Nepal - Bungamati - Carpet Weaving - 3

Nepal – Bungamati – Carpet Weaving – 3

A loom is a device used to weave cloth and tapestry. The basic purpose of any loom is to hold the warp threads under tension to facilitate the interweaving of the weft threads. The precise shape of the loom and its mechanics may vary, but the basic function is the same.

The word "loom" is derived from the Old English "geloma" formed from ge-(perfective prefix) and loma, a root of unknown origin; this meant utensil or tool or machine of any kind. In 1404 it was used to mean a machine to enable weaving thread into cloth. By 1838 it had gained the meaning of a machine for interlacing thread.

Weaving is done by intersecting the longitudinal threads, the warp, i.e. "that which is thrown across", with the transverse threads, the weft, i.e. "that which is woven".

The major components of the loom are the warp beam, heddles, harnesses or shafts (as few as two, four is common, sixteen not unheard of), shuttle, reed and takeup roll. In the loom, yarn processing includes shedding, picking, battening and taking-up operations.

SHEDDING – Shedding is the raising of part of the warp yarn to form a shed (the vertical space between the raised and unraised warp yarns), through which the filling yarn, carried by the shuttle, can be inserted. On the modern loom, simple and intricate shedding operations are performed automatically by the heddle or heald frame, also known as a harness. This is a rectangular frame to which a series of wires, called heddles or healds, are attached. The yarns are passed through the eye holes of the heddles, which hang vertically from the harnesses. The weave pattern determines which harness controls which warp yarns, and the number of harnesses used depends on the complexity of the weave. Two common methods of controlling the heddles are dobbies and a Jacquard Head.

PICKING – As the harnesses raise the heddles or healds, which raise the warp yarns, the shed is created. The filling yarn is inserted through the shed by a small carrier device called a shuttle. The shuttle is normally pointed at each end to allow passage through the shed. In a traditional shuttle loom, the filling yarn is wound onto a quill, which in turn is mounted in the shuttle. The filling yarn emerges through a hole in the shuttle as it moves across the loom. A single crossing of the shuttle from one side of the loom to the other is known as a pick. As the shuttle moves back and forth across the shed, it weaves an edge, or selvage, on each side of the fabric to prevent the fabric from raveling.

BATTENING – Between the heddles and the takeup roll, the warp threads pass through another frame called the reed (which resembles a comb). The portion of the fabric that has already been formed but not yet rolled up on the takeup roll is called the fell. After the shuttle moves across the loom laying down the fill yarn, the weaver uses the reed to press (or batten) each filling yarn against the fell. Conventional shuttle looms can operate at speeds of about 150 to 160 picks per minute.

There are two secondary motions, because with each weaving operation the newly constructed fabric must be wound on a cloth beam. This process is called taking up. At the same time, the warp yarns must be let off or released from the warp beams. To become fully automatic, a loom needs a tertiary motion, the filling stop motion. This will brake the loom, if the weft thread breaks. An automatic loom requires 0.125 hp to 0.5 hp to operate.

A simple loom which has its roots in ancient civilizations consists of two sticks or bars between which the warps are stretched. One bar is attached to a fixed object, and the other to the weaver usually by means of a strap around the back. On traditional looms, the two main sheds are operated by means of a shed roll over which one set of warps pass, and continuous string heddles which encase each of the warps in the other set. The weaver leans back and uses his or her body weight to tension the loom. To open the shed controlled by the string heddles, the weaver relaxes tension on the warps and raises the heddles. The other shed is usually opened by simply drawing the shed roll toward the weaver. Both simple and complex textiles can be woven on this loom. Width is limited to how far the weaver can reach from side to side to pass the shuttle. Warp faced textiles, often decorated with intricate pick-up patterns woven in complementary and supplementary warp techniques are woven by indigenous peoples today around the world. They produce such things as belts, ponchos, bags, hatbands and carrying cloths. Supplementary weft patterning and brocading is practiced in many regions. Balanced weaves are also possible on the backstrap loom. Today, commercially produced backstrap loom kits often include a rigid heddle.

