Kashmiri carpets are renowned through out the world mainly for two reasons one being that they are hand made and second they are always knotted not tufted. Carpet weaving in Kashmir was not originally indigenous but is thought to have come in by way of Persia. Till today, most designs are distinctly Persian with local variations. One example, however, of a typically Kashmiri design is the tree of life. Persian design not with standing, any carpet woven in Kashmir is referred to as Kashmiri. The colors- way of a carpet, and its details differentiate it from any other carpet. And while on the subject of color, it should be kept in mind that although the colors of Kashmiri carpets are more subtle and muted than elsewhere in the country, only chemical dyes are used.A carpet may well be the most expensive purchase from your trip to Kashmir but it is a lifelong investment.
The knotting of carpet is the most important aspect, determining its durability and value, in addition to its design. Basically, the more knots per square inch, the greater its value and durability. Count the number of knots on the reverse of carpet in any one square inch, and it should be roughly the same as the dealer tells you, give or take 10 knots. If you are told that a carpet contains 360 knots, and your count indicates about 10 less, it simply means that the weft has not been evenly combed down in parts -- this is not a fault, and several random checks throughout the carpet will even go above the figure of the dealer's estimate. Also, there are single and double-knotted carpets. You can quite easily identify one from the other on the reverse of the carpet. The effect that it has on the pile too is important - a double-knotted carpet has a pile that bends when you brush it one way with your hand, and stands upright when it is brushed in another direction. A single knotted carpet is fluffier and more resistant to the touch, there is no 'right' and 'wrong' side to brush it.
Points to keep in mind when choosing a carpet:
* Whether it has been made of silk pile on silk base, silk pile on cotton base, silk and wool on cotton base or wool on cotton base.
* The number of knots on the reverse of the carpet; whether one or more line in the design has been omitted completely in which case the pattern looks lopsided;
* Whether any element in the design has been wrongly woven so that one motif is larger or smaller at one end than the corresponding motif at another end, etc.
* Whether each motif or element of design has clear, crisp outlines; blurred edges indicate a fault in the weaving.
* Whether the edges of the carpet are crooked as if it had been incorrectly mounted on the frame, so that one end is broader than another.
Below are some pictures of Kashmiri Carpets :-
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