The Turks have
produced the largest kilims, usually in two narrow pieces joined, as well
as small ones and a multitude of prayer kilims. As a prayer rug, which is
carried about with the worshiper, the light and extremely flexible kilim
offers obvious advantages. In Turkish kilims, cotton is often used for the
white areas, and small details may be brocaded. The kilims of the southern
Balkans began as close copies of Anatolian types but have gradually
developed into individual styles, such as the black, red, and white kilims
of Pirot. In Romania, also, there are varied local fashions, progressively
less Oriental in colour and pattern as the distance from Turkey increases.
The name kilim is also given to a variety of brocaded, embroidered,
warp-faced, and other flat-woven rugs and bags
Here again we question: Are kilims just
floor coverings? No, some are hangings, some are bench or divan covering,
etc., etc. Once more a trusted source of information turns out to be at
least a bit misleading.
There are other definitions to be found, some much less accurate, others
quaint or curious, but their very profusion shows that more and more
people are interested in our favorite subject, the kilim. Not many years
ago the word 'kilim' wasn't even listed in an English dictionary or
encyclopedia! What's more, even today your computer spell-check tool
probably doesn't recognize kilim as a legitimate word. Don't worry, it is.
Having researched the matter in some detail in numerous sources we have
arrived at the following definition:
Kilim, a word of Turkish origin, denotes a pile less textile of many uses
produced by one of several flat weaving techniques that have a common or
closely related heritage and are practiced in the geographical area that
includes parts of North Africa, the Balkans, Turkey (Anatolia and Thrace),
the Caucasus, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Central Asia and China.
We believe this definition to be correct though incomplete, because, as
all kilim lovers know, no words can convey the romance of the kilim. We
try to fill this void by providing in these pages as much detail as
possible about the traditions, culture and heritage of kilim-making to
make the romance live - and we hope you enjoy it.