Hereke carpet regains fame with TV dramas
KOCAELİ - Anadolu Agency
AA PhotosTurkey’s famous Hereke carpets, which are displayed at the Ottoman sultans’ palaces, mansion and pavilions, including the Dolmabahçe Palace, have regained their lost fame thanks to Turkish TV dramas, according to the head of a carpet firm.
The Hereke carpets have lost their fame because of cheaply-made lookalikes and the lack of effective promotions in the international arena. But recently, the carpets, which have been used as a décor in Turkish dramas that draw viewers in many countries, have risen in fame along with the shows.
Director of a carpet firm in the northwestern province of Kocaeli, İsmail Şaşdım said the production of Hereke carpets began in 1843 with the establishment of Hereke Fabrika-i Hümayun, in order to meet furnishing and curtain needs of palaces that were built in the final years of the Ottoman Empire.
He said Hereke carpets are as valuable as artifacts because they are hand-made, and added the carpets had become well-known in the world.
Knot makes it different
“What makes a Hereke carpet special is its knot. Traditional carpets have two types of knots, single and double. Double knot is a hard process but it gives strength and a visual quality to the carpet when it is finished. This is why carpets are made with double knots in Hereke,” Şaşdım said.
Another distinctive feature, he added, was their thinness in comparison to traditional hand-made carpets. “Our carpets, which have the least number of knots, have 36 knots. Even these carpets are two- to three-times thinner than traditional carpets. When using silk, they are even thinner. They have 100-144 knots in each centimeter,” he said.
Unfortunately, accord to Şaşdım, the number of carpet weavers is decreasing. In the past, Hereke weavers numbered nearly 60,000 but today, that number has dwindled to a few thousand.
He said new weavers were no longer coming and the old ones were the only ones keeping the technique alive.
The carpets that Şaşdım’s firm has produced were used as décor in some 20 TV shows including historical dramas such as “Muhteşem Yüzyıl” (The Magnificent Century), “Diriliş Ertuğrul,” “Filinta.”
“We receive demands for new dramas. We do our best to meet these demands. Turkish dramas make great contribution to both the promotion of our country and the continuation of this artwork. The recognition of Hereke carpets increased thanks to dramas,” he added.
Şaşdım said these carpets were sent all around the world, especially the U.S. and Japan. “Germans in particular show a great interest in Hereke carpets. When they come to Turkey, Japanese people buy Hereke carpets in Cappadocia and Istanbul,” he said. When buying a Hereke carpet, it is important to keep a sharp eye out for fakes, according to Şaşdım.
“Since the brand Hereke is a renowned one, all carpets feature something symbolizing Hereke. If there are too many carpets in a place and they sold for cheap prices, they can never be Hereke carpets. One square-meter of a wool Hereke carpet is finished in almost four months. If a carpet is sold for cheaper than the value of a four-month worker, you need to be suspicious there. Low price is not asked all the time; you need to be sure about the carpet. You need to know designs and knots unique to Hereke.”