The origin of carpet weaving in Europe is obscure, although some European countries did produce flat weaves and tapestries more than a thousand years before the introduction of pile carpets.
Evidence shows that Oriental carpets were first imported after 1000 AD, so the technique of pile-knotting would at least have been known if not immediately imitated.
The spread of pile carpets throughout Europe can be traced to the presence of the Moors in Spain, the Crusades (11th to 13th centuries), the travels of Marco Polo (1254 - 1324) and the embassies of Venice from the 13th century onwards. It was also helped by the colonial expansion of Portugal which began in the 14th century, with later settlements in the Persian Gulf (1509), Goa (1510) and Japan (1542) before the country was conquered by Philip II of Spain in 1580.
One of the oldest fragments of European pile carpets is preserved in the Schlosskirche at Quedlinburg in the Harz mountain region of what was formerly East Germany. This is a portion of a rug known to have been made in the time of the Abbess Agness (1186 - 1203) and which must have originally measured 24 feet by 20 feet. On it, we see rows representing scenes of Martianus Capella's Marriage of Mercury and Philology.
It was woven using the single knot like the one used in Spanish carpets, although no link with Spanish weavers has been determined.
In 1255 when Eleanor of Castile married Edward I of England, she brought with her many fine Spanish rugs, which are said to have come from Cordoba or Granada.
In most of England, however, rushes and hay were strewn as floor coverings, even in palaces and large houses up until the early 17th century. Some lords were even reported to have the hay rugs changed everyday. Paul Hentzer, a German traveler, wrote that he personally saw hay strewn on the floor of Queen Elizabeth's presence chamber at Greenwich Palace in 1598.
Gradually, the wealthier British started using pile rugs throughout their homes.
In old European paintings, all depicted floor coverings resemble Oriental carpets, which is not surprising since Europeans were importing Persian rugs long before they themselves learned the craft.
Many believe that Venice imported rugs from Asia Minor in the 15th century and that Europeans from all over preferred Oriental rugs. By the end of the 17th century, Persian and Turkish carpets were among the highest valued possessions in Europe. Kings and emperors would give silk Persian carpets to other political leaders as gifts to gain their ally or friendship.
By the mid 18th to 19th century almost all countries of Europe were weaving rugs of their own. The top producers were Spain, France, Poland, Italy, Great Britain, Germany, Austria, Holland, Romania, as well as Norway, Sweden and Finland.
Today, handmade European rugs are rare as the industry cannot compete with the quality and cost of labor of Oriental rugs.
Instead, some European countries such as Belgium have developed significant machine-made rug industries, mainly after World War II.
Top 5 reasons diets fail, and how to overcome them
The common pitfalls that many dieters experience, and how to overcome them. ONE STRIKE, YOU'RE OUT
A problem that many challenged dieters experience is falling off the wagon when they make just one diet slip-up. You've gone a week without indulging in any fried fast foods, and you break down and go to the local burger joint for some fries and a burger. Then, you figure, since you have already screwed it up, there's no reason to try to eat well the rest of the day, right? Wrong! That day leads to the next day, the next week, month, etc. It is a vicious cycle. Do not beat yourself up for going off the diet plan once and a while - sometimes you just can't help but satisfy a craving. We beat ourselves up so much over one mistake that we allow ourselves to believe that all of our efforts to get fit were a waste. Instead of turning a small negative into a huge one, turn it into a positive. If you eat a brownie sundae after lunch, put in some extra time at the gym later, or take a brisk walk after dinner. Nobody is perfect; the important thing is handling your mistakes properly. EMOTIONAL EATING
Overeating to ease emotional stress is a major pitfall for dieters. Many of us may not realize that we were brought up to bury our feelings behind a snack. Think about how many times you have seen a mother console her crying child by offering him a cookie. So many women are used to curling up with a pint of ice cream to soothe the pain of a break-up, or a fight with their significant other. These natural tendencies lead us to make allowances for ourselves when we are going through stressful times. Unfortunately, eating poorly will only lead to more stress, because you will be worried about being overweight and not being able to follow through with your diet. Rather than eating to numb the pain, try exercising, writing in a journal, or calling a friend. If you can stick to your diet in a stressful situation, then you will be able to feel more confident that you will be able to meet your weight-loss goals. Handling stress is an important test of a dieter's will and determination. NO MIRACLE RESULTS
We are in a world of quick-fixes and get-rich schemes, so it is no wonder that the weight loss industry makes false promises too. You cannot expect to lose sixty pounds in two months. It just isn't realistic. Haven't you noticed the fine print on those weight loss product commercials? The results that they are proudly advertising are not typical! Losing weight is not easy, and you shouldn't expect it to be. If it was as simple as these ads would lead you to believe, then obesity wouldn't be such an enormous health problem in the United States. Losing weight is about changing your entire lifestyle. You can't expect to go from couch potato to super model in little to no time at all. You have to commit yourself to a healthy diet and exercise, and you have to be patient and consistent. Do not set your goals too high. Healthy weight loss should be about one or two pounds per week. Crash diets may be intriguing, but they will not be sustainable, and you will be back at square one, once again. Bottom line: set realistic goals, and don't expect miracles. YOU ARE YOUR OWN WORST ENEMY
There once was a story about a fox that saw a vine of grapes hanging high from a tree. He wanted the grapes very badly, but they were just out of his reach, so he convinced himself that they wouldn't be so great anyway. Dieters are not very different from that fox. You say that you want nothing more than to get fit and healthy, but once you start doing it, and you get sick of it, you convince yourself that you don't really care about your weight anyway. You tell yourself that it is hopeless, and that it just doesn't matter. You would rather be able to eat what you like than be thin. To avoid this pitfall, write yourself a commitment letter when you start a diet. It might sound silly, but it can help you to get centered on your goal when you want to stray from it. Write down the reasons that you want to go on this diet and change your lifestyle, and write down what you commit to doing to achieve your goals (working out at least three days a week, no fast food, etc.). SICK DAYS
Sometimes when we fall out of our regular daily routines due to an illness, it can be hard to get back to business when we feeling better. If you have been home in bed with the flu for a week, then you dread going back to the gym, and having to build back up to the level you were at before you got sick. It is okay to take it easy for yourself right after you recover, but you should at least do something to stay physically active and on track with your weight-loss goals, such as taking a jog, or doing some laps in the pool.
We search top stores daily so you don't have to.
For personal non-commercial use only; please check stores for current prices and exact amounts. Product specifications are obtained from merchants or third parties. Although we make every effort to present accurate information, Okto is not responsible for inaccuracies. Store ratings and product reviews are submitted by online shoppers; they do not reflect our opinions and we have no responsibility for their content.
As remuneration for time and research involved to provide quality links, we generally use affiliate links when we can. Whenever we link to something not our own, you should assume they are affiliate links or that we benefit in some way.
OKto.com - 4283 Express Lane, SUITE 003-239, Sarasota, FL 34238, p: (941) 538-6941, f: 8154253395, e: support [at] okto.com