Van rugs exported to European countries
Rugs woven by local women in the eastern province of Van are decorating houses in Europe, as many rug weavers intricately sew patterns, stories and the representations of the historic region into colorful rugs that get sold abroad.
Eighty women, who are weaving rugs in three workshops established within the Van Metropolitan Municipality, contribute to their household income and are the torchbearers of the practice that is keeping the forgotten art of weaving alive.
One square meter of the rugs, which have 30 different patterns, is sold between the prices of 500 and 600 Turkish Liras.
Stating that the rugs of the eastern and southeastern provinces of Van and Hakkari are hand-produced by women, a workshop official, İsa Sarıhan, said their main purpose is to keep the rug culture alive and help women contribute to their family’s incomes.
“Currently, three workshops are active. This has been one of the main activities of our Van Metropolitan Municipality since 2001. Eighty women are employed here. The main aim is to continue the rug culture and to keep it for future generations. The women working here earn money according to the square meter of the rug they weave,” he said.
“Before the pandemic, 120 women were working in these workshops, now we have 80 due to COVID-19. We stay loyal to the original patterns without changing any stitch of them. We have domestic and international sales according to the demands. We sell them to countries such as the U.S., Sweden, Spain and Denmark. Upon requests, we send these rugs by cargo. Some of our guests come and look at the rugs here. We can make changes in colors. But we do not make any changes in patterns to stay true to our culture,” he added.
Stating that their aim is not to earn money, but to maintain the culture of rugs alive, Sarıhan said: “We provide the survival of this business, not the trade. Maybe people cannot afford to buy all the patterns. But we made a book featuring all the patterns. They can see the stories of the rugs by looking at these patterns. We are currently working on 30 patterns.”
“These patterns belong to Van and Hakkari provinces because the cultures of these two provinces are now the same.”