Located on Stratford Avenue, Dhanak is still in its early days, having only opened its doors in mid September this year. Yet, they are the place to go for arguably the finest selection of carpets and kilims in town.
Dhanak, appropriately meaning ‘spectrum of colour’, sells an eye-catching array of carpets, kilims and barjistas (carpet-kilim mix) that can play a significant role in livening up a home. All carpets are intricately hand knotted, while the kilims are delicately hand woven, both made from 100% wool. They come in plenty of different varieties, from the softer, silkier Pakistani carpets to the rougher, more rugged Afghan variety. It’s also interesting to note that the colour intensity of the carpets often present clues as to where they originate from. Kashmiri carpets for example are often pale and have a far quieter feel, primarily due to many areas of Kashmir being lively, brimming with colour. On the other hand, the more arid tribal regions produce a vibrant collection of carpets, making use of a multitude of colours to contrast the dull surroundings.
Virtually all carpets and kilims are hand made by highly skilled women who depend almost solely on them as a source of income. These women often carefully weave their emotions into a carpet, with the designs, colours and symbols being profoundly meaningful. As an example, the store sells a Chechnian carpet containing images of rockets and destructed buildings, clearly telling a story of the war ravaged region, and its impact on the weaver.
In addition to carpets and kilims, Dhanak also sells a vast range of other items that can be used for decorative or functional purposes. Amongst these are a beautiful collection of prayer mats, dowry bags, animal ties, and salt bags, all still used today in numerous Asian tribal regions. Then there are also various types of runners that can be placed in passages, as well as hatchalu pardas, traditionally hung outside doors as protection from cold winds. Each of these items can themselves have equally significant meanings as the carpets and kilims in store.