If you’re looking for a handmade carpet with a design that’s immersed in tradition yet refreshingly modern in style and appearance, an exquisitely handwoven Oushak rug is what you need.
Although quite uncomplicated in construction as compared to other traditional Turkish rugs, Oushak rugs are enticingly beautiful and radiate an aura of calmness paired with the warmth of rich cultural heritage.
Want to learn more about the unparalleled magnificence of handmade Oushak rugs?
The Origin of Oushak Rugs
The weaving of the Turkish Oushak carpets began in the Western Turkey since the very beginning of the Ottoman Empire, even before the 15th century. At that time, these peculiar floor cloths were made by nomads to fulfill their basic domestic needs.
The name ‘Oushak’ comes from the place of origin of these woven artifacts, which is also their grand production center, a town named Oushak located in west central Anatolia, south of Istanbul, Turkey.
Hand-knotted traditionally by skillful Turkish craftsmen, these Eastern beauties were woven at a large scale during 15th to 17th century. However, there are no records of the production of Oushak rugs during the 18th and early 19th centuries.
Later on, the art re-emerged towards the ending years of 1900 in the Oushak region, and room-sized decorative carpets were being crafted once again by those who’d inherited the aesthetic art of weaving from their ancestors.
These great masterpieces of the early Turkish carpet weaving tradition are striking renditions of the fine Turkish craftsmanship, and exhibit contemporary elegance, which makes them a perfect choice for homes with modern interior.
Apart from this, they owe their popularity to the cosmopolitan patterns and sophisticated designs that make them appear exceptionally unique in the handmade carpet industry.
Today, their demand among carpet lovers have increased to such an extent that you can even order a fine-quality handmade Oushak rug online, in any color, design, or size of your own preference.
Here’s what an antique Turkish Oushak rug looks like:
How are Oushak Rugs Made?
Considered to be immensely influenced by the rich Persian tradition, Oushak rugs are quite different in style, design and, pattern from other handmade Turkish rugs.
Similar to other rugs that were made before the carpet production in Oushak was affected be the European market, the cotton used to build the foundation of Oushak rugs, as well as the wool used in the pile, were both harvested by the carpet weavers themselves.
Moreover, the raw material was also hand-spun into fine yarn, which was then colored using natural dyes made out of vegetables and plants obtained from the surrounding areas.
After this, the wool was woven intricately, using ancient weaving techniques passed on though generations.
To this day, the most high-quality and luxurious Oushak rugs are hand-knotted in the similar manner with fine wool that’s either locally produced in Pakistan, or imported from countries including New Zealand.
The Remarkable Features of Oushak Rugs
When it comes to the design, patterns, materials, and texture of the widely-loved Turkish carpets, the Oushak craftsmanship is considered second to none.
Woven out of luminous, silky wool, these carpets feature geometric motives that typically include central medallion drawings and additional smaller medallions or sprays of palmettes and vine scrolls that are scattered all over the face of the rug.
Apart from this, when the art of crafting Oushak style carpets re-emerged as a result of the European influence during the 19th century, the weavers began incorporating floral designs and patterns that were better suited for the Western interior.
The weaving technique generally employed in the crafting of Oushak rugs is known as Ghiordes knot, that is relatively loose as compared to the traditional Persian and Turkish knots.
Coming towards the shades, hues, and color schemes that dominate the elegant Oushak carpets – the naturally dyed wool is color-washed in muted earth tones, such as cinnamon, terracotta, ivory, blues, saffron, apricot, greens, greys, and gold.
The Evolution and Cultural Significance
The aesthetic and highly valuable art of rug weaving has been a part of the history and culture of the Anatolian peninsula for ages.
The land that comprises present-day Turkey has been famous for its talented master weavers and their artifacts for centuries. Throughout the changing ruling dynasties, the tradition of rug weaving continued uninterrupted throughout the land.
However, the most unique and significant style of Turkish rugs took birth in the western Turkish town named Oushak, and that’s how the region became an important center or carpet production on Turkey.
What made them as popular as they are today is majorly the European Renaissance – when the European markets started affecting the carpet production in Oushak.
During the 15th century, the Renaissance painters such as Hans Holbein and Lorenzo Lotto made the carpets even more famous by portraying them in their paintings.
Here’s an image of the painting titled The Alms of St Anthony by Lorenzo Lotto:
The history of Oushak carpets and their story of evolution is interwoven with fascinating historical developments and destiny’s coincidences.
Want to paint your floor with the colors of tradition fused with modernity?