The certainty of the origin of the carpets would always continue to be shrouded in mystery. However, it is definitely out of the debate that woven forms of floor coverings were present during the Neolithic Age (7000 BC).
The very mysteries of how the carpet actually came into existence would always remain the same in the absence of the documentary evidence. However, according to Enza Milanesi’ The Little Brown Guide to Carpets’ there are two theories to ponder upon.
The first theory says that the carpets were invented to serve the practical purpose of the rough nomadic populations. They were thickly knotted to protect the people from adverse climatic conditions. This also served the purpose of them not to give up their valuable animals for their hides. Therefore, it also fulfilled their original intention of no direct contact with the ground.
It is believed that such carpets came as rudimentary forms of floor coverings what we see today. Evolved since the early times, the previous forms of the decorated tents of the nomadic lifestyle were specimens, uniquely colored and decorated with the particular sorts of motifs and established beautification styles. In addition, they wove on the vertical loom that could be dismantled and transported easily.
The advocates of the second theory pronounce that the knotted carpets did born early. However, they evolved as artistic pieces with the settled people that were artistic and utilitarian both, in function. Forming as the permanent parts of homes, they became important during festive and traditional ceremonies, leading their way towards becoming an essential part of peoples’ lives.
Interestingly, the knotted ones were woven on the horizontal looms, which developed from its vertical cousin.
The Pazyryk Carpet was excavated from the tomb of the Shiite chief in the Pazyryk Valley in the Altai Mountains, Siberia, encased and thus, preserved in ice. It dates back to 5th century B.C. It is the oldest specimen found of the ancient weavings done in the world. Such is the refined artisanship of the carpet that it definitely confirms the overview that the carpets were woven as articles to decorate the dwellings, representing them to be more inviting.
The above important archaeological excavation did lead to a fact that whatever be the actual reason behind the birth of the carpets and rugs, they serve all the intents of providing insulation from the climate along with offering beautification.
The early-knotted forms were also seen as domestic usage articles such as wall hangings, matting, etc. that were progressively developed into exquisite forms of hand-woven art forms. The western weavers were influenced with the Oriental motifs, primarily Sassanian origin. However, there was a progressive enrichment by difficult blend of Asiatic, early Byzantine, Christian and Islamic cultures.