Saturday, July 19, 2008

Persian Gabbeh Rugs of Qashqai Tribe in the Atlanta Rug Show July 208

The July Atlanta Rug Show was held in Atlanta, Georgia from July 13 to 16, 2008. Oriental Rug Retailers of America in cooperation with the organizer of the rug show, the AmericasmArt, held a series of talks and seminars and also a rug appraisal exam.

I had an exclusive video presentation and talk on the Green Rugs, the ec0-friendly Gabbeh rugs made by the women of Qashqai tribe in south west Iran. Below, I mention what I talked about.

We at did a research to provide some literature for our readers,
visitors, and customers to provide them with some facts about our talented and artist
weavers who make our beautiful Qashqai Collection tribal rugs. It is almost certain
that the Turkish speaking groups which later formed the Qashqai Tribe migrated to
Fars region in south west Iran some 600 years ago. The appearance of the Qashqai
as a tribe happened in a later date at the end of the Safavid dynasty (1501-1736)
around 300 years ago, and prior to that there never was such a tribe. The migration
of these groups did not happen at once. Several Turkish speaking clans and
sub-clans united under the leadership of "Johnnie Agha Qashqai ", and formed the
"Qashqai Tribe".

There are different theories about the origins of Qashqai's, none of which are
certain, but the most probable one is that they migrated from different regions from
the north and north west such as Turkmenistan, Caucasus, and Asia minor. This
can be backed by the fact that many of the Qashqai's today have light skin, blond
hair, and green/blue eyes. There are also some similarities between their dialects
and those of the Shahsavans of the East Azerbaijan. There are also some
similarities between the motives of their kilims and needle works. Qahqahi's have
mixed with other Turkish and non-Turkish speaking groups such as Kurds and Lurs.
There are also some elements of Turkmen, Caucasian, and Turkish rug weaving
traditions and motives in Qashqai rugs and kilims.

Qashqai tribe is consisted of six clans, such as Shesh Boluki, Large Kashkuli, Darreh Shoori, Amaleh, Farsi Madan, and small Kashkuli. Many of our weavers at are from the Kashkuli clan who are very knowledgeable and artist. Some groups of Qashqai's were forced to move to Khorasan region in the north east of Iran neighboring with Afghanistan. This was based on a decree issued by Nader Shah (ruled 1736-1747). During these twenty years or so, the Qashqai's were affected by the weaving tradition of the region in which they resided. Herati or mahi (fish) design found its way to Qashqai weaving and this was a side effect of this migration. Some other groups of Qashqai's went to Kerman at a later date and they also took some of the designs and motives from Kerman rug weaving traditions with them to Fars region.

Qashqai's migrate in the summer to the north to the Zagros mountain and in the winter to the south by the Persian Gulf in search of pasture for their cattle, mostly sheep and goats. The range of their migration is about 300 miles. They live in black tents (siah chador) made of goat hair which is greasy and serves almost as a waterproof material. These tents are easy to assemble and disassemble. The weavers also use horizontal looms which can be easily put on the horses when the summer or winter migration times come by.

Today, Qashqai ladies weave the most beautiful Gabbeh and tribal rugs of the world by handspun local wool dyed with natural dye. The rug weaving is completely done by women, and men only help with the wool sheering from the sheep and the dyeing process. The Qashqai children go to school while their mothers weave rugs. Although we provide the yarn and give instructions to our Qashqai weavers, but they are free to use their imagination and add the motives they like to the original design. This is what makes our Qashqai Collection different from city, workshop rugs. We, at usually use one design for one piece and one size, so all our Qashqai Collection rugs are unique and not duplicated. Each piece has its own specifications and is a piece of art.

Our designs are too many and can be classified into three main categories:

1- Traditional or classic
2- Contemporary or modern
3- Transitional or the ones which do not fit into traditional or contemporary categories.

Khosrow Sobhe


Dave said...

This was an absolutely outstanding presentation Dr. Sobhe, I enjoyed it very much :)

Rug Ideas Dr. Kay Sobhe (Los Angeles) said...

I enjoyed being there, meeting new friends and colleagues and learning from them. It was also a pleasure to see you David. Your father had talked about you when we met. I took many trips to Kerman during the past few years, and old people there remembered late Mehdi Dilmaghani, your grand father and mentioned his name with high respect. Your father still has some of his productions and fine woven Kerman rugs in his collection with his trade mark and signature which looks like a crown.

Best regards,
Khosrow Sobhe