PERSIAN BAKHTIARI ORIENTAL RUGS
Bakhtiari oriental rugs woven before 1950 were examples of tribal rugs, which are traditionally smaller rugs, with wool yarns hand knotted onto a wool foundation. The nomadic lifestyle of these sheep herding tribes, moving their stock from winter to summer pasture, dictated the necessity of smaller and easily movable looms, using the wool from their sheep for the foundation and pile of their rugs.
Sometime in the middle of the last century, these nomadic tribes began to settle in various villages in Western Iran. Weaving looms that did not have to be seasonally moved could be larger and sturdier, making the production of larger size rugs possible. The use of cotton for the foundation of the rugs also became more and more common. Baktiari rugs woven today use wool pile knotted on cotton foundations.
BAKTIARI ORIENTAL RUGS - WAVING LOCATION TODAY
The Bakhtiari oriental rugs of today are woven in a large number of villages located in an area of Western Iran known as Chahar Mahal.
It must be noted the weavers of Bakhtiari oriental rugs are typically not of Bakhtiari tribes, but rather a number of tribes under the rule of Bakhtiaris. The rugs coming from this region are all referred to as Bakhtiari rugs. The rugs produced by these formerly nomadic tribes share common designs, structures, and color palettes.
Often, place names are used to refer to the origin of the pattern and the quality of the rug, rather than to the place of actual manufacture. As an example, Saman, Hori, Chahal Shotur and Bibibaff are names used to refer to certain Bakhtiari rugs.
The Bibibaff have a high knot density and are considered one of the best, whereas the Hori are of looser weave and inferior quality. The Chahal Shotur and Saman rugs are considered to be of lower quality than the Bibibaff but are of good quality nonetheless.
Generally speaking, Bakhtiari rugs are made of very good wool with the knots thoroughly beaten down to make the rugs thick and solid. They are considered to be one of the most durable and long-lasting of Persian rugs.
Bakhtiari oriental rugs have 2 predominant designs that are relatively easy to recognize, making them good examples for our study of Oriental Rugs by Design.
1. Garden Panel Design (Khesti)
This is the most common design with individual squares (sometimes rectangular, diamond, or hexagonal) decorated with animals and plants. Each compartment will have a different (and complementary to the others) color.
The motifs include trees such as the willow and the cypress, grapevines, vases, and birds, etc. Direct influences from the designs of the nearby Persian Isfahan rugs include tree-of-life motifs as well.
To read more about Persian Bakhtiari oriental rugs and their design and construction complete with photos, please continue here.