Posted on: September 24, 2019
Antique Spotlight – Persian Qashqai Carpet
A plethora of geometric motifs are woven into this remarkable antique Persian Qashqai carpet. Continue reading to learn the vernacular meaning behind these linear symbols.
Woven at the turn of the 20th century, this Persian Qashqai carpet was completely handmade for the personal use of its tribal weaver. Like most traditional Qashqai rugs, its creator collected local vegetation to dye the wool that she handspun specifically for this piece. This adherence to centuries-old techniques is why this carpet is in excellent antique condition over 100 years after its conception.
As was the case with authentic tribal rugs of the past, the design is also a creation from the mind and hands of the weaver herself. Row by row, she hand-knotted yarns of reds, greens, and royal blue improvisationally to create this symmetrical beauty. Her depiction consists of a double medallion surrounded by a four-banded border. Her array of motifs may seem rudimentary upon first glance, but their symbology points at anything but.
This antique depicts a Persian garden scene. The four angular white motifs around the central hexagons are birds. If one takes a closer look, the heads of these fowl become apparent. The green semicircles spotted with red are the points where their wings meet. The portrayal of birds is repeated multiple times in the borders of this rug as well.
Furthermore, the artist’s use of groupings of four is an allusion to the classical four elements – earth, wind, water and fire. All of these elements are represented in this antique Persian Qashqai. The sprinkling of flowers throughout the piece depict earth and wind, as do the birds. The royal blue around the central medallions illustrates water, a central element in the Persian garden. There are also four boteh, or paisley, designs in the corners of the field to exemplify fire. This symbol of a flame finds its roots in the ancient Zoroastrian religion that was native to Persia.
To see more of Orley Shabahang’s renowned antique collection, visit our website or our 1stDibs storefront. To see and touch the incredible quality that a truly handmade Persian carpet possesses, visit one of our retailers near you!