Vintage Kilim Rugs

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What are Turkish Kilim Rugs?

There are two categories in the rug world - pile rugs and kilims. Let’s start with Turkish Kilim Rugs, which the origin of the word ‘kilim’ is Turkish. As the word origin also suggests, kilims have a long history in the Turkish culture. Kilim is the simplest flat weave with no knots, thus no pile.

They are made by the strands of weft being woven through strands of warp and then compressing the woven structure down. The history of kilims is older than pile rugs and its use is more versatile. Before becoming sedentary, nomadic Turkic tribes that lived in Central Asia have developed this textile and used it extensively. As nomadic tribes were on the move all the time they had to develop and use items that could be produced in their nomadic lives and carried with them easily. Flat weaving technique gave them items they can use - their tents, floor covers and all kinds of textiles - that can be made and transported easily. Their tents were also made by the flat weaving technique. Kilims also came to being within this flat weaving tradition. Kilims covered the living spaces and added beauty to nomadic peoples’ tents as well as isolation due to the materials used in their production - wool and goat hair. Thanks to their materials they balanced the humidity and heat of the environment it was used in. Since everything was carried in the nomadic lifestyle, looms that kilims were woven on were also carried. It is for this reason that looms were not very wide - for ease of transport and as a result kilims woven on these looms were narrow and long. If a wide kilim was needed two or more kilims would be stitched together to create a broader kilim. In our present day even though nearly all peoples have become sedentary, traditional weavers still use narrow looms.

Nomadic lifestyle helped producers of kilims attain high quality wool and natural dyes. Quality wool was as a result of their flocks and natural dyes was the result of moving around all the time gaining access to minerals and plant roots in different regions. Classic kilim motifs on Anatolian kilims have been an ongoing tradition since the kilim weaving tradition in Central Asia and motifs have evolved until the 13th century Seljuk Empire. Aside from flower tree and animal motifs abstract motifs were also used on Anatolian kilims. Feelings such as fear were symbolised with wolf’s paws and scorpion while masculinity and power was represented by ram’s horn. Tree of life was a representation of immortality and eternity.

Turkish kilims are named according to the region they were woven in, people who wove them and motifs used on them. Kilims offer a different style than pile rugs as they are lighter, with no pile and more of a tribal style. They are a cornerstone design element in modern homes decorated minimally. They match well with most furniture with their classic design.


What are Vintage Kilim Rugs?

Vintage Kilim Rugs are a kind of woven rug that has no pile made of goat hair cotton or wool. They have reinterpreted their designs, colors and motifs. Even though they have changed in centuries, weavers have preserved a certain characteristic in kilim rugs; tying our present day’s kilims to the centuries old weaving tradition. These weavings represent the weaver’s feelings, thoughts, beliefs and longing. Kilims are an indispensable element of Turkish weaving art. In its long history, kilims now garnishing our homes were an element of design in the nomadic tent centuries ago.


What are the characteristics of Vintage Kilim Rugs?
  • Vintage Kilim Rugs are widely used because they are relatively easier to make compared to other rug types.


  • They are handmade and they are dyed with root dyes.


  • Even though their use is similar to pile rugs, their motifs and production methods are different.


  • The most crucial characteristic that sets kilims aside from pile rugs is, kilims’ patterns and motifs are not created by the pile that is made with knotting strands of wool into the woven structure. Motifs are created by weaving colorful strands of wool through warp. Therefore the surface of a kilim rug does not have a pile and kilim rugs are much thinner compared to pile rugs.


  • Flat woven rugs are very similar on their two sides. While making kilims little strands of yarn used on pile rugs to knot the pile in is not necessary as kilims do not have a pile. Weavers use balls of yarn and this wool in the yarn is woven into kilims.


  • Kilims are woven by the technique known as flat weaving. They are lighter and easier to carry.


  • Kilims are named after the regions they are made in or the motifs they carry.


Where to Buy a Kilim Rug?

Kilim rugs are an essential part of Turkish weaving culture with their unique colors and designs attributed to the regions they are made in. Today, kilims are made nearly in all parts of Turkey. This ongoing production of kilims is the result of a long lasting tradition. Kilims are woven all over Anatolia however production has concentrated in Kayseri in Central Anatolia, Milas, GordesDemirci and Usak in the Aegean Region, Bursa and Yagcibedir in Marmara Region, Kars and Ardahan in Eastern Anatolia and in Isparta in the Mediterranean Region. So it can be said that Turkish Kilims come to mind when we say ‘kilim’. Rugncarpet is one of your best choices to purchase a kilim. Our inventory consists of kilims we have collected from all over Anatolia and they are priced at competitive rates.


Where are Kilim Rugs Made?

