Posted by louis_dubreuil on 02-20-2008 03:54 AM:

lurex lur ?

Bonjours à tous

I want to show you this gabbeh rug recently bought. This rug mesures 154x80 cm. Long pile (about 1.5/2 cm), assymetric knot of three threads made of two plyed yarns. About four shoots of wefts between each line of knots. Thick undyed ivory wool warps. Supple handling.

The design is typical of southwest Iran. The rug was sold as Shiraz, from Fars people, with a design copied from the neighbours Yamaleh. For me it is typically Qashgai (or lur ?). The design and the colour scheme is quite stunning.

The rug shows special features : the back displays a stripped design due to the use of alternated colours in the wefts. This decorative effect is reinforced by the use in the red wefts of metallic threads I suppose being "lurex" (see picture).

I suppose that this decorative effect on the rug back is justified by the fact that the rug in its use (bedding ?) can be seen also from the back. There are known gabbeh with pile design on both sides.

One other odd feature is the use for some single wefts of litlle ribbons of cotton fabric (blue violet colour) in place of threads of wool (in french "lirette" weaving).
I have seen this type of non standard material in "boujad" rugs from Morocco. The similarities between unregular moroccan rugs and gabbeh rugs from southwest Iran are numerous : design, use (covers, bedding), non-commercial (at the origin) works, low time consuming weanving process.
This can be explained by just a "convergence" processus (same use and social context give similar weaving products) or by an old artistic/technical common background among weaving nomad societies bringing us back to the neolithic times.

Amitiés à tous


Posted by Richard Larkin on 02-20-2008 07:26 AM:

Great rug, Louis!

Rich Larkin

Posted by Steve Price on 02-20-2008 08:21 AM:

Bonjour Louis

Congratulations on that terrific find. The metallic thread makes me think of Kurdish weavings from the area around Lake Van, in eastern Turkey. Interestingly, kilims made by Kurds in that region typically have a field design of a column of diamonds, as your rug does. The colors are very different, of course, and it's probably just a coincidence that your rugs and Van kilims both have metallic thread and a related field design.


Steve Price

Posted by Jim Allen on 02-20-2008 11:58 AM:

Jim Allen

Here is something rather similar but from much further north. The seller of this weaving said it originated in Zakatala. I just don’t know myself as I haven't seen another similar piece.

Jim Allen

Posted by louis_dubreuil on 02-22-2008 03:41 AM:

lurex and a little rug game

Hello Jim

The back of your rug is more like a "tulu" than a gabbeh;

Here are some ex of gabbeh from the books "gabbeh" (G.D BORNET, TANAVOLI, AMANOLAHI). The design is of the same family than mine.

This one on the left is labelled Qashgai or Lori

the second is labelled Qashgai.

We can find the same design in flat weaves. For ex those two gelims from the Azadi book "Persian falt weaves" :

Those latters are labelled Lors .

Those different pictures do not help for precising the origin of my rug. I think we can follow the dealer's indication : Shiraz market, Fars origin. The indication Yamaleh design can be a reference to a Qashgai design , Yamaleh or Amaleh being a Qashgai migrating tribe. In Fars region we can find Lur or Qashgai tribes. So the rug can be a Qashgai/Lur Fars one.

In order to illustrate the similarity in design between two foreign weaving cultures using "irregular" style I have imaginated a little game.

Here are five rugs, you have to find the gabbehs and the berber rugs among them.

rug A

rug B

rug C

rug D

rug E

Good luck

Posted by Horst Nitz on 02-23-2008 04:11 PM:

Congratulations on that rug, Louis, it's a stunner.

Steve, maybe this is the kind of kilim from the Van-Hakkari area you were thinking of.


Posted by Steve Price on 02-23-2008 04:37 PM:

Hi Horst

That looks like a kilim from the Lake Van to me.


Steve Price

Posted by Richard Larkin on 02-23-2008 06:23 PM:

Hi Jim,

I like your Zakatala. I have seen colors like this in Anatolian weavings that I don't think are especially old. Do you know whether yours is colored with natural dyes?

Rich Larkin

Posted by Jim Allen on 02-23-2008 07:26 PM:


Most natural but some weird artificial ones as well. Fantastic wool and it looks stronger in person than in my picture. I have it hanging in my third floor apartment. Jim Allen

Posted by Chuck Wagner on 02-23-2008 09:19 PM:

Jim, et al,

Actually, the back of that piece looks a whole lot like an Uzbek Julkhyr. I would have expected brown wool rather than an apparently blue ground fabric.

Chuck Wagner

Chuck Wagner

Posted by Jim Allen on 02-23-2008 10:13 PM:


As far as I know all Julkhyrs look similarly from the back. It certainly isn't Uzbek. I don't have any strong opinion about where it is from however. Jim

Posted by danny mehra on 02-23-2008 10:43 PM:

Moroccan vs. Gabbeh


Of the five rugs you posted in your quiz, I'd propose that A and E are Moroccan, and B, C, D are Persian gabbehs. Is that correct?


Posted by Filiberto Boncompagni on 02-24-2008 02:34 AM:


(Of course, moderators cannot participate because it would be unfair.

Posted by Horst Nitz on 02-24-2008 03:06 AM:

Hi all,

A +C have no side borders proper, so this might be a criterion for guessing them Berber. They were very popular in the 1960'ies through to 70'ies together with teak furniture with my parents' generation - so, after this trend declined and if the Marrocan industrie should have chosen to give Berber rugs a Gabbeh appeal at the time the latter were on the way up - they all might be Berber Gabbeh.


Posted by louis_dubreuil on 02-26-2008 11:36 AM:

berber/gabbeh quiz

and the winner is ......Danny.

rug A Boujad rug circa 1940 (216x160 cm), from AZETTA page 151

rug E Ait bou Ichaouen circa 1900/1920 (505x210 cm), from AZETTA, page 140

rug B Lori , Mamasani, circa 1970 (187x111) from Tanavoli GABBEH, page 110

rug C Qashgai circa 1980 (183x104 cm) from Bornet GABBEH, page 54

rug D Lori, Mamasani, circa 1980 (182x139 cm) idem, page 55

As Horst has noticed, berber rugs of this type generally have no borders at all, or just an irregulary crenelated black selvage.
Berber rugs are older than gabbeh ex.


Posted by Chris Countryman on 02-26-2008 09:38 PM:

New view

Could someone please post Louis' beautiful rug sideways? The image is too long to see it all at once on my monitor.

Posted by Steve Price on 02-26-2008 09:47 PM:

Hi Chris

If I just turn it sideways it won't fit on most monitors without scrolling sideways, and scrolling will be needed to read the lines of text when that happens. So, I just made the image smaller for this post. Here it is:


Steve Price