In the late 15th century, Oushak, a village south of Istanbul began producing rugs utilizing local wool and natural dyes. The designs of Oushak rugs are considered to be Persian-influrenced and are typically based on geometric motifs and are famed for the grand, monumental scale of its designs.
Oushak craftsmanship is considered to be one of the finest due to its quality and aesthetic appeal. Some of the common materials in a vintage Oushak rug consists of a foundation of cotton while the pile is made largely of high quality, luminous wool dyed in natural vegetable dyes providing a lustrous patina. Weaving an Oushak requires experience with the knots typically being taught to and passed down through generations. In evaluating a Oushak rug, the density of the knotting is the key to gauging the quality of the rug. Typically, if a rug is tightly knotted the “wrong side” of the rug is just as beautiful as the “right side” of the rug.
Prior to walking into the Grand Bazaar, we stopped into Punto Carpets for an appointment to view Oushak rugs for our home. We entered their Vezirhan Caravanserai location, the centuries old center for carpet traders on their way to and from the magical Silk Road. Armed with dimensions and fabric samples we shared our search criteria with the fifth generation of the Punto family who immediately ordered Turkish apple tea for us to enjoy in the beautifully appointed showroom while their staff expertly began to pull rugs from several floors and locations.
In what seemed like no time, they were back with an armful of beautiful carpets where they began to elegantly and expertly unfold each rug accompanied by a soft thud-thud. As we sipped on the delicious tea, an Oushak was unfolded, filling the warm wooden showroom floor. It was love at first sight. With centuries of experience, photos of our home were reviewed and we were asked if the Oushak we would be purchasing would be in the same room near a machine made rug in the photo. When we explained yes we were told, “that will never work!” and team Punta once again went into action to find a complimentary rug. Once again, with the soft thud-thud the second Oushak in complimentary colors unfolded and we knew we had found the rugs that we would enjoy for a lifetime as we wrapped up our 13-Day trip to Athens, Rhodes, Crete, and Istanbul!
Mary Beth I have a passion for creating and experiencing unforgettable moments and sharing those with others. I hope that this story has helped you experience one of those moments.