Little did the nomadic tribes of Turkey and Iran know that the carpets they wove would travel across the world, and finally land in India, a hundred and fifty years later; in the hands of collector Danny Mehra.
‘Carpet Stories’ at Kynkyny Art, has a display of carpets from Central Asia and the Middle East, that date back to the mid-19th to early 20th century.
History is passed on to us in the form of books, paintings and sculptures. These carpets on the other hand give a fragment of history that deals with the day-to-day lives of people. The stories of the tribes of Turkey, Iran and Armenia seem to be woven in these century old yarns. In Danny’s own words, “Each carpet’s story is open to different interpretations, and this is what adds a romantic element to the carpets.”
The carpets were made of sheep wool, and were woven primarily by the women. The men were in charge of dyeing and selling. Natural dyes were used, which resulted in mellow colors.
Danny gave us a talk on the Iconography used in Tribal carpets. We looked at and understood the different symbols used in carpets. Motifs like camels signifying wealth, birds signifying faith, Boteh signifying the Universe, among many others like ram’s horns, stars, Eibelinde, scorpions were discussed.
This was then followed up by the live demonstration of the restoration of carpets. It is important to get the right color and texture while conserving the carpets.
It’s interesting to note that Islamic Art usually doesn’t include animal and human motifs, however nomads were imaginative and included all types of motifs.
The carpets range from Rs.40,000 to Rs.4,00,000; based on how old and rare a piece is. Most of us might look for perfection when we think of buying a piece, but I learnt that the beauty of a carpet lies in its imperfections. The carpet may have gradated color tones because a certain batch of yarn would not have matched the hue of the previous. Certain carpets may not be perfectly rectangular, and that is because, nomadic in nature that they were, the tribes would travel from one place to another, assembling and disassembling the loom and weaving in installments. This gave the carpets an uneven width. Fragments, incomplete pieces of carpets are considered an entire category in itself as well.
The experience was truly a magical carpet ride!