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Posted on: May 12, 2020

Staff Pick – Japanese Lilies

Orley Shabahang’s ‘Japanese Lilies’ displays a thoughtfully balanced pattern of geometric shapes. Continue reading to learn what inspired architect and textile designer Bahram Shabahang to create one of our favorite designs!

This undyed version of Orley Shabahang's 'Japanese Lilies' carpet is a 9' x 12' woven with a neutral taupe background and a natural dark  grey-brown design. The pattern is a series of interlocking circles separated by series of vertically-oriented rectangular links.

They say a picture is worth one thousand words. This is certainly the case for Orley Shabahang’s ‘Japanese Lilies’ design. Do not let the name fool you, however. Designer Bahram Shabahang created this design based on a quintessentially Iranian subject. This week we discuss why we love this carpet and what its true inspiration was.

This undyed version of Orley Shabahang's 'Japanese Lilies' carpet is a 10' x 14' woven with a neutral light warm grey background and a natural black design. The pattern is a series of interlocking circles separated by series of vertically-oriented rectangular links.

‘Japanese Lilies’ hails from Orley Shabahang’s Art Deco collection. It depicts a repetition of mirrored circular forms divided into columns by a rectangular chain. This handmade carpet’s aesthetic charm is amplified because of the time, care, and artistry that went into every step of its creation. Like every Orley Shabahang signature carpet, this carpet follows a centuries-old method that ensures its quality and longevity.

It all starts with the best raw materials. The wool in this carpet’s pile is handspun from the finest sheep. These sheep are bred to yield an exceedingly high lanolin content. This means that the wool is shiny and naturally stain resistant. Furthermore, vegetable-based dyes are used to tint the wool for everlasting color. Finally, it is handwoven by artisan weavers who have learned this noble craft from previous generations. The attention to detail and caliber of every step comes together to truly bring this design to life.

A detailed image of 'Japanese Lilies' reveals a small circle that is meant to be a Bakhtiari man's head while the larger circle it connects to is a representation of his cloak.

As for its design, Shabahang took his inspiration from the traditional garb of the Bakhtiari people. A vest or cloak paired with a black rounded felt hat is the uniform for the men of this nomadic tribe. Now take another look at the abstracted geometric pattern in ‘Japanese Lilies.’ The smaller circle is the head of the man while the larger circle with a V-shaped void is his cloak falling around his shoulders. Shabahang grew up in Isfahan, a city closely tied to Bakhtiari lands and culture. He also has a strong connection with these people because of their deep rooted history in fine Persian carpet making.

This image shows a Bakhtiari shepherd leading his flock toward a mountain landscape. He is wearing the traditional outfit of a black round felt cap with a long vest.

Visit an Orley Shabahang retailer near you to see this whimsical carpet in person. Alternatively, check out Orley Shabahang’s website to see more of our fantastic original designs. Whether you have a penchant for the traditional, the modern, or the contemporary, Orley Shabahang is sure to have the perfect handcrafted carpet for you.