The word kilim (kelim/ghelim)
is the Turkish/Persian name for one of several types of weaving from the rug family known as flatweaves, Unlike pile or knotted rugs, their designs and motifs are constructed from the horizontal weft threads (cross threads that are placed over, under and around the foundation threads or warps) , on an ongoing horizontal plane, resulting in a two-dimensional flat-woven textile. Materials used are usually either wool or cotton for the warps, with predominately wool wefts, through in the case of tribal and nomadic kilims , goat hair and horse hair may be incorporated as well as sheep wool and sometimes silk in special ceremonial weavings. Silk s weft on cotton warps can be found in the finer village and workshop kilim rugs.
Maimana , captial of Afghanistan’s Faryab province, is a major market place for kilim from the surrounding areas of northern Afghanistan. Flat-woven rugs of the maimana area can be found in a wide range of sizes, but are particularly well known in their lager formats.
Wool used in the maimana kilims rugs is a coarse, loosely hand spun-sheep wool, which has a reputation for being very hard – wearing. Traditionally they have been woven indoors on large vertical looms and some instances, particularly amongst the regional Uzbeks, in specially constructed Yurts (tent) .Smaller versions are also woven in the same styles as the larger variety with designs that are adjusted in proportion to the change in size.
In addition to the Uzbeks, Maimana kilims are woven by the many other tribes in the area- Aimaqs, Hazaras, Tajiks and Turkmen. Maimana kilims are easily recognizable by their simple patterns of diamonds and triangles in strong reds, oranges, blues and rusty browns.
The central designs often being delineated by white borders. The patterns within the main borders of these kilims are traditional geometric designs, such as the Darakht (tree design) or Darya (river design).
Since the 1970s Maimana kilims have been produced mainly for commercial use as inexpensive ethnic floor covering, bearing little relation to the tribal heritage shown in the workmanship of the older, traditional example. This large example ca 1930 reflects that authentic heritage. Based on its large size (1.23×4.56 cm), this kilim must have been woven for a particular purpose such as a wedding or special occasion. Once used, the kilim would have been stored, judging by its excellent condition.
In addition to Maimana kilims woven by Uzbek weavers, other lesser-known source are the Ghalmori, Gorzwan, Qaraie, Turpakhti and Aimaq tribal groups in Afghanistan ‘s northern Faryab province. These Maimana kilims are available in a wide range of sizes.
They can be woven to any size by special order. Decorative items such as pillow covers and bags are also available from the Maimana area.