Just kidding! I’m sure he is a devout Muslim and would never think of such a thing. The circular design behind him just looks a lot like a rising sun to me. I imagine a person could get desensitized to the brilliant patterns after hanging around these things all day long for years on end … you know, like teenagers playing violent video games. Of course, in other ways, repairing Turkish carpets is nothing at all like playing violent video games. I admit the analogy is limited.
Whatever else the carpet repairman’s job may or may not be, there is one thing it is for sure (at least, wherever I’ve seen it being done): a man’s work. In the same way that I’ve never seen a Turkish man sitting at a loom weaving a carpet, I’ve never seen a Turkish woman sitting in front of a shop repairing one. While I’m sure there are exceptions, the roles in my experience seem clearly defined. My best guess at the explanation is that in traditional Turkish village society (which bore the weaving tradition to the present day), women more generally are responsible for work done in or around the home, whereas men are more often responsible for work done someplace else, such as at a shop or office. As Turkish society becomes more modernized, of course, in many places these sorts of divisions (and skills?) are beginning to disappear.
The weaving of kilim (flat-woven) and halı (pile) carpets is a centuries-old tradition throughout the Middle East and Central Asia, and Anatolian Turkey is no different. This picture is from the Anatolian Carpet Weaving Workshop in Göreme, a functioning workshop which is at the same time something more of tourist attraction. Still, this exact same scene can be found played out in villages across the country even now. I have Turkish friends who have run across this image and said, “Oh yes, we used to do that back when I was in the village.”
This website offers good information on the types of roots, nuts and berries that are used to make the natural dyes. Ten or twenty years ago artificial dyes had begun to overtake the natural methods, but fortunately people noticed that the plant dyes were higher quality and longer lasting, so the traditional ways have made a comeback.
Canon EOS Rebel XTi, ISO-200, f/4, 1/80 sec.