaced with an appreciation of their different origins and nature relative to rugs woven on a strictly commercial basis.
Here at Sharafi & Co, we are one of the most respected wholesale suppliers of kilim rugs in the UK, and would be only too happy to assist you in your search for the pieces that best serve your requirements.
We are located within walking distance of East Acton station and sell to both dealers and the general public, so feel free to contact us now for an appointment, or alternatively make use of our “Home Service” and view your selected rugs in the comfort of your home or office.