Qashqai rugs are woven by the notoriously colourful Qashqai tribe- Iran's last roaming tribe in existence. Almost completely self-sufficient, they rely upon the health and well-being of their flock, which provides the invaluable wool from which they produce beautiful hand-woven rugs, saddle bags and more to trade with nearby towns and cities.
In the summer the tribe travel up through the cool Zagros mountains where they hold an annual shearing, harvesting the wool from their sheep to produce items of practical and decorative use. In the winter months they return to southern Iran, selling any surplus materials and produce, including crafts, to the markets of Shiraz. It's from here that the world receives the vast majority of the beautiful hand-woven pieces that the tribe produces.
Characteristics of Qashqai Rugs
As Qashqai rugs are sold and marketed in Shiraz, they are often mistakenly identified as being from Shiraz. The fact that Shiraz produce their own rugs that are very similar in appearance only adds to this confusion. Ultimately, Qashqai and Shiraz rugs can be differentiated through the quality of their weaves- Qashqais are consistently superior in quality.
Qashqai rug designs are usually inspired from the surrounding animals, flowers and people of the weavers, which are then woven by memory in a primitive geometric style. Diamond shaped central medallions and abstract shapes are also commonly woven in a geometric style.
The tribe's rugs are always woven entirely from wool and are dyed with natural vegetable dyes.
Examples of Qashqai Items
The Qashqai tribe first and foremost produce items for their own practical use- hence saddle bags and small handwoven mats for sitting on are common. Larger decorative rugs are also woven by the Qashqais to add comfort and warmth to their living quarters. Symbolic rugs are often woven for special ceremonies such as weddings and as welcoming presents.
Pictured below in order: Qashqai rug, Qashqai bag, Qashqai rug, Qashqai runner