Kilim is one of the oldest woven textiles known. With its long history, kilims were a textile made and used by nomadic people that depended on raising livestock for their livelihood. Kilims have been woven in Anatolia in greatest numbers. Anatolian kilims are named after the region they were made in and each region has specific motifs. As much as kilims themselves, their motifs and colors are the part of culture they were born out of. Kilim weaving is a well respected folk art among Turkish people. Handmade of natural wool and dyes, kilims are a cultural heritage among the people of Anatolia.


What do Kilim Motifs Mean?

Motifs on Anatolian Kilims mostly came from the tradition that started in Central Asia, how ever they changed and adapted their surroundings in Anatolia through time. Weavers of kilims have woven their thoughts, ideas and feelings on kilims by various motifs and symbols. These motifs tell stories, sometimes events.

While kilim motifs are at times in shapes of animals, flower and trees they are sometimes abstract. To give an example weavers used wolf’s paws and scorpion to express fear, parakeet to express love and communication, ram’s horn to express masculinity and power and flower and plant motifs to express abundance, productivity and happiness.

Most widely known and used motifs are eagle, abundance, burdock, dragon, har clip, amulet, hand, fetter, chest, bird, tree of life and ram’s horn.


Are kilim rugs thin?

Kilims are woven with flat weaving technique and their structure is different than pile rugs. Therefore pile rugs are thicker compared to kilim rugs. Kilims are thinner and and they do not have a pile because of their production methods.


What kind of Kilim Area Rugs are there in Anatolia?

Throughout Anatolia kilims are woven with ancient methods, symbols and colors that generations of kilim makers learned from each other. There are subtle differences between kilims of different regions one can recognize easily. Colors, motifs and materials differ depending on the characteristics of the region the kilim is woven in and the people who weave them. It is a community’s culture that is woven into a kilim so whatever is important to that community takes it place on their kilims in their own colors.

Well known kilims of Anatolia sometimes take their names after the regions they are made in (Esme, Karasu, Emirdag), sometimes after the communities that make them (Avsar, Berihan, Kirkitli) and sometimes after the motifs used( Yollu, Cubuklu, Ibrik, Aynali, Bindalli etc.).

Anatolian kilims can be grouped in four categories depending on the region, color of the dye and widely used motifs.

These categories are;

a) Türkmen Kilims
b) Yoruk Kilims
c) Kurdish Kilims
d) Turkish Kilims


Motifs used on kilims are usually the same ones used on rug making, tiles and wood carving.

Motifs on kilims differ according to the characteristics of their era, culture of the region, traditions, expectations, hopes and dreams of the weaver.

According to this classification motifs on kilims can be grouped into 5 categories.

1 - Animal Motifs: The most widely used animal motif is the bird motif. Dragon and bug motifs are widespread as well.

2 - Plant Motifs: Tree, leaf, flower and fruit motifs are widespread.

3 - Geometric Motifs: These motifs are commonly used due to technical reasons; they are easier to weave. Most commonly triangles, rectangles, squares are woven on kilims.

4 - Mixed Motifs: Medallion, hook, writings, vase are used on kilims.

5 - Symbolic Motifs: These motifs are e woven mainly to symbolise certain thoughts, feelings and natural forces. Bird, tree of life, hand, comb, candle are widely used.



What are some of the best known Anatolian kilims? What are their characteristics?

Some of the best known Anatolian Kilims and their characteristics are as follows.

Fethiye Kilims

Fethiye is in the west of the Mediterranean region and Fethiye kilim takes its name after the region it is made in. Fethiye kilim have uncommon designs with medallions empty inside and they have motifs around the medallion. Another design is hooks connected to each other and the medallion design used as border. Colors are blue, red, brown, green, orange and lilac. They are wide kilims in rectangle shape.

Sarkoy Kilims

Sarkoy is a district of the city Tekirdağ in the most northwest region of Turkey; Marmara region. Sarkoy Kilim takes its name after the district it is woven in. These kilims that are known as Sarkoy Kilims or Trakya Kilims have Islam - Ottoman influence. The borders have flower and leaf embellishments. They are woven in different sizes and they are woven in one piece. Most common colors are dark red, blue, green and sometimes yellow and white.


Esme Kilim

Esme is a district of the city of Usak in the inner parts of Aegean region and Esme Kilim takes its name after this region. The warp in Esme Kilims are medium gauge and made of cotton or wool. Border design contains square motifs. Common colors are light grey, pastel red and sometimes black in the borders. Esme Kilims are sought after kilims of the western region.


Kayseri Kilim

Kayseri is in the south of Central Turkey close to the great Kizilirmak ‘The Red River’. Kayseri Kilim takes its name after this region that it is made in. Even though their wool is coarse the wool used is quite soft, silk-like. Kayseri is the only region that makes silk kilimsç The ones that are not made of silk are in natural colors, white, brown and grey. Borders are embellished with flower and vine motifs.


