KASHGHAI

The Kashghai are the most powerful of all Persia’s nomad tribes. Their area extends from Isfahan down towards Shiraz. They are a proud, freedom-loving people, whose black goatskin tent house a wealth of portraits of shot rebel ancestors. The men have a reputation as outstanding horsemen, the women as great carpet weavers. Th carpets are the tribe’s own product from beginning to end. The Kashghai spin yarn from the wool cut from their own sheep, and color it according to their own recipes with dyes made from plants picked around the camp. The numerous different patterns are also their own. The women weave them from memory. As with all nomad carpets, the patterns are geometrical, mainly with one to three rhombus in the field. A characteristic feature is their richness of detail. The weavers often improves, deviate from family’s traditional pattern and put in the occasional odd figure. The drawings are naive, mostly of birds, animals, horsemen, and trees – the living environment of the camp. Or stars, symbols and various small ornaments that recall the Caucasian carpets. The Kashghai came from the Caucasus four centuries ago.

The borders are always tasteful and imaginative, displaying infinite variety : finely patterned bands, oblique streaks, stepped motifs, garlands and tars. Truly illustrated carpets are rare, typical, however, is the three-trunked Tree of Life, a Trinitarian symbol of heathen origin. The older, finer and smaller carpets are also termed “Mecca Shiraz” . These were originally sold in the bazaars of Shiraz, and pilgrims used to take them to Mecca as prayer carpets. Both warp and weft are of wool. The warp is often dark, since it is usually of goat-hair. The wool is soft and has a great deal of animal fat in the fibres, giving the carpets an attractive lust re. As already mentioned, the dyes are vegetable. The shade most appreciated by the Persians themselves is a subdued rusty red. Older carpets in this color are in great demand.

The most frequent sizes are. c. 6 * 4ft and 5ft * 3ft 3in. The Kashghai also make very attractive saddle cloths, and camel and donkey bags.

The quality grading’s are as follow :       4

No. of knots per inch

length breadth No. of knots per sq in

A           11          13            143

B            8           10             80

C            6            5              30