Part of our aim here at Nakkas is to develop and support a re-invigorated Turkish rug market, and so two years ago we decided to invest in a project: the Silk Şal Collection. Using locally produced cocoon silk colored with rich natural dyes have resulted in a fine collection of extremely high-end silk rugs.
In an effort to support local manufacturing, we decided to have the rugs woven in a small village near Dıyarbakır, in the eastern part of Turkey. Called Esentepe, this little village is located near the town of Bağıvar. This area is known for making wool rugs, but we introduced the techniques for silk weaving, and re-launched this traditional cottage industry. The Şal designs themselves typically come from the Zara region, but in that area, there are few weavers left. As we developed the silk weaving in Esentepe, we also introduced the Şal designs and patterns, and worked with the weavers to reinterpret these patterns, and added more vibrant colors.
Since starting the project, we have been refining the design and production process. Just this last month, we have received the results: A collection of twenty beautiful silk rugs in various sizes and with a variety of designs. Two of our designs are included here.
One is called the ‘Gate of Happiness’. This design represents the entrance to Paradise, and the promise of immortality. As spoken of in many legends and myths, Paradise can only be reached by passing through this gate, but the paths to this gate are many and varied, and each person must choose his or her own way. Each stripe in this Şal rug design represents a different path to the Gate of Happiness. The rich color combinations symbolize the joy of Paradise. If you are worthy of Paradise, and you are lucky enough to choose the right path, you will reach the ‘Gate of Happiness.’.
The other is called: Colorful Anatolian Houses.
The carpet is divided into fields, and the ornament in each rectangular box has a meaning: Fish means fate. The kettle is a symbol of purity. The house is the desire for protection as well as a permanent home. The pattern “hands on the hips” represents the mother goddess of Anatolia before Christianity, and is a symbol of fertility. The flowers, the deer, the Yin-Yang symbols and even the geometric patterns from the Selcuk period fill this matrix with vibrant colors. The beautiful images draw the eye around the rug and tell the story of the richness of the simple life.