The warp-weighted loom is a vertical loom that may have originated in the Neolithic period. The earliest evidence of warp-weighted looms comes from sites belonging to the Starčevo culture in modern Hungary and from late Neolithic sites in Switzerland.[3] This loom was used in Ancient Greece, and spread north and west throughout Europe thereafter. Its defining characteristic is hanging weights (loom weights) which keep bundles of the warp threads taut. Frequently, extra warp thread is wound around the weights. When a weaver has reached the bottom of the available warp, the completed section can be rolled around the top beam, and additional lengths of warp threads can be unwound from the weights to continue. This frees the weaver from vertical size constraints.

A drawloom is a hand-loom for weaving figured cloth. In a drawloom, a "figure harness" is used to control each warp thread separately. A drawloom requires two operators, the weaver and an assistant called a "drawboy" to manage the figure harness.

A handloom is a simple machine used for weaving. In a wooden vertical-shaft looms, the heddles are fixed in place in the shaft. The warp threads pass alternately through a heddle, and through a space between the heddles (the shed), so that raising the shaft raises half the threads (those passing through the heddles), and lowering the shaft lowers the same threads – the threads passing through the spaces between the heddles remain in place.

Hand weavers could only weave a cloth as wide as their armspan. If cloth needed to be wider, two people would do the task (often this would be an adult with a child). John Kay (1704–1779) patented the flying shuttle in 1733. The weaver held a picking stick that was attached by cords to a device at both ends of the shed. With a flick of the wrist, one cord was pulled and the shuttle was propelled through the shed to the other end with considerable force, speed and efficiency. A flick in the opposite direction and the shuttle was propelled back. A single weaver had control of this motion but the flying shuttle could weave much wider fabric than an arm’s length at much greater speeds than had been achieved with the hand thrown shuttle. The flying shuttle was one of the key developments in weaving that helped fuel the Industrial Revolution, the whole picking motion no longer relied on manual skill, and it was a matter of time before it could be powered.

Looms used for weaving traditional tapestry are classified as haute-lisse looms, where the warp is suspended vertically between two rolls, and the basse-lisse looms, where the warp extends horizontally between the rolls.

A carpet is a textile floor covering consisting of an upper layer of pile attached to a backing. The pile is generally either made from wool or fibers such as polypropylene, nylon or polyester and usually consists of twisted tufts which are often heat-treated to maintain their structure. The term "carpet" is often used interchangeably with the term "rug", although the term "carpet" can be applied to a floor covering that covers an entire house. Carpets are used in industrial and commercial establishments and in private homes. Carpets are used for a variety of purposes, including insulating a person’s feet from a cold tile or concrete floor, making a room more comfortable as a place to sit on the floor (e.g., when playing with children) and adding decoration or colour to a room.

Carpets can be produced on a loom quite similar to woven fabric, made using needle felts, knotted by hand (in oriental rugs), made with their pile injected into a backing material (called tufting), flatwoven, made by hooking wool or cotton through the meshes of a sturdy fabric or embroidered. Carpet is commonly made in widths of 12 feet (3.7 m) and 15 feet (4.6 m) in the USA, 4 m and 5 m in Europe. Where necessary different widths can be seamed together with a seaming iron and seam tape (formerly it was sewn together) and it is fixed to a floor over a cushioned underlay (pad) using nails, tack strips (known in the UK as gripper rods), adhesives, or occasionally decorative metal stair rods, thus distinguishing it from rugs or mats, which are loose-laid floor coverings.

