One-of-a-Kind, Hand Knotted, and Handspun Wool with Vegetable Dye
These gorgeous rugs were originally made in the Caucus during the 1800s.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.
Traditionally, owning 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 Rugs made in Pakistan by Afghan Weavers
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.
1 Minute Video with Examples of Modern Kazak
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
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.
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.
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.
Categories of Kazak Rugs
While Kazak rugs feature distinct designs, patterns, and motifs with geometric composition and tribal characteristics, they can be broken down into three categories. The three main varieties of Kazak rugs are super Kazak, Kazak Azari, and Fine Kazak.
1. Super Kazak
Super Kazak is known for having more knots per square inch than the other rug varieties. Its colors are shinier than the fine Kazak. This is the second most expensive option of Kazak rugs because of the high density of knots per square inch.
While Kazak rugs were originally a rug made by Armenian weavers that were first hand-woven in the southern region of the Caucasus in the 1800s by specific tribes. The techniques spread to Afghan rug weavers who continued to create the Super Kazak rugs that have been inspired by the designs of the Caucasus. This inspiration was incorporated and continued to develop the look of the traditional hand-knotted rugs using local materials.
Super Kazak Rugs made in Pakistan by Afghan weavers use natural vegetable dyes to create their beautiful coloring as well as hand-spun wool.
- High knot density
- Natural dyes
- Handspun wool
2. Kazak Azari
Kazak Azari rugs have high-quality wool and vegetable colors. The price of Kazak Azari rugs is the most expensive because of the extremely high-quality materials. They are made of 100% handspun Ghazni wool.
The Azari variety of rugs has the most diverse kinds of patterns offering a greater variety that is very different from other Kazak rugs. They feature traditional tribal and geometric patterns that are enhanced with bold, vibrant colors and a soft effect that creates a unique antique finish.
- 100% Handspun Ghazni Wool
- Natural Dyes
- High Pile
- Unique Patterns
The Azari rugs are similar to the Persian Heriz rugs which have fewer knots but a higher pile with warm colors.
3. Fine Kazak
Fine Kazak rugs have a medium pile and fewer knots than the other varieties. The colors of the rugs are soft and not shiny. They offer the natural dyes that the other varieties have, utilizing natural vegetable and mineral dyes to create their color patterns.
The natural dyes help to produce soft shades that are not possible to obtain through chemical dyes. The influence of Persia, Turkoman, and Afghan cultures has created highly complex and unique coloration.
The designs consist of geometric elements that are crafted through hand-knotting. The material used for Fine Kazak rugs is wool from Himalayan sheep that is hand spun and then knotted. The skilled weavers dedicate their time to crafting high-quality handmade rugs that highlight the beautiful materials.
They highlight features of:
- Geometric patterns
- Medium density, Medium pile
- Vegetable dyed soft colors
Fine Kazak rugs are the least expensive option if you are looking to get a Kazak rug and they come in a wide variety of sizes from small to oversize.
Kazak Rug Symbols
Kazak rugs often highlight motifs with tribal properties and geometric structures. This can include things like tribal designs, thorny lines, crosses, rosettes, medallions, diamonds, hooked polygons as well as depictions of figures like humans, trees, birds, and animals.
If you look closely at the designs, you will see that only straight lines are used to create these patterns. This is because of the hand-knotted technique used to create the rugs.
How To Care For Your Kazak Rug
You should make sure to brush or vacuum (with suction only) your Kazak rugs regularly to prevent the build-up of dirt and dust. They should also be rotated regularly to ensure that they are wearing evenly and that any sun fade is not directed at one location on the rug.
If possible, make sure to avoid putting any small or sharp furniture legs on the rug and use furniture casters where possible.
Dealing with Spills
If there does happen to be a spill on your Kazak rug, it is important to act quickly. First, blot the spill with plain paper towels to soak up the liquid until dry.
With wool rugs, if any residue is left a mixture of carpet shampoo, warm water, and a teaspoon of vinegar can be used. Blot this mixture onto the spot until the damp residue is removed, using a white kitchen towel that has been squeezed out. Make sure to dry the rug as quickly as possible without using heat and vacuum.
In general, a hand-knotted wool rug should be professionally cleaned once every five to ten years. Doing this will ensure that it maintains its beautiful appearance for as long as possible and remove any deep-seated dirt or dust that may have built up over the years, even with regular care.
It is reccomended to use a professional service because doing it yourself could lead to damaging the rug. Causing things like color mixing.
How Long Do They Take To Make
A single 8’x10’ Kazak rug needs around 9,216,000 knots which can take up to 12,288 hours of labor to complete. This is the equivalent of 1,536 eight-hour days for one weaver to complete!
Kazak rugs are amazing pieces that you should incorporate into your home design. These beautiful pieces are a timeless designs that can easily become a showpiece in any space and are an excellent investment as they will last for many years because of their high-quality construction and materials.
Their beautiful appearance has led them to be one of the most popular rugs and has been collected by many. Showing the beautiful creation of a rug that has gathered influence across many cultures and has such a strong history.
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.