Kilims & Flat Weaves

The highly individual character of flat weaves is intimately connected with their production; the material used for the warps and wefts, the way the yarn is spun, the choice of dye colors, the structural make-up and the method of finish. The wide variety of materials, techniques and colorings has evolved and developed in response to resources, practical needs and tribes influences.

Please see more detailed descriptions of various types of flat weaves below.

Kilim or Kelim (kĭl’ĭm, kē-lēm’) is a pileless floor covering handwoven by tapestry techniques in Anatolia, the Balkans, and parts of Iran. The name is also given to a variety of brocaded, embroidered, warp-faced, and other flat-woven rugs and bags. A common characteristic is a slit that occurs wherever two colours meet along a vertical line in the pattern.  The largest kilims are produced in Turkey, as are smaller examples and prayer kilims (prayer rugs); Turkish weavers often use cotton for the white areas, and small details may be brocaded. The kilims of the southern Balkans, originally copies of Turkish types, gradually developed individual styles. Kilims become progressively less Asian in colour and pattern as the distance from Turkey increases. 

Beloutch Soumakh (Nimbaff) is a mixture between flat woven and knotted carpet, giving it a three-dimensional look. It was used for decoration in the nomad tents and comes from south-eastern Iran. The designs are traditional though they have changed a little in the past few years. They were woven in darker colours like browns and greys. Now they are made in happier colours like reds, greens and yellows etc.

Jajim (Djadjim) is made out of flat woven carpet strips which are then woven together and form a zigzag pattern.  Typically, five strips are sewn together and the resulting product is used as a tablecloth or oven-coverlet.  Of course, they are also suited as throw-rugs. This particular kilim style was employed, under various names throughout the entire Near and Middle East.  They are predominantly from northeast Persian region of (Chorasan).  Pattern and designs are mostly human or serpentine.

Sofreh is a Persian word for table cloth or “eating cloth” and is placed on the floor for serving meals. The Sofreh is a woven carpet with an insulating layer on the back because the weft on the back is not knotted. The Sofreh is similar to the Soumakh but is usually square and beautifully embroidered.

Soumakh is a woven carpet, similar to the kilim, but the weft is not knotted on the back of the carpet so that the pattern is not as clearly visible there. As the back is not knotted, the loose threads form a good insulation layer; therefore the soumakh was used as a blanket during cold weather and for cradles.