About Shopping – Traditional Carpets and Rugs
The history of carpet weaving in the Caucasus region dates back to the Middle Ages. Pieces of knotted pile carpet from the 13th and 14th centuries have been found in cave complexes in Georgia.
Over the centuries, traders from Istanbul to Athens traveled to Tbilisi, Georgia, to trade in hand woven carpets at bazaars known as the Caravanserai.
The bazaar was closed during Soviet times but carpets are still made and sold in Tbilisi and other towns in Georgia.
Traditionally, carpets were an indispensable part of a dowry for Caucasian girls. According to local custom, a girl could not marry if she was unable to knit carpets or did not have rugs in her dowry. Today, some of the best carpets for sale come from Georgian families who still had the rugs and carpets their grandmothers and great grandmothers made in preparation for marriage.
The carpets from the Caucasus region are readily distinguished by their geometrical designs and bold colors. Rugs from Georgia are either woven in traditional Georgian patterns or made from compressed felt in abstract patterns. The colors used most often are deep red, brown, blue, and yellow.
The colors of older Caucasian rugs are mostly made from natural materials found in the region where they were made. Older Caucasian carpets are “all wool” – not only the knotted pile, but also the warp and weft threads are usually made from hand spun woolen yarn.
A modern, medium-sized handmade rug, in wool, is likely to cost over $1000 USD and takes several months to make. A real antique rug – depending on its age, design and quality – can fetch thousands of dollars.
The following photographs are of a carpet shop in Old Town, Tbilisi.