Storyteller carpet seller

His was a world of stories. I walked into his shop looking for pillow covers, and walked out with his smile and a mosaic of stories as colorful as the textiles piled high from floor to ceiling in his quaint shop.

Until this moment, we’d intentionally avoided carpet shops. Even before I left for Turkey I’d decided to leave the carpet experience for another trip. And yet after having passed by this place-Hakan Kilim- more than a handful of times en route to Goreme’s famed Open Air Museum,  we finally ventured in to see what was packed inside.

The affable shop owner Hakan led us to a stack of vintage rugs, baby carriers, bed spreads, and cushion covers, and he patiently unloaded piece after piece from the top of the pile, throwing them out to the floor for us to marvel at their colors, the intricacies of the patterns, and to notice the craftsmanship in textiles that appeared to be more than one hundred years old. None were the size I was looking for-and lucky at that-as the price was far from anything I could afford. The true magic of the experience was that with each piece came a story, and Hakan seemed content to share with us well knowing we wouldn’t be taking anything home with us that day.

Hakan procures each antique kilim himself, traveling for days to small villages in Turkey’s interior, meeting nomadic groups who have passed down these pieces from generation to generation, their history woven into each one. He is discriminate with his purchases, eager to know who the piece belonged to, the purpose it served, and the story he can collect and preserve as he transmits it to its next owner.

This friendly man was far from a carpet seller. He was a story collector, these kilims the relics of his country’s history where each tear and stain in the textiles marked a moment in time. And as he hands off these kilims to new owners who will traverse back to their own homes, so continues the story of these colorful pieces of history.

Day 19 of 30; Postcards from Turkey

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~ by maureenmoore on July 27, 2013.

One Response to “Storyteller carpet seller”

  1. Addendum: what’s better, is that right after publishing this, a friend comments that weeks after my visit he too met Hazan and actually sat down to have lunch with him to hear one of the stories. I’m copying the message he shared with me.
    “…he begins to tell me a series of parables about everything from bravery to fear to religion. One of these really stuck with me: A fire erupts in the forest, quickly engulfing the vegetation and sending the animals fleeing for their lives. Hordes of animals stream out of the burning wood, not a single one looking back, as they desperately seek safety and shelter. As the bears, owls, deer, and other forest animals scamper out of the woods, a single ant resolutely inches in the opposite direction, carrying a single drop of water in his mandibles toward the fire. The deer stops and screams to the ant, “What are you doing little ant?! That drop of water you are carrying will do nothing to stop this fire. You need to save yourself and run with us!” The ant replied, “Sure, this drop might not do much, but at least they’ll know what side I’m on.”

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