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History of Carpet making in Pakistan

When it comes to traditional hand-woven rugs, one can’t ignore the contribution of Pakistani
craftsmen in the competitive industry of handmade carpets.

Nevertheless, the story of how the country came to be counted amongst the world’s biggest
exporters of handmade oriental rugs is still unknown to most.

Curious about the ancient tale of woven tradition in Pakistan?

Here’s the remarkable story of Pakistani carpets and carpet makers:

The Advent of Carpet Weaving in South Asia

As per what historians believe, carpet weaving and manufacturing started in the region that now constitutes Pakistan back in 11th century.

The highly-valued and exquisite art of carpet weaving was brought to the Indian subcontinent by the first Muslim conquerors, the Afghan Ghaznavids and the Ghauris. At that time, as it is said, very few civilizations knew about the skill of creating floor pieces out of wool and other materials.

In addition to this, the excavations of the ancient Indus Valley civilizations – Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa – are a historical proclamation of the fact that the inhabitants were familiar with the craft of weaving, and used spindles to create various domestic items.  

With even more certainty, carpet weaving flourished in the Indian Subcontinent in the period of Mughal Dynasty, during which handmade carpets of the finest quality were designed and crafted to be placed in the courts of Mughal emperors.

Here’s one from the time period when Emperor Shah Jahan ruled the land:

Under the patronage of Mughals, the local carpet makers of the Subcontinent adopted the Persian techniques and started crafting carpets that followed the Persian pattern and design.

Moreover, this was the time when the fame of handmade carpets began to rise up out of the subcontinent and spread abroad, to reach the competitive European markets, and be sold at expensive rates on the streets of empires such as England.

Afterwards, during the British colonial era, carpet weaving was also established as a job for prisoners serving their sentence in the jails of cities such as Karachi and Lahore.

The Muslim carpet weavers, who moved to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan at the time of the division of the Indian Subcontinent, revived the art of carpet weaving, and that’s when the carpet manufacturing industry of Pakistan flourished to reach its present-day state.

The art and skill of carpet making has, since then, survived in the form of folk culture in various regions of Pakistan.

Consequently, the country is counted amongst one of the world’s biggest exporters of high-quality, yet surprisingly affordable handmade oriental rugs and carpets.

The journey of the creation of Pakistani carpets isn’t ordinary in the least. With their warm and colorful patterns that narrate their own peculiar story, Pakistani carpets are, with no doubt, in a league of their own. And the credit of their exceptional design, unparalleled patterns, and excellent quality goes to the unprecedented skills of Pakistani craftspeople.

Today, Pakistan houses numerous carpet manufacturers who specialize in creating one-of-a-kind, exceptionally fine rugs and carpets that are exported around the world, helping the country earn more foreign exchange each year.

Presently, the carpet industry of Pakistan has expanded to become the second largest cottage and small industry of the country. Moreover, with the establishment of associations such as the Institute of Carpet Designing and Weaving in Bahawalpur, as well as the Lahore Design Centre and the Pakistan Carpet Manufacturers and Exporters Association, the rich cultural tradition, and the art of carpet weaving has been raised to the level of finest productions.

But some of the carpets produced in Pakistan could be quite expensive.

Wondering why?

Majorly because the rugs are made of Kurt wool, which is extracted by the weavers from the wool of newly born sheep. Hence, the end result is carpets that aren’t just exceptionally strong, but also have a velvet-like feel, which further adds to their value, and distinguishes them from the machine-made carpets that are mass produced in factories around the world.

What makes Pakistani rugs even more special is their unique patterns, rich colors, and exquisite designs. So, bring one home today, or order a handmade Pakistani rug online, and watch your guests awe in admiration!

By - 06 Feb 2020