Galim, Zuli, . . ARAB. Prangmadani, . MALAY. Tapyten, . . . DUT. Kalasa, Xatifah, „ Vloer-tapyten, . „ Ghalichah, . . PERS.
Fa Kowru, Kilimi, . . Rus. Teppiche, . . . . GER. Alfombras, Aleitifas, SP. Shatranji, . . . RIND. Tapetes, . . . . „ Tappeti, . . . . IT. Jam'kalam, . TAM.
Parmadani, . MALAY. I Jamcana, . . . . TEL.
Carpets, either of cotton, silk, or wool, are employed in the eastern countries, from the south of India to Turkey in Europe, for domestic use, for praying on, and for occasions of state. The carpets employed by the ancients are thought to have been of the nature of tapestry, and used for covering couches rather than floors. True carpets seem to have been early employed in Persia ; and those called Turkish were probably originally of Persian manufacture, whence the manufacture might have been introduced into Turkey, and where, as well as among the many Turkoman tribes and in Northern Africa, it is still practised. The Persians still remain unrivalled in the happy combination of colour and pattern for which their carpets have long been distinguished, whence the most varied hues and deepest tints are brought into close approximation, and, far from offending the eye, please by their striking, because harmoni ous, contrasts. The places in India where a regular manufacture and trade are carried on, are Jubbulpur, Bareilly, Lahore, Merut, Rungpur, Benares, Mirzapur, Allahabad, and Gorakhpur in Bengal ; North Arcot, Tanjore, Ellore, and Mala bar in the Madras Presidency ; and also at Mysore, Bangalore, Warangal, Bellary, Masulipatam, as , well as at Shikarpur, Khyrpur, and Hyderabad in Sind. Those of Bengal commend themselves by extraordinary cheapness ; they are extensively used throughout India, and also somewhat largely ex ported. In point of texture and workmanship, however, the rugs from Ellore, Tanjore, and Mysore, though they are comparatively much dearer, are greatly preferred.
Kermanshah has a manufacture which adds much to the wealth of its province ; none can be more rich, soft, and beautiful. Persian carpets are made also at Meshed, in the Turkoman country, and in Khorasan, and are justly celebrated for the beauty of the patterns, the fineness of the wool, and the durability of the colours—vegetabledyes—amongst others, a green not made elsewhere, conjectured to be saffron and indigo. Some of them fetch high prices in the country itself, as £6 or £8 for one of two yards square. The finest are made at Sena, and there is a famous manufacture carried ' on at Ferahoun, near Teheran. Carpets of any size can be made there. The finest carpets of all used to be made at Herat ; and one in the Chaim] Minar at Isfahan was 140 feet long and. 70 feet wide. Large numbers were formerly exported to England through Trebizoud, and they were sold nearly as cheap in London as in Persia, owing probably to the course of trade. Persian and Turkey carpets are most esteemed.
Eastern carpets have attained great popularity in Europe since the middle of the 19th century, but it has not led to any very general diffusion of real knowledge about them. The ordinary buyer knows three classes, and only three, which he roughly distinguishes as Turkey, Indian, and Persian carpets. The expert is, of course, a good deal more exact than this ; but even his knowledge is, as yet, vague and confused. The most exquisite products of the loom were frequently destined for the adornment of the holy Kaba, or some scarcely less venerated shrine. Sometimes the whole interior of a mosque, such as that at Meshed Ali, was hung with beautiful carpets ; and the Mihrab, or niche towards Mecca, was always a favourite object for such ornamentation, which in this case corresponds to the altar-hangings of Europe. Mats of a less costly nature were spread on the floor ; and it is recorded that in 1012 A.D. the mosque of El-Hakim at Cairo was strewn with 36,000 ells of carpeting, at a cost of 5000 dinars, whilst the Azhar required 13,000 ells of striped mats a year. The Kaba at Mecca was covered with hangings in the days of ignorance' before Islam was preached, and cloths from the Yemen, or a white Chinese silk carpet, covered the shrine ; and later on the famous white and gold fabric of the Copts, or heavy velvet or plush carpets from all parts of the East, were employed in the decora tion of the Mecca temple. The rulers of the Mahn medan world vied with each other in presenting the richest covers to the Kaba ; the very Mongol Khans of Persia sent gorgeous hangings ; and we read of a cover studded with gold and pearls and precious stones to the value of 250,000 gold pieces. Difficult as it is to classify the designs of eastern carpets with any precision, they may roughly be divided into two classes, the floral and the geometrical ; and that of these the former is the desigri affected by the higher and Aryan races, the latter the design of the lower and Turanian. The old woman whom Yambery saw in Central Asia, tracing thepattern of the carpet on the sand for the girls to follow, is the typical designer of the Turkoman and Mongolian races ; while the native Indian and l'ersian work is found in lovely con ventionalized flowers and leaves, the tree of life' and other symbols. There is always, however, a difficulty of distinguishing between the carpet work of one district and another, from the prevailing •ustom of pilgrimages in the East. Every pilgrim brings his carpet with him to Mecca, or Kerbela, or Kairwan,—he may take more than one, for an offering, or for sale,—and ultimately these find their way, for nothing or for nominal prices, to the priests and their hangers-on, who re-sell them for exorbitant sums as relics to the outgoing pilgrims.
