Daily mythology: carpet, rug (halı, kilim)

“He is knight, dubb’d with unhach’d rapier, and on carpet consideration, but he is a devil in private brawl.” (William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night)
The carpet comes from the east. As “Flying carpet” though it traveled , like coffee, far to the west. The common explanation for it’s use is that it kept from cold, so as well carpet as rug were used as tent decorations, grain bags, camel and donkey bags, ground cushions, oven covers, sofa covers, bed and cushion covers, blankets, curtains, eating blankets and table top spreads.
It’s use as saddle, as a prayer-carpet and for other ceremonial occasions tells us but that there must be other reasons than those obvious ones.
I guess that the carpet was the first conceptual delimitation from the universal ground, from the earth. Only with carpets the yurt of the nomadic people became property of the tribe, the clan, the family. Things covered by carpets or rugs must be holy? The carpet shows very special patterns, here mostly geometric. Let’s assume that humanity interlaces their history into these fabrics? But we don’t “read” the carpet with our eyes, but with our feet, walking across them, or with our bodies, sitting on them. Anyway: the carpet is a decisive attribute of our culture.
Designed and made by women and girls – while men sit on them in the coffeehouse pondering about the meaning of life– the patterns are given by tradition.
Remember Penelope, Ulysses wife! While her husband was busy far away to besiege Troy and to invent nine-men-morris and dice games, she wove by daylight and undid the fabric by night – delaying so the moment to accept one of the candidates – all of them waiting outside (with coffee?) – as her lover and new husband. Is this the first glance of an individualization?
But the west needed carpets too. From the beginning of modern times on carpet was a sign of luxury, carpets and rugs were traded all over the world – not without being stored temporarily in, for example, Hamburg warehouse district.
Hans Holbein (the younger) for example shows Anatolian carpets in much of his paintings – they are even called “Holbein-carpets”.

Up to today the buses filled with tourists are carried first to Ephesus antique wonders and then to a carpet-company.
Conclusion (caution, stereotype): the west is busy by its male thinkers (the scientific output of the whole Muslim world is not as big as that of one western country), the east is wise in walking or sitting on carpets *smile*


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