Monday, February 8, 2010

Magical Oriental Carpets

No, I don't sell carpets. Last year I got an old oriental carpet and posted about it. I didn't buy it, such things are usually pretty expensive. However once you've enjoyed 'living on a carpet' you don't want to miss it anymore.
Carpets (especially oriental ones) give you a place and a feeling of being home, especially if you move a lot around and are 'mobile'. Besides giving you this feeling they can give you inspirations and concentration of your thoughts when studying a problem. On the other side, depending of the qualities of the carpet, they can make your mind to wander around, getting new views of new or old things that you are dealing with.
I found, that the main inspiration of a carpet depends on two major things: The one is of course your personal and mental position, the needs you have ... and on the other side the patterns or motives that are integrated in the carpet. The motives of a carpet are signals that you receive. The motives are a source for embroading (amplifying, updating) your fantasy but can also be considered as a return to order and pacification.
Our own, usually unconscious pictures steer our needs. Also our picture, our vision of our own living (conditions). Our genuine housing requirements are frequently overlaid thereby by prestige thinking, forming of an opinion in the media, habits, life circumstances, but also by personalities in our direct life environment.
On such a carpet we could make a journey and a treasure search in the realm of our own fantasy. On a multicolored flying carpet we can be carried into old times, into the charm world of the fairy tales of 1001 nights. Here, wondrous conversions, unbelievable monsters, stormy seas, islands which save immeasurable wealth can be expecting us.
We see mysterious labyrinths, which lead into the rooms of spellbound beautiful princesses; we see fear-ordering Padishahs and courageous warriors. The dark prophecies of the bewitchers ... and all exciting adventures of the heroes who find a happy end in the long run. Despite all lifenear reality and sober logic - there are nevertheless only fairy tales!
If one reads fairy tales from many countries, one determines that there are many similar fairy tales in the different countries, only name, landscapes, certain terms differentiate them. By this fact one recognizes, that humans on the whole earth think generally very similarly and wish something similar for themselves.
You find the longing after luck, after justice, after love, after prosperity. Property (correctness) is to be rewarded, the bad should be punished. In addition, you find fears of bad charms, of bad animals, demons, ghosts, etc. Therein it shows up , the things people are afraid of. In the imagination of using a flying carpet you can recognize the desire to be able to travel fast to distant places.
In the story 'Ahmed and Pari Banu' (1001 nights) the magic carpet is a universal means of transport, which can be used by its owner or ... everyone. Actually it doesn't fly, but teleports itselves with the persons who take place on it, to the goal.
Some characters that are asscociated with the stories of 1001 nights are for example Aladin, Ali Baba, Harun ar Raschid, Sherezade, Sindbad and Salomo.
Concerning Salomo: Salomo is kind of a legendary king who was nevertheless a very real person (the son of King David) in the history of Israel. Therefore you can find stories about him like the one, that he possessed a flying carpet that could carry a whole army.
Salomo collected humans, spirits, birds and wild animals, instructed then the lion, the king of the four-legged animals to meet other animals from the deserts. Then he called the eagle, the king of the birds, and instructed him to let all robbery birds fly together.
He gave the instruction to his assistant Damuriat to call all geniuses, devils and stubborn spirits and he assigned Asaf, the son Berahjas, to bring all human troops together.
When everything had adjusted itself in innumerable mass, Salomo with its crowds sat down on this flying carpet; the birds and geniuses flew over it and before it ...
If you are not so fond of 'fairy tales' you maybe would like to put the different kinds of carpets into some intellectual or even materialistic boxes. We could make a rough organization of the samples (carpet-looks) into three categories:
1. the geometrical style
2. the curvilinear or florale style
3. the figurale style, which refers to humans, animals or even guns and weapons in some cases.
The geometrical style uses the straight line with horizontal, vertical and diagonal sections and forms from it its different samples. Geometrical samples like octagonal stars, hook-occupied oktagons and squares appear in the entire carpet art of Anterior Asia.
The florale style however uses the curved line. Therefore one speaks also of a curviliear style. This kind sometime had the task to give moral views in presenting epic or mythic scenes as a conception of and 'from' paradise.

Oriental carpets are like picture books, in which one can read if he or she understands to recognize and interpret the indications and ornamentations of the various samples. Nearly all carpets follow a basic concept, from which single ones deviate only rarely. Usually they are developed symmetrically, with a medaillon in the center (but also without) and- nearly always - with a circulating, more or less spreading 'Bordüre' (didn't find the proper English term, sorry). This concept was taken over by the machine-carpets-manufacturers in Europe.

The strictly divided internal span of an oriental carpet is to represent the world order (in a transferred sense) and the circulating 'Bordüren' present the finiteness of our being. All classical carpets are conceived in such a way. Someone, who knows the symbols of a carpet can read in a carpet like in a book.

There are (for example) the carpets of Tibet: The color-glad motives tell of the rich symbol content of the buddhistic religion. There are kites to admire or snow lions, but also florale representations such as the lotosflower or bamboo, as well as landscape features such as rocks, the sea and clouds. You find also the eight buddhistic symbols of luck and other ritual articles.

