Rugs from Bulgaria

Bulgaria

The Chiprovtsi carpet (Чипровци килим) is a type of handmade carpet with two absolutely identical sides, part of Bulgarian national heritage, traditions, arts and crafts. Its name is derived from the town of Chiprovtsi where their production started in the 17th century. The carpet weaving industry played a key role in the revival of Chiprovtsi in the 1720s after the devastation of the failed 1688 Chiprovtsi Uprising against Ottoman rule. The western traveller Ami Boué, who visited Chiprovtsi in 1836–1838, reported that “mainly young girls, under shelters or in corridors, engage in carpet weaving. They earn only five francs a month and the payment was even lower before”. By 1868, the annual production of carpets in Chiprovtsi had surpassed 14,000 square metres. In 1896, almost 1,400 women from Chiprovtsi and the region were engaged in carpet weaving. In 1920, the locals founded the Manual Labour carpet-weaving cooperative society, the first of its kind in the country. At present. the carpet (kilim) industry remains dominant in the town. Carpets have been crafted according to traditional designs, but in recent years it is up to the customers to decide the pattern of the carpet they have ordered. The production of a single 3 by 4 m (9.8 by 13.1 ft) carpet takes about 50 days; primarily women engage in carpet weaving. Work is entirely manual and all used materials are natural; the primary material is wool, coloured using plant or mineral dyes. The local carpets have been prized at exhibitions in LondonParisLiège and Brussels. In recent decades, however, the Chiprovtsi carpet industry has been in decline as it had lost its firm foreign markets. As a result, the town and the municipality have been experiencing a demographic crisis.

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