ANCIENT SYMBOLS

Symbols from the past are still our companions. They are older than our memory is. Smile, shaking of hands, line, circle, letter, embroidery...  We travel along with all this baggage.

The Chiprovtzi rugs are an example of this. Their elements come from a very ancient past. They probably belong to the oldest sign systems. Thus, for instance, the element of  “karakachka”, after which the carpet of the same name was called, represents a highly stylized image of a flying dragon. The dragon is one of the faces of the demon of light in the Proto-Aryan cosmogony. By “Proto-Aryan” we mean the assumed epoch, when a single Indo-European world existed. The cosmogony of this age was characterized by the perpetual struggle between good and evil, between the good and the evil types, between light and darkness. Its major symbols came from this. The “karakachka” also came from this. In Bulgarian art these ancient motifs, which are numerous as a matter of fact, can be found not only in rugs, but also in stone plastic, wood-carving, wall-painting, book ornamentation, even in the inscription of letters.

The symbols used in rug designs keep an ancient tradition passed on for centuries from one weaver to another. In 894 Emperor Leo VI the Wise ordered “to move the Bulgarian market-place in Salonika and levy it with heavier taxes”. This act was the reason for the next war between Bulgaria and Byzantium. Tzar Simeon called his army. Among the commodities affected by Leo’s measure “rugs and carpets” were explicitly indicated. We can but imagine that the elements of old-time rugs are now revived by the quick and busy fingers of some of the Bulgarian women.
 


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