WRITTEN ALSO GHILEEM, KELIM, KILIM
The Khilim is of very early origin. Many authorities consider it the oldest type of rug. From father to son it has been woven and used in the tents of the nomadic tribes. The designs in the Khilims are most carefully drawn, mainly in geometric figures, and it is interesting to note the attention paid to every detail.
There is a great deal of artistic merit displayed in the old Khilims, so that with several contrasts in colors, which are usually rich and subdued, there is decided harmony. The yarn is twisted so tightly that when woven it resembles heavy linen. Only vegetable dyes are used in the old Khilims which can be cleaned with cold water and soap. They are very firm and strong and, as in the case of the Shirvan Khilim, can be used constantly on a floor without injury to the rug. The Sinna Khilim, however, is finer and more delicate and is for use as a table cover or may be thrown over a screen.
In the Asiatic section of the British Museum is a very interesting fragment of a Khilim, found in a dwelling house of Niya Site, excavated by Sir M. A. Stein. It originally came from Chinese Turkestan. The colors are in a wonderful state of preservation, mainly beautiful blues, with varied designs like crosses, the larger resembling the papal cross. The designs are in cream color.
A bit of romantic sentiment is woven into the Kis Khilims, as those made by the Turks in Anatolia are often called. It is said that the word means “bride’s rug” and that the name is derived from the fact that these rugs are woven by young girls, each of whom endeavors to finish her rug in time to win a husband. A lock of hair is often found in the Kis Khilim, said to have been woven in by the girl who made it.
In Oriental countries the Khilim is used as a floor covering, and also as a curtain to divide the dwelling portion of the tent from that in which the cattle are sheltered. It is also used by the natives on their long journeys. In the United States this rug is exceedingly popular as a hanging, and for the cover of ,a divan it is equally effective, whether used in the home or in the studio.
( Originally Published Late 1900’s )