How to Clean Vintage Turkish Rugs

Vintage turkish rugs are one of the most coveted interior accents for discerning designers. Their oxidized hues, posh pastels and whimsical botanical patterns can be a perfect match for rustic spaces or palatial drawing rooms. However, they can also be a challenge to clean properly without damaging the delicate fibers and colors of these antique treasures.

The earliest antique Turkish carpets were made in the thirteenth century, under the reign of the Seljuks. Their sophisticated compositions are indicative of a weaving culture that was not only mature, but deeply rich and refined.

These early Turkish rugs, like many of the later ones, were woven with both natural and chemical dyes. The natural, plant-based dyes gave the rugs their signature hues and were often used alongside the more vibrant chemically-dyed yarns. This combination of natural and synthetic dyes gave the rugs a distinctively beautiful look that is hard to replicate.

Throughout the centuries, the rug production of Turkey has remained a diverse and ever-changing enterprise. It has produced a variety of flat-woven kilims, as well as lushly knotted hali – which use a technique called Ghiordes knotting, where the weft (crosswise) thread is wrapped around two warp threads instead of one. This gives the rugs their lushness and durability.

Despite their wide-ranging styles, Turkish carpets share a common aesthetic based on intricate patterns and motifs that are derived from traditional Anatolian tribal designs. These designs range from the opulent, symbol-filled Anatolian rugs to the ornate floral and geometric Ottoman carpets. The region also produces a variety of decorative room-sized rugs, including the famous Oushak pieces. These are renowned for their soft pastel coloration, large geometrical motifs and exquisite compositions.

In addition to their design motifs, the rug weaving centers of Turkey have a distinct reputation for using strong and durable wool. Bergama rug makers produce tribal-influenced Turkoman pieces, Hereke rugs are known for their elegant curve-linear patterns and the rug weaving center of Oushak is most recognizable for its decorative room-sized carpets. Throughout the centuries, the quality and beauty of these Turkish rugs has been admired by European painters, such as Hans Holbein. The patterns and colors of these rugs have inspired several paintings, incorporating motifs and techniques that can be found in the original rugs.

Aside from their beauty and utility, vintage turkish rugs are also a great way to add history and character to your home. If you are looking for an easy and inexpensive way to add a unique touch to your living space, consider investing in a vintage Turkish rug. They are an excellent choice because they are usually one-of-a-kind and are incredibly durable, making them long-lasting investments. When shopping for a rug, remember to check out all of your options – from online auction sites to Craigslist. Emily, the designer behind the blog The Fig House, has a few favorite in-person tactics for scoring gorgeous rugs, which include estate sales and flea markets. Regardless of where you shop, it is important to know how to clean a vintage turkish rug properly so that your investment is safe from damage and can continue to be a focal point in your home for generations to come.

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