Afshar Rug/An Introduction on the Carpets of Iran

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The main population of Afshar tribe is in Northeast Iran, mostly in Zanjan and West Azerbaijan, Kurdistan, Ghazvin, Hamedan and northern parts of Markazi province (Saveh, Borchelou).
Afshar tribe, a Turkish race, is speaking in Azeri, dialects of which are different in different folk groups like that of Abhar Inanlou.
"Afshar" is derived from "Oshar (swift in Azeri) which was entitled by Nader Shah to his soldiers. Afshar, one of the biggest nomad tribes IS situated in Northwest Iran; like other nomad tribes widespread, tending toward settlement in recent decades. However, three places are noted for the immigration of this tribe.

Summering Places

In spring and summer seasons, they settled in Hamedan Asad Abad Mountains, Kurdistan Chehel Cheshmeh Eastern Spillways, Bijar Pir Mahmoud Mountains, Ghorveh, Angouran Mahanshan, Belgheis, Damir lou, Ghaflan Kooh Mountains, and Allier southern Mountains.

Intervening Wintering Places

With the weather becoming cold on the outset of autumn, tribe folks were coming down from summering places gathering along streams flowing into the main branch of Ghezel Ozan, in Garmab and its surroundings( west of Zanjan). This is called 'Una Ghestilaghs (Intervening wintering place) of Afshars.
Ceremonies, feasts, shooting (archery) matches and horse riding were held at this time, after which nomads sat off their final wintering place following deals in Zanjan bazaar.

Final Wintering Places

The distance covered by Afshar tribe from their middle wintering place to the final destination was about 250 to 350 kilometers and their tribe was moving from Abhar Rood and Khara Rood to Kharaghan, Karaj surroundings and at last Saveh and Corn surroundings, the main wintering places. The summering and wintering place road was the tribes' route from a long time ago and even Mad era.

Raw Materials and Weave

Afshar hand-weaves have quality raw materials and weave. Afshars have woven different kinds of weaves from a long time ago with no overt start time of weaving. Afshar tribe has a sheep breed homonym with this tribe yielding excellent and long piles, only existent in dark color. Tribal women sort out yams, turn them to hand-spun piles and apply them to carpet, kilim, Hint gloves and saddle.
Afshar carpets among tribal and rural carpets feature a high density. and good quality They are woven in all sizes: Rug sized, Zar' and a half, Zar' and charak, Pushti, Runner, Doormat, Kharak. Afshar carpets were produced as "Takht Baf" (flat-weave) and "Nim-Lool" (semi-offset warps) in old times: currently as "Lul-Baf" (completely offset warps). The knot, symmetrical (Turkish) knot, is tied by hand.
In past when most Afshar weaves were flat, 100% woolen carpets were produced. Dark brown wool was often used for warp yam since it had enough strength without demanding dyeing. Yams from cotton are today used in lieu of woolen warp and weft and Lul-Baf (completely offset warps) is now prevalent Thick weft is usually in white and red and thin weft in grey and red (pink). 30-45 row count is common in different Afshar regions. Connective Selvedge (wefts wrapping edge finishes) in most carpets and Zanjireh (weft chaining in webbing end) through the use of colored pile in flat-weave carpets at the upper and lower ends are used. In some regions, "thread weft" is used for more density.

Design and Coloring

Afshar carpets come in a variety of designs but common designs are Medallion and Corner, Shah Abbasi Afshan, Fish, Gul Farang Afshan (Bunch of flowers), Ghabi (Gul Mirza Ali), Zel-l Sultan Vase, Botteh.
One of the characteristics of Afshar designs is the motif repetition and a mixture of designs with a steady and regular tone. Most Afshar carpets have been woven by Ornaks (a piece of carpet, on the basis of which other carpets designs are formed), in some regions by image and from memory.
Star Medallions, Shamseh and Hexagons peculiar to Afshar designs are used.
Borders are usually narrower than the rug size and various designs like Phoenix and Dragon constitute dominant designs of the region.
Designs are pectinated and geometrical.
12-15 color continuums, some of which are natural dyes of wool, are applied.
In old carpets, colors are glossy; the gloss is for surface scales friction of quality wool. The wool of Afshar sheep breed is dark in brown continuum and the possibility of light colors is zero in dyeing.
Red from madder, blue from indigo and other colors are extracted and used in dyeing. The number of colors reaches 8 to 12 colors. Dominant regions of carpet weaