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history of carpet

The art of weaving is an old tradition in the Kingdom of Nepal, especially in the mountainous region of the country. Radii, Pakhi, Bakkhu, Darhi (with pile) are well-known Nepalese products produced in these regions using indigenous wool. The marketing of these products was confined to the domestic market.

The development of an export quality carpet was initiated with the influx of the Tibetan refugees in the early sixties. Credit goes to the Swiss Agency for Technical Assistance (SATA) for their contribution, in the development of the carpet industry in Nepal through financial & technical support to the Tibetan refugees re-settlement programs. In the beginning, it was launched as a source of livelihood for the Tibetan refugees and marketing was limited to tourists visiting the kingdom. Efforts to gain access in the international market arena paid-off in 1964 when the first commercial shipment left to Europe, namely Switzerland. With vision and entrepreneur skill it transformed into a nationally recognized commercial commodity and remains the most important export product from Nepal.

The Nepalese- Tibetan carpets contain a very high degree of hand processing and qualities ranging from 60-150 knots per square inch. Regularity safe guards are in place to ensure that only highest quality fleece wool is imported for use in these carpets.

The traditional design of the Nepalese-Tibetan carpet are basically influenced by Buddhism but inrecent years the Nepalese manufacturers have introduced modern design and colors in line with the present day market tastes. The traditional size has been replaced by a wide range of sizes from 0.25Sq.m. to 56m2 in shapes such as round, octagon and customs shapes. The desired designs, styles and shades are the creation of local designers & engineers with regular feedback from the market.

At present, 95 percent of the production of carpet is concentrated in the Kathmandu valley with the remaining 5 percent is spreading over a number of other districts of the country.

Giulio_RosatiThe hand-knotted pile carpet probably originated in southern Central Asia between the 3rd and 2nd millennium BCE, although there is evidence of goats and sheep being sheared for wool and hair which was spun and woven as far back at 6000 BCE.

The earliest surviving pile carpet in the world is called the "Pazyryk Carpet", dating from the 5th-4th century BCE. It was excavated by Sergei Ivanovich Rudenko in 1949 from a Pazyryk burial mound where it had been preserved in ice in the valley of Pazyryk. The origin of this carpet is attributed to either the Scythians or the Persian Achaemenids. This richly colored carpet is 200 x 183 cm (6'6" x 6'0") and framed by a border of griffins.

The earliest group of surviving knotted pile carpets was produced under Seljuk rule in the first half of the 13th century on the Anatolian peninsula. The eighteen extant works are often referred to as the Konya Carpets. The central field of these large carpets is a repeated geometrical pattern. The borders are ornamented with a large-scale, stylized, angular calligraphy called Kufic, pseudo-Kufic, or Kufesque.

6000 BC: Evidence of goats and sheep being sheared for wool and hair and then spun and woven.

1480 BC: Egyptian fresco of handloom (discovered in 1953)

464 BC: Pazyryk rug woven, (Discovered in ice filled tomb Outer Mongolia 1960). It has all the characteristics of a modern Persian or Anatolian with a pile and Ghiordes kno.

The evolution of carpeting has been affected by social, economical and fashion pressures. Developments in man-made fibres, loom widths and machine efficiencies brought carpets within reach of the mass market. Fashions for seamless square and then seamless close-cover carpet helped introduce wider looms. Investigation into thermal and acoustical requirements led to fitted carpets in public buildings, shops and offices. Ingenious manufacturing solutions proliferated from the 1960's. Tiles, printing, warp printing, needle punched fibres and double faced bonded carpets all increased the ability of the carpet trade to cater for specific areas, price points and the demands of fashion.

Until about 1954, cotton was virtually the only fiber used in tufted products. Wool and manmade fibers -- polyester, nylon, rayon, and acrylics -- were gradually introduced by textile men in Dalton. Nylon was first introduced in 1947 and grew steadily to dominate the market. Polyester was first used in 1965 and was followed soon by polypropylene (olefin). Most manufacturers will agree that the single most important development in the industry was the introduction of bulk continuous filament nylon yarns. These yarns provided a luxurious quality, durable carpet, similar to wool, which was more economical to produce. Therefore, a durable, luxury product was offered to the consumer for less money.

In 1950, only 10 percent of all carpet and rug products were tufted, and ninety percent were woven. However, about 1950, it was as if someone had opened a magic trunk. Out of that trunk came man-made fibers, new spinning techniques, new dye equipment, printing processes, tufting equipment, and backing for different end uses. Today, tufted products are more than 90 percent of the total, followed by less than 2 percent that are woven, and 6.7 percent for all other methods, such as knitted, braided, hooked, or needlepunched. By 1951, the tufting industry was a $133 million per year business made up primarily of bedspreads, carpet, and rugs, with carpet accounting for $19 million. The industry broke the billion dollar mark in 1963. Through the years, the Dalton area has continued to be the center of the tufted carpet industry, and today, the area produces more than 70 percent of the total output of the world-wide industry of over $9 billion. Dalton is now known as the "Carpet Capital of the World."