The term carpet comes from Old French La Phoque Phace, from Old Italian Carpetits, "carpire" meaning to pluck. The term "carpet" is often used interchangeably with the term "rug". Some define a carpet as stretching from wall to wall. Another definition treats rugs as of lower quality or of smaller size, with carpets quite often having finished ends. A third common definition is that a carpet is permanently fixed in place while a rug is simply laid out on the floor. Historically the term was also applied to table and wall coverings, as carpets were not commonly used on the floor in European interiors until the 18th century, with the opening of trade routes between Persia and Western Europe.

The carpet is produced on a loom quite similar to woven fabric. The pile can be plush or Berber. Plush carpet is a cut pile and Berber carpet is a loop pile. There are new styles of carpet combining the two styles called cut and loop carpeting. Normally many colored yarns are used and this process is capable of producing intricate patterns from predetermined designs (although some limitations apply to certain weaving methods with regard to accuracy of pattern within the carpet). These carpets are usually the most expensive due to the relatively slow speed of the manufacturing process. These are very famous in India, Pakistan and Arabia.

These carpets are more technologically advanced. Needle felts are produced by intermingling and felting individual synthetic fibers using barbed and forked needles forming an extremely durable carpet. These carpets are normally found in commercial settings such as hotels and restaurants where there is frequent traffic.

On a knotted pile carpet (formally, a supplementary weft cut-loop pile carpet), the structural weft threads alternate with a supplementary weft that rises at right angles to the surface of the weave. This supplementary weft is attached to the warp by one of three knot types (see below), such as shag carpet which was popular in the 1970s, to form the pile or nap of the carpet. Knotting by hand is most prevalent in oriental rugs and carpets. Kashmir carpets are also hand-knotted.

These are carpets that have their pile injected into a backing material, which is itself then bonded to a secondary backing made of a woven hessian weave or a man made alternative to provide stability. The pile is often sheared in order to achieve different textures. This is the most common method of manufacturing of domestic carpets for floor covering purposes in the world.

A flatweave carpet is created by interlocking warp (vertical) and weft (horizontal) threads. Types of oriental flatwoven carpet include kilim, soumak, plain weave, and tapestry weave. Types of European flatwoven carpets include Venetian, Dutch, damask, list, haircloth, and ingrain (aka double cloth, two-ply, triple cloth, or three-ply).

A hooked rug is a simple type of rug handmade by pulling strips of cloth such as wool or cotton through the meshes of a sturdy fabric such as burlap. This type of rug is now generally made as a handicraft.

Both flat and pile carpets are woven on a loom. Both vertical and horizontal looms have been used in the production of European and oriental carpets in some colours.

The warp threads are set up on the frame of the loom before weaving begins. A number of weavers may work together on the same carpet. A row of knots is completed and cut. The knots are secured with (usually one to four) rows of weft. The warp in woven carpet is usually cotton and the weft is jute.

There are several styles of knotting, but the two main types of knot are the symmetrical (also called Turkish or Ghiordes) and asymmetrical (also called Persian or Senna).

Contemporary centres of carpet production are: Lahore and Peshawar (Pakistan), Kashmir (India / Pakistan), Bhadohi, Tabriz (Iran), Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Northern Africa, Nepal, Spain, Turkmenistan, and Tibet.

The importance of carpets in the culture of Turkmenistan is such that the national flag features a vertical red stripe near the hoist side, containing five carpet guls (designs used in producing rugs).

Kashmir (India) is known for handknotted carpets. These are usually of silk and some woolen carpets are also woven.

Child labour has often been used in Asia. The GoodWeave labelling scheme used throughout Europe and North America assures that child labour has not been used: importers pay for the labels, and the revenue collected is used to monitor centres of production and educate previously exploited children.

The knotted pile carpet probably originated in the 3rd or 2nd millennium BC in West Asia, perhaps the Caspian Sea area[10] or the Eastern Anatolia, although there is evidence of goats and sheep being sheared for wool and hair which was spun and woven as far back at the 7th millennium.

