Serbian women want to save magic carpets
Serbian women want to save magic carpets A woman prepares the wool on the loom in the eastern Serbian town of Pirot (AP photos)
Serbian women want to save magic carpets
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A Pirot carpet has magical powers, they say. Its colorful patterns and symbols are designed to bring luck and protect from evil. Nearly every home in this eastern Serbian town has one. The carpets are big or small, rolled out on the floor, wrapped around the furniture or hung on the wall.

Yet Pirot's centuries-old craft of carpet weaving is in danger of dying out. So a group of women has been fighting to keep it alive.

Pirot carpet-weaving is "in the biggest crisis in its history ... a rare craft on the verge of extinction," the Lady's Heart group says.

Famous for their beauty and part of Serbia's rich heritage, Pirot carpets are made by women, and from locally bred wool. The makers follow special rules laid down for hundreds of years.

"It is a very slow process. It takes a long time to weave a Pirot carpet," said Slavica Ciric. She launched the Lady's Heart business several years ago with the help of the authorities and donors including USAID.

Sitting on low wooden benches, the women work gently. They use nothing but their fingers to weave through wool stretched on vertical looms. Because the carpets are hand-made with complex geometrical designs, one weaver produces less than a square meter per month, Ciric explained.

Marina Cvetkovic, from Belgrade's Ethnographic Museum, said Pirot carpets are known for their rich colors and composition. There are nearly 100 known Pirot motifs and shapes. Original Pirot carpets are extremely dense, thin and have the same design on both sides. The town, near the boundary with Bulgaria, used to lie on an important East-West trading route.

"We know for sure they existed in the 18th and 19th century. But some experts believe they go back to the 16th (century)," she said.

Weavers have dropped from 5,000 women a century ago to only about 10 professionals and several older women today, Ciric said.

Still, she said, they love what they do.

"For most people, those are just colorful carpets. But we see more," she said. "We see a story unfolding through symbols and colors."

Critical thinking challenge: How might the towns location have supported the growth of the Pirot carpet industry in earlier times?

Source URL: https://www.tweentribune.com/article/tween56/serbian-women-want-save-magic-carpets/

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COMMENTS (33)
  • DylanM-4
    3/26/2015 - 09:46 p.m.

    In a snall town in Serbia, some women are trying to preserve the country's culture. It is a very old tradition to make carpets, every house has one. Although now the amount of people making carpets has gone from 5,000 to 10 in the last 100 years. I think it's inportant that every place remembers its past in some way.

  • LylaH-1
    3/26/2015 - 11:52 p.m.

    The pirot carpet's colorful patterns and symbols are designed to bring luck and protect from evil. Nearly every home in this eastern Serbian town has one. But, Pirot's centuries-old craft of carpet weaving is in danger of dying out. So a group of women have been fighting to keep it alive. Sitting on low wooden benches, the women work gently. They use nothing but their fingers to weave through wool stretched on vertical looms. Because the carpets are hand-made with complex geometrical designs, one weaver produces less than a square meter per month. Marina Cvetkovic, from Belgrade's Ethnographic Museum, said Pirot carpets are known for their rich colors and composition. There are nearly 100 known Pirot motifs and shapes. Original Pirot carpets are extremely dense, thin and have the same design on both sides. I think it's amazing that these women are trying their hardest to keep the pirot tradition alive. They have to put a lot of work and effort into their sewing skills.

  • benjif-2
    3/27/2015 - 12:33 a.m.

    This article is about a Pirot carpet that has magical powers. It has colorful patterns and symbols that are designed to bring luck and protect from evil. It say almost every home in this eastern Serbian town has one. The carpets are big or small, and they rolled out on the floor, wrapped around the furniture or hung on the wall.

  • AmandaM-1
    3/27/2015 - 01:40 a.m.

    It is said that a Pirot carpet contains magic powers that has designs that can bring luck and protect against evil. Many houses have them as decorations throughout their homes, not just on the floor. These special carpets are known for the unique craft of weaving which is dying out. The process is slow and time consuming but groups of women are hoping to keep the traditional technique alive. They do all the work by hand and produce less than one square meter per month. Some researchers believe that the history of the decorative rug dates back to the sixteenth century. The number of professional weavers has dropped dramatically, but the few women who still enjoy creating Pirot carpets make them often. I like this article because it is interesting while also teaching me about these unique carpets that are known to have magic. I want a magic carpet! I wonder if these carpets are connected to the magic carpet in Aladdin the movie.

  • DylanT-5
    3/27/2015 - 02:32 a.m.

    Nearly every home in eastern Serbia has a Pirot carpet. Serbians believe these carpets use their colorful patterns and symbols to protect themselves from evil. The process of making these carpets is very slow and takes a long time. Today, there are only about 10 professional Pirot weavers. They claim most people only see colorful carpets, and that they see a story unfolded through the carpet.

    I think magic carpets are very cool. They are symbolized greatly in movies, especially Disney ones. I am sad that they don't fly in real life though,

  • Alysseh171
    3/27/2015 - 11:57 a.m.

    I wonder if magic carpets have real magic. That would be so cool we could fly around . And that's nice someone is making magic carpets and saving them.

  • Melitzav4-Sch
    3/27/2015 - 12:07 p.m.

    For me it would be impossible to ever do what these woman do for a living. I just cant believe it i always thought it was not real , the magic carpets and all . I know they are not actually magic but they sort of are if you think about it . All the love and effort that these woman put into each and every rug makes them magic and one of a kind . I wish I owned on . The people that have had a chance to buy and purchase these rugs should be proud to have one in their house it should always be the center of attention .

  • KathyM122
    3/27/2015 - 02:55 p.m.

    It's becoming Aladdin all over again, except the carpets don't fly...
    I thought that magical carpets were just an entertainment myth on screen. It's really cool how they have been passed down all these centuries. Imagine all the other stories that we could pass down to our next generation.

  • LaurelM-4
    3/27/2015 - 03:56 p.m.

    A woman wants to save Pirot carpets that are believed to be magical. Almost everyone in an easter Serbian town owns one. The carpets are very colorful and handwoven. It takes a long time to make the carpets and they are all hand woven. I would love to own one of these carpets. They seem like they are very important to the culture of the people of Serbia and I would be great to have one.

  • KevinL1122
    3/27/2015 - 11:54 p.m.

    The towns location could have supported the growth of the Pirot carpet industry in earlier times because if it were in an area with a large population it could possibly last longer.

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