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Qashqai Rug

An Antique Persian Tribal Rug that I had a chance to examine at Hagop Manoyan Antique Oriental Rugs in New York City. 

Map of the Region

Rahimlu Amaleh Qashqa'i Rug Circa 1920

The Qashqai are one of tribes of migratory herders in Iran. Not really a tribe exactly but rather a tribal confederation of people sharing closely related dialects and ethnic identity. The Qashqai are primarily descended from Turkman or Azeri/Ersari tribes. They speak a language that is in the Southern Azeri/Ersari language family. Some suggest Qashqai is a separate language but I do not think that can be supported. I am pleased to see that the Ethnologue in the most recent edition changed its classification to agree with me.

Social order of the Qashqai Confederation.

The base of the group are small voluntary pasture groups of as few as five families. This group is called an Oba, the same word oba is also used for a single family. Obas group into larger groups called tireh which we might translate as sub-tribe.

The IL-Khan of the Qashqai Confederation is traditionally a man of the Shahilu family of the Amaleh. The Amaleh is the dominant or elite confederation of the Qashqai Confederation. Historically the Amaleh were a small group of the IL-Khans personal household and retainers.

The Qashqai revolted against the Ayatollah Kohmenni in 1980. The CIA set them up and enticed them to revolt. The Qashqa'i were supposed to be supplied with arms through the Israelis. Then the Iran Iraq war started and after 30 days the CIA pulled the plug on the war and refused anymore arms and aid to the Qashqai. The Qashqai held out for two years against the revolutionary guard but they paid dearly in blood. I wrote more about that in: A tale of two Shiraz Rugs on eBay

Khosrow Khan was hung in Shiraz October 8th 1982 by the Revolutionary Guards. He was the brother of the Qashqa'i IL-Khan Naser Khan Qashqa'i. A friend of mine from Teheran used to tell me stories about Khosrow Khan. Her mother had been in his social set.

Related Examples

Qashqai Rug circa 1880

Qashqa'i flatwoven mafrash

Asymmetrical knot open to the left. 

Qashqai rugs average 70 to 170 knots per square inch according to Stone. Traditional Qashqai rugs have all wool construction including wool wefts and warps. Newer village pieces may have cotton wefts and are generally more coarsely woven.

Three Generation of Qashqi

"Three generation of “Qashqi” inside a tent at “Yeilq”. Beddings are placed on top of food sacks and storage containers, and new carpets and cushions on top of all. “Qarvol” plain, near “Abdeh’, Frs." Nomads Of Iran

Please note the Qashqai hat on the man in front. For many years owning one of these hats would bring the Revolutionary Guards down on the owner. For this man to wear one in an image from the State broadcasting company shows a real change in policy.

A “Shesh-Boluki” Qashqi Bridal Chamber

A bridal chamber (Gerdak) set up with gelims. “Shesh-Boluki” clan of “Qashqi” tribes. “Shirin-cheshmeh”, near “Abdeh”.

QASHQA'I: a language of Iran

SIL code:  QSQ
ISO 639-2:  tut
 
Population 1,500,000 (1997), or 2.38% of the population (1997). 
Region Southwestern Iran, Fars Province; southern pasture in winter,
northern in summer. Shiraz is a center.
Alternate names   QASHQAY, QASHQAI, KASHKAI
Classification Altaic, Turkic, Southern, Azerbaijani.
Comments Very close to Azerbaijani. Many are bilingual in Farsi. Nomadic.
Many can read Farsi well. Desert. Rug weavers, pastoralists:
sheep, donkeys, camels. Shi'a Muslim.

http://www.ethnologue.com/show_country.asp?name=Iran


A Qashqa’i Long Rug Circa 1900

I am not an expert on the Qashqai, just a fellow who enjoys reading and making lists. Much of what I got right about the Qashqai I got from Dr. Lois Beck. I do not footnote every detail since I am going on all of her books, some lectures and some conversations. What you find correct in all this is probably from Beck but all errors are my own. Not to say it is all from Beck, Jim Opie, Brian MacDonald and many others have influenced my thoughts on this subject.

For Further Reading:


Thanks and best wishes,

J. Barry O'Connell Jr.

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