The Hatchlu rug is a unique design falling under the Enssi category of rugs. Enssi refers to rugs that were traditionally used as entrance hangings to tents by Turkoman nomads in Central Asia. Today Enssi rugs are almost always associated with the popular Hatchlu design.
There are many variations of the Hatchlu design, yet almost all share a fundamental characteristic. Hatchlu rugs are divided into four usually symmetrical quadrants, with each quadrant featuring rows of small Y-shaped or "candle-stick" motifs.
There are several interpretations of the symbolism of Hatchlu rugs. Many dealers believe that the carpets were hung on entrances to the Turkoman nomads’ tents as a welcoming sign to visitors. Others believe that its one-way design has roots in the traditional prayer rug design. Some authorities also attribute the foundation of the design to be a reflection on the shape of the tents themselves (when viewed from one direction), symbolizing security and the home. Still others believe that the four quadrants represent the four innermost gardens to Islamic heaven.
Most Hatchlu rugs found today are tribal or workshop rugs hand knotted in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Afghan Hatchlus come in a variety of qualities and styles. This is because they are made by a variety of weavers in workshops, villages, and by members of different tribes.
These rugs use the “double knot” (Persian) weave and are extremely durable. They also have an aesthetically pleasing protective kilim before the fringes on both sides as well as protection on the selvedges of the rugs, which helps to prevent any damage from rough use. The texture of the pile itself is smooth and fine and the wool has been clipped to a moderate level – neither exceptionally short nor long.
Baluch tribes also make Hatchlu design rugs. These are less dense in knotting and have a different weave. As with most Baluch rugs, they usually are more random in design (e.g., along the border) than other Hatchlu rugs and may have differing background shades throughout the same rug. These also use a wool pile on a wool base, however, and while not quite as durable or heavy as the Afghan workshop variety, are still very strong and attractive pieces.
Although most Hatchlu rugs are made in 100% wool, there is also another type of Hatchlu rug called a Kabul silk Hatchlu. This type of rug has a silk and wool pile on a silk base and has a fine “double-knot” weave. These rugs are made in Kabul in Afghanistan and use Afghan silk. Generally they have short piles and are thinner than the Afghan Hatchlu rugs discussed above, as a result of the silk base and high percentage of silk in the pile. Nonetheless, they are also very durable pieces.
Price Range and Value:
MEDIUM TO HIGH (Collectable Antiques)