Generally it can be said that the symbols that are used by the people of Tibet are very 'multilayered', their decoding is sometimes difficult. The interpretations, sound themselves often differently. They have cosmic meaning as well as religious meaning. (The body of the Ur-Buddha - Adi Buddha - is at the same time conception of the world and universe.). Thus symbols of animals often refer to the elements and these have again a correspondence in the mental consciousness of humans, in the consciousness stages, which finally lead to the illumination, to the buddhaship.

The early samples of the Tibetan carpets show very much similarity with Chinese carpets. The buddhistic symbol content is the same. But despite Chinese and Mongolian influences, the creative Tibetans developed their completely own style. In Tibetan carpets, the spiritual character is supposed to be more strongly pronounced than in the Chinese ornamental art. Well, you are right if you doubt this differenation, however there is a difference in the want and need to just decorate a room with a carpet, or in the intention to send a message of inspiration or meditation with the production and presentation of a carpet. And in direction Hollywood I'd say that there IS a difference between calling the winter SonnenWende (solitduce?) "Christmas" or "X-mas"

Carpets were manufactured in Tibet for different purposes. Most common is the 'bridge' (90cm x 180cm). One uses it as warming place to sleep on. In addition there are small ones for sitting at the fire. Others serve as isolating curtains for door or tent openings. Two piece-carpets were (are) also used as saddle covers for wood saddles. In temples, carpets are (were) used as seats for the monks.In former times carpets with tiger samples (tiger-motives) were reserved for highranking personalities and buddhistic priests (meditation).
Carpets represent the cultural heritage of countries and ... maybe civilisations. Above you see a carpet that's supposed to be the oldest carpet of the world (something over 2000 years old, so you might call it 'ancient'). I put an emphasis on carpets from Tibet, this in order to empahsise a spiritual aspect. However there are most beautiful carpets coming from Persia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Pakistan, Caucasus and ... for example Afghanistan.
'Afghani' is a term which does not only describe a certain kind of cannabis (hashish) but also describes a certain sort of carpet. Afghanistan (30 million people) is as large carpet attaching country. For these oriental carpets a low-red is typical up to a brown tending basic colour. The samples, often dark-blue and black, are regulatory strictly geometrical and show octagons and changing filling motives (like in the photo above a kalashnikow machine gun). However Afghanistan can be considered as the prototype of a transit country. Since earlyhistorical time the ways of the people migrations, conquerers, dealers and missionairies of the most different religions crossed here.
Coming back to some material aspects of carpets I have to refine myself, because going into details would build an encyclopedia and not a blog-post :) .
There would be aspects of the used material (wool or cotton), of colors, of kinds of attaching chairs, of national and local specialities ... so, if you want to spread something around, explore yourself and the world, then study and write about carpets and not about blogging :) HaHa. Become a Pro-Carpet (sounds like prophet :) and not a ProBlogger. Haha.
Because in ten years people will be more interested in carpets than in blogging.

Soooo ... Afghanistans largest city is the 3,500 years old capital Kabul. Second largest city of the country is Kandahar (Herat) in the south of Afghanistan, from Alexander (the large one :) created. Then there is Mazar e Sharif in north Afghanistan with the grave of the fourth calif Ali (a place of pilgrimage) There is the most splendid grave mosque of Afghanistan from the late 15. Century.
Well a carpet could be considered as a representation of a certain kind of society. OK, let's do some carpet-sociology. As a democrat I would pay attention to the knots of such a kind of carpet or society.
The refinement of oriental carpets is usually defined after the knot number per surface.
The number of knots determines the roughness or fineness of a carpet.
Rough: 15.000 - 25.000 knots per squaremeter
Fine: 200.000 - 400.000 knots per squaremeter
And of course there are all kinds of qualities or quantities in between these two extremes.
So if you got a nice oriental carpet you can determine the approximate number of knots per square meter by counting (on the back of the carpet) with the help of a ruler. In the case of five knots on 10 mm horizontally and six knots on 10 mm perpendicularly, which therefore results in 5 x 6 = 30 knots per square centimeters and 30 x 10.000 = 300.000 knots per square meter.
And now we come to an aspect of time:
With a knot density of 10 x 10 knots (=100 per cm ²) for a square meter you need one year of attaching work. With a knot number of 15 x 15 knots (= 225 per cm ²) you will already need three to five years per squaremeter. With 24 x 24 knots (= 576 per square centimeter) (world class silk carpet) you'll need for the production around 11 years.
If you have some mathematical obsessions you might be interested to know that the knot density of Persian carpets is indicated in Radj. The Persian datas for attaching densities are indicated in knots on the chain per Radj. The length of a Radj correspond with 7 centimeters, thus 0.07 meters. A meter corresponds therefore to 14.29 Radj and the knots per meter of chain computes itself from Radj x 14,29. A carpet with 22 knots per Radj has therefore 310 knots per meter of chain, because 22 x 14.29 = 314.
So I guess you are right when you guess that I have a kind of obsession with or of carpets, especially magical ones :) Right now I'm posting from a carpet (well at least not in the air, but on the internet-air :) and I spend a lot of my lifetime now on a carpet, staying on the ground though of course I'm sometimes heavenly minded :)
Thank you for reading thus far, however I read a lot more before I wrote this post.
I hope to 'see' you again ... on this blog. Best wishes!

And here's a bonus :) I made a video about my favorite carpet. Hope, you'll enjoy it :)


1 comment:

poona said...

Wonderful blog & good post.Its really helpful for me, awaiting for more new post. Keep Blogging!


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