Another ancient Bosnian craft that is at risk of despairing is carpet weaving. Typically featuring intricate geometric motifs, vibrant colors, and complex patterns inspired by nature and Islamic art, Bosnian carpets are instantly recognizable. One of the most iconic patterns in Bosnian carpet weaving is the ‘Bosnian lily or ‘Bosanska ljiljan’. This is a stylized floral motif often seen in the center of the carpets, and it has become a symbol of Bosnian cultural identity.
Sadly, the ancient Bosnian craft of carpet weaving is disappearing slowly in the country. The techniques of weaving in Bosnia can be traced to the Neolithic era. During the era of the Ottoman empire in the 15th Century that the Bosnian carpet became more complex both in terms of design and weaving technique. Prized for their quality and craftsmanship, and they were often used in mosques, palaces, and other important buildings.
However, their high fame was achieved during Austro-Hungarian rule. This was when the first weaving factory was established, along with the first published book illustrating original and traditional Bosnian patterns. Since WW1 though, their production has been in decline. Modern production techniques made cheaper alternatives, and the traditional craft of hand weaving became less sought after.
Today, artisans are working hard to apply traditional values to modern design. Workshops and schools teach the traditional techniques, and craftspeople display their work in galleries and exhibitions, in the hope that this heritage craft continues to be passed down generations.
You may also be interested to read: Tunnel of Hope: a survivor’s story of the Bosnian War