By: Rabah Saoud, Tue 13 April, 2004 Dr Rabah Saoud
The Muslim carpet has long been a luxury commodity sought by textile museums, rich collectors and wealthy merchants all over the world. The fame of the flying carpet of 'Al'a Al-Din (Aladdin) added some emotional mystery and value to its already exceptional beauty and tangible quality. It is not surprising that carpets still represent one of the most valuable art items obtained by museums and wealthy families. Furthermore, carpeting is becoming one of the essential ingredients of today's living standard in the modern world. Modern sophisticated manufacturing has made it one of the cheapest available flooring methods, whilst its comfort and warmth has increased its popularity becoming the largest used flooring system replacing the ceramics and mosaics. What are the origins of this tradition? What is the Muslim contribution to the history of the carpet industry? In the following article, a brief account provides a historical background to the appearance and development of Muslim carpet making; then light is shed on its transfer to the West so gradually setting up a western carpeting tradition.