Kilim Fabrics: Between Bright Colors and Geometric Forms

sharkoi kilim old
DATE: 23 agosto, 2017

The word Kilim come from the Persian gelim (گلیم) and means ‘outstretch’, the ancient fabric we knew the existence is a fragment found by M. A. Stein, archaeological explorer, who found it among the remains near Khotan, in Turkestan, near an ancient settlement buried by piles of sand between the IV and the V century. The fabric is quite similar to the modern Kilims and have about 14 thread of wrap and 16 of weft  per inch. The exemplary is made by tinny strips in blue, green, brown, yellow, and red with really small geometric drawings.

Kilims belong to the same category of tapestries and the Cicims weaved and sewn by Semaks.

Kilim are produced interweaving tightly wrap and weft achieving a flat surface without fleece. Most of them are made with a particular tecnique with which the weft threads are tightly pulled  down to hide vertical warp yarns.
When a motif with a color ends, the weft threads are wrap around the edge between colors. In this way a split is created between two areas of different colors.

The splints produce drawings that seem carved, highlighting geometric motifs. Weft threads that produce the drawings and their colors, are made of wool.  Instead, the warp threads are hidden and are of wool or cotton.

Warp threads are visible only on the fringe usually knotted in bunch to avoid the loosening of the weft.


Drawings on the Kilim

The kilim are famous for their abstract and geometric motifs. This figures are, in reality, abstracted interpretation of natural elements. The symbolism behind them is the same since the dawn of time. Frequently they represent birds or animals, most of the time, only the protom of them. On the Anatolian Kilim there are often double-bitted axe, used to represent the duality of the power and the straight. The labyrinth motifs is, instead, feature only of this type of handwork. With its spirals seem to show the continuity between the death and the life, as well as the cycling life of human existence and nature. Another motifs appreciated is the Gul drawing.

sharkoi kilim old

The Categorisation

Since few years ago, was used to classifying Kilims depending on the land or the tribe of origin. However this categorization is turned out to be wrong. Frequently, as matter of fact, identic drawing are found in different

Lands, distant from each other, due to the displacement of nomadic populations. Moreover, also the weddings between two different clans make recognizing difficult. In fact, weavers, when they  get married, start to weve the motifs of husband’s clan.

kars kilim


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