Thus carpets of every style and character pass from hand to hand, and, coming from southern India, make their way to Smyrna or Tashkend, the promiscuous dispersion becoming one of the chief secondary causes of the cosmopolitan cha racter of Saracenic art, and of its diffusion over so vast an area, and at the same time serving to make the origin of that art almost hopelessly obscure. In Northern Africa, it is only in Kairwan that the genuine Tunisian carpets are now manufactured. In all other parts of the regency European designs have been adopted, with the inevitable result of destroying all that was quaint and original, and substituting vulgar and egregious patterns. The old Moorish style of working in iron has thus file escaped contamination, and large Saracen locks and giant keys, charmingly ornamented, may still be procured. The Susanjird kind, among the various sorts of weaving that go by the name of Persian carpet-work, has always held the first place. We read of the Susanjird carpets in the palace of the Abbasi khalifs of Bagdad in the tenth century ; and the nobles of the East were emulous of obtaining pieces of this fine work for the floors of their scarcely less magnificent resi dences. In the sale of the carpets of the Fatimite khalifs in 1067, a carpet fetched a thousand dinars —at a time when dinars weighed more than the pre sent half-sovereign ; and a Mameluke prince of the fourteenth century gave 70,000 pieces of silver for a silk carpet wrought with gold. Susanjird work was also highly prized in Europe. Byzantine palaces were found to need these rich carpets as much as the mansions of Bagdad ; and the mer chants were given carte-blanche as to the price they paid for their commissions. Such luxuries were only for the very rich. Susanjird carpets appear always to have been confined to the houses of the great or the houses of God, which the great chose to honour ; but the anarchy which came of the Tartar invasions affected the art of weaving in a disastrous manner. Tamerlane, though his exploits were embroidered on the old tapestry which the Persian ambassador brought to Philip III. of Spain, was a chief destroyer of the skill which depicted him. Whatever time origin of the name, Susanjird designates a loom embroidery which, though it may be of various kinds, possesses a distinct character of its own. Susanjird may be knotted (like plush) or plaited (like Gobelin work), or it may combine both methods ; but its essential characteristic is fiat relief. The com bination of the knotting and plaiting (which was not done as it is at the present day) gave the work a peculiar character. The Susanjird carpet has the effect of a picture ; the embroidery is like painting ; and the general impression is soft and delicate. The subjects represented are either figures or conventional ornaments ; and the figures include, not merely animals, but maps and plans of towns, like mediaeval work cum historia ' or ' it ymages.' The ornamental work is chiefly derived from the vegetable world, and corresponds to the European designation arbres.' In Persian art the treatment isessen tinily symbolic. The lion or the eagle is represented as the symbol of power or rule ; indeed, on a gold border in the Vienna Museum the figures are explained by the Arabic word for dominion, and another piece has under a lion's figure. A descending eagle signifies bad luck, but a flying or standing eagle means good luck ; while the unicorn welcomes the advent of a good prince. Hounds and leopards for hunting occur in Persian patterns, and stand for fame or increasing honour. More interesting are the ornamental designs derived from trees and flowers,—the embroidery h arbres.' Sir George Birdwood remarks that the great source of the majority of Persian carpet patterns is the tree of life, the straight trunk with long regular parallel horizontal branches terminating in buds, which pervades all eastern and much western decora tive art. Sometimes on Persian rugs the entire tree is represented, but generally it would be past all recognition but for small representations of it within the larger. In Yarkand carpets, how ever, it is seen filling the whole centre of the carpet, stark and stiff, as if cut out of metal. In Persian art, and in Indian art derived from Persian, the tree becomes a beautiful flowering plant or simple sprig of flowers ; but in Hindu art it remains iu its hard architectural form, as seen in temple lamps, and the models in brass and copper of the sacred fig as the tree of life. It is extremely curious to trace the history of the tree of life (and the tree of healing, for there are two kinds in Persian decoration) through its various stages, and to find its head in the knop and flower, or cone and flower pattern, as we recognise it on Assyrian marbles and Egyptian wall-paintings, on Iudian monuments, Cashmere shawls and Italian brocades ; in the Greek honey suckle and palmetto scroll, and the Renaissance shell ; and the tongue and dart, egg and tongue patterns in classical mouldings. The persistence of the tree of life, or the pattern formed from its head, in eastern and western decorative art, is very remarkable, and, it should be added, very admirable. That the Tapisserie de Haut Lisse was derived from the East seems beyond a doubt. At the end of the twelfth century the Paris statutes make mention of tapiciers sarrazinois,' in contrast to fabrica,ns de tapir nostrez; ' and in 1302 we hear for the first time of an autre maniere de tapiciers que Pon appelle ouvriers en hautte lice.' It was probably about the time of the Second Crusade that this oriental high warp tapestry found its way into France.