What Are Oushak Rugs?

Weaving is one of the oldest occupations in human history. Especially the domestication of animals and the use of their wool as well as the use of meat and milk have led to the start of weaving activities. Carpet weaving is also an important branch of weaving. Although there are no definite opinions about where carpet weaving started in the world, many sources point to China. For the first time in Anatolia, Lydians and Phrygians started carpet weaving. Oushak rugs are the peak of carpet weaving in Anatolia.

History of Oushak Rugs


As a history, Oushak rugs date back to the 15th century. The modern reinterpretation of carpets produced in Oushak by carpet weaving masters brought from Azerbaijan and Iran by Suleiman the Magnificent resulted in the emergence of a new style in carpet weaving. The patterns in these carpets were designed by artists and craftsmen, and because of the appreciation of these designs by the sultan, the carpets required for palaces and newly built mosques started to be supplied from Oushak. For this reason, Oushak rugs are also called palace rugs. In the following period, the commercial facilities provided to western merchants caused these carpets to be introduced to Europe together with foreign merchants. Oushak carpets have adorned the castles of European nobles and palaces of kings as well as Ottoman palaces for centuries. In addition, it is seen that these carpets are used in the works of many famous painters of the period.


Oushak rugs were in great demand both at home and abroad until the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. However, the collapse of the empire and the confrontation of the newly established republic with many economic difficulties caused these rugs to fall into their shell. In addition, the transition to mass and cheap production with the Industrial Revolution has made Oushak rugs, which require great labor and therefore are expensive, into luxury. However, it should be noted that the aesthetic beauty of Uşak rugs has always been the focus of attention. The fact that cultural activities started to come to the fore again in the 2000s created a great opportunity for the promotion of Oushak rugs. Oushak carpets manufacturers have this opportunity in a good way and have provided these cultural products to be exhibited in both re both in Turkey and abroad.


Patterns Used in Oushak Rugs


The patterns used in the Oushak rug are quite abundant. Unlike the pictures or patterns placed randomly on modern carpets, all patterns in Uşak rugs have a meaning and origin. Many pattern attempts have been made on Uşak rugs since their first appearance. Some of the common patterns are:

  • Çintemani: The carpets in which this motif, which consists of three large dots in each cluster, is used, is known as the coat. This pattern, which looks more like a leopard, expresses power, wisdom, wealth and might.
  • Kuşlu: This motif, which is called as bird due to its resemblance to a bird in terms of its appearance, actually contains a deception. What provides the bird's appearance consists of two leaves that meet each other. Birds on the tree of life evoke life and spiritual stillness.
  • Lotto: Carpets in which tree of life, bird and dragon motifs are used together are called lotto. The main reason for this naming is that the famous Italian painter Lorenzo Lotto used these carpets in more than one painting. The motifs on the carpet represent the eternity of the soul and immortality. Immortality here is not the immortality of the body, but the immortality of the soul.
  • Angular Medallion: The carpets woven in this model represent abundance. The dragon motifs prepared by resembling the spike, the symbol of fertility, are decorated with tree of life compositions. Oushak rugs are one of the woven carpet types where the dragon figure is most commonly used. Instead of thinking of the dragon with a single meaning, it is important to evaluate it together with other motifs used together in the rug, in terms of revealing the main meaning.
  • Medallion: The use of medallions on Oushak rugs started in the 16th century. Since then, many medallion models have emerged, riveted by the creativity and imagination of Turkish masters. Plants and animals, which are important in Turkish mythology, are used as motifs in these rugs, with a single large medallion in the middle and large and small medallions on the sides.
  • Floral Oushak Rugs: Compositions with flowers and branches on later Oushak rugs are also frequently encountered.
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