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Posted on: July 14, 2020

A Brief History – Afshar Carpets

The historically semi-nomadic Afshar tribe makes up an integral part of Iran’s tapestry. They are of Turkic origin from the lands of northern Persia. Presently, however, the Afshar people reside primarily in southern Iran after centuries of relocations under successive Persian kings. As a result, Afshar carpets do not have the distinct characteristics that many other Persian carpets have. Even though their techniques and motifs vary significantly from clan to clan, they are all known for their durability and longevity.

This Persian Afshar carpet circa 1890 consists of a hand-knotted handspun wool pile and natural vegetable dyes. It is a marriage carpet from the village of Heriz and features two central bouquets of flowers in red, blue and green amid a bright cream field, surrounded by an intricate border. The size is 4'9" x 6', and it is in excellent antique condition.

Afshar carpets run the gamut among tribal rugs. Their weaving style and design depend on the geographic location of the particular weaver and tribe. Because of their Turkoman roots, they take influence from Caucasian weavers. This is apparent in the outlined rectilinear forms and bold coloring. Afshar rugs, however, are more detailed than their Caucasian forefathers. This detail adds a level of sophistication whether the motifs are geometric or floral.

For example, some Afshar carpets have all-over patterns. These are often woven by the Afshar tribes in southeastern Iran near Kerman. The influence comes from their Balochi neighbors. Alternatively, the Afshar people weaving in northwestern Iran employ angular medallion layouts. This shows the impact of Kurdish carpet design in the area. Afshar rugs from this area also follow the weaving style of Kurdish Bijar carpets. They have heavier weft threads and pile knots when compared to their southern counterparts.

Whether the design falls into the geometric Caucasian category or the curvilinear rosette variety, Afshar carpets pair incredibly well with traditional and modern decor. Find your perfect handmade Afshar carpet at Orley Shabahang today!