Traditional Bosnian rug and carpet designs can often be confused with those of Turkey, the reason being the strong connection between the two cultures. For four hundred years, Bosnia was a province and integral part of the Turkish Empire. All aspects of society including the traditional crafts of the region were influenced by the domination of Turkey over such a long period of time. However, as with all indigenous crafts, no matter if elements originated from outside the region, the core of the craft can still be attributed to the work of the local population.


Within Bosnia itself, Sarajevo and Mostar were big centres of rug weaving. However, many rural areas were also involved with weaving and many young girls were brought up learning the skills of rug weaving from an early age. A range of styles and sizes of rug and carpet from kilim to prayer rug were produced. Wool was the traditional material used in the region and all yarn colours were produced using natural dyes, therefore the design work was much subtler than perhaps we are used to today.


Within Bosnia itself, Sarajevo and Mostar were big centres of rug weaving. However, many rural areas were also involved with weaving and many young girls were brought up learning the skills of rug weaving from an early age. A range of styles and sizes of rug and carpet from kilim to prayer rug were produced. Wool was the traditional material used in the region and all yarn colours were produced using natural dyes, therefore the design work was much subtler than perhaps we are used to today.


Because of Bosnia's traditional geographical and political position, for a long time well within the borders of the Turkish Empire, but within an easy cultural distance of Central Europe and the Austro-Hungarian Empire in particular, design work underwent an element of blending. While the main influence on Bosnian carpet pattern work remained Turkish, elements of Austrian and Hungarian decorative work did become part of the vocabulary of carpet weavers throughout the region.

By the end of the nineteenth century, the carpet weaving industry in Bosnia had declined significantly. However, with the Austro-Hungarian protectorate and then eventual incorporation within the empire, Bosnia became an Austro-Hungarian province. Vienna re-energised and re-organized the carpet weaving industry in Bosnia. New looms were introduced into the province by the government and a number of Bosnian women were sent to Vienna to be taught modern methods in carpet weaving and yarn dying.