Qashqai Sub Tribe and Kilims Carpets - The Background
Qashqai or Kashgay Nomadic, semi-nomadic and settled tribesmen of Turkic origin who live primarily in the Fars province of south-west Iran. Their exact origins are obscure – some historian trace their ancestry to the Mongol – Turkic army of Genghis Khan that overran Persia during the 13 century; other argue that they were part of the Seljuk Turkic invasion in the 11th century. There are also suggestions that they arrived much earlier, possible as part of Hephthalite (White Hun) incursion during the 5th or 6th century. What we do know is that after Genghis Khan‘s death, the conquered territories were divided between his children and grand children, who founded Mongol-Turkic khanates. Some of the occupying armies stayed on and were later joined by other Mongol-Turkic migrants who brought with them their weaving traditions and skills.
The Qashqaie themselves claim to have originated in Qashqaria (East Turkistan), although their name may also have derived from a famous tribal leader, Jani Agha Qashqaie, who exercised authority over the tribes of the Fars province during the Safavid era. Regardless of their origins, the Qashqaie have long been among the finest and most prolific of all tribal weaving groups.
Qashqaie kilims are produced in a wide variety of medallion, repeating, all-over, panelled and banded designs- usually with an array of tinny geometric, floral, animal, birds and human forms scattered, apparently at random, across the field and within the main elements of the design. These compositions are usually geometric in essence, but the vibrancy of the Qashqaie palette (with its full range of primary and ochre shades), coupled with the folk-art quality of many of the infill motifs, give many Qashqaie kilims an almost naturalistic feel.
Qashqaie nomads usually use slit weave in kilims which produces reversible kilims and enables relatively complex (mainly diagonal, vertical and crenelated) designs to be woven while simultaneously securing the kilim across its width. This technique requires the weaver to locate a common warp strand –at the junction between two adjacent segments of the design – and then interweave an appropriately coloured weft strand through the intervening warp strands, then wrap it around the common wrap strand, and then interweave it back, through the same intervening wraps, to its original starting-point. The weaver continues, moving diagonally up the length of the kilim, using successive rows of the same coloured wefts until an entire block of colour (which corresponds to a particular segment of the design) has been produced.
The whole process is then repeated for the adjacent design segment, using different- coloured wefts which are in turn wrapped around the same common wrap stands. Eventually, all the various coloured segments of the design will be interlocked across common wraps and, although there are often some unsecured vertical sections (resulting in the small slits from which the technique gets its name), a sufficient number of common warps are shared to stop the kilim from pulling apart across its width. Slit weaving is ideal for producing diagonal, geometric patterns.
We host a handful of these beautiful carpets which can be visit in our store and online at: Qashqai Collection