All our textiles, kilims and carpets are handmade and one-of-a-kind.
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Purchase Policy
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About Rudolf Geissmann
As a kid, I first noticed kilims at the Ethnological Museum in Basel, Switzerland. In my twenties I traveled extensively in the Middle East and Central Asia where I saw many types of weavings in the villages and tents where they were produced and used. I was struck by their beauty and the fact that they were handmade objects of an artistic necessity to these tribesmen. The geometric repeating designs of these textiles shouted at me that here was something truly uniquely wonderful. So I purchased a few I really liked and took them back to Switzerland and inadvertantly my career in the carpet business was launched.

   A Group of Afghan Chiefs, from a photograph circa 1880s. (Place cursor over photo for larger photo)
Kilims (pronounced 'killeems') were made mainly for household use. The weavers were under no particular pressure to sell their works so they were hardly influenced by current fashions or market pressures. Each district, village or nomadic tribe had its own vocabulary of patterns, colors and techniques.

These tribesmen and villagers accepted that the way their grandparents did things was the right way to do them. Their skill, knowledge and experience was respected and the old designs and techniques were valued and faithfully copied. It is not that the young weavers were incapable of originality or inventiveness, rather the tradition, representing in some way a continuous link with their ancestors, was considered valuable in itself and its maintenance of an ideal worth working for.

The mainstream of kilim weaving is an old, independent and autonomous tradition owing little to pile weaving or embroidery. The most important influences on design are so old that we cannot trace their origins. Here we come closer to the question of meaning. I refer to the union of several different ideas.

   Afghan Textile mid-20th Century
  • First, we have the placing of important religious, cosmic, protective or other sacred symbols in the design as something necessary and natural for the maintenance of a proper relationship with the divine in everyday life.
  • Secondly, we have the tendency to incorporate any design into an infinitely extending or repeating system, which is a deeply felt artistic requirement pervading much of Asian art.

If their weaving seems to speak to us directly, we should be grateful to the weavers, usually women, who respected and cherished their traditions. Unfortunately, we no longer see many examples of these pieces due to the near extinction of the nomadic way of life caused by the many wars in the area and the encroachment of the modern world.

This collection gives one a rare opportunity to see examples of the rich and varied tradition of domestic weaving in the Middle East and Central Asia at a time when the craft was still vigorous.