Gabbeh

Village rugs from the Fars region in southern Iran. The simplicity of its geometric design and minimalist colors have made these very coarse yet fine wool naturally dyed carpets a must have since they began making them in the 1930-50’s with such vibrancy in colors it made these the favorite of the cold harsh winters with its plush thick piles. Even the women in this region were colorful in their attire to a point where you would think they were draping the carpet over their shoulders albeit heavy, but think bright pink, reds, greens, oranges natural black made from coal and indigo, a feast of colors so bold yet beautiful. Here you could put semblance to Navajo Indian rugs, zigzag designs, and multi colored checkers, a single tree, medallions and many a times a bird or two or three could be seen.

The Gabbeh carpets simplicity was naïve and that’s what made them popular and as these were taken over to the western world especially the US since they resembled many a Navajo style it brought instant recognition and fame. The particular tribe that made these was the Luri Tribes, who today are still there and still weaving the Gabbeh carpets but more so than ever it’s become a commercial business.

No longer do you see the innocence of the weaver as you did then, they would see a tree or a flower and weave it in the corner, even their own prized sheep’s from whom they have got the most plush wool were part of the design I many pieces in the corners 3 or 4 would be seen woven, a few girls or boys dancing during harvest another naïve design is what was seen In those days.

Due to the natural environment, clean air, cold climate and spring water is what made the wool once mixed with its natural dyes their colors vibrant. A lot of them also had interesting borders, wide and open 2 or 3 layered and the rest was a centre field. Nomadic yet tasteful.

The modern Gabbeh are nice too, but do not have the feel of the old pieces, they are harder to the touch and not as pliable. It’s very difficult to find old pieces made in the 1950’s and in the late 80-90’s the prices shot up as supply ran dry and even after that not many showed up, but an example is shown here of one from the 1960’s

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