What is “Kilim”?


Dear Barry:

What is “Kilim”? Are there other words in English which mean the same thing?

Thank you,


Hello Carol,

A kelim is a rug or cover woven with no pile. It has a flat finish like most types of cloth. I know of no general usage word in English that accurately conveys the meaning of kelim. I use Flatweave, but that is a rug person’s usage, not in the general vernacular. Navajo rugs are kelim, but no one ever calls them that.

English is the language of Technology but it is ceratinly lacking in many areas. The word Tribe is a good example; we use it to cover a wide range of situations where other languages are much richer and fuller. I like the 15th century Chagatai Turkic nomeclature for tribal terms because it is so much more expressive. It takes a whole paragraph in English to differentiate between what IL and an Ulus can say in a word. But sadly English is the only language I can speak, although I can read a few others with work.

I hope this is some help.

Best wishes,