Choosing a Khotan carpet

 Xinjiang’s carpets are among the
 finest on earth. It’s believed the world’s very
 first carpets were made in the area, and for more than 2000
 years they have played an important part in Uyghur culture.
 Traditionally, these carpets have been the centre of home
 life for the Uyghur people. They’re used to decorate, to
 sleep on and to keep warm. In ancient times overseas buyers
 would endure months, and sometimes years, of hardship just
 to own a Khotan carpet; the most important cultural treasure
 of the Uyghur people. I have collected and sold antique Khotan carpets in Xinjiang
 for more than 32 years. Traditionally I’ve only
 sold antique carpets, but over recent years the rug trade
 into Pakistan has seen many high-quality rugs disappear from
 the area. The remaining carpets are generally of low
 quality, so I have turned my hand to making new carpets in
 the antique style. I design my carpets using the finest
 examples of ancient design found across the world and in
 Xinjiang, in private collections and museums. In turn, my
 copy-made rugs can be found in homes throughout North
 America, Europe and Australasia. My carpets focus around
 traditional designs and are sized between four and seven
 square metres. If you have a different design you want made
 I am only too happy to help. I’ve put together
 the following list to try and cut some of the
 “mystery” out of buying a carpet. When looking for
 a rug, it is important to note a variety of things:

1) DESIGN – Each traditional Khotan
 carpet tells a story about the ancient culture of the Uyghur
 people. In Xinjiang, the most traditional designs are the
 Khotan Medallion and Kashgar Pomegranate. These designs are
 among the most important cultural treasures in Uyghur
 tradition and have been handed down over the centuries. The
 medallion design centres on Uyghur Buddhist and Shaman
 beliefs, while the pomegranate tells of love and abundant
 life. These patterns have been produced in Xinjiang for at
 least 2000 years, however more and more traditional designs
 are being replaced with modern patterns with little
 historical bearing. Furthermore, too often Uyghur designs
 are being featured side-by-side with other
 designs on the one carpet. A true Khotan carpet will bear
 only a traditional design, which shows the rich history of
 the region.

2) MAPPING – Many cheaper carpets look
 to be of high quality design on first inspection, but on
 closer inspection mistakes are often found. In many cases,
 these flaws can be picked up by looking at the carpet
 border. Sometimes the border pattern will not “meet
 up” in one corner of the carpet, meaning the pattern
 will stop and start again without continuity. In other
 cases, the pattern will stop and start on another part of
 the carpet: usually at one of the ends. This is due to poor
 “mapping”, which lowers the price and quality of a
 carpet. Many carpets in Xinjiang have been copy-made simply
 from looking at a photo and from poor quality
 “maps”, so that towards the end of the weaving
 process faults become inevitable. Although several
 high-quality antique rugs may have these mistakes and still
 be prized possessions, there is no excuse for modern carpets
 to bear these flaws. My carpets are made using high-quality
 maps, which can take years to make. They are all done by
 hand, without the aid of a computer, so working out the map
 can be a painstaking, time-consuming process. I make sure
 each rug is “test-made” several times to make sure
 the pattern works and to rule out any mistakes in the final

 3) CRAFTSMANSHIP – Traditional Khotan carpets are made using
 a highly advanced weaving system, different to those used in
 Afghanistan and Iran. At the moment, there are a number of
 “Khotan” rugs on the market of poor quality which
 have been made in these countries. They are made in a matter
 of a few months with poor materials. Afghan rugs imported
 from Pakistan are usually very thin, with a 30 percent
 synthetic mix and wool foundation that is not very durable.
 These carpets will usually wear out in 5-6 years. On the
 other hand, my carpets are strong and made with a cotton
 foundation. One of my carpets can take up to three years to
 make, from the design stage to final production! Just the
 weaving process of the smallest carpets will take one person
 five months to complete. All my designs are made by
 professional weavers in Khotan: the traditional home of the
 Uyghur carpet.

 4) WOOL QUALITY – This is a serious problem in many
 Khotan rugs at the moment, but unfortunately it is hard to
 pick up once the carpet has been made. Poor quality wool
 feels harsher and is brittle, leading to a carpet that
 won’t last very long. Often the wool is obtained when
 the sheep is already dead. Good wool is shinier, softer and
 stronger, after being shorn from young sheep in late spring.

 5) COLOUR – Carpets should feature traditional colours
 such as intense reds, yellow, saffron, rust, brown and
 blues. Each colour holds a special meaning for the Uyghur
 people. For example, yellow means spiritual power while blue
 can signify a beautiful future. Although brighter colours
 may seem attractive at first, it’s often a sign of
 poor-quality dying. Once washed, the colours will fade
 badly. My carpets can be professionally cleaned without
 fading or shrinking.

 6) KNOTS – Khotan carpets should have a minimum of 360
 asymmetric knots per square metre. This can usually be
 measured by looking at the back of the carpet and using a
 ruler. There should be 3.6 knots in every square centimetre.

 7) THICKNESS – Poor quality carpets are made thin from
 a wool foundation that can wear quickly. My carpets are
 always 2 centimetres thick, which is the traditional
 thickness of Khotan rugs.

 8) RESEARCH! – Although these notes should be of some
 help, it also pays to review other resources before making a
 carpet purchase. All too often Westerners throw their money
 away on worthless carpets because they haven’t done
 their research. Remember: if it is a cheap carpet, than there is
 probably a reason for it. Finally, a beautiful carpet in your home should let
 visitors know something about who you are by revealing
 glimpses of your inner and spiritual self. I believe my
 carpets can do this. The proof of the time and love that
 goes into each of my rugs can always be seen in the final
 product. Every carpet cannot be a treasure, but make sure
 yours is!

Mobile : (+86)1389.913.6195
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