The word moccasin can be traced back to the year 1612 and originated from a Virginia Algonquian language. Moccasins are footwear (low tailored shoes) that are constructed from soft leather (generally deerskin) and were at first the predominant footwear for hunters, traders, settlers and the North American Indian tribes. Moccasins are soft, and very quiet to walk in which made them an excellent choice of footwear for hunters to get around in without being detected by their prey. As well, since they are constructed from leather, they have good traction and easily soak up liquids.
In the beginning different tribes of Indians decorated their moccasin footwear differently depending on its specific use. The most commonly used items were beads and shells. Some tribes' preferred decorative tongues while others went in for pieces of leather hanging from the heel of the moccasin, and still others, tiny tails that dragged behind as the person walked. A wearer's tribe could often be determined simply by taking note of the footprint's shape. For example, the Great Lakes tribes favored rabbit-nose shaped toes, the plains Indians, flat toes, the Iroquois relished the look of moccasins that were wide on the bottom and finally, the Eastern Forest Indians tribes enjoyed very thin ones.
The decorations of moccasins differ from purpose to purpose and tribe to tribe. For example, most tribes had their own version of marriage moccasins and these were beaded all over the top of the moccasin. Hunting moccasins on the other hand were no-nonsense as they had no decorations and were constructed with a piece of leather wrapped around the foot. Many tribes had special moccasins for death (what they called the journey into the afterlife) and they were adorned with beads on the top, sides and soles. The patterns of moccasins included everything from religious symbols to spiritual symbols to floral patterns to geometric shapes to zoomorphic designs. Some tribes went for an added elegant touch by including a piece of velvet on the cuffs.
Moccasins shoes fall in separate groups- the hard-sole and soft-sole groups. Hard-sole moccasins began as Native American moccasins and were generally made from two or more pieces of hide with the hard sole of shaped rawhide and the fitted leather upper needing more complex tailoring than other types of moccasins. Hard-soled moccasins were very protective to the feet when an individual walked across rough terrain such as ground covered by prairie grass, sharp rocks and harsh cactus plants. The Apache tribe wore two-piece moccasins that featured a turned up toe. This toe worked as a preventative for sharp objects running into the seams of the moccasin and hurting the foot. Soft-soled moccasins on the other hand were popular in the Eastern Forest tribes and were fashioned from one piece of leather. The moccasin was constructed by bringing up the sole around the foot and then proceeding to patch or pucker the material around the instep. Soft-soled moccasins were made with a soft-soled center seam and a pucker- toe and were excellent for treading through woodlands that were covered with pine needles and leaves.
The soft-soled moccasins that were worn in the Plains and the Northwest Coast were constructed from one piece of tanned leather but were sewn along the side rather than the center of the moccasin. There were variations to the soft-soled moccasin, which included a vamp (or u-shaped piece of leather) being added and another piece at the back, known as a cuff was also added. Many of the Iroquois and Great Lake tribes constructed their moccasins with a wide vamp in such a way that it covered over the majority of the upper front of the shoe. It was other Eastern Forest tribes that fashioned moccasins with a shorter, narrower vamp that connected up with a central puckered seam that ran down the length of the shoe.
The defining characteristic of a moccasin is the unique way the material is sewn together. Moccasins are made inside out and a last (or permanent form) is not used. The bottom seams of these shoe face toward the foot when the shoes are turned right side out. The seams are trimmed and there are removable lambswool pads, which are to be found in the bottom part of the moccasin. The moccasin is designed such that the seams never come in contact with the foot.
Persian rug collectors often justify their obsession with handcrafted Oriental and Persian rugs by explaining their desire to own a small piece of the rich history and beauty behind the art form of Persian rug design.
Oriental and Persian rug weaving is a tradition that spans the centuries over a number of cultures. There are several references to the art of rug weaving found in ancient scriptures and classical writing. Unfortunately, there is no evidence that proves these references where to pile carpets and not simply to flat weaves (Kilims).
On the evidence of fragments found in ancient Egyptian and Mesopotamian tombs, we know that various forms of flat weaving were well developed more than 4000 years ago. Other evidence suggests that weaving of pile rugs existed in the Middle East and other parts of central, northwest, and eastern Asia long before 2000 BC.
It is definitely certain however, that Asia was the first continent to produce rugs and that it was definitely the nomadic wanderers who created them.
The rearing of sheep, the prime source of carpet wool, is a traditional nomad occupation. Add to this the necessity of thick coverings for people having to endure extreme cold and it's likely the craft of weaving developed to replace the use of rough animal skins for warmth.
Before the discovery of the Pazyryk Rug, the oldest pile rug fragments of ancient rugs ever discovered were found in East Turkmenistan in an area known as the Tarim Basin. This area includes parts of northwest India, East Turkmenistan, southern Russia, Uzbekistan, Kirgizstan, western China, and Mongolia itself.
The art of pile rug weaving appeared in Europe some time after 1000 AD, and likely in Spain because of its proximity to Egypt, Mesopotamia, and Iran.
Other European countries soon imitated the craft and by the 20th century weaving rugs was prevalent in almost all of Europe. However, even with Europe producing their own rugs, we can still see through classic paintings that almost all the rugs depicted appear to be of the Persian or Anatolian types.
Rug weaving in Europe never became as important as it did in Asia and as a result, many Asian nations built enormous rug exporting industries over time.
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