The nowadays topic is the carpet in the oriental tradition: how it is, how can use it, which is the cultural meaning and how we can have a spark from this long-lasting tradition.
The carpet in the east and in the west have very different meanings and, consequently, it has a different role in the two societies. For one of them, carpet is integral part of the life and culture; for the other one, carpet is just a piece of an interior design. By the way, carpet is not an object of the home furnishing, is the it is the interior design itself, or, to be more precise, an artwork.
Unique in the decorations and precious for the manufacture, in the oriental tradition carpets have diferent roles and mining: they can be used as door or dinner table (is used to sit on the carpet to have a lunch). In other words people lives on them: people worships kneel down, sleep, eat, nowadays they watch TV on it. Oriental people live in close contact with carpet.
Infect, among the nomad societies and oriental people, carpet was a valuable object that help to take distance from the extraneous and uncomfortable ground inside the tent. Furthermore, carpet was used also for others daily purposes: carpets were produced to be used ad bag or saddle, to separate spaces, door- carpets, carpets for preying, the worship the dead, wedding carpets. Carpet defend from the cold: so, it is heat; it protects from prying eyes: it is a partition wall; the carpet can also defend people from natural spirits who are in the space: it is sacred space.
In the oriental tradition, therefore, the carpet is integral part of the life and it is respected as a sacred object.
In the West, the idea of the carpet is totally different. The only purpose of the carpet is decorating the space. Even if it is lay out, horizontally, on the ground, western people doesn’t use it in the same way. The prospective we look at the carpet is always the same, from below. So the visual perception of the drawing and of the colors is static and without variations.
In western world carpet is known since the time of the Crusades and it was considered a status symbol, the use of which would have diminished the preciousness. Moreover, being a symbol of prestige and power, it has only been laid out at the feet of the Virgin Mary’s throne or on the others altars in the church. For this reason, is like carpet was a religious figurative art expression. Carpets were also used to cover up table and chest, but never to be trampled.
Comment by Fabio Morandi:
The article make a too sharp difference between western and eastern idea of the carpet; it will be better specify which historical period and which context we are talking about to understand how the carpet is used by different societies and haw different social classes use it.
Looking at the carpets drawing in the painting of Lotto and Ghirlandaio, carpets are used to raise, take the distance from the ground, to lay on a higher level the deity and the other characters placed on the carpet.
The carpet painted by Vermeer, instead, are used as decorations and ornaments.
Nowadays, carpet is used nearly all the time as a decorative part of the furniture. However, there is also someone who see the carpet as a sacred space and use it to be connected with its symbolic universe.
Carpet, then, adorns and livens up the spaces but it also narrates cultural traditions, myths and belief. Carpet is a symbol bearer, connected both to the people dreams and fears.
Even now, in eastern apartment people go barefoot, they left shoes in the doorway and the physical contact is inevitable, pleasant and more hygienic. More and more western families take inspiration from oriental tradition and, for example, they walk barefoot in the apartment, using carpets to protect themselves from the cold floor and enjoy the contact with the carpet.