Silkworms were brought to Anatolia by two priest (5th century, A.D.) who smuggled them our of China in bamboo walking stieks after being sent there by Emperor Justinianto carry out research on this subject. They were initiallykept in Istanbul, Gemlik and Mudanya, and laterproduction began in Bursa. For centuries, silk carpet has been regarded as a precious item.

Silkcarpet weaving is one of the most difficult branches of this craft. Breading silkworms, obtaining silk from the cocoon, producing silk thread, dying and per-aparing it tor weaving, and on top of allthisdrawing the design and applying it to the loom require a long process(72). "Owing lo the difficulties in obtaining silk and the risks of unsupervised silk carpet weaving, silk carpet weaving became a palace craft and Ottoman Sultans ordered the establishment of these weaving workshops to produce the finest quality Hereke carpels for their palaces. As it was also a problem for weavers to skilfully adapt the desing into the carpet, such in­tricate and detailed designs were only applied by carpet masters. These valued craftsmen working under palace orders used to weave masterpieces which were meant to be sent to the palaces of European kings or presented to the sultan on special occasions(73)." The number of silk carpet weavers, who acquire this skill over many years, does not exceed fifteen percent of total carpet weavers. There are still numerous silk carpel looms today, which bring the extraordinary, rich and amazing world of these precious paintings consisting of knots and silk into peo­ple's reach.

In 1891 carpet mas­ters called in from Gordes. Demirci and Sivas by Ottoman sultans began to work at the workshops es­tablished in Jlereke These masters taught their carpet weinng skills to the villagers in the area, thereby transforming the dis­trict of liereke into an important carpel weaving centre. Pal­ace carets and those to he peresen ted as gifts to foreign states­men began to he loomed there. These high quality carpets woven in Bursa silk are the most prized, carpets in the world to­day. They have an av­erage of 100 knots to the square centimetre. The warp and weft as u 'ell as the knots are pure silk, decorated with patterns of the most beautiful flowers (1001 flowers) of na­ture, such as roses, carnations and tulips.

The designs and motifs of fine He­reke carpets are products, of a 100-year-old craft. Some Hereke car­pels uibich have 225-289-324 and more knots to the square centimetre have an im­measurable value, These masterpieces of art. produced as a result of years of work by unknown craftsmen, are among the carpets most sought after by collectors. As each one is unique and original its is very difficult to find a second one of the same type. These silk, paint­ings woven in He­reke. a source of pride for Turkey, are so beautiful that the word's art­ists can only envy. For silk itself is a symbol of nobility and, combined with such fine work, these carpets justifiably pre­serve the title of ''the most precious carpes in the won!"



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