What do we know about handmade carpet colours? Do they matter? Why some carpets don’t have certain colours? Would you ever buy a handmade carpet online without knowing much about colours, design, patterns and its history?
The luxurious and intricate designs of a handmade carpet may not mean much to you at a first glance. Handmade carpets capture the detailed history and art of some of the world’s most ancient and influential culture. I couldn’t believe I can still find handmade carpets in the present day.
Each handmade carpet has a unique ‘DNA’ tapestry, narration, patterns, designs and colours. The materials, colours, patterns and unique motifs of a handmade carpet tell a unique story and are a testament to the extraordinary history and origins.
When I first went to Pakistan I knew nothing of the handmade carpet. I didn’t know that people still make handmade carpets today. I didn’t know anything about designs, colours, patterns nor their meaning. Only once you get a chance to look at a handmade carpet, understand the design where they are from and how long it takes to make it — it changes your perception.
Suddenly something I knew nothing about becomes the most interesting, fascinating and a way of life ‘thing’. It’s the same when falling in love, you meet someone you didn’t know and then you fall madly in love. Handmade carpets have that spell at least to me.
I quickly learned all about handmade carpets when my husband and I went to buy some prayer carpets in Islamabad. The man in the shop told us:
“We only sell handmade carpets.”
“Great, we are in the right spot!”
When the man in the shop started showing us the handmade carpets I’ve realised I am in the magical world of the handmade carpets. I noticed that colours are carefully used in handmade carpets.
It is believed that colour red expresses feelings of passion and vitality. There are darker and lighter shades of red too and it depended on what the weaver is trying to express. People often used red to express emotions or grab someone’s attention. Colour red sometimes is used to showcase certain designs and patterns in the handmade carpet.
All handmade carpets have vegetable dyes which means natural colouring system. Madder root was used to extract red colour. Some other natural dyes such as flowers, beetles, insects, snails and weeds have been used to create colours of a handmade carpet.
It is difficult to trace colour’s blue history in handmade carpets, particularly in Iranian ones. Colour blue is tricky to extract from natural vegetable dyes. However, the indigo plant made it all possible. The colour means tranquility and inner peace. Fascinating that some handmade carpets with lots of colour blue have intricate designs and meaning of a promising afterlife.
In many cultures, colour blue represents trust and loyalty. However, in current handmade carpet designs, there are so many shades of blue particularly when silk is used. This colour in particular is so beautiful and mesmerising, particularly in Iranian silk handmade carpets.
Yellow and Gold
Colour yellow is often thought of as happiness and energy and colour gold with refinement and opulence. When these colours are used it demands attention. People often associate these colours with radiance the light from the sun and the joy of life. Colour yellow often symbolised flowers such as chamomile.
Colour gold mixed with other colours such as brown often symbolised wealth, power and prestige. Colour gold is often been used for more opulent families.
This colour represents mother earth and is a sign of fertility. Brown shades in handmade carpets were created from tree bark and walnuts. To achieve this colour wasn’t difficult and it was widely available, therefore, this colour is very popular in handmade carpets. There are many shades of brown and it was often mixed with other colours to create deeper and more meaningful motifs and designs.
People tend to associate colour black with feelings of darkness. Black is a powerful colour. Sometimes colour black is used to create shadows or create distinct differences between patterns and designs. Colour black isn’t a bad colour in a handmade carpet in fact it’s the opposite. It’s a colour that helps define a pattern or particular design.
Natural black dyes were made from oak tree galls, iron and tannin. The strength from where the dyes are from is definitely shown in the actual colour itself.
Colour is green is very special in Islamic handmade carpets. Colour green means prosperity, balance and growth. Green represents rebirth and new opportunity. In Islamic carpets colour green is not often used because colour green was a favourite colour of the Prophet Muhammed (may peace be upon Him). Some people believed to have colour green on a carpet would mean disrespect to the Prophet (MPBUH).
However, when this colour is used it’s often used in important and extravagant designs. It’s also a bit sacred. In Pakistan, colour green is very much loved and you can see it everywhere. When people decorate their houses for some events. They use colour green.
This colour is associated with fire and excitement. When using this colour in a handmade carpet it’s often the expression of piety, humility, faith and devotion. In order to create an orange colour yellow and red were mixed creating various shades of orange colour. Vibrant colours were definitely loved in handmade carpets.
There are many colours in handmade carpets to choose from and consider, however, the most important detail of all is the craftsmanship, design and art in a handmade carpet. There’s so much to one handmade carpet design, pattern, colours, motifs and the time that goes into making one. Therefore, not just colour of handmade carpet that needs to be taken into consideration but also all other ‘ingredients’.
In order to choose a handmade carpet online it’s easy, the trick is to know a little bit about the handmade carpet, where it’s from and who made it. Colours do matter but in a handmade carpet not only colours that play an important role. When choosing a handmade carpet online there’s little risk as long as you buy from a reliable source.
The whole world is online right now so are the handmade carpets. La Galeria del Califa is one of those unique places where you can buy an amazing handmade carpet online and you can also go to their gallery in Barcelona.
My favourite colours in a handmade carpet are all the colours and how they are put together. It’s the design, the knots the intricate details of a weave’s hand that made unique handmade carpet. It’s everything, not just one detail of a handmade carpet that makes it a masterpiece.