Sirjan Rugs

The Sirjan region is one of the richest regions in terms of ethnic diversity, including Turks, Kurds, Lurs, Arabs, Persians, and others who have migrated to or from this area for various reasons over successive periods. Ethnic diversity is a potential characteristic of this region, as each tribe and clan has its own customs, traditions, […]

The Sirjan region is one of the richest regions in terms of ethnic diversity, including Turks, Kurds, Lurs, Arabs, Persians, and others who have migrated to or from this area for various reasons over successive periods. Ethnic diversity is a potential characteristic of this region, as each tribe and clan has its own customs, traditions, and culture that differ from others. Therefore, each of their handicrafts is derived from these same customs, traditions, culture, and outlook. However, to date, these handicrafts have not been introduced as they deserve, and in-depth research has not been conducted on their features, names, design philosophy, evolution, and the beliefs of the people, especially the identity of the weaving tribes and their diversity. Therefore, after ten years of field and library research focused on the handicrafts of the tribes and clans of Kerman province and the Sirjan region, it must be acknowledged that the most challenging part of these books was identifying and distinguishing the handicrafts of different tribes and clans, which was only possible through field research. In this regard, Cecil Edwards wrote: “Nomadic and rural carpets cannot be distinguished from each other. Both types are purchased and sold in the markets of Kerman and then exported to Western countries as Afshari carpets, and I have [chosen] the same name for this product” (Edwards, 1983, p. 243). Parviz Tanavoli has also explained the same issue: “The most complex issue in this section of the book [Afshar: The Handicrafts of Southeast Iran’s Tribes] is the attempt to find criteria and standards for distinguishing Afshari carpets from non-Afshari carpets, and this is not an easy task. The mixture of Afshari and non-Afshari carpets has occupied the minds of carpet experts for a long time and has only prompted a few people to research and think about it. One of these individuals is Edwards, who was in Kerman fifty-one years ago and has valuable information about the carpets of that region.

What is certain is that carpet weaving and rug weaving existed in Sirjan in the past, and with the arrival of immigrant tribes such as Ilaat and Afshar, Buchaqchi, Qara’i, Luri, Khorasani, Shool, etc., to this region, diversity and expansion have been achieved. However, it is not clear when and where the first fabric was woven and by which tribe, which was done simultaneously with the beginning of carpet weaving. Based on archaeological excavations, evidence of the settled people of the Iranian plateau and neighboring lands has been found. For example, in the southeast caves of the Mazandaran Sea (Kamarband and Hotu, near Behshahr), artifacts have been found that prove the breeding of sheep and goats and the spinning of their wool and hair by weavers in this region eight thousand years ago. In this regard, an eight-thousand-year-old piece of goat hair fabric on the coast of the Mazandaran Sea and a six-thousand-year-old cotton fabric from the Shush region have also been discovered, but the exact history of the first woven carpet cannot be determined.

Yarn, Weft, and Warp

Yarn and weft were traditionally made entirely from wool, but in recent centuries, some hand-woven fabrics have been made by combining wool and cotton. Weft in recent centuries is often made from cotton, sometimes with some wool, while in the past it was made entirely from wool, with one type being thick (weft-end) and the other thin (weft-faced). It can be said that creating a beautiful, useful, and high-quality product such as a carpet or rug with tools and materials such as wool and cotton or all wool using simple tools such as a horizontal loom, shuttle, hook, and scissors. These stages include wool washing, carding, spinning, wool twisting, warping, weaving, and finally cutting the rug or carpet from the fabric and washing and finishing it. Usually, this process is done by members of a family in the same region, although nowadays it is often organized by groups.

Characteristics of texture and structure Color and dyeing.

The hand-woven textiles of the Sirjan region, like those of neighboring areas, have a variety of different colors. In the past, natural dyes were used from plants native to the Kerman region, such as walnut husks (shades of brown), pomegranate skins (shades of yellow and beige), mountain straw and jashir (shades of yellow and gold), “mou” leaves (known locally as rose leaves, shades of yellowish-green), “ronas” (shades of reddish-yellow and lacquer red), “golrang” (shades of yellowish-red), “esparak” (shades of yellow), local type of barberry called “zarch kuhi” (pale shades of red), “baneh” leaves and mountain straw (shades of brown and gray), indigo (shades of light to dark blue, purple and green), and a local plant called “terebit” (for shades of yellow). Animal-based dyes such as madder root (shades of light pink to crimson and purple) and substances like white alum were also used to increase the color absorption and stability on wool fibers. However, with the introduction of chemical dyes to the weaving process, the art of dyeing in this region underwent significant changes, and the use of chemical dyes alongside natural dyes became popular. As a result, over time, the quality of some carpets decreased due to the use of chemical dyes. However, in recent decades, many of the hand-woven kilims and carpets produced in this region are made entirely naturally, and this trend continues.