Sivas Kilim

Sivas is a city in the east of Central Anatolia and Sivas Kilim takes its name after the city. Most Civas Kilims are prayer rugs. A mihrab is accompanied with various border designs. They are made of fine wool. Common colors used on Sivas Kilims are red, light and medium shades of green, orange, blue, brown, black and white.


Balıkesir Kilim

Balikesir is a city in Marmara Region having coasts both on the Aegean sea and the Marmara sea. Balikesir Kilim take its name after this city. Balikesir region has preserved Yoruk Kilims best among all kilim making regions. They are woven in one piece. Their colors are traditional wool colors; dark red and blue. Although not very common towards the end of 1900’s they were woven in earthy colors.


Mut Kilim

Mut is in the south of Turkey, it is a district of the city, Mersin. Mut Kilim takes its name after this district. Mut takes place in the south of Taurus mountain range. Mut Kilim is a typical yoruk kilim (Anatolian nomads are known as Yoruks) and their warp is made of goat and horse hair in natural shades of brown. Hexagon medallions connect each other with wide saw-like figures. They are made by using flat weaving technique and they are usually narrow kilims.



Aydin Kilim

Aydin is in the southwest of Turkey. Aegean sea is in the west, Izmir is in the north, Denizli is in the east and Mugla is in the south of this city. Aydin Kilim takes its name after the city of Aydinç The most common characteristic of Aydin Kilims is the use of mixed motifs. The hook motif sprouting from eight pointed star is used either as medallion or in the border and it is the defining characteristic of Aydin Kilims. They are made with flat weaving technique. Common colors of Aydin Kilims are lively colors such as red, blue, orange, brown, green. They are wide kilims usually comprising of two separately woven parts.



Malatya Kilim

Malatya is in the west of East Anatolian region in Turkey. Malatya Kilim takes its name after the city of Malatya. Malatya Kilims contain three or four medallion motifs. Hexagonal central medallions are tied to the corners with arm and hook motifs. They are made of fine wool mixed with cotton and silk. Common colors on Malatya Kilims are dark brown, red, blue, green and white.



Kars Kilim

Kars is in the northeast part of the Eastern Anatolian region in Turkey. It is one of the coldest areas in Turkey and Kars Kilim takes its name after this city. Kars kilims are abundantly found close to the Russian border in Turkey. Common colors used on Kars Kilims are brown, pink, orange and white. The weave is usually quite coarse and the warp is natural brownç The middle of the design contains medallions that are connected to each other and borders have various designs. They are made by flat weaving technique.


What is a Kilim Runner Rug?

Kilim Runner Rugs are pieces of home decor we usually prefer in entrances or hallways. Kilim Runner Rugs are also known as Hallway Runner Rugs. Home decor is a whole with all the elements that constitute it. This being the case each element adds to the overall design creating a cohesive feeling to the design of our home. We should take extra care picking a runner for our entrance as entrance is the first area we and our guests come across in our homes and it is important to choose a rug that reflects our taste as well as the style of our home. Kilim Runner Rugs are indispensable parts of our homes creating stylish and elegants spaces in our homes.


What color Hallway Runner Rugs should I choose?

The most important factors to consider when choosing a hallway runner rug are the color of the floor and the amount of light the entrance gets. Runners in lighter colors work better in spaces with dark floors or little light. If the rug is for a spacious are with a lot of light a darker color could work better adding contrast. For dark floors bright, lively colors are a good preference. It is important to add that each home is unique every person decorating their homes have different preferences. A good piece of decor in a certain space might not work well in another.


Where are Kilim Runner Rugs Used?

Although the most common area for Kilim Runner Rugs is entrances of our homes another area that Kilim Runner Rugs work perfectly is the kitchen. A medium sized kilim not covering the entire floor but some of it works nicely on stone or tile floors. Having a warm piece of textile to step on while preparing food or having a bite in the kitchen feels better and it is also healthier. While metal and ceramics are the dominant materials used in modern kitchens a kilim runner rug adds the warmth and personality each kitchen needs. Choose from our rch collection of kilim runner rugs on our website to find that perfect piece for your home.


Are Kilim Runner Rugs Different Than Regular Kilims?

Kilim runner rugs are different than regular kilims only in terms of size. Kilim runner rugs are a newer addition to kilim tradition. In the past kilim rugs were usually made in rectangle or sometimes square shapes. If narrower kilims were woven they were usually only part of a kilim. They were made to be sewn together and create a larger kilims. However changing home shapes and lifestyles have brought kilim runner rugs to the weaving scene. They were widely made to be used in hallways or narrow spaces. Their only difference is their dimensions and same weaving technique is used in the making of them.