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What are Qashqai rugs and how to identify one?

What are Qashqai rugs and how to identify one? - Rug the Rock

The Qashqai tribe are known for their rich cultural heritage and stunning rug weaving. Their beautiful carpets are filled with intricate designs and high-quality artwork. In this blog post, we explore the unique features of Qashqai rugs, various designs, and their history.

The Life of the Qashqai Tribe

The lives of the Qashqai tribe are deeply connected with migration and living in nature. In the lush plains of the Fars region, men with white (brimmed) hats can be seen moving along roads with their large flocks of sheep and goats, accompanied by their dogs. Women, dressed in colorful clothes, move towards new migrations with donkeys and horses. The tents they live in are often made from goat hair. The Qashqai use the wool from their sheep to produce everyday items, such as carpets that serve various purposes and are adorned with different patterns. The entire world of the Qashqai can be found in the designs of their carpets, including animals, plants, trees, and stylized human figures. In addition to these everyday patterns, there are examples inspired by the murals and columns of Persepolis.

The History of Qashqai Carpets

The weaving art of Fars is more of a nomadic and tribal tradition than a rural one, and it is closely linked to tribes scattered over a vast area. Contrary to popular belief, there is no carpet weaving in Shiraz. Among the tribes, the Khamseh and Qashqai tribes are most involved in carpet weaving. The Qashqai tribe is one of the largest tribes in Iran, residing next to the Khamseh tribes in Fars province.

The Medallion Design in Qashqai Carpets

The best characteristic for identifying Qashqai carpets is the central medallion design, which resembles a four-armed, turning creature. The original and most authentic medallion in Qashqai carpets is diamond-shaped, with round and square medallions being rare. The common rule for the arrangement of medallions is based on odd numbers: small carpets have one or three medallions, and larger carpets have five or seven (two medallions can be found as an exception, but four and six medallions are not present).

Features of Qashqai Carpet Designs

Qashqai carpet designs can be divided into four categories:

1- Asymmetrical Characteristics (Figural Designs)

This category features designs where the main characteristic is the lack of symmetry in details, except in the general layout of medallions, corner designs, and the main border. The motifs are geometric and broken, and the designs are often spontaneous.

2- Gabbeh Rugs

Gabbeh is considered "a rug with long pile." This definition is accurate and adds additional characteristics such as simplicity, geometric patterns, and specific color features. Gabbeh rugs often incorporate maximum improvisation, allowing the artist to weave freely based on their visual experiences.

3- Pictorial Qashqai Carpets

This category includes carpets with pictorial or photographic designs. It is believed that the Qashqai tribe first experimented with weaving photographic carpets based on designs from Persepolis. These include motifs such as daffodils in the borders and similar color schemes used over different periods.

4- Rugs with Lion motif

The lion motif is one of the most popular among Gabbeh weavers of Fars, symbolizing bravery and courage, particularly relating to religious heroes. The use of natural materials in Qashqai carpets includes wool from sheep, goat hair, and horsehair. The dyes also come from natural sources. The weaving loom, like other nomadic looms, is horizontal, and the weavers sit on the ground. The warp and weft of older Fars carpets are mostly wool, but due to the scarcity of hand-spun wool and the increased use of factory yarns, both the warp and weft are now often cotton. Fars carpets are woven using both symmetrical and asymmetrical knots.

Special checkered bands at the ends of some carpets and kilims, woven in two colors, are a distinct Qashqai and Luri tradition, not found elsewhere in the weaving regions of the East. Typically, the design of Fars carpets is created from memory, a type of traditional pattern recreation. The knot density varies from 15-20 for Gabbeh rugs to 40-50 for finer carpets. The warping is done in the Turkish manner. The primary colors used are derived from natural sources, with red (from madder) being the most important, followed by blue and navy. The color "doughy" is obtained by soaking madder-dyed yarns in whey, which lightens the red to a pinkish hue the longer it stays in the mixture.

Conclusion

Qashqai carpets are not just beautiful pieces of art; they're a window into the life and traditions of the Qashqai tribe. Each rug tells a story, woven into its fibers, preserving the rich traditions and natural beauty of their lifestyle. At Rug the Rock, we offer a hand-picked selection of Qashqai rugs perfect for those who appreciate beautiful rugs. Feel free to check our collection to find the perfect rug for your home. 

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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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