Turkish weaving art is among the most developed in the world. The beauty of their Oriental designs was appreciated even in the Middle Ages and Renaissance, when they dominated European market. Even famed traveler Marco Polo was not immune to their exquisite charm. They appeared widely in paintings of the great masters and houses of the rich nobles and merchants. Among different kinds of Turkish rugs, Bergama rugs of the western Anatolian region have a very special place. High quality of the weave and exquisite designs make them a crown jewel of Turkish craft.
The word “Bergama” is an umbrella term which often brings together various types of weave from different villages of Anatolia that are in a proximity of Bergama. Many such carpets were actually made in the villages of Balekesir, Canakkale, Ezine and Yacgibedir.
What is especially surprising about Bergama is how their weavers are committed to tradition. Designs of Bergama rugs remain faithful to those seen in the past and techniques used to make them differ very little from those used by the old masters. That is why assessing exact age of those rugs is so difficult and challenging for the researchers – it is not rare for Bergama carpets to be dated as much older that they really are.
Bergama’s designs are rich in detail yet harmonious. Medalion located in the center consists of multiple elements called “mugarnas”, originally found in Islamic architecture. Very small triangles run along the pattern’s edges, often accompanied by equally small hooks and diamonds. Their borders commonly consist of clusters of four leaves with serrated edges. They have a rich, varied color palette composed of multiple reds, blues, greens, and yellows, mostly in jewel tones.
A watchful eye can spot Bergama rugs in multiple old paintings, where they often were the main part of background. Looking at their beautiful compositions it is no wonder that so many artists felt inspired by them. We can only hope that they can be preserved for the future generations to admire.