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Photos: The Making of Bakhtiari Rugs


Photos by Mahmoud Raeissi, Islamic Republic News Agency

The Bakhtiari tribe, based in Chahar Mahaal and Bakhtiari, is well-known for their rugs and weavings. They have been weaving rugs exported around the globe since the early 19th century.

While originally woven by nomadic Bakhtiari, most authentic Bakhtiari rugs are woven in Bakhtiari settled communities in west central Iran southwest of Isfahan, Chahar Mahaal and Bakhtiari and parts of the provinces of Isfahan, Lorestan, and eastern Khuzestan. However, their patterns are copied in other weaving centers in Iran, Pakistan, India and China.

Bakhtiari Rugs are based on a cotton foundation (warp) with a wool weft usually taken from the herds of the producing tribe. This leads to unique carpets that differ depending on the characteristics of each tribe's wool. The wool can range from dull to extreme glossy and the resultant pile is clipped medium to high. The best carpets with the highest knot density are often known as Bibibaff. Prices range considerably with the highest knot density rugs generally being the most expensive, but criteria such as dyes and pattern factor in. Chapel Shotur and Saman pieces are rated slightly beneath Bibibaff productions, but are still considered to be excellent. Hori carpets are of inferior quality and as such, are generally widely affordable.

Chahar Mahaal and Bakhtiari province, Iran (View Larger Map)

Patterns are usually floral or garden inspired. The Khesti, an established garden motif is perhaps the most well-known rug design. The carpet is divided into individual squares with animals and plants acting as symbols. Another influential design features a decorated field with lattice designs and floral ornaments.

The use of colors varies depending on styles of certain tribes. Generally they include shades of white, reds, browns, greens, and yellows. Interestingly, blue does not appear to feature. Natural dyes produce a variety of color, particularly obvious on older Bibibaffs. The carpets are considered among the most durable Persian carpets. The sizes also vary from narrow hall carpets to large room designs, often up to 4 x 5m. The larger rugs tend to be very rare and harder to come by. (read more on wikipedia)


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