Rug-making in Pirot

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Rug-making in Pirot
Domain: Traditional craftsmanship
Element inscribed on the National ICH Registry of Republic of Serbia


The skill of weaving kilims was developed as part of the heritage of the female population in the sphere of craft knowledge and skills in the Pirot region in southeastern Serbia. These kilims are woven from pure runic wool in different sizes with identical face and reverse. The prevailing colour on the Pirot kilims is red, in several shades. These kilims are often used for covering floors, walls, beds, benches, as a tablecloth, curtain, and even to make bags and belts.

Rug-making in Pirot is widely recognized by its exceptional technical, ornamental and coloristic features. First written reports on this traditional weaving skill in Pirot dates back to the XVIII century and throughout XIX century one may find vivid descriptions of well developed rug-making craft and Pirot kilims as fine woolen densely woven highly prized textile goods decorated with ornaments in different shapes and colors.

Pirot kilim making is traditional skill of making rugs on a vertical loom, using the tapestry weaving technique. The skill is used in the production of woolen kilims, decorated with various geometric, vegetal and figural ornaments arranged within the central area (“field”) and a system of bordures. On older kilims, ornaments are smaller and more harmoniously distributed, whilst the more recent pieces feature larger ornaments. As a multifunctional object used in furnishing urban interiors in Pirot, as well as in other cities in Serbia, the kilim was transformed into a visual symbol of the city of Pirot and, over time, Serbian national symbol. Therefore, kilims are often bought as presents for friends, relatives, business partners from Serbia and abroad. Also, it is one of the most common gift in the protocol activities of Serbian ministries in our country and abroad.

More information on this element of intangible cultural heritage of Serbia: