Herki Runners

Last week on Instagram, I asked which type of runner was your favorite, I was gifted with a huge response of your preferences. Thank you for the feedback. I was also told people did not know the difference between types of rugs. For the next three Tuesday’s, I’ll explain between the types, hopefully giving you a better understanding of what goes into rug making.

Herki runners are my personal favorite. The Herki are one of the largest Kurdish tribes, who lead a mostly nomadic lifestyle in the mountainous region of southeastern Turkey, Iraq, and Iran. Kurdish textiles are not as well known as their Persian or Anatolian counterparts, probably due to the ongoing strife, conflict and wars in the region. The displacement and destruction of their homes, tribes, and agriculture  have lead to the loss of their rug weaving and artist cultures.

Herki rugs can be easily recognized by their intensely bright colors, and imaginative motifs, including people and animals. Weavers preferred using colors from nature, color differences in the textiles indicate where in the region a tribe lived. Neutral rugs were likely woven by a group living on a plain, where fauna for colorful dyes was scarce.

The wool used to weave the rugs came from fat tailed sheep, which created a porous, absorbing yarn. Hair from goats, camels, cotton and hemp were also used. Herki runners are usually long, and were used as cushions in gathering areas, or to warm floors in the winter.

This explanation of the Kurdish weaving culture is simplistic, their history is fascinating and sad. You can learn more by doing an online search of the history of Herki rug making, or Kurdish lifestyle.

My last comment is because of the turmoil in the Kurds regions, and their displacement, rug weaving has significantly declined. There are not many weavers left. There is work being done to encourage rug making, and weaving by the Kurdish, whether this tradition holds remains to be seen. The price of Herki rugs is a reflection of this dying tradition.

On our Instagram page you can find pictures of past Herki rugs, available runners can be located under ‘Runners’ or contact me for information on what’s in stock but not on our website.