A Brief History of Bokhara Carpets
Bokhara is a term widely used in the West to refer to carpets and rugs made by various Turkmen tribes of Central Asia. Their history dates back centuries. The Turkomans were situated to the north of what is now called Afghanistan. During the early 1900s, the name of Bukhara, a city in Uzbekistan, was given to these rugs. In fact, few Turkmen live in or around Bukhara, which has a population made up principally of Tajiks and Uzbeks. The Turkomans were an industrious people who would barter their trade for food, clothing, etc. As a result, their weavings would invariably show up in bazaars (a type of market) in cities such as Bukhara, hence the name. The city did serve as a transit point for some Turkmen rugs on their way to the West. Today, such rugs are mainly produced in Pakistan and Iran. In Pakistan, they are mainly produced in a region around the city of Lahore. Various vegetable and other natural dyes are used to produce their rich colors. The typical pattern of a Bokhara rug is that of the octagonal elephant's foot (Bukhara) print. Bokhara's often come in a red or tan background (picture). However, today you can find them in a variety of colours from beige to a deep violet. They make for a wonderful addition to almost any space.