HEREKE ORIENTAL RUGS
LOCATION & HISTORY
oriental rugs originated in the coastal town of Hereke, almost 200
years ago, on the north shore of Izmit bay in northwest Turkey. Hereke
is approximately 40 miles southeast of Istanbul.
The Ottoman Empire
Turkey was an integral
part of the Ottoman Empire for centuries. At its height, the Empire
included the area from Hungary in the north to Somalia in the south and
from Algeria in the west to Iran in the east.
sultans of the Ottoman Empire were all members of the House of Osman
and ruled over the transcontinental empire with an iron hand from its
inception in 1299 to its dissolution in 1922. The city of Bursa in
Anatolia was the first capital. In 1366, the capital was moved to
Edirne and in 1453 the capital was moved to Constantinople (now known
Sultan Abdulmecid I in 1841
The Ottoman sultan, Abdulmecid I played an essential role in the
establishment of the town of Hereke and the weaving of Hereke oriental
rugs. He founded the Hereke Imperial Manufacture in 1841 with the sole
purpose of furnishing his palace, Dolmabahce, built from 1843 to 1856.
The best artists and rug weavers were called from the cities of Sivas,
Ladik, and Manisa to Hereke to produce the highest quality rugs,
fabric, upholstery, and curtains for the palace.
1843, a rug making school was established in Hereke, where both Muslim
and Christian women and children attended classes. In 1878, the
factory burned to the ground but was rebuilt in 1882. Today this
factory continues to operate as a museum-factory.
the years following the construction of Sultan Abdulmecid I's
palace, Hereke rugs were woven only to furnish other royal residences or
given as gifts to visiting royals from countries such as Japan,
Russia, Germany, and England.
It wasn't until 1890 that a number of traders in Istanbul were allowed to sell some of the rugs woven in Hereke.
the end of the Ottoman Empire in 1922, the production of Hereke rugs
was restricted until the middle of the 20th century when some master
weavers in Hereke once again began weaving Hereke oriental rugs,
continuing the tradition of the Ottoman palace rugs.
Hereke rugs are still made with the traditional patterns of Sultan, Abdulmecid I, as well as both traditional Anatolian and
contemporary figurative patterns.
the actual town of Hereke no longer technically exists since it lost
its municipality status in 2008 due to an insufficient population.
CONSTRUCETION OF HEREKE ORIENTAL RUGS
Unique Construction Method
The construction method used to create Hereke oriental rugs is unique.
Rather than placing the warps (up and down cords) next to one
another as in most other construction techniques, two sets of warps are
used. The first set of warps is located in front of the second set. This
allows for the use of a second weft (side to side thread which
interlaces through the warps). This weft is thinner and zig-zags to
securely hold the knots in place should the rug be damaged.
The knots are then tied a second time using the Turkish or Ghiordes
symmetrical knot. This makes for an extremely durable rug with
materials used to make Hereke oriental rugs include silk, a combination
of wool and cotton, and sometimes gold or silver thread is also used.
These rugs can be found made with wool or camel hair or silk on a cotton
foundation as well as silk on silk.
genuine, pure silk Hereke oriental rug always uses silk from the city
of Bursa in Turkey. Bursa has for centuries produced the highest quality
of silk. Bursa was a station on the famed Silk Road and a world trade center of silk cocoons and silk fabric.
wool is used for these rugs, only the finest wool, known as cork wool, is
used. This wool comes from the neck of the sheep and has a high content
of wool grease (lanolin), making it soft and easy to work with.
Hereke Rug Sizes
rugs are generally very large, although the silk on silk rugs are made
in smaller sizes. Some silk Hereke rugs have from 3000 to 4000 knots per
square inch. Those made of wool are typically in the 1200 knots per
square inch range.
The weaving of all
fine Hereke rugs, especially the silk on silk ones, is very labor
intensive and even the small rugs can take more than a year to complete.
Design of Hereke Oriental Rugs
Because of their
construction, the Hereke rugs have more curvilinear designs and show
more Persian influenced patterns than most other Turkish rugs.
The silk Herekes
typically come in soft pastels with intricate floral motifs such as the
carnation, tulip, rose, crocus, lilac, hyacinth, and plum blossom.
Quarter medallions are often found in the corners.
Some Common Motifs Used in Hereke Oriental Rugs
Please continue reading here for more information and photos of Hereke Oriental Rugs.