Monday, September 7, 2015

A Rug for BHB

Hubby D and I are giving BHB and her family a carpet from the Middle East for their Christmas gift this year.  For those of you in the US, rugs are called carpets here in the Middle East.

This purchase is going to be done in phases.
     #1 I just returned from the carpet store. Itook pictures of patterns to email to BHB.
     #2 BHB and family will choose a pattern they like.
     #3 I will go back to the carpet store and take pictures of rugs in that pattern. They request that I focus on blue.
     #4 BHB and family will choose their rug.
     #5 I will go back to the carpet store and buy the rug. The carpet store will ship it for me to BHB hopefully in time for Christmas.

It is really not as hard of a process as it sounds. The island is only 7 miles wide and it takes me less than 10 minutes to get to the carpet store. The store is actually located close to the restaurant area of Manama on a street we nicknamed Shawarma Alley because there are several shawarma restaurants on the street.  It is delicious and you just drive up, wave out your car window and they bring you a sandwich --  Arabic drive-through.

I have purchased a few carpets since arriving in Bahrain. I love mine.

All of my carpets have come from Oasis Handmade Carpet Centre in Manama. Abdul Wahed Abdulla is the owner and he helps me every time I am in the store.

Here we are in Abdul's shop when I went shopping for a rug for BHB.

I have one carpet in my dining room that I just can’t wait to find a place for in the States (in my home) when we move back eventually.  

I have 2 in my kitchen that Abdul swears will scrub clean easily. And, to his credit, everything I have spilled on them so far has come right up. I bought them because I had to have something softer than stone to stand on in the kitchen.

In my guest bath and my own bathroom, I have these adorable elephant designs. I can’t take all the credit for these as my good friend DW found them first and I copied her idea of using them for a bath rug.

Down our long hall that we call the “Hyde Gallery” we have two runners.  One is 16 feet long and one is 12.5 feet long.  Long runners are hard to find and expensive, but these halls had to have a carpet of some kind. My knees were giving out walking up and down on the hard surfaces all day.

One of the vendors we have made friends with in the Mamama Souq, gave us this map of the region where the carpets are woven. Each design is a particular family.

When you google Persian or Oriental rugs, there are many resources and a wealth of information.

One article with a strong vein of history about carpets caught my eye. I must have read about carpet history for over an hour.

You can find the complete article at

The Oriental carpet has long been a luxury commodity sought by textile museums, rich collectors and wealthy merchants all over the world. Not sure we fall into any of those categories, but we do love the carpets.

The fame of the flying carpet of 'Al'a Al-Din added some emotional mystery and value to the already exceptional beauty and tangible quality of Middle Eastern or Oriental hand woven carpets.

It is not surprising that carpets also represent one of the most valuable art items obtained by museums and wealthy families of the West.

In fact, carpeting is one of the essential ingredients of today's living standard in the modern world. Modern manufacturing has made it one of the cheapest available floor coverings allowing carpeted floors to invade all houses, apartments and offices.

Information about carpets is published under three main themes; the Oriental carpet, the Muslim carpet, or under regional classification such as Turkish carpet, Persian carpet and the like.

The carpets we are looking at to buy for BHB include Afgan, Persian, Tabriz and Kazak.

The people of the Middle East regard the carpet with special esteem and admiration. For the traditional Bedouin tribes of Arabia, Persia and Anatolia the carpet was at the center of their life being used as a tent sheltering them from the sand storms, a floor covering providing great comfort for the household, all curtains protecting privacy and useful items such as blankets, bags, and saddles. It was indeed a resourceful inspiration to make use of the abundant wool produced by their herds. 

Historic sources have established that the carpet tradition is a very old custom practiced by early civilizations. Recent discoveries (1949) of a carpet in the tomb of a Scythian prince in Pazyryk in the Altai Mountains (southern Siberia) date back to the sixth century B.C. This carpet, now in the Hermitage Museum in Leningrad, is the oldest extant knotted carpet.

Much of the history of the carpet industry is drawn from paintings.

King Henry VIII (1509-47) of England is known to have owned over 400 Muslim carpets. A portrait made for him by Holbein in 1537 shows him standing on a Turkish carpet with its Ushak star while Arabesque is bordering his garment, and other Muslim interlacing patterns appear on the curtains.

My personal favorite pattern is Tabriz. Here is a link to some images of Tabriz carpets.

Here are some images of Persian carpets.

Some of the most vivid colors I have seen are in Kazak carpets. They also have a geometric design. I think my kitchen carpets might be Kazak.

I thought Afghan carpets would not work for BHB because the only ones I had ever seen had really dark colors with tones of red and black. She requested blue tones.

However my trusty carpet salesman, Abdul did show me some light colored Afghan carpets that were very pretty. They do have a specific pattern to them. Here are some images of Afghan carpets.

There is also a carpet available in Bahrain that I have not seen before. Everyone calls this the “War Rug.” I am not kidding, this is hand woven and on sale in all the carpet shops. I have been told that these rugs are the examples being used to teach children how to weave carpets. The children are choosing the objects to depict from what they see in their environment.

I thought about talking in this blog about how the carpets are made, however it seems the blog is getting too long so you will have to research that part of the process on your own.

Here are the examples of the different patterns I am sending to BHB and her family. When you look at these examples, remember she requested geometric shapes and not a lot of flowers. For now, she is only choosing the design.





Which one is your favorite design?

Remember, we will look for the design in a blue color after we choose the design. :-)

Let me know and we will find out which one is the most popular one with my crowd.  You already know my choice, Tabriz.


No comments:

Post a Comment