Those who visited the Russian Museum in St. Petersburg could not help but recall the painting “Taking of the Snow Town” by the great artist Vasily Surikov. On the right side of the picture, we see a sleigh covered with a bright carpet. This is the so-called Tyumen carpet - a bright winter dream about summer. The distance from Tyumen to Krasnoyarsk, where the picture was painted, is more than 1500 kilometers. A flight by plane takes two hours, but in 1891 the planes did not fly from Tyumen to Krasnoyarsk. How did the carpet get to the shore of the Yenisei?
The first Tyumen carpets, as evidenced by various documents, appeared in the XVI century. This art was brought to the region by immigrants from the Bukhara Khanate. Very soon, Tyumen County became the largest center of carpet weaving. Hence the name: Tyumen carpets. Siberian carpets were very decorative thanks to the use of a black background and picturesque colors on it. The black background symbolizes the fertile land and the abundance that it gives. Bright bouquets recall the colors of the blessed summer. The wisdom of black and the passion of red on the carpet are not only impressive but also mean strength and wealth. The craftswomen wove those flowers that they grew in their gardens in summer. They did it on the quiet winter evenings because, at that time, there was no television, no internet or other digital leisure. What else to do in winter? Of course, remember the summer while weaving the carpets.
“Terry” carpets with floral ornaments were created on vertical looms. Thousands of knots of wool yarn were laid on the base. Thus, the terry effect was obtained. In addition, this technique allowed to convey a greater number of color shades. All Siberian carpets were woven from natural wool. The wool itself was dyed in different colors only with plant materials.
Tyumen stood on the great Siberian highway, postal and trade routes passed through it. Travelers stayed here. In local stores, they bought souvenirs and gifts. The coachmen drove through Tyumen year-round; they drove passengers and cargo to different cities of vast Russia. In winter frosts, passengers in the sleigh were covered with warm and beautiful Tyumen carpets. Coaches also wrapped themselves in carpets. Surikov, who was traveling from St. Petersburg to Krasnoyarsk, also stayed in Tyumen. It is known for sure that the artist bought three carpets in Tyumen. He paid 15 rubles for each. That is how one of the masterpieces appeared on his famous canvas, "Taking the Snow Town". Later, carpets began to be used in everyday life. The inhabitants of Tyumen laid them on the floor, decorated the walls, covered chests and benches.
The popularity of Tyumen carpets grew. Several carpet factories with branded, recognizable patterns have appeared in the region. The enterprises were located in Tyumen, Tobolsk, and Ishim. Only the Ishim Carpet Factory has survived to this day - carpets are still woven here. The carpets were of such excellent quality that Ishim carpets even fulfilled a state order: handmade carpets still adorn corridors of Moscow Kremlin. One carpet, according to a special historical drawing, was made especially for the museum of the royal family in Tobolsk.
Terry carpets were very successful in representing the Tyumen Territory at national and international exhibitions: Genoa 1913, Warsaw 1913, Brussels 1957. At the Paris exhibition in 1900 the carpet created by the talented craftswoman Vasilisa Vikulova received the highest award.
You can get acquainted with a unique artistic phenomenon - the traditional carpet craft in the Museum Complex of the Tyumen Region at the exhibition "Tyumen carpet. Traditions and modernity." You can bring the Tyumen carpet as a souvenir and tell your loved ones about the craftswomen who included their bright winter dreams about summer in the carpet ornament.
Like this story?
Get more! Subscribe to our monthly inspiration newsletter.