Preserving the Pirot Carpet Tradition

A group of Serbian women is fighting to keep an important weaving tradition alive in the country.

Not unlike Turkish rugs, Pirot carpets are an important part of Serbian culture—yet they’re facing extinction due to a shortage of weavers. The carpets, which feature colorful graphics and patterns, are said to ward off evil and bring good luck into Serbian households. They feature the same design on both sides and characteristically are very dense in composition. Using locally-sourced wool, weavers create the rugs using tried and true techniques that have been around since about the 16th century. It’s slow work—on average, a weaver will yield less than a square meter per month.

 

The Lady’s Heart group, an organization comprised of several women, aims to keep the tradition alive. The population of weavers has declined from about 5,000 to roughly 10 today, yet the weavers continue to preserve this important piece of culture.   

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