Posted by Patrick Weiler on 05-07-2003 11:31 PM:


Here is a photo of a gabbeh. It is 3 1/2 feet wide x 6 feet long.

This size is smaller than the "typical" Luri rug. You can see another photo of this rug behind me in my photo in the portrait gallery. What are your thoughts as to the tribal origin?

Patrick Weiler

Posted by Vincent Keers on 05-08-2003 07:03 AM:

Hi Patrick,

Qasqaï at first sight.
All patterns are available in Qasqaï kilims. Except for the fish bone maybe.
New "Gabeh" production can be used as skating boards, if wheels are attached.
Nothing to do with the original. In the 70'ties, the "Gabeh" production
was all brown and white. All sizes available and pliable. Nothing to do with the original.
Think the original had strong colours, high pile and was very pliable. More pliable than
a kilim that was very sturdy and finely woven.
A Test:
It seems the Gabeh is compressed at the upper half.
The triangle border at the top is perfect.
Shouldn't it be at the bottom?
In short: Is it pile up or pile down?
I know this is useless knowledge for most.
But I'm the scatty, knowledgeable useless kind.
Going for a ride on my Gabeh-skateboard now.
Impress some skirts. Useless too.

Why do you call a pillow, a Dutch wife?
Ah.....that's why my act is useless......
I'm living in the land of pillows.....

Best regards,

Posted by Patrick Weiler on 05-08-2003 09:33 AM:

Right Side Up


The rug is shown right side up, the pile is pointing down. The "fish bone" would normally be thought of as a "tree of life" design, but was woven upside down, so it was either an unsuccessful latchook or it was purposely woven with the "top" at the "bottom". It is not a motif I am familiar with from other rugs.
This rug was probably made in the first quarter of the 20th century. It is shaggy yet light-weight due to the 2-to-8 wefts:

The one orange knot you see is what has been described as a "counting" knot. On the right side of this rug, at intervals of about every 6 inches, is one orange knot. There are no corresponding knots on the left side:

The spaciousness of the design and the asymmetry might suggest a possibility that this could have been woven by a Luri woman.

Patrick Weiler

Posted by Tracy Davis on 05-08-2003 10:41 AM:

Patrick, are there any other verified "Lur" gabbehs that you've run across? I don't remember seeing any. And I think when you're talking about gabbehs, "spaciousness" in the design doesn't really mean anything. I'd go with Qashqa'i on this one.

Posted by Vincent Keers on 05-08-2003 10:59 AM:

Let's not forget Bachtiar.
There was an article in a Hali. Can't remember the number.
Think the dead fish can be seen in West Turkisch production. Keyhole design, Bergama.

Best regards,

Posted by Patrick Weiler on 05-09-2003 10:13 AM:


A couple of interesting details from this gabbeh may be informative. The light brown appears to be camel wool. It has a curve, or kink, to it unlike the straight sheep wool used for the rest of the rug.
In this photo of one of the camel medallions you can see the little diamond appendages to the square. These diamonds are quite similar to those surrounding the medallions in one of the Salon rugs. They have different colors inside them. The small squares and crosses in the black border and around the medallion are of different sizes.

Can anything be gleaned from the unusual knotting? From the back, the knots seem to go every-which way, not the typical straight rows, with diagonal jumps and X shapes.

Here is a close up of a rather tall orange knot collar, almost as though it was wrapped three times:

Most gabbehs have been labelled Qashqa'i, Bakhtiyari or Luri. Usually those with darker coloration, dark warps and simpler fields have been labelled Luri.
As for this one, I have never seen one just like it, or close enough to be certain.

Patrick Weiler

Posted by Patrick Weiler on 05-10-2003 12:31 PM:

Lori Gabbehs


The Lurs of Fars apparently were preeminent weavers of gabbehs, along with the Qashqa'i. From Oriental Rug Review comes this excerpt from John Wertime's article, The Weavings of the Lors and Bakhtiyaris: A Fifteen Year Retrospective.

"...Opie's work plus my own observation of the market and reading of the literature on Oriental rugs lead me to believe that the nomadic Bakhtiyati tribes produced few pile rugs. Unlike those of the Lors, most of the pile rugs that carry a Bakhtiyari label seem to have been considerably influenced by sedentary peoples and tastes. One wonders if the extremely rugged terrain traversed by the Bakhtiyaris on their trek between summer and winter quarters was not a deterrent to the weaving of heavy pile rugs, as well as to the use of camels.

While the Lors of Fars are well known for their gabbehs, only recently have the Bakhtiyaris been identified as weavers of such rugs."

The article does not show any Lori gabbehs. There are a couple of publications, including the well known "Gabbeh: The Georges D. Bornet Collection" that show a number of them. This gabbeh, however, is not quite like those that I have seen in these publications.

Patrick Weiler