Western Anatolia is a very special place in Turkey, which combines the Hellenistic culture and the Turkmen culture on the same ground. The area is relatively warm in terms of climate and low in altitude, and is divided from north to south by several big valleys and plains in which important rivers flow.
The area is roughly surrounded by the steppes of Central Anatolia in the east, Western Taurus mountain chain in the south, the Aegean Sea in the west, and Marmara inner sea and Ida mountains in the north.
The area had developed an important weaving culture in archaic times. The fabrics and rugs produced in Lydian and Phrygian lands were famous in the whole of Aegean civilizations, as well as the wool quality and colorful dyes of Laodicia, nearby today’s city of Denizli.
After the arrival of Turks in the area the Turkmen dynasties of Karesi, Aydın, Saruhan, Menteşe, and Germiyan were the primary political and economical powers of Western Anatolia. Turkmens linked to these confederations were residing in the deep valleys and plains during the winters and were going to the inner parts of the area such as Afyon, Uşak Denizli, Tavas, Kütahya, and Eskişehir for the summer to practice sheep husbandry in those elevated and cooler places.
The local carpet production workforce of Turkmens had been unified by the Ottomans after the Ottomans had established a steady socio-political structure in the area. The main aim was to build a cottage industry and state-controlled carpet production sector which would bring important amounts of money from export. There were all of the advantageous factors surrounding the area, like the Anatolian Turkmen workforce, experienced enough spin the yarns needed and to weave beautiful carpets, the high-quality raw materials such as high-quality wool, enough empty place, and suitable climatization to make dyestuff agriculture, and the closeness to the sea for the sea-trade issues.
One of the important branches of the silk road ends up in Smyrna Port on the very west end of the area. This road had the capacity to bring the produced carpets from the inner parts of the area, and even from the other Areas of the Ottoman land such as Konya carpets or Cairo carpets. On the other hand, the experienced Turkmen workforce was ready to weave even the most complex patterns in the best way possible. Another important factor was the raw materials or semi-finished products such as the high-quality wool or spun yarns of the dye plans collected or cultivated in nearby valleys.
With these developments, the classical carpet schools named of Ushak, Manisa, Selendi, Gordes, Kula, Melas, Dazkiri, and Bergama were formed. The patterns were mainly created and distributed by Nakkaşhane-yi (Hümayun the court design workshop,) mainly deriving the carpet patterns from the classical tile or book tome patterns. On the other hand, the production quality was surveyed by the supervisor and financed by the Ottoman court itself. Thus this area has been a very well known and appreciated area by of different weaving schools or styles. Those styles or patterns were painted by several painters of the Renaissance period, and are named after those painters or the area that the carpets are continuously sold to, such as Lotto, Holbein, Crivelli, Bellini Transylvanian rugs.
There was also a re-Turkmenization of the patterns which were designed only for the European market, by the retired weavers going back to their personal looms and who interpreted the patterns according to their own taste and without using a pattern cartoon. This effect can be described as ruralization or even tribalization of the urban workshop-designed carpets.
The commercial export carpet production took place in the area from the early 15th century until the late 19th century, then moved to the northern areas by the effect of the Industrial Revolution and the developments around it. These areas as Gördes and Bandırma (Panterma) were economical production centers of the Western Anatolia for two and a half centuries.
The Western Anatolian carpets have shorter pile, a dense weave, and very developed and very diverse patterns and colors. The wool is a bit dull and waxy. The professional carpet producers benefited from this property of the yarn to emphasize the saturation of the dyes and create contrasts between dark and light colors in this way. Mid to light madder reds, mid blues, grass and very dark teal greens, and light to dark yellows are used. The 16th-century classical Ushak color palette may have the most developed and highest quality color palette of the whole Anatolian carpet production activity.