Fars carpet; the art of Iranian handmade carpet weaving included in the UNESCO World intangible Heritage List
Fars carpet has been involved in the minds of those who interested in this handmade art. With the registration of Fars carpet, or more precisely the skill of carpet weaving in Fars province, the position of this Iranian art in the UNESCO World Heritage List has been established more than before.
Fars carpet is a hint of imagination, and color. The carpet which has gone through many ups and downs, has always been distinguished by its distinctive artistic features. In this article, we will learn more about this Iranian weaving art.
Fars carpet in the course of history
What we know from the ancient carpets of Persia is rarely as old as three hundred years ago. The fact that carpets were woven in ancient Persia can only be proved with the help of written sources. Numerous documents testify that Persian carpet weaving whether carpet-woven or kilim, dates back at least 12 centuries ago. The oldest document that mentions Persian carpets is the property of the treasury of Harun Al-Rasheed Abbasi, which was provided after his death in 193 AH. In the treasury of the carpet of the Caliph, there were a thousand Armenian basats (knotted carpets), three hundred basats of Dasht-e Mishan, five hundred Tabatirs and a thousand basats of Darabjard texture.
In the 1780s and 1790s (1195-1214 AH), merchants of the East India Company in Iran regularly reported the availability of exported carpets in the port of Bushehr. This city was the main port for exporting Persian handicrafts for centuries (until about fifty years ago).
Qol; Qashqai unit of measurement
The unit of length measurement among Qashqai tribes is Qol which is about 50 cm from the fingertips to weavers’ elbows. The dimensions of carpets that for the market, especially in tropics, are the so-called six Qol. It is 3 in 5.1 meters.
Fars Qashqai carpets
Qashqai people enjoy moderate weather in different seasons of the year because of their nomadic life, and it is this temperate climate that makes Persian nomads migrate for long periods of time. More than two-thirds of Fars’ lands are home of various nomads and tribes that have gathered in this area over the years. One of the most important and largest of these is the Qashqai tribe. Qashqais can be considered as one of the most important producers of exquisite and beautiful nomadic weaves in south of Iran. In the texture of Qashqai carpets, wool usually used and sometimes goat hair used for weaving carpets.
The design of Qashqai carpet
Qashqais usually use horizontal looms for weaving. When they move from one place to another, they take the loom with them and reestablish it in the next camp. They will set the pattern of the first carpet as a sample which they call “Dastur,” and weave another carpet. They start with the help of it or sometimes they mentally implement the second plan. The weaving method in Qashqai carpets has remained almost unchanged, while many rural Fars carpets have adopted successive modifications. We can see in the designs that many of the tribal elements or drawings have been adapted. One of the Qashqai weaves is Gabbeh. In the local term of Qashqai tribes Gabbeh is a rug that is woven with better and softer wool. Sometimes the number of rows reaches eight to ten rows and affects the softness of the carpet.
Some experts divide the Qashqai carpet design into two main groups:
Traditional paintings and drawings
Regular designs and drawings.
Common designs of Farsi carpets
The motifs and drawings that are most visible in the carpets of Fars are divided into ten groups. The order of precedence of which here indicates the frequency and pervasiveness of them. It is also the case that each group has sub-branches and groups, and innumerable derivatives, some of which are so simple and concise and accepted in a style that cannot be recognized at first glance. The top ten groups are as follows:
- Bird drawings and bird heads
- Plant motifs
- Bush images
- Animal motifs (cattle)
- Derivatives of swastika or sunflower
- Types of flowers
- Checked shapes
- edged motifs of leaves / fish
- Intermediate quadrilateral arrays of bergamots
Fars carpet variety
Most of the old Persian carpets are made of wool and cotton thread. Weaving used only in areas such as Darab, Eghlid and Abadeh Faragheh mountains and part of the common reed, especially in fine-textured rugs.
The warp threads are not dyed in all-wool handicrafts, as well as in those with silk roots. So the natural color of root wool is always visible. Most of the nomadic carpets are double-breasted, and nearly half of the rural carpets are single-breasted, often used in dyed weaves. For this reason, most of the Qashqai, Baharloo and Arab carpets have a red weave. Most of Neyrizi carpets have white color, and the weaving color of Abadeh is blue. The weaving of Lori carpet is black and brown as well. Most of Fars carpets have a single or two colors. Multicolored heads are more common in Arab tribes and parts of the Bavanat region. Most Persian carpets are woven by these people:
Common features of Fars carpet
Although the carpets of Shiraz are woven by people with various foundations, but in most cases these carpets have the following common features:
1- The dominance of geometric style on all designs.
2- The background of most carpets is free of elastic, and in the center there are one to three lozenges or hexagons connected to each other.
3- Margins consisting of 3 to 7 frames with the superiority of geometric patterns (for example, octagonal stars, split octagons, rhombuses whose perimeter line is a staircase, serrated leaves, although maps called (shapes) that they are composed of rhombus sets and are connected to each other through colored tarmacs.
4- The predominance of colors that are not very light, a texture that is generally soft and loose and of medium weight.
5- The presence of blue and red or oak carpet weaving tape, especially in old carpets.