Thursday, July 26, 2007

Samarkand Silk Carpets

Samarkad Silk Carpets, originally uploaded by alisoninlondon.

We visited a silk carpet factory in Samarkand, Uzbekistan to see how the silk was dyed and then woven into the stunning carpets.

A lot of the carpets they sell are special orders from people that have visited the factory and specified the colours, pattern and size they wanted. However the design and colours of the other carpets are decided by the weavers. This makes them all unique, as they're not working to a recipe. Some weavers like to repeat the same pattern each time, with different colours, others prefer to look at a new pattern after months of knotting one design. Others just mix it up everytime. There's a lot of freedom of expression in this line of work.

Another thing that was immediately noticeable - these women loved their jobs. It wasn't a 'lets smile for the tourist moment' as it is not really a commercial tour, more a genuine enjoyment and pride in their work.

The factory has been established by an Afghani doctor, and there are strict rules about who can work there. The girls must have been enrolled in school until at least the age of 16, and most of the workers are over 18. Abdullah's family works there - it was his daughter that took us around, and they have a design that is their family design, and are rightly proud of this.

The natural silk thread is soft and well, silky, and the natural ingredients they use to dye the silk sound so romantic - madder root, pomegranate, walnut shells, etc. Madder root is particularly amazing - so many different red, orange and brown shades can be created from this one plant.

One day I will have a house filled with, among other lovely textiles, an Uzbek silk carpet or two. The quality was incredible - must be felt to be believed to use a cliche - and the chance to customise the design and colours (and the relatively reasonable price) almost justifies an excursion back to Uzbekistan.

And there's a few nice buildings to see in Samarkand while you are there...

PS If you want to read more about the Samarkand Bukhara Silk Carpets Factory they have a pretty extensive website at


bishyduds said...

i visited this carpet factory last year but was unable at the time to buy a carpet. i got a business card with the website for the factory but i lost it. i have been unable to find a direct link to the afghani doctors factory and wondered if you had one. it would be much appreciated.

The Taylors said...

Hi. So glad to hear from another person that has seen the stunning carpets too :)
The details on the business card I have are:
Abdullahad Badghisi (Abdullah)
Samarkand Bukhara Silk Carpets
12 Hojom Str, 703032
Samarkand Uzbekistan
Tel: 998 662 310726
Fax: 998 662 352273
Mobile: 998 662 201183
Best, Alison