Restored Anatolian rugs sold globally

Restored Anatolian rugs sold globally

Restored Anatolian rugs sold globally

Cem Elibol, a local of the Central Anatolian province of Aksaray, collects old kilims, rugs and household goods from Anatolian villages to send them to the U.S., Far Eastern countries and Europe.

Elibol, 48, first began collecting old household objects 15 years ago. He then started visiting villages across Turkey to find various old pieces that he believed had historical value. 

With the help of mediators, he obtained precious items, including old kilims, carpets, radios, gramophones, baskets, vases and cradles. He then restored them and began displaying them at Galerihane, which he has made look like a nostalgic museum. 

Elibol turned a part of his office into an atelier, where pieces of the old rugs are sewed together to become patchworks. Now, he sends those handmade products to culture aficionados in the U.S., Japan, France, Germany, Belgium, Denmark, and the Netherlands over the internet and with export companies. 

Speaking to state-run Anadolu Agency, Elibol said he was also interested in old artifacts, which he viewed as historical heritage.

He said he gets very sad when he sees old precious pieces in yard sales, prompting him to start collecting them to give them new functions. 

“It makes me very sad when something goes to waste because of a small defect. It is the same with kilims; they are not used when they have a few holes. I started collecting them. My friends told me to make use of them. Then I opened this place; not to earn money but to show people our culture,” he added.

Elibol said his collection was drawing interest from people across the world and Turkey.

“Those [items] with Anatolian motifs are pretty popular abroad. The kilims and patchwork rugs draw great interest from people in the U.S. Every country has different interests and tastes. We mostly send pastel colors to the U.S. and more vibrant colors to Europe. Far Eastern countries, like Japan, prefer smaller pieces. Our copper products get sent to Germany, France, Belgium and other European countries. The pieces began to receive more interest in recent years because of the impact of historical period films. We try to introduce the Anatolian culture this way,” he said. 

Elibol has 150-year-old pieces in his office. 

“We have wooden and copper products alongside kilims. We prefer Anatolian products. We also make pillows using undamaged parts of old kilims. We plan to open an office in Europe soon to sell our products,” he said.