The art of rug making is a centuries old technique of high quality craftsmanship.Originated in old Persia, the tradition of weaving carpets came to India during the Mughal era. With the idea of blending Persian fineness with the Indian aesthetics, Akbar invited the most skilled carpet weavers from Persia who laid the foundation of generational craft in India. It all started with teaching the prisoners of jail, the traditional technique of hand knotting. Owning to the availability of labor, time and zeal for learning new craft, jail workshops emerged as the centers of carpet production, the most famous ones being the Agra jail, Lahore jail, Jaipur jail and Amritsar jail.Initially in India, carpets were luxuries made only to adorn the palaces and royal gardens.Gradually the floor coverings found their place at common man's house and public places. Over centuries, with rug weaving being taught as the ancestral profession generation after generation,the art form set roots in the country. Starting from the early-seventeenth century, carpets became an important trade commodity and today carpet weaving stands as an export oriented industry targeted at markets in the US, UK ,UAE and Australia where local artisans from Mirzapur, Bhadohi, Agra and Jaipur are receiving acknowledgment for their artistry.
Legacy carried by the tradition of hands
The craftsmen carry the legacy of weaving dreams into reality. Painting the canvas of their imagination, they express themselves through their craft. It is seen that ethnic, geographical and cultural factors have influenced the tradition of rug making since ages. The traditional carpets woven today are replicas of ancient Persian art having some common designs and floral motifs native to old time and customs. The weavers today take inspiration from the oriental styles and fuse it with their regional ideas. By doing so they shape their beliefs stemming from their own customs and practices while keeping alive the age-old craft. The long legacy of carpet weaving and usage has led to the development of some distinct Indian designs having a touch of our weaver’s creativity.For example, we see that the tribal rugs are mostly in shades of rust and red, often depicting the local folk tales as intricate as one can imagine.The artisans in India mostly use relatively brighter tones like red, orange,green or yellow for dyeing the yarn, different from the usual beige, brown and ivory colors common to the carpets of ancient Persian style. In recent times, the newer contemporary rugs have popped up having solid, abstract, geometrical or erased look with color schemes including pastel shades and deeper hues. The modern methods combined with a variety of artisan’s age old knotting techniques and experiences have given the art of making rugs an innovative push which is both fresh and classic.
An artisan's journey
All rugs have a story to tell, as bright and colorful as the artisan’s experiences. Way through the knots is a voyage of self discovery that the artisans take while weaving intricate stories of their art form.Journey of a carpet starts with an idea borne by the craftsmen. Knot by knot the imagination takes form and the idea comes to life. The fineness of hands combined with the artisan’s vision results in some of the most exquisitely crafted creations put together from scratch. It is fair only to say that a rug is not just another piece made to uplift our home decor, it is in fact the creator's artistic language spoken through their generational talent. The entire process of creating a hand-made carpet is complex and time taking. While working on all the different processes, artisans explore their own hopes and aspirations. Starting from carding and spinning the yarn to the final beautification touch given to the woven carpets, the artisan’s skills and efforts produce work of art made with an aesthetic appeal to refine our personal spaces.