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What is the history of the Persian Baluch Rug?

What is the history of the Persian Baluch Rug? - Rug the Rock

Khorasan Baluch handwoven carpets are one of the main productions of Persian nomadic tribes, known worldwide for their unique patterns, special motifs, and distinct color schemes characteristic of the Baluch people. in this article, we will walk you through the history of Baluch rugs and explain the characteristics of this amazing Persian rug. 

History of Baluch Carpets

The main areas in Iran identified as Baluch settlements are Khorasan and Sistan. Contrary to common belief, Baluch carpets are not made in Baluchistan but by nomads living in the northern Khorasan region around Torbat Heydarieh, Torbat Jam, Kashmar, and Sarakhs. A small number of these carpets are also woven in Sistan.

Some Baluch tribes were relocated to Khorasan during the reign of Nader Shah Afshar to defend the northeastern borders of Iran. Over time, they settled in these regions, engaging in livestock farming and carpet weaving, and even transferring their Baluch weaving style to the native inhabitants. It is said that Baluch carpets were influenced by and also influenced Turkmen carpets. Khorasan Baluch weavings are more influenced by Sistan, Khorasan, and Turkmen weavings than by traditional Baluch designs.

Today, Baluch carpet weaving centers are spread across many cities and villages in Khorasan. However, the most important carpet weaving area is in Razavi Khorasan (Torbat Heydarieh). Unfortunately, the production of Baluch carpets has significantly decreased and is now limited to weavers in some central and southern Khorasan villages.

Characteristics of Baluch Carpets

Baluch carpets are lightweight and woven in small dimensions. The smallest carpets measure 2.6 to 3 feet in width and 3.9 to 4.6 feet in length, while the larger ones are approximately 3.3 by 4.9 feet and the two-meter carpets are about 3.6 by 6.6 feet.

Baluch carpets are traditionally woven on horizontal or ground looms, though vertical looms are now also used. In the past, black wool was used for the warp and weft, but now yarn is commonly used. Although the oldest Baluch carpets were made with two wefts and Persian knots entirely from wool, today's carpets typically have a single thin weft, which is one of their distinctive features. The knot used is asymmetrical (Persian). The kilim end of Baluch carpets is relatively long, and the selvages are often wrapped with goat hair, usually black or dark brown (though in newer weavings, goat hair is increasingly replaced by wool). Beads, tassels, and shells are used to decorate the selvage, kilim end, and fringes of the carpet. The knot density (Raj count) of Baluch carpets ranges from 25 to 40 knots.

Design of Baluch Carpets

One unique feature of Baluch carpet designs is the repetition of a single motif throughout the carpet. In most patterns, specific motifs are regularly repeated across the carpet, and the motifs of the field and border are connected. Baluch designs are geometric and do not use curved lines, although they may create curves with short straight lines. The three main characteristics of Baluch designs are their network-like structure, floral motifs, and repetitive nature. The width of the borders in Baluch designs is relatively wide, typically featuring more than three borders.



One notable design in Baluch carpets, recognized worldwide, is the prayer rug design, reflecting the Mihrab (prayer niche). The most common foundational motif is a tree with horizontally branching limbs, usually on either side of the central axis.

Along the branches or at their ends, geometric motifs resembling leaves are featured. This leaf motif, known as the willow leaf or vine leaf, is derived from the leaves of the willow tree.

The symmetrical upper corners flanking the Mihrab are additional spaces that feature motifs compatible with the Mihrab, including:

  • Human hand motifs
  • Plant motifs
  • A combination of plant motifs and human hands
  • Script motifs

The main and most recognized Baluch carpet designs, which are woven from memory and known by these names, include Seh Kheshti (triple panel), Gav-o-Borj, Sang Chuli, and Dokhtar-e-Ghazi.

Colors of Baluch Carpets

The best colors used by Baluch nomads include peacock blue for various shades of blue, madder for red and crimson, walnut husk for camel hues, willow leaves for yellow, green, willow tree and peacock blue for orange, and henna. Baluch dyers typically use alum to fix the colors and employ black wool for black shades, often dyed with a type of iron-rich stone called "mak" in the local dialect. Nowadays, aniline red is commonly used in Baluch carpets.

The dark colors of Baluch carpets, such as deep red, dark and medium blue, and black, are distinctive. Black is used for the main design lines, green or camel for smaller motifs, and white is frequently used for narrow borders. The use of synthetic dyes, which create a false brightness, is another characteristic of Baluch carpets.

Conclusion

Baluch carpets from Khorasan are unique and beautiful, created by skilled nomadic weavers. These carpets stand out for their geometric patterns and vibrant colors, showcasing traditional techniques passed down through generations. Even though fewer people weave them today, Baluch rugs remain an important part of their culture and heritage. If you’re looking for something special, check out our collection for some unique Baluch pieces!

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We have thoughtfully collected authentic rugs from Persia (Iran), Morocco, Turkey, Afghanistan, Caucasus, and more countries. Each rug is handmade, showcasing the craftsmanship of its origin. These remarkable pieces have the potential to appreciate in value over time. In our collection, you can find rugs of any size, ranging from small mini rugs to oversized options. We’re here to provide more information about each of these historic gems. Feel free to reach out to us anytime! :)

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