Handmade Rugs from India
When in chicken ... it pays get shop beyond the capital. Photo: Patrick Ward/Corbis
Never mind an attached warthog mind or wobbly waterpipe, in my situation a handmade carpet may be the supreme vacation trophy. The interweaving of exoticism, age-old skill and absolute prodigious effort make their choice, purchase and, eventually, possession a rare excitement. But, like most alluring things, bagging a carpeting is certainly not easy and too many travellers discover that, in the place of coming back house with a length of treadable magic within their baggage, they have been taken for a ride.
There are 2 schools of considered oriental carpet buying. 1st, the one expounded in lots of guidebooks, holds that casual carpet purchasers will undoubtedly get scammed hence, because of the gaping economic disparity between the West plus the carpet-making remainder, the damage will undoubtedly be small - as well as perhaps even a justified type of post-colonial revenge. The next sees the exchange between both you and the carpet dealer as comparable to a barely disguised duel.
Where to buy it
The former Persia continues to be the many prolific and varied way to obtain carpets on earth, along with possessing more exquisite cases of the art. Iran is also the origin of most of this styles made somewhere else. It doesn't mean that carpets from Turkey, India, China, Morocco, Pakistan, Afghanistan, the Caucasus or Romania tend to be inferior; often, in their robustness and quality, they are better than the prototype.
They just do not, but all lead to a simple shopping journey (it is safe to say Afghanistan are from the schedule of just those many really smitten because of the carpeting bug) as well as the majority of travellers just who buy a carpet can do so while holidaying into the much more popular locations.
In such cases, 1st guideline is avoid carpeting boutiques in the huge cities; keep them to your idle rich and alternatively head for supply. My recent seven-hour mentor travel south of Istanbul into the dirty town of Ayvacik, one of many centers associated with the natural dyeing renaissance in Turkey, may have seen me personally, because of the disdainful rural Turkish sense of time, miss my return journey, but used to do get my shimmering blue and saffron carpet - and, at £150, for around one-third of this price I would personally have paid at among traveler traps in old Ottoman money.
The city of Konya, in central Turkey, is yet another vegetable dyeing hotspot, detailed with home-grown whirling dervishes. In India, see Agra or Jaipur or scour the villages of Mirzapur - the source of about 90 percent of Indian carpet production. In China, lead to the cool north where simply created - but symbolically wealthy and masterfully coloured - carpets are abundant: Beijing continues to be the centre of the trade.
In Morocco, spurn Marrakesh for the market town of Azrou nearby and abandon Fes, dense with carpeting sharks, for smaller imperial city of Meknes, one hour away. I doubted I would previously find my solution regarding the Meknes medina - the labyrinthine marketplace when you look at the west of the city that has been the base for the great, bloodthirsty 17th-century sultan Moulay Ismail - nor also survive my fraught, hours-long bargaining session into the carpeting souk. But survive I did and, on my cramped ride back into Fes in a shared grand taxi, mesmeric Muslim devotional songs flooding from 1 traveler's lightweight stereo, we thought triumphantly that I'd guaranteed the carpeting significant to my lap for more or less just what it was worth (although the grins regarding face regarding the dealership and his chubby child and protégé even as we shook hands did maybe recommend more than less).
What things to seek out
'Knowledge is energy, ' writes Janice Herbert inside her guide to oriental carpet buying, and it is well worth getting a number of the former through reading or assessment before you decide to travel. Many amateur purchasers fall foul of this initial hurdle, that of meaning, and get a machine-made carpeting - the antithesis associated with the pre-industrial, painstaking originality which at the heart of a handmade carpeting's desirability. Pay close attention to these three elements and you are less likely to be led astray.