The Prayer Rugs from Milas
Turkey is a country where carpet weaving is a common artistry. The Turkish kilim, Bergama, Oushak, Hereke, Gelveri, Melas and Anatolian carpets are some of the most famous rugs produced in the country. Each of them is different in size, designs, colors and purposes of use. Turkey is renowned for its prayer rugs, especially the one made in the southwestern city of Milas. They can be found under both names of Milas and Melas and the use of yellow color is one of their special traits. Carpet making is one of the ways that the inhabitants of the area use for preserving the traditions inherited by their nomadic Turkmen ancestors.
The Milas rugs made for praying purposes are smaller in size compared to the rugs produced for trade. Milas are not as older as other types of Turkish rugs. The first exemplars have been weaved around the 16th century. The inhabitants of Milas used natural fibers like wool, silk and cotton, vegetable dyes extracted from plants or other sources like minerals and insects.
Milas rugs have designs that are not traditional to Anatolia. Their large geometric shapes show Turkmen elements as well as the use of yellow, brown and reddish colors.
On their part, Europeans have seen for the first time the examples of Turkish rugs in the paintings of Lorenzo Lotto and Young Hans Holbein. These paintings of rugs, which arrived in Europe as diplomatic gifts, are important documents that provide detailed information on Turkish rugs.
However, the traditional and baroque types of Milas rugs have been weaved during the 18th and 19th centuries. The classical type is found under the Ada Milas name.
At the same time, Europeans started to bring Turkish prayer rugs to their countries. The 19th century coincides with the time when the service of the Orient Express train was launched. More and more Europeans started traveling to Turkey not only for trade purposes, but also because of the fame and beauty of Constantinople. The influence of Europeans to the Ottoman art and culture had an impact even on Milas rugs and this how the baroque style was created.
Prayer rugs remain a source of income for the people of Milas and increased tourism due to the nearby Bodrum helped for spreading the beauty of these rugs all around the world.