Hand knotted woollen carpets from India speak eloquently of the superb workmanship. Their de-sign and colour schemes have their own independent logic and their own unique magic. The art of weaving carpets has percolated through generations and the Indian craftsmen have been creating the greatest of specimen since the medieval period.
The Indian woollen carpets are inspired by the classical Persian Tradition of motifs to the most modern design. Superior hand-knotting technique, variety of designs, colours and a good number of knots per square inch have made them desired objects to impart a vivid appearance to a home be-sides adding warmth to it.
Colors fascinate & when they are blended with material and designs, they acquire a radiance. Indian carpets are renowned for their exotic colors. At the beginning of the 20th century, nature was the most important source of perfect dyes and subtle and attractive colors. Madder, which grows almost everywhere, was the most important colorant of vegetable origin. Its root provided the whole range of pinks and reds and with the green from the grass and brown from the kikar tree. This gave the weaver a wide choice. Nowadays, all types of natural & artificial dyes are used.
Pattern in a carpet is as much an integral part of the carpet as coloring. The Indian carpet weaver freed carpets from the limitation of space, repeated intricate and infinite patterns in an ordered symmetry and wove abstract symbols into dense ornamentation. The figurative was combined with the geometric and floral with the arabesque. The usual procedure adopted by the weaver is to draw his designs and transfer them to graph paper on which each square represents a single knot. Then the paper is divided into varying parts depending on whether the pattern is intended for the center medallion or for a part of a repeated pattern. these sheets of paper are then passed on to the knotting workshop. The other manner followed by the weavers of Kashmir and Amritsar is the ‘Talim’ which demands time and experience.
A coded color chart indicates the number of knots to be woven in their respective colors. The mas-ter-weaver reads aloud from it and the weavers follows his directions carefully. The colors and number of knots to be woven are indicated by signs. The master-weaver winds the warp around the loom and begins chanting the ‘Talim’ and the knitters chant their reply after carrying out the in-struction.
The loom gives shape to the carpet-weaver’s creative expressions. One of the most commonly used loom in India is the roller-beam loom. The simplest of these looms has two horizontal wooden beans between which the wrap threads are stretched, the one beam in front of the weaver, the other is behind the first. As the knotting proceeds, the carpet is rolled to the back of the loom. The weaver begins by weaving a selvedge and several shoots of weft are passed to form a narrow band to secure the knots at the end of the carpet.
The Indian carpet weaver uses the asymmetrical or Persian knot which is tied with a strand of Yarn around two adjacent warp threads, leaving some threads free at either side for the lateral selvedges. Each knot is separated from its neighbour by a loop that is cut after the next shoot of weft. this knot is also called the ‘two-handed knot’ as it can be executed both from right to left and from left to right. The process is more widespread as it is more rapid.
Washing of a carpet is done to bring sheen and lustre, therefore, it is as important as coloring, de-signing and weaving. this is the final stage of carpet weaving and hence requires a lot of careful handling. Before washing, the carpet goes through the stage of burning the back of the carpet, rub-bing with wired brush and berai to make it even. Washing is done with water mixed with soap, bleaching powder and other natural chemicals.
After washing, the carpet is kept in the sunlight for drying and then it is sent for clipping. The final appearance of a carpet comes after clipping and chemical finishing. the art of clipping reflects on the emboss like finish in the final carpet. Finishing is a meticulous process which requires skillful craftsmanship and is done piece by piece in hand knotted carpets.