I worked on a house a couple years ago that won numerous awards for me ,and was featured in several magazines. One of the most admired accessories or art forms through out the home were the Kilim rugs that my client had loved to use any place he hung his hat. As a world traveler he found them to be a ” neutral” or the base for the rest of a design theme. And , in a sense Kilims are just that . With their bold geometric patterns , and multi – color range, they can be introduced into a traditional or contemporary design with ease. Kilim or Kelim Rugs originated from the Persian gelim most likely which means to ”spread roughly” . You will also see the ethnic rugs called qilim or kylym , depending on the country. Kilims are most often associated with Turkey , but can be found through out Iran , Central Asia , Afghanistan , and anywhere from the Balkans to Pakistan really.
Kilims are a type of rug in a class of their own. They are not an Oriental or pile carpet . They are viewed as a pileless rug which is often reversible. In a Kilim tightly woven warp and weft strands produce a flat pile where usually the weft (horizontal side ) faces up. In general , two colors meet along a vertical line in the pattern known as the “slit”.
Whether used in a decorative manner or as a prayer rug , there are various types of Kilims to consider. Gunny Kilims are almost more of a patchwork with various cloths woven together. Jols have an embroidered surface. Needlework Kilims are meant to be hung because of their decorative surfaces.
Carpet collectors often start with acquiring Kilims as they are a more inexpensive introduction to buying semi antique rugs. Antique Kilims however , can be rare as the rugs are often woven in cottons , compared to the sturdier wool used in Oriental carpets.
Now , about that pronunciation , I have heard everything from (sounds like) Kill’em to Kileam , to Keelem . And this was from those at least supposed to be in the know. However we say it , they are a fantastic addition to any style of home decor , even country. Oh , and they make fabulous purses. Are you enjoying your Kilim yet?