GABBEH are tribal woven rugs from Fars Province in southwestern Iran, formerly Persia.
The best rugs come from the Qashqai (sometimes spelled Gashgai), a Turkic tribe. They are fiercely independent, possessing great dignity and culture. Their geometric and stylized floral motifs and designs reflect their long cultural and weaving heritage.
The superb wool in Gabbeh Persian carpets comes from the vast flocks of sheep that graze in mountain or valley pastures, depending on the season. The Qashqai hand spin and vegetable dye their wool. They weave the carpets on portable looms of tree branches that sit only inches from the ground. The looms can easily be taken up and brought with them if they need to follow their flocks. It also means the rugs are often irregular in shape, but very unique and durable.
Scattered throughout the rug producing countries of the Middle East are numerous tribal groups of various ethnic origins, the remnants of various historic migrations or incursions. Nomadism is virtually gone but there are still some semi nomadic groups, others have become sedentary villagers living in rural areas. Some of their weavings are geometric in design and others create VILLAGE RUGS with stylized floral rectilinear designs. In this weaving discipline there is no preplanned design. This allows the weavers, for the most part women, to exercise their own creativity which adds individuality and charm. All the more remarkable because they carry the designs in their heads! There is a continued cultural inheritance and integrity in these rugs and as such many are at the level of folk art.
These are for the most part small productions, non commercial in nature, which do not appear in the market frequently and we never know if we will be able to replace what we sell. They are to my mind eminently collectable, as they are pieces of art. Their unique designs, while eminently traditional, have a modern flair that makes them well suited to modern decorating.
See some of Grillo’s beautiful Gabbeh rugs.