Tag Archives: carpets

The Unassuming Indian Dhurrie

Dhurrie Weaver using Vertical Loom

Most Indians have dhurries at home – they are the default choice of floor covering readily available across the country in every size and colour possible. For this reason, other than making the distinction between a Shyam Ahuja dhurrie (these were very stylish and very expensive when I was young) and all others, I never really paid much attention to them. That is, until I saw some flat weaves in Morocco and it struck me that we make more interesting and high quality ones back home.

India has a rich tradition of floor decorations. Done to invoke blessings for the home using simple rice paste, and at times flower petals and bright colours, these have become an art form in their own right. There are regional differences such as Alpana in West Bengal, Mandana in Rajasthan, Muggu (or Muggulu) in Andhra Pradesh.

Equally interesting is the variety of floor covering …

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Is a Hand-tufted Rug for Me?

Jaipur Rugs Tufting Centre in Mirzapur

Hand-tufted rugs are a new phenomenon, as compared to the hand-knotted carpets and dhurries we are more accustomed to seeing. A hand-tufted carpet is woven by inserting and pulling back strands of wool into a mesh canvas that is stretched on a frame – think wool tapestry in needlework class! The weaving is done using a manually operated tufting gun. When the ‘tufting’ is complete, the rug is washed and cut (if it is a cut-pile rug) and a woven canvas backing applied to the back with latex glue to hold the tufts in place (i.e. no knotting).

Tufted rugs are gaining in popularity. They require much less skill from the weaver (typically one week of training is sufficient) and so are easier, faster and, importantly therefore, cheaper to make. The cost can be 2-4 times lower than the equivalent hand-knotted rug and this has fuelled a frenzy of supply …

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Jaipur Rugs: A Remarkable Social Enterprise

NK Chaudhary

The Jaipur Rugs story began in 1978 in a village called Churu in rural Rajasthan. After graduating from college, Mr Nand Kishore Chaudhary decided not to work with his father in his shoe business and instead took a loan of Rs.5,000/- to set up two looms in his backyard. He worked shoulder to shoulder with nine artisans, selling to exporters in Jaipur. From this humble beginning, JAIPUR has grown to over 40,000 artisans across 600 villages selling its branded high quality rugs in over 35 countries.

When you meet Mr Chaudhary you are immediately struck by his humbleness. Even more so when you begin to understand his remarkable vision and ability to implement it. Carpet weaving is an old craft in India and carpets have been exported for centuries. For all of that time weaving has been male centric and somewhat exploitative in nature. For Jaipur to adopt a social enterprise model …

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Win a Carpet!

Tibetan Style Carpet - Deep Rust

Buy anything at Arastan between now and the end of our fantastic Jaipur Rugs sale and you could win this wonderful carpet! Hand-knotted in Tibetan style with New Zealand wool and art silk accents for a particularly luscious feel, it is a convenient 3’6” x 5’6” that will fit in any home.

Any purchase either online at www.arastan.com or in our Nandi Durga Road, Bangalore store from now until 21 December 2013 will get you an entry into the draw for this carpet. Buy again during the promotional period and you will get one more card entered into the pool, so you have many chances to win. We will contact the winner before Christmas to give them the good news!

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Myth and Design, as presented by Thomas Cole at Arastan

Scorpion Boteh

As it was once said, “We are who we were…” And it is this truism that Tom Cole, internationally acclaimed Central Asian carpet and textile expert, brought to life vividly and evocatively in the talk he gave for Arastan last Wednesday.

Tom talked with great depth and knowledge not just about the crafts but the historical, cultural and symbolic linkages that accompany them. As one who specialises in tribal weavings and textiles of artistic, historical and ethnographic significance from Central Asia, Tom is the position to do so very authoritatively. As he put it to an interested and involved audience, his presentation on ‘Myth and Design’ endeavoured to identify pervasive myths and symbolism at the core of our very existence as human beings – as illustrated in patterns and symbols spanning the breadth of the Asian continent.

