The Qashqai are a group of nomad tribes living in south-central Iran, between the mountains and Bakhtiari province of Kerman. Qashqais are the descendants of the Turko-Persian northwestern Iran that were forced south in large waves in the fifteenth – seventeenth century. Some of the sub-tribes have gone even further south to reach areas near the Persian Gulf, but their Turkish descent is evident in their colorful, geometric rugs. The Qashqai rugs have very warm and magical designs, with colors as the mature terra cotta, the taupe and navy blue. Most of the carpets produced by nomads Qashgai are produced within the ancient city of Shiraz. Good Shiraz rugs are similar, but the carpets outside the city are often of better quality, the opposite of what one would expect.
History & Construction
Visibility: QASHQAI rugs and runners usually have geometric patterns, including geometric animal and bird drawings used both as part of the repeat patterns and as filler ornaments. The borders of QASHQAI rugs and carpets in particular include many highly developed floral designs. As with other nomad rugs, multiple borders are a sign of later weavings.
Quality: QASHQAI rugs and runners vary in quality. Older QASHQAI rugs and runners (around 1950) are very good, but some of the newer ones are made with chemical rather than vegetable dyes and are of lower quality.
Size & Shapes: QASHQAI rugs and runners come in different sizes, but the majority of them are mid-size (4 x 6 to 8 x 10 feet).
Color: The dyes in older QASHQAI rugs and runners (1950 and earlier) are derived from natural sources, including madder red, indigo blue, and the classic gold/yellow hue. It is difficult, however, to find newer ones made with vegetable dyes.
Texture: Soft wool; thin, tight pile.
Foundation: Warps is mostly cotton; wefts is either cotton or wool.
Knots: Inspection of the back of the carpet is important because the weavers in the QASHQAI tribe use flat weave.
You should check the back of the rug because the quality of the rug depends on the number of knots, which varies, but averages around 120 KPSI (30 RAJ).