Glimpses of traditional skills of carpet weaving in Fars

April 11, 2021 - 20:4

TEHRAN – Admired for their intricate designs, lavish colors, and peerless craftsmanship, Persian carpets have not only found their way into households, but also onto workplaces and art galleries to name a few.

Many Iranian cities and regions enjoy a global reputation in carpet weaving, and the carpet weavers of Fars province, located in the southwest of Iran, are among the most prominent.

The remarkable skill, which is passed down from generation to generation, was inscribed on UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity list in 2010 under the name “Traditional skills of carpet weaving in Fars.”  

The history of carpet weaving in Fars is very long and its exact date is not known; however, evidence suggests that carpet weaving in the southern province dates for millennia. Historians point to the presence of carpets in Cyrus’ tomb during Alexander’s invasion of Iran.

The eighth-century AH was the peak of Fars carpet weaving. The fame of Fars carpet in this period was so great that Ghazan Khan asked local artists to weave Fars carpets for his palace. In the ninth and tenth centuries AH, with the presence of more Qashqai, Khamseh tribes, and other tribes in this province, carpet weaving flourished in this region. This art continued until the present and became one of the main features of this region.

Moreover, the nomadic lifestyle has a direct impact on using of elements of nature. People in this area created beauties and these beauties emerged to the Fars carpets gradually.

Regarding the Persian carpet, along with the most famous examples of it, which are the Qashqai and Khamseh carpets, we can also mention the weavings of the surrounding villages in this province.

In addition to the numerous varieties of designs and styles that exist in these types of rugs and carpets, there are also commonalities, such as the existence of geometric designs or the use of cheerful colors that are inspired by the nature of this region. The most important common denominator among all types of Fars handicrafts is the loose texture of the knots and their lightweight, and of course, the dominance of geometric designs can be seen at first glance.

Due to the high volume of Fars carpets woven by nomadic women in this region, the loom carpet used for it is different. For example, unlike many areas, the loom carpet in this area is mostly on the ground and horizontal so that it can be easily moved during migration.

Fars carpets usually have a mental design and are woven in pairs or with a rug. The first carpet is called the “order” carpet, and the carpet or rug is woven with the ordered rug with the help of its design or mentally and inspired by the order carpet design.

Traditional motifs or patterns are often woven mentally and have a geometric structure. The most important feature of this type of Fars carpets is symmetry weaving. Fars Carpets are woven symmetrically with traditional motifs from their horizontal or vertical halves.

For weaving Fars carpets and rugs, according to the UN cultural body, wool for the carpets is shorn by local men in spring or autumn. The men then construct the carpet loom – a horizontal frame placed on the ground – while the women convert the wool into yarn on spinning wheels. The colors used are mainly natural: reds, blues, browns, and whites produced from dyestuffs including madder, indigo, lettuce leaf, walnut skin, cherry stem, and pomegranate skin.

The women are responsible for the design, color selection, and weaving, and bring scenes of their nomadic lives to the carpet. They weave without any cartoon (design) – no weaver can weave two carpets of the same design.

Colored yarn is tied to the wool web to create the carpet. To finish, the sides are sewn, extra wool is burned away to make the designs vivid, and the carpet is given a final cleaning.

All these skills are transferred orally and by example. Mothers train their daughters to use the materials, tools, and skills, while fathers train their sons in shearing wool and making looms.

The ancient region of Fars also spelled Pars, or Persis was the heart of the Achaemenian Empire (550–330 BC), which was founded by Cyrus the Great and had its capital at Pasargadae. Darius I the Great moved the capital to nearby Persepolis in the late 6th or early 5th century BC.

The capital city of Shiraz is home to some of the country’s most magnificent buildings and sights. Increasingly, it draws more and more foreign and domestic sightseers flocking into this provincial capital which was the literary capital of Persia during the Zand dynasty from 1751 to 1794.


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