254 x 148 cm
2nd quarter of 20th century
Antique Persian Qashqai rugs (sometimes spelled Ghashghai, Kashgai, or other variations) are beautiful and intricate, Tribal pile rugs. They get their name from Persian nomadic tribes that have lived in what is now southwest Iran for centuries. The Qashqai people lived in central Asia and the Caucasus region for many centuries before moving to their current home region. Because of this diverse history, influences from many regions are apparent in their carpets. Discerning viewers may recognize similarities to the artistic styles of the Turkmen people, Caucasians, and other tribes that live near them today.
Antique Qashqai rugs will typically feature dark reds, saffron golds, and rich blues. These jewel tone rug colors were available to the ancient tribes with vegetable-based dyes, and today they are still often incorporated into the design despite the availability of a wider range of dyes. This is both a tribute to their past and a sign that Qashqai weavers refuse to sacrifice quality for easy-to-use synthetic dyes. Traditionally, the Qashqai tribes wove the designs into the antique rugs from memory, without the help of a pattern to copy.
Many Persian Qashqai rugs also used to feature multiple borders, since this allows the weaver to incorporate even more colors and designs. Some of these Persian rugs feature tassels or fringes along the short ends, though this is not a requirement.
Designs in the fields of these rugs feature many different images. Medallions, geometric shapes, and abstract patterns are common, but so are recognizable objects. The Qashqai people did not write down their history or stories, but would often weave them into their rugs. The antique Persian Qashqai rugs are said to tell tales and record their daily lives. They frequently depict people and animals, but also common household objects, including combs, trees, flowers, and possessions.
These Persian tribal rugs are created on vertical looms by making thousands of knots. The quality of a rug can be judged, in part, based on the density of the knots used to weave the carpet. The nomadic lifestyle of the Qashqai tribe meant that they required durable and good-quality rugs. This is why authentic antique Persian Qashqai rugs are made from hard-wearing wool and cotton. Although they are soft to the touch, these rugs do not feature a deep, overly thick pile. This is one reason why the Persian Qashqai rugs are highly sought after by modern home-owners who want durable rugs for high-traffic areas.
Today, it is possible to find Qashqai area rugs and runners. These vary in size, but tend to be approximately four feet to nine feet long and four feet to six feet wide. These rugs are often made on cotton foundations with soft wool pile.