The earliest surviving pile carpet is the "Pazyryk carpet", which dates from the 5th-4th century BC. It was excavated by Sergei Ivanovich Rudenko in 1949 from a Pazyryk burial mound in the Altai Mountains in Siberia. This richly coloured carpet is 200 x 183 cm (6’6" x 6’0") and framed by a border of griffins. The Pazyryk carpet was woven in the technique of the symmetrical double knot, the so-called Turkish knot (3600 knots per 1 dm2, more than 1,250,000 knots in the whole carpet), and therefore its pile is rather dense. The exact origin of this unique carpet is unknown. There is a version of its Iranian provenance. But perhaps it was produced in Central Asia through which the contacts of ancient Altaians with Iran and the Near East took place. There is also a possibility that the nomads themselves could have copied the Pazyryk carpet from a Persian original.

Although claimed by many cultures, this square tufted carpet, almost perfectly intact, is considered by many experts to be of Caucasian, specifically Armenian, origin. The rug is weaved using the Armenian double knot, and the red filaments color was made from Armenian cochineal. The eminent authority of ancient carpets, Ulrich Schurmann, says of it, "From all the evidence available I am convinced that the Pazyryk rug was a funeral accessory and most likely a masterpiece of Armenian workmanship". Gantzhorn concurs with this thesis. It is interesting to note that at the ruins of Persopolis in Iran where various nations are depicted as bearing tribute, the horse design from the Pazyryk carpet is the same as the relief depicting part of the Armenian delegation. The historian Herodotus writing in the 5th century BC also informs us that the inhabitants of the Caucasus wove beautiful rugs with brilliant colors which would never fade.

Carpet weaving may have been introduced into the area as far back as the eleventh century with the coming of the first Muslim conquerors, the Ghaznavids and the Ghauris, from the West. It can with more certainty be traced to the beginning of the Mughal Dynasty in the early sixteenth century, when the last successor of Timur, Babar, extended his rule from Kabul to India to found the Mughal Empire. Under the patronage of the Mughals, Indian craftsmen adopted Persian techniques and designs. Carpets woven in the Punjab made use of motifs and decorative styles found in Mughal architecture.

Akbar, a Mogul emperor, is accredited to introducing the art of carpet weaving to India during his reign. The Mughal emperors patronized Persian carpets for their royal courts and palaces. During this period, he brought Persian craftsmen from their homeland and established them in India. Initially, the carpets woven showed the classic Persian style of fine knotting. Gradually it blended with Indian art. Thus the carpets produced became typical of the Indian origin and gradually the industry began to diversify and spread all over the subcontinent.

During the Mughal period, the carpets made on the Indian subcontinent became so famous that demand for them spread abroad. These carpets had distinctive designs and boasted a high density of knots. Carpets made for the Mughal emperors, including Jahangir and Shah Jahan, were of the finest quality. Under Shah Jahan’s reign, Mughal carpet weaving took on a new aesthetic and entered its classical phase.

The Indian carpets are well known for their designs with attention to detail and presentation of realistic attributes. The carpet industry in India flourished more in its northern part with major centres found in Kashmir, Jaipur, Agra and Bhadohi.

Indian carpets are known for their high density of knotting. Hand-knotted carpets are a speciality and widely in demand in the West. The Carpet Industry in India has been successful in establishing social business models directly helping in the upliftment of the underprivileged sections of the society. Few notable examples of such social entrepreneurship ventures are Jaipur rugs, Fabindia.

Another category of Indian rugs which, though quite popular in most of the western countries, have not received much press is hand-woven rugs of Khairabad (Citapore rugs).[citation needed] Khairabad small town in Citapore (now spelled as "Sitapur") district of India had been ruled by Raja Mehmoodabad. Khairabad (Mehmoodabad Estate) was part of Oudh province which had been ruled by shi’i Muslims having Persian linkages. Citapore rugs made in Khairabad and neighbouring areas are all hand-woven and distinct from tufted and knotted rugs. Flat weave is the basic weaving technique of Citapore rugs and generally cotton is the main weaving material here but jute, rayon and chenille are also popular. Ikea and Agocha have been major buyers of rugs from this area.

