Textile History: The Carpet

If you haven’t yet discovered the Atlas Obscura site, check it out. The writers over there cover all sorts of little known places, people, and things, and the newsletter almost always offers articles that I want to read. Today they posted about the history of carpets, which goes back thousands of years. The picture below is of the  Pazyryc Carpet, which was discovered in Siberia in 1947 and is now displayed at the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg. It is currently the oldest ever found.

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The carpet’s incredible state of preservation is due to the fact that it was preserved for 2 millennia within a block of ice.  According to Carpet Encyclopedia , it measures 183×200 cm and has a knot density of approximately 360, 000 knots per square meter, a higher knot density than most carpets seen in stores today. The pattern includes a central ribbon motif, border a procession with deers and another border warriors on horses. This carpet was probably manufactured in Armenia or Persia around 400 BC.  Head over to Carpet Encyclopedia for more info on this amazing work of art.

It is believed that the carpet was developed by nomadic peoples living on the plains of Central Asia, as a more easily portable source of warmth than animal skins. Their looms, in their simplest form, were made of two wooden ribs which were secured to the ground and between them the warp was fastened. Similar looms , which fold easily for transportation, are still used today by the nomads, as pictured below.

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Amazing, no?

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