The designs, patterns, and motifs in these textiles are diverse and reflect the local culture and traditions of the Sirjan region. Some common motifs include geometric patterns, stylized floral designs, animal motifs, and symbols of local folklore. These designs are often passed down from generation to generation, and each weaver may add their own personal touch or variation to the design. The use of intricate motifs and patterns not only adds aesthetic value but also serves to convey a message or tell a story. Overall, the textiles of the Sirjan region are a testament to the skill and creativity of the local weavers and the rich cultural heritage of this area.

Various traditional designs and motifs

Sirjan is known for its rugs, kilims, and other textiles, which are made by different tribes and communities in the area. The most commonly woven designs include Farshini, Perzobafi, and Qalibafi, which are characterized by intricate patterns and motifs. These designs are often named after the tribe or community that created them, such as Mousakhani, Bababighi, Pangeh, Shool, and Setareh-ye, among others.

In addition to these designs, Sirjan is also known for its kilim weaving, which is divided into two categories: simple weaving and twisted weaving. Simple weaving involves techniques such as podgari (wefting), podro (weft wrapping), single hooking (connected, warp-bridged), double hooking (pod-pion, warp-pion), hanging warp, extra weft/pod, and chakdar. The most famous and common twisted weaving technique used in Sirjan is Shirikipich, which has been registered as a national and global heritage. The most popular designs and motifs used in kilim weaving include Rah-Rah, Eyebrow Wind, Simple Floor Wind, Five-Triangle Floor Wind, and Thorns.

Overall, the textile art of Sirjan is characterized by its unique designs, motifs, and weaving techniques, which have been passed down through generations of weavers. These textiles are not only beautiful but also represent the cultural heritage and identity of the people of Sirjan.

Texture Features
Sirjan region is one of the important and well-known nomadic (tribal) areas, along with the cities of Baft, Orzueeyeh, Rabar, Bardseer, Shahrbabak, Jiroft, Amberabad, Kerman, Kenouj, Manojan, Ghalehganj, and Rudbar-e-Jonub in Kerman province. This region is divided into two groups of hand-woven products, namely kilim weaving/kilimineh/takhth-bafi and carpet weaving/farshineh/parz-bafi. The kilim weaving technique of the region’s tribes is also divided into two groups, namely simple weaving or pod-gozari and twisted weaving or pod-pichi. The simple weaving group or pod-gozari includes techniques such as pod-nama, tak-ghaleb, joft-ghaleb, pod-malagh, additional pod, and chak-dar (this technique is less used in hand-woven products in Kerman province and Sirjan region). The shirikipich kilim should be mentioned in the twisted weaving group.

Weaving has been almost independent in all tribes of this region, including Afshar, Buchaqchi, Rayeni, Qaraei, Khavajui, Khorasani, Lori, Shoul, and Al-Saadi tribes, as well as Mirparizi-Independent, Mir Mahmoudabad-Independent, Zaidabad-Independent, and Mirparizi tribes in five urban areas (Sirjan, Najafshahr, Paris, Hamashahr, and Zaidabad), five sections (central, Paris, Golestan, Zaidabad, and Bolourd), and ten rural areas (Chahargonbad, Paris, Golestan, Sharifabad, Bolourd, Najafabad, Saadat-Abad, Malekabad, Zaidabad, and Mahmoudabad).

In general, the hand-woven products of the tribes of this region are made by women and girls with horizontal threads, using all wool in the past, and using wool and cotton in recent centuries. Farshineh/Parz-bafi/carpet weaving in this area is often done with the full-loop technique and Turkish/symmetrical knots, and some, especially rural ones, with the half-loop technique and Persian/unsymmetrical knots. They often have two pods – in recent centuries, mostly made of cotton, and in the past, made of wool – one thick (base pod) and the other thin (top pod). Of course, some carpets have been woven with three pods.

In this regard, Peter F. Stone writes: “Afshar carpets are woven with blue cotton weft and have a blue cotton pile. Both cotton and woolen wefts can be seen in Afshar carpets.” [7] However, Parviz Tanavoli writes: “Like most Zagros residents, Afshars use red dyes for their piles. This color sometimes ranges from pale pink to dark brown. Nevertheless, there are many Afshar carpets woven with undyed (mostly cotton and sometimes woolen) piles.” [8] The blue-wefted carpet is made by weavers in the city of Shahr-e Babak or surrounding villages of Kerman (in the same area). Today, Tanavoli’s statement can still be seen in most carpets woven in this area; according to Afshari weavers, the reason for using red dye in that area is the durability of this type of dye and the availability of the coloring material.

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