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Making Things in South Asia: The Role of Artist and Craftsman

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What we recognize now as oriental carpets, especially pile-carpets, are currently made in most of the countries of the Middle East, North Africa, and southwest and Central Asia, including of course Pakistan and India, as well as China. The technique originated before 500 B.C. somewhere in the area that later became the culturally Irano-Turkic part of Asia. Royal patronage under the Sasanians (if not earlier empires) raised carpet production to the status of high art. The most highly regarded carpets have continued to come from Irano-Turkic areas (in­cluding the Caucasus). Carpets made to the west and south of these areas have remained derivative in both technique and design, and less admired, though sometimes of objectively excellent craftsmanship. (The Chinese tradition is also derivative but developed independently.)

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Date Posted: 22 October 2016