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Gabbeh Carpets – Traditional Craftsmanship of Persian Nomads
The Gabbeh is a hand-knotted Persian carpet with a lengthy tradition. It is one of the nomad carpets that originated in southwest Iran, i.e., in Lorestan Province, which borders on the Zagros Mountains. Nomadic tribes that lived there produced Gabbeh carpets and primarily used them for their own needs. Each rug was traditionally knotted for one individual nomadic tribe member and that same person also used it. The carpets served as sleeping rugs.
Today, nomadic tribes in Fars Province in southwest Iran still knot genuine Persian Gabbeh carpets. Provincial tribes steeped in tradition, such as the Qashqai, Lurs, Bakhtiari, Mamassani, Khamseh and Afschars, still use the Gabbeh today as a sleeping rug.
Only one thing has changed. Gabbeh carpets are no longer solely manufactured for private use, they are also made for worldwide sales. Domestic production of Gabbeh carpets experienced an upturn, especially in the 1980’s. Today, they are still an integral part of the world of high-quality Persian carpets. By the way, Gabbehs are also manufactured in India.
Persian Gabbehs – every carpet is unique
It is a mistake to believe that traditional handcrafted carpets, which have been manufactured for centuries according to unaltered patterns and unchanged techniques, could not be modern and individually distinct. Down-to-earth Gabbeh carpets excellently match contemporary furnishing styles. Even colourful models are unobstrusive because colours are frequently kept discreet. Employed colours (typically kept in beige or red tones) are generally warm and cozy which causes them to quickly evoke a homey living atmosphere. Large fields of colour combined with a few seemingly ethnic-looking figures dominate the Gabbeh’s design. The figures trace back to the nomads’ daily life and are frequently inspired by the mystical folklore of individual tribes. Yet their folklore is not always about figures; rather, it also includes geometric patterns and shapes.
The Gabbeh’s minimalism is therefore visually persuasive. The nomadic carpets contain only a few decorative elements which are inspired by nature and make a highly stylized impression. The Persian word “Gabbeh” means “coarse” or “natural” which is indicative of the Gabbeh’s minimalistic and natural design. The word Gabbeh is likewise indicative of the handcraft itself. Weavers work strictly from memory, without a template. Minor errors signify the Gabbeh’s genuineness and are considered a quality feature. Soft carpets with high utility value If you buy a genuine Persian carpet, you expect both a genuine one-of-a-kind design and excellent quality. Hand-knotted Persian carpets are precisely known worldwide for their unique design and excellent quality based on prized hand craftsmanship in manufacturing and use of high-grade materials. Unlike many inexpensive carpets, a Gabbeh is produced using only natural materials, such as virgin sheep or goat wool. Dyes and naturally extracted plant colours also lend a visually unique accent to each carpet.