Supported by interesting and relevant visuals, Tom talked about certain images and icons that …

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Banarasi Brocade, Mirzapur Carpets, Fantastic Samosas and some Soul-searching (Part I)

Mirzapur Tufting Centre

Back from Mumbai and off to Varanasi (also known as Banaras and Kashi). I do love my job, well some parts of it. Dealing with octroi, (still waiting for the February refund) breakages and insurance has to be my least favourite part and so I left the mess TCI Express made of my return shipment to Binaifer and off I went. The main reason was the Indian Carpet Expo in Varanasi. There were over 300 Indian carpet vendors showing off their wares and I thought it was time to do a deep dive into the carpet industry in India. To understand the entire supply chain better, I went off to Mirzapur which, along with Bhadohi, is one of the main weaving centres in this part of India. What I found was both enlightening and disturbing.

My understanding of what I see is that Indian and Pakistani handmade carpet manufacturers have …

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Festive Carpet Offer

Tazenakht Pendant Carpet

Diwali is here and we are celebrating. Buy anything at Arastan between now and Diwali day and you could win this glorious Moroccan Tazenakht carpet (worth Rs 40,000)!

Any purchase either online at www.arastan.com or in our Nandi Durga Road, Bangalore store from now until the end of 12 November 2012 will get you an entry into the draw for this carpet. Each additional item you purchase gets you one more card entered into the pool, so you have many chances to win. On Diwali day itself (13 November) one of our long-term customers, and great supporter, will draw the winning card and we will contact the lucky winner on the day.

Tazenakht, in the High Atlas region of southern Morocco, is at the crossroads of mountainous routes that have witnessed the passing of trade caravans since the 16th century. It has a long history of weaving and selling Berber …

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Spotlight: Central Asia – Arastan returns to Mumbai

Tibetan Carpet

After the great welcome we received in Mumbai earlier this year, we are back with a new treasure chest of handpicked décor items from Central Asia. We will be exhibiting at ARTISANS’, Kala Ghoda from 20th to 22nd September between 11 am and 7 pm. Highlights include vintage carpets from East Turkestan (now the Xinjiang Uyghur Region of China) and Tibet, thangkas and jewellery from Nepal, miniatures and ikat from Uzbekistan and limited edition furniture incorporating striking Central Asian fabrics created especially for us by designer Pragati Toshniwal.

Rugs from the oasis city of Khotan (now Hotan) are particular favourites of Nishas. Khotan lies on a branch of the Silk Route that headed south from Kashgar to skirt the Taklamakan Desert. This remote region of western China, ringed by mountains and desert, vaunts a millennial tradition of tribal carpet weaving. Wool-on-cotton Khotan rugs are characterised by a blend of Persian and Chinese motifs, a testament to …

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Carpet Motifs: A Beginner’s Guide

Scarab in a Qashqai rug

Nisha’s instruction was clear and simple: go and look for Caucasian rugs. My search led me to the warehouse of Memet Bozbay, an affable Kurdish carpet trader, whom I had led to believe that I was a professional buyer. He pulled out heaps of Armenian, Kurdish and Kazak rugs, many characterised by bold colours, high piles, and unusual motifs. Gesturing to one of them he commented, “And here, again, you can see the typical Caucasian dragon motif.”

I scanned the carpet’s field expecting to find a flamboyant dragon spewing fire, but I couldn’t make out anything at all resembling a dragon or a serpent. In the centre of the carpet there was, however, an interesting form that appeared somewhat insect-like. “You mean this thing in the middle that looks like a cockroach?” I asked innocently. The dealer gave me a puzzled look and hesitated to respond—he must have been struggling to …

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Strange things happen sometimes…

RainTree Carpets

On the 3rd day of the exhibition I didn’t get a chance to answer my phone and when I did check there were 9 missed calls! Oh no – someone was lost and I was going to need to get them to Raintree. Nothing could be worse. I have difficulty with spatial awareness, the kind that means if I have to drive anywhere my husband draws me a simple map which I have to turn in the direction of travel in order to read. (Like from London to the Mars office in Waltham in the UK –  for those who don’t know it’s straight up one road!) When I did return the call, I spoke to someone who was visiting from abroad and who had heard about us having ‘unusual things’ through an acquaintance. He came, he saw, he bought. Three gorgeous carpets – an Iranian Gabbeh, a northwest Persian …

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    Arastan was an online store that curated rare and handpicked treasures from exotic bazaars along the ancient silk route. Unfortunately we ceased trading in early 2014.

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