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Posted on: March 24, 2020

Vintage Spotlight – Qashqai Lion Carpet

This vintage Qashqai lion carpet has aged beautifully over the last eighty years. That is because it was created completely by hand from natural raw materials. Continue reading to learn more about this carpet’s technical and aesthetic artistry.

This minimalist vintage Qashqai handmade carpet shows an angular-shaped cream lion sitting on a crimson red field with a navy blue and cream mirrored geometric border.

A nomadic villager in the Iranian landscape wove this Qashqai lion carpet in 1940. She handspun the wool from her sheep to create the warp, weft, and pile that would eventually lock together into this work of art. She also steeped the vegetable dye that would produce the deep crimson red in the field and the midnight blue in the border. This 3’4″ x 4’7″ Persian carpet remains in excellent vintage condition because, like Orley Shabahang’s signature carpets, every step of its creation was completed with care by hand following a centuries old tradition.

This minimalist vintage Qashqai handmade carpet shows an angular-shaped cream lion sitting on a crimson red field with a navy blue and cream mirrored geometric border.

Although the color palette of rich red and natural beige is minimal compared to other Qashqai animal rugs, its effect is rather striking. It highlights the powerful image of the carpet’s central lion. This air of strength is no accident. The symbolism of lion in the region’s iconography dates back to ancient Mesopotamia and continues to reappear throughout history. It has primarily been a symbol of power, specifically the divine rights of royalty. The lion’s facial features are also uniquely defined. Calligraphy represents its ear and a decorative hexagon makes up its eye.

This handmade Persian carpet is Orley Shabahang's take on the Qashqai lion carpet. Here we see a black and silver silk lion outline on a cream wool background with black silk ovals around the border.

Love what you see? You can find more information about this authentic vintage Persian carpet on 1stdibs. Additionally, you can see it firsthand at an Orley Shabahang retailer near you. And don’t forget, exquisite rugs like this vintage Qashqai lion carpet inspired Orley Shabahang’s Animal Collection. This collection applies a contemporary twist to classic faunal motifs.