Tulu or Sleeping Rug

Carpets from Asia Minor and especially Anatolia, Turkey, have been appreciated and collected in the West for centuries. Each region has their own style of weaving, some of which have traditionally been made for commercial trade or use on special occasions. Up until recent years these were the only pieces known to collectors. However, alongside classical carpets, most cultures also wove rugs for personal use. Such is the case in Karapinar, Central Anatolia.

In Karapinar, young girls learn the art of weaving early in life. When they prepare to marry they weave a number of rugs, half of which are classical carpets that can be sold as dowry and the other half made with long threads called Tulu. Meant solely for use at home, Tulu rugs are far less decorative than their flat-woven commercial counterparts but lush and soft to the touch, owing to the luxurious wool of local sheep and goats. The designs, if any are present, are minimal. Some are simplified forms of classical motifs such as medallions and decorative borders while others are geometric accents of color woven in with naturally dyed threads.    

Tulus were almost always used as sleeping rugs, especially necessary to fend off the extreme climate of the mountain ranges where nomads spent summers with their herds. If not laid on the ground they were hung up on the walls for insulation, serving as both a functional as well as a decorative object. The simplicity of the designs, often compared to the aesthetic qualities of modern art, has been a major factor contributing to the increased interest in Tulu rugs. Though carpet weaving is an ancient tradition, fully handcrafted Tulus made for the home, capturing the creative freedom of young Karapinar women, is a rapidly fading art form.