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Portalegre Carpet Weaving

Tapeçaria de Portalegre
Portalegre Carpet Weaving

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Portalegre carpet weaving is an expression of the Portuguese creative spirit applied to the textile industry. From its very beginnings, there was innovation in technical traditions including the knot point technique developed by Manuel do Carmo Peixeiro in the early 20th century on a vertical loom invented by Guy Fino.

The Knot point technique used involves the complete interweaving of the thread resulting in a point by point approach featuring an impressive level of detail. The threads are interlinked by a connecting weft that ensures regularity and uniformity thereby avoiding the spaces commonly left by traditional weaving processes when the colour is changed. This technique allows control over the chromatic pattern, clear definition of shape and subtle progression in colour in turn enabling a perfect transposition of a painting or design onto the carpet.

In addition, the loom combines the mechanical advantages of low-heddle looms with the control of high-heddle looms to ensure manual control over weaving through dividing the threads into odds and evens. This itself is characteristic of pedal-operated horizontal looms. The designs are accurately enlarged on squared guidance maps where each individual square corresponds to a point and a colour. It is 5 points per centimetre resulting in total density of 250,000 points per square metre.

Portalegre Carpet Weaving is art in practice becoming an original work of art in itself thanks to the craftsmanship involved. Aware of its qualities, many artists chose this means to reproduce or create their works. These have included Almada Negreiros, Vieira da Silva, Arpad Szenes, Júlio Pomar, Abel Manta, Costa Pinheiro and José de Guimarães, among others.

Image in "Turismo Norte Alentejano - 2001"


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