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Milas carpets are famous for soft colors

The tradition of carpet weaving here goes back to the 17th century.


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Milas, a southwest Turkish town has a tradition of carpet weaving as early as the 17th century. Antique Milas rugs are usually small and include prayer rugs with diamond shaped mihrabs




Having a long and diverse history, Milas is found in Western Turkey (Anatolia). These carpets are handwoven using plant colors obtained from local agricultural products such as apricot or walnut. Carpets are rectangular with very wide borders and narrow base. Designs are a mixture of geometric figures and floral patterns.

Patterns -- geometric with floral motifs
Colors -- blues, browns, greens, and yellow, etc...
Sizes -- range of available sizes.
Using very soft colors, this Milas carpet could go in any room, hallway or even hang on the wall.

Antique Milas rugs are usually small and include prayer rugs with diamond shaped mihrabs, rugs with columns occupying their fields and rugs with vertical panels. Currently, except for the surrounding villages, there is no contemporary rug weaving in Milas.

The warp, weft and knotting are of pure wool. Typically fineness is from 90,000 to 120,000 knots per square metre. The yarn is dyed with vegetable colours made from the tobacco plant and Valonia oak, resulting in shades predominantly beige, brown and yellow

Characteristical motifs on Milas carpets


house & tree

water basin


oil lamp


tea pot


Milas carpet standard sizes in cm


Seccade (praying carpet)
Yolluk (carpet-runner)

100 x 60
135 x 90
180 x 170
220 x 150
300 x 200
different sizes

In general Milas-carpets are done only in a few sizes

Turkey has a rug-making tradition as old as Persia's, but since most Turks are Sunni Muslims, they observe the Koranic prohibition against the depiction of people and animals rather more strictly than their Shiite neighbors. For this reason their Turkish rug designs are based on geometric motifs, frequently of a prayer niche design. Less rigid Turkish rug designs also exist. For example, the Turkish rugs from Hereke, one of the finest carpet making towns, often use calligraphy as a motif. Turkish rugs also tend to be more coarsely woven than Persian rugs, and are always woven with the Ghiordes knot. The colors most frequently used are red and blue; green, their sacred color, is used on prayer rugs. You'll find Turkish rugs called Koula, Ladik, Bergoma, Milas, or Ghiordes.


Turkish knots symmetrically match around of pair a line of the located strings of a basis; both strings of a basis are completely twisted with a nap yarn. Other names of knots of such type: turkbaff, gyordes knot named after Asia Minor city of Gyordes and symmetric knot. Despite of the specified names, both types of knots have no precise national binding as both that, and another are used both in Turkey, and in Iran. Moreover, sometimes knots both forms can be met in one carpet.

typischer Gepetsteppich

typical Milas carpet

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Map of the province of Mugla, where Bodrum and Milas belongs to

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History of carpet making

Carpet weaving has long traditions in Turkey. Turkish carpets are of excellent quality and design and are rivalled only by Persian carpets. This page will look at the carpet weaving tradition among the peoples of Turkey and Central Asia: how the carpets are made, what determines their value, and some of the historical and cultural context within which this folk art has blossomed.

Carpets have traditionally been produced throughout Turkey, Persia and the Central Asian regions of Turkestan and the Caucasus. Carpets are usually so unique that the tribe, region and village of origin can be identified without much trouble. The designs, colors, and overall quality of the carpets can be very different. Likewise, there are clear differences of function, design and quality between tribal, village and production center carpets. A distinction needs to be made between a carpet and a kilim. Although both are handmade, the latter is flat woven rather than knotted, relatively smaller and much more likely to be used in a variety of functions in the home.

Carpet weaving traditions in the area originated with the nomadic tribes of Central Asia. Nomadic carpets are woven on portable looms, which limited the size of a carpet as well as the tightness of its weave. The main purpose was clearly more functional than artistic. Weaving created not only carpets, but also items such as saddlebags, kilims, wall hangings. The carpets from the Caucasus region, for example, are readily distinguished by their geometrical designs and bold colors. The use of bold color contrast and warm primary colors can help to create a sense of warmth a greater sense of comfort in sometimes dreary surroundings. This is especially important when considering that the regions they live in are often cold and mountainous.

