General Info on Turkish Rugs:
Wool on wool (wool pile and wool warps and wefts): This is generally the least expensive type of carpet, but often the most "authentic" if such a word can be used. Wool on wool carpets have been made much longer and use more traditional designs than the other types of carpets. Because wool cannot be spun finely, the knot count is often not very high, compared to wool on cotton and silk on silk. High knot count is also not necessary for wool on wool carpets because they are often traditional geometric designs, or otherwise non-intricate patterns.
Wool on cotton (wool pile on cotton warps and wefts): This type of carpet can be much more intricate than wool on wool carpets because cotton can be spun finely and the knot count is generally much higher. In wool on cotton rugs, floral designs etc. are also found, in addition to the geometric patterns.
Silk on silk (silk pile on silk warps and wefts): This is the most intricate type of carpet with very fine weave. Knot count for silk carpets intended for floor coverings should be no greater than 100 knots per square cm, and can be as fine as 28 X 28 knots/cm². Any carpet woven with the knot count greater than 10 X 10 knots/cm² should only be used as a wall or pillow tapestry. These very fine, intricately woven carpets are no larger than 3m X 3m and are stunningly beautiful.
Bergama Carpet refers to handwoven floor coverings made in the town of Bergama in northwest Turkey. Bergama carpets are of all-wool construction and have a knotting density of around 12 knots per cm². They are typically three to four meters square in size and originated from around the 14th to 15th century.
There are approximately eighty villages around Bergama that still weave carpets. The history of carpet weaving in Bergama dates back to the 11th century - when Turkish migration started to the area. Bergama carpets have almost always been woven with wool - an attestation to the pastoral life style of the Yörük clans populating the area at the time.
Knotting density of Bergama rugs is about 12 knots per square cm. Most carpets come in the size of 3 to 4 square meters. Bergama carpets can be divided into these main groups: Yagcibedir, Kazdagi, Yuntdagi, Yuncu Karakecili, and Kozak.
Although the history of carpet weaving in Bergama dates back to the 11th century, most surviving carpets do not age more than 200 years - mainly due to their wool content. The oldest surviving Bergama carpets can be found in mosques in and around Bergama, as well as the archaeological museum in Bergama.
Hereke Carpets are only produced in Hereke, a coastal town in Turkey, 60 km from Istanbul. The materials used are silk, a combination of wool and cotton and sometimes gold or silver threads.
The Ottoman Sultan Abdülmecid I founded the Hereke Imperial Manufacture in 1841 to produce all the textiles for his Dolmabahçe Palace on the Marmara Sea. He gathered the best artists and carpet weavers of the former Ottoman Empire in Hereke, where they began producing high quality rugs and large carpets with unique patterns.
After completing work on the Dolmabahçe Palace, the Ottoman Sultans used to give Hereke carpets as gifts to selected visiting royalties, noblemen and statesmen. It was not until 1890 that some traders in Istanbul were allowed to sell some of the pieces made at Hereke. With the end of the Ottoman Empire the production of Hereke carpets was restricted until the middle of the 20th century when some master-weavers in Hereke began once more to produce the carpets in continuation of the tradition of the Ottoman Palace Carpets.
Hereke carpets typically are very large, palace sized carpets, and are made with wool on cotton, camel hair on cotton, silk on cotton as well as silk on silk, which are knotted in small sizes. The precision of their double knots (Turkish or Ghiordes knots), which allows the clear display of patterns, together with the colour combinations and the harmonious patterns have made them highly collectible. Today, Hereke carpets and rugs are still made with the traditional patterns of the Ottoman Sultan Abdülmecid I, as well as both traditional Anatolian and contemporary figurative patterns.
The ancient city of Iconium - now called Konya - is one of the oldest cities of continuous habitation in the world. The rich carpet tradition which flourished in Konya was recorded by Marco Polo when he traveled to the Seljuk court in the thirteenth century, and Seljuk fragments which were found in the Al-ad-den mosque cnstitute the earliest surviving group of Islamic carpets.
Turkish carpets present a palatte of color which appears strikingly different from the more primary colors seen on other village weavings of the Middle East. Here, the rich peach of the border, the aubergine in some of the rosettes and the mottled blues and greens are enhanced by a lustrous wool which is also a characteristic of nineteenth century carpets from the Konya area.
Uşak carpets (or Ushak carpets) are Turkish carpets using a particular family of designs, called by convention after the city of Uşak (pronounced Ushak), Turkey, which was an important carpet-making centre, although these patterns were woven in other regions also. The Ushak types of pattern developed in the 16th century, with some influence from Persian carpets, and have a color palette based on strong red and blue colours.
They often feature a very large central motif, in the Persian style, which earlier large Turkish carpets did not have. Other large motifs protrude from the outside borders, and are only half shown. These are the "star Ushak" and "medallion Ushak" types, the latter of which appears in the second quarter of the 16th century. Ushak carpets are among the later types of Oriental carpets in Renaissance painting, as they were imported by Europeans, where they adorned cathedrals, churches, and the homes of the wealthy and powerful.
In the European markets, the earlier types of Turkish carpets, before the "star" type, are now often called "Lotto carpets" and "Holbein carpets". The terms make reference to their depiction in minute detail in paintings by Lorenzo Lotto and Hans Holbein the Younger, in which they are often placed in a way to brighten the background, and suggest status. The region of Uşak still remains a vibrant center of hand-made carpet weaving today.