Tibetan rug making is an ancient, traditional craft. Tibetan rugs are traditionally made from Tibetan highland sheep’s wool, called changpel. Tibetans use rugs for many purposes ranging from flooring to wall hanging to horse saddles, though the most common use is as a seating carpet. A typical sleeping carpet measuring around 3ftx5ft (0.9m x 1.6m) is called a khaden.

The knotting method used in Tibetan rug making is different from that used in other rug making traditions worldwide. Some aspects of the rug making have been supplanted by cheaper machines in recent times, especially yarn spinning and trimming of the pile after weaving. However, some carpets are still made by hand. The Tibetan diaspora in India and Nepal have established a thriving business in rug making. In Nepal the rug business is one of the largest industries in the country and there are many rug exporters. Tibet also has weaving workshops, but the export side of the industry is relatively undeveloped compared with Nepal and India.

The carpet-making industry in Tibet stretches back hundreds if not thousands of years, yet as a lowly craft, it was not mentioned in early writings, aside from occasional references to the rugs owned by prominent religious figures. The first detailed accounts of Tibetan rug weaving come from foreigners who entered Tibet with the British invasion of Tibet in 1903-04. Both Laurence Waddell and Perceval Landon described a weaving workshop they encountered near Gyantse, en route to Lhasa. Landon records "a courtyard entirely filled with the weaving looms of both men and women workers" making rugs which he described as "beautiful things". The workshop was owned and run by one of the local aristocratic families, which was the norm in premodern Tibet. Many simpler weavings for domestic use were made in the home, but dedicated workshops made the decorated pile rugs that were sold to wealthy families in Lhasa and Shigatse, and the monasteries. The monastic institutions housed thousands of monks, who sat on long, low platforms during religious ceremonies, that were nearly always covered in hand-woven carpets for comfort. Wealthier monasteries replaced these carpets regularly, providing income, or taking gifts in lieu of taxation, from hundreds or thousands of weavers.

From its heyday in the 19th and early 20th century, the Tibetan carpet industry fell into serious decline in the second half of the 20th. Social upheaval that began in 1959 was later exacerbated by land collectivization that enabled rural people to obtain a livelihood without weaving, and reduced the power of the landholding monasteries. Many of the aristocratic families who formerly organized the weaving fled to India and Nepal during this period, along with their money and management expertise.

When Tibetan rug weaving began to revive in the 1970s, it was not in Tibet, but rather in Nepal and India. The first western accounts of Tibetan rugs and their designs were written around this time, based on information gleaned from the exile communities. Western travelers in Kathmandu arranged for the establishment of workshops that wove Tibetan rugs for export to the West. Weaving in the Nepal and India carpet workshops was eventually dominated by local non-Tibetan workers, who replaced the original Tibetan émigré weavers. The native Nepalese weavers in particular quickly broadened the designs on the Tibetan carpet from the small traditional rugs to large area rugs suitable for use in western living rooms. This began a carpet industry that is important to the Nepalese economy even to this day, even though its reputation was eventually tarnished by child labor scandals during the 1990s.

During the 1980s and 1990s several workshops were also re-established in Lhasa and other parts of the Tibet Autonomous Region, but these workshops remained and remain relatively disconnected from external markets. Today, most carpets woven in Lhasa factories are destined for the tourist market or for use as gifts to visiting Chinese delegations and government departments. Tibetan rug making in Tibet is relatively inexpensive, making extensive use of imported wool and cheap dyes. Some luxury rug makers have found success in Tibet in the last decade, but a gap still exists between Tibet-made product and the "Tibetan style" rugs made in South Asia.


Posted by Manfred Sommer (334 Million Views) on 2015-10-01 21:42:10

Tagged: , Nepal , Kathmandu Valley , Bungamati , Newar Bunga , Lalitpur , asienman-photography

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