The nomadic tribes and small villages make the most traditional carpets. Their designs, like their function, are usually fairly simple and are normally handed down through the generations, making their carpets distinctive and relatively unique to their tribe or region. Women continue to be the weavers and in many villages carpet weaving has social, practical and economic dimensions. Daughters are taught to weave from a very early age in hopes that this will make them more marriageable. The Kiz carpets refer to carpets made in homes or villages by young women of marriageable age for their grooms.

Carpets have three primary functions, one religious, another artistic and the other is purely as a home furnishing. In general, carpets from nomadic tribes and small villages are motivated by functional considerations first, religious uses second and artistic excellence last. This should not be taken to mean that these are inferior carpets, for they clearly are not. Artistic excellence here is measured only in comparison to the splendid pieces produced in the royal courts and production centers. Unlike the nomadic carpets, carpets produced in these workshops tended more toward religious themes as well as artistic excellence.

With stationary looms much larger carpets could be woven. The most sophisticated carpets usually come from carpet production centers. These were normally set up in cities near the royal court or trade centers, places like Konya and Usak in Turkey or Tabriz and Shiraz in Persia. There were no recognized "carpet cities" in Turkestan or the Caucasus. The most talented designers were obtained, the finest materials provided and the most skilled weavers tended to concentrate in these centers. One determinant of a carpet's intricacy, and hence its value, is the number of knots per square inch. In the major production centers these could often reach 1,000 or more knots per square inch. Though carpets from major production centers are distinct from other styles and regions, it should be remembered that many of these workshops existed at the pleasure of, and for the pleasure of, the monarch. Thus, designs were often copied or adapted from other regions or tribes. Likewise, entire transformations took place when carpets were woven in mainly western designs to please the whims of the monarch. This process is responsible for the development of carpet weaving traditions in India and Pakistan which were brought to these lands by the Persian-oriented Moghul emperors who copied Persian designs.

There are magnificent religious carpets in the mosques of Istanbul and throughout the Moslem world. It should be noted that the majority of the carpet making regions are mainly moslem, though a fine example of carpet weaving comes from Christian Armenia with its Armenian Dragon designs. Religious carpets and kilims are notable for the arched mihrab (prayer niche) that is supposed to be pointed in the direction of Mecca during prayer. In the Moslem tradition no form of art may portray human beings. There are also noticeable differences in the colors used in these carpets, the much lower color contrast and much greater detail in the design. It is a high act of piety for a Moslem to deed a carpet to a mosque. Carpets were also gifts to the sultan from village headmen and dignitaries. Mosques are covered wall to wall by carpets, often in several layers. Carpets dating from the 13th century have been found in Konya and several other cities throughout Turkey. It should be noted that some of the carpets in the Sultanahmet mosque in Istanbul are over 300 years old, testament to the quality of their construction.

Carpet weaving is unlike any of the other major arts in that carpets are not generally attributed to anyone, regardless of how exquisite they might be. Thus, while Islamic art has produced master architects and calligraphers there are no generally acknowledged master carpet weavers. This may partly be explained by the varied skills required in the production of a carpet. A designer first sets the final look of the carpet. Another person would mix the animal or vegetable dyes that would be used and the the weaver would finally weave the carpet. One explanation might be that carpet weaving is seen as less an art than a cultural tradition and thus is is taken for granted to a greater extent than other arts.

There have been substantial changes influencing carpet weaving. There appears to be a historical cycle in which carpet weaving seems to be flourish and then becomes less important only to flourish again when the cycle repeats itself. The designs are unlikely to change much though the production process might. Where carpets traditionally were dyed with animal or vegetable dyes there are now synthetic dyes available. A valid question must be if the nomadic tribes and small villages will be able to maintain their ways of life in the face of increasing modernization, urbanization and other factors. The carpet producing regions of Central Asia, formerly part of the Soviet Union, are now independent republics, and a natural question is how their carpets will be affected.

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