Hereke rugs are named after the town they are made in. They are made of wool and silk with an average of 100 knots up to 400 knots in every centimeter square. They are very fine and valuable weavings.
Hereke Silk Carpet
Hereke rugs are known as the highest quality rugs in the world. It takes months to weave some of the carpets, they are fully handmade. They are one of the best known kind of Turkish rugs. A number of reasons contributed this area to become a center in rug production. Bursa region (which is close to Hereke) is a silk production center, Hereke is on the historical Silk Road, and it is close to Istanbul; thus the Ottoman Palace. The production in Hereke started at Hereke Fabrika-i Humayunu (Hereke Emperor’s Factory) with the initiative of Sultan Abdulmecid in 1843 to produce curtains, upholstery fabric and rugs. Although rug production did not start until 1891. Within years the quality of rugs produced here improved with number of of knots in every centimeter square increasing and motifs becoming more elegant. The rugs made in early years have a more raw look due to lower number of knots.
Since Hereke carpets are designs of designers from different regions, they carry elements from different weaving traditions of various regions. Geometric, angular designs, large motifs and altar designs are frequently used in Hereke rugs.
Hereke Wool Carpet
During the first years of production the design consisted of floral motifs without any animal figures. The rugs with altar motifs we named as ‘Topkapi Prayer Rugs’. In the years that followed the quality of rugs improved by higher knot density. With Ottoman dynasty becoming more westernised and the Turkish nomadic culture slowly becoming a thing of the past, Hereke designs were on high demand. When the dynasty moved from Topkapi to Dolmabahce Palace, only Hereke rugs were moved to the new palace. To increase the durability of the thin rug, warp is made of cotton threads on Hereke rugs. Designers have developed a unique production procedure in the designing of Hereke rugs. It is known that Yildiz Palace painter Monsieur Emin Meinz who was appointed to work at Hereke Factory some days of the week designed the rugs and fabrics. Starting from 1892 machine made carpets were produced at Hereke Factory as well.
As production and number of looms increased, artisans were brought from Gordes, Demirci and Sivas to compensate the increasing production. These artisans taught their trade to locals of Hereke region and rug making spread to surrounding areas. Palace rugs and rugs to be given as presents to foreign government officials were produced here. Especially after 1943 Hereke became an important center in rug production. While Gordes and Demirci style rugs were made initially, in the following years finer rugs were produced by imitating styles of Usak, Bergama and Palace rugs. Beige, pink, blue, light green and dark blue colors were used as base color on Hereke rugs. Yellow, black, brown, bordeaux were used in motifs and counters surrounding motifs. When the base color is red, borders are dark blue and when the base color is dark blue, borders are red. On Hereke rugs that were made of pure silk or silk on cotton, silk from Bursa was used. On wool Hereke rugs motif knots are high quality wool on cotton warp and weft. Hereke rugs are only knotted with double knots also known as the Turkish knot. With one million Turkish knots in a metre square the production of Hereke rugs take up to 10 months with unique and complicated methods.