Making of Kashmir carpets
Kashmir produces some of the finest handmade rugs in the world. Nature has blessed Kashmir craftsmen with the finest materials to weave the classical oriental exotic and Kashmir motif rugs.
The history of development of rug industry in Kashmir was associated with and influenced by the opulent life styles of its RULERS, NOBLES and ARISTOCRATS. The great Mughal Emperors Jahangir and Shahjahan (the later, who built the famous Monument of Love "The Taj Mahal") established a distinctive style in Art and Architecture of that era. The rugs woven during those periods bore the similar motifs, patterns, decorative styles as found in the palaces, monuments and museums! We Define the Whole process into three Steps:
The Design: Lot of new motifs are created by the masters of the rug designing in addition to the designs which are the replicas of ceilings of old monuments, palaces, paintings, photographs and actual rugs. The designs are created on graph paper then translated and converted into a script known as 'Taleem'. The number of knots per square inch, color scheme, weft lines are all in the Taleem which are chanted to the weavers by either a 'Caller' or master craftsman himself who has memorized many patterns over the years. The weavers must be educated and have a good command and knowledge of mathematics and language to design and weave skillfully. Classical designs such as 'Kashhan', 'Kirman', 'Ardebile', 'Isfahan', 'Joshgan', 'Shalimar', 'Shaheen', 'Guldan', 'Navrattan' etc. are reproduced by ATSAR besides the distinct Kashmiri designs and designs based on flora and fauna of Kashmir.
The Yarn: The quality of a rug is primarily determined by the quality of materials used in the rug e.g. the quality of silk material depends on the climate, soil and altitude where the mulberry trees are grown, the tender leaves of which are fed to the silk worms who produce cocoons from where we get 8 silk fibers to make a single ply. For example there are 4 plies to a thread used for a 400 hundred knot per square inch rug. And water used for processing and the quality of fast dyes for the yarn. The wool quality again depends on the climate, altitude and the type of specie of lamb from where the wool has been sheared, the type of pastures grazed and composition of water partaken by the lamb. The finest wool comes from the neck and the shoulder of the spring clipped which gives a suppleness, softness and luster to the rug. The weave: The size of the loom varies according to the dimensions of the rug.
Weave: The basic fabric of the rug is woven by tying rows of knots between adjacent warp threads. The Kashmiri Weaver ties his knots with great dexterity with wool or silk threads on upright wooden looms (which gives a nap to the pile of the rug). The warp is mounted on the upper beam and the woven (hand knotted) fabric wound to the lower beam so that necessity of high ceiling is not required. Warp weaves vertically and forms the base of the rug, weft weaves horizontally and knotting forms the intricate design on the rug. The warp is usually cotton, except for a few rugs that have woolen or silken warp. The fineness of the rug is judged by the number of knots per square inch area, the design, the colors and the quality of the yarn. The number of knots per square inch count is exactly like resolution of a photograph, the more the knots count the finer the picture. The firmness, thickness and the sharp appearance of the back of the rugs are important considerations. Thus the people, place and the artifacts justifies the famous saying "Agar Firdaus Ba Roye Zamin Ast, Hame Ast Hame AstWa Hame Ast" (If there is heaven on earth it is this, it is this and here).