Antique Spotlight – Qashqai Bridal Horse Blanket

Here at Orley Shabahang, our inventory is vast and includes multiple styles of Persian textiles, some of which are exceptionally rare. In today’s Antique Spotlight, we will be examining this special Persian Qashqai Bridal Horse Blanket. Continue reading to discover more about Bridal horse carpets, their craftsmanship, and the symbolism behind these textiles.

Living in the South-central region of Persia, or modern-day Iran, the Qashqai consist of historically nomadic tribes who travel north and south during the winter and summer seasons. Because of their nomadic lifestyle, furniture or accessory art is often in the textile form to transport. These forms of textiles include wool shawls, hand-knotted carpets, and wool blankets, such as the horse blanket shown here. The best horse blankets were typically ceremonial gifts, showcasing the artistic talents of their creators.

Bridal horse blankets have a symbolic and creative purpose. These blankets, made by the bride, are a gift for their groom before their wedding ceremony. Men would decorate their horses with these blankets to further signify class, manhood, and prestige. These blankets hold symbolic meaning for marriage as well. After the marriage ceremony, the bride would drape the blanket over the husband’s horse. And both would ride from the bride’s home to the groom’s home, symbolizing the transition between their relationships.

The artisan who created this piece utilized a flatweave for the background, a piled weave for the motifs, a Soumak weave for the border, and ornate tassels on the edges, demonstrating multiple weaving techniques to create this intricate and harmonious design. Furthermore, the blue utilized in the flatweave background indicates that the bride was from a royal family and that her marriage was thus of particular significance. Lastly, this Qashqai horse blanket is dated 1330 on the moon calendar. In August 2021, the lunar calendar dates 1443, making this piece 113 years old.

Throughout our conveniently located Milwaukee showrooms, we have hundreds of unusual and rare antique textiles available. Check out to get a glimpse of our Antique collection, and if that isn’t enough, check out our digital showroom at to see more of our incredible pieces.