These gorgeous rugs were originally made in the Caucus during the 1800s. Now the Afghan Hazara people in Pakistan are continuing to weave these hand knotted works of art. The new generation of weavers in Pakistan have embraced the colors, patterns and workmanship of the traditional Kazak rug weavers from the Caucus.
The pile of Kazak rugs is relatively short when compared to other oriental rugs. And the reason is that they are put through an antique washing process. During this process the rug piles are cut short and the entire rug is stone washed, similar to stone washing process used for jeans. And because of this process, Kazak rugs have a beautiful antique finish. These rugs also have few different field colors, such as red, blue, green and cream. Almost all Kazak carpets have geometric patterns. They either have very large and bold geometrical motifs or they have smaller and more detailed geometrical motifs.
3-Minute Explanation of Kazak Rugs
In Depth Look
Traditionally, owing a Kazak rug was a sign of the owner’s status. These rugs were often woven with strands of silver and gold and were placed in palaces, churches and in the palatial homes of the super rich. These ultra-luxurious rugs were not just used as floor coverings. They often adorned walls and were even placed on the throne of the king or at his feet.
Original Kazak Rugs
The original Kazak rugs were a type of Armenian rug woven in the region between Tiflis and Erevan that lie south of Caucasus. The original weavers were mostly Turkic nomads who arrived in the region at the time of the great westward migration of Turks in the 11th century and later settled here.
The Armenians are among the first people who started weaving Oriental rugs in the 5th century BC. These traditional weavers passed their skill down the generations.
Kazak rugs are not associated with any particular tribe. Instead, they are associated with the geographical areas in which they were woven. The Kazak rugs were generally made by the women of the communities using a hand-knotted technique that produced the very best quality. Armenian Kazak rugs are noted for their coarse, shiny wool and large scale patterns with numerous medallions in contrasting colors.
Kazak weavers go to great lengths to recreate the aged look of original pieces. They do this by spinning the wool tightly before they begin the knotting process. This gives the rug a dense but flat and thin finish that is normally acquired through several years of gentle wear. They complement this by using a soft abrash effect during weaving and finishing off with a special wash at the end of the process, resulting in rug with a beautifully plush, soft look.
A stout selvage typically acts as the finishing for the sides. Some weavers finish both ends off with shaggy fringes, whereas others use the fringe only at one end and finish off the other end by turning back and hemming a few inches of the warp-weft web.
Kazak Design Characteristics
Kazak rug weavers are faithful to color and design. The original designs were predominantly bold and typical with large geometrical motifs and figures upon abrash fields of magnificent green or red. The construction technique that was used ensured that the designs and colors were capable of withstanding more than half a century of wear and exposure. Scattered throughout the field are detached figures that included parti-colored squares, diamonds and circles, crosses, medallions and disproportionate representations of animals, birds, trees and human beings.
The borders are heavily patterned featuring several variations of the latch-hook pattern and a reciprocal saw-tooth pattern that is often seen in Caucasian fabrics. While the design of Kazak rugs closely resembles the North American rugs of the southwestern US, the construction technique and the colors that are used vary considerably, creating a distinct difference between the two.
Pakistan Kazak rugs
Traditionally, kazak rugs have been manufactured by weavers in the Caucasus region between Tiflis and Erevan. Sometime in the 80s and 90s, Pakistan started producing rugs featuring designs that were inspired by and resembling the traditional kazak rugs of the Caucasus. Although the rugs were being exported by Pakistan, they were mostly woven by Afghan refugee weavers who had fled the oppressive Taliban regime and settled in the border region between Pakistan and North East Afghanistan.
For these Afghan weavers, the re-settlement proved to be an unexpected boon as they now had access to a larger assortment of materials and better resources than they had in their homeland. They also had easier access to western markets where they could sell their finished products. All of these factors together resulted in a revival of a flourishing rug weaving tradition in this region.
The designs of the Pakistan Kazak rugs are based on traditional Caucasian designs and woven using superior quality wool yarns. All of the wool yarns used are dyed using only natural vegetable dyes such as cochineal and indigo, which added to their dramatic and vibrant appearance.
The refugee Afghan weavers earlier only had access to two or three colors of dye, usually black, white, grey or deep red. However, the easier access to more dyes, better tools of the trade and diverse resources added versatility to their earlier, more basic rug-making endeavors. The newly created Pakistan kazak rugs began to be known for their reds, indigo blues and ivories as well as their warm, casual appearance, which again attests to them being a modern version of the traditional Caucasian rugs.
In an attempt to stay faithful to the design and the color of the original versions, the Kazak rug weavers consistently and patiently go through the lengthy process of reproducing the aged appearance of the original works. They do this by ensuring the wool is tightly spun before they begin with knotting it so that the finish is dense while still remaining flat and thin, which is a look that is otherwise only achieved through gentle wear over several years.
The patterns strictly adhere to the traditional design elements such as the geometrical medallions, rosettes and hooked polygons but the difference is that they are presented in more stylized manner and with a new dimension.
In addition, the weavers employ a soft abrash effect during weaving and at the end of the process they use a special wash which gives the rug a beautifully soft and gently aged look. The wool that is used to produce Kazak rugs is hand spun using a drop-spindle.
A 9’x12′ rug could take about 9–10 months to be completed by four to five experienced rug weavers working five to six hours every day.
Browse Our Gallery for Kazak Rugs
The Kazak rugs that Catalina rug offers are hand knotted and made with excellent quality hand spun wool. Kazak rugs have piles with medium thickness and they are very durable and are great for high traffic living spaces. For instance, Kazak rug runners for hallways add a great accent to corridors inside your home. We welcome you to see our selection and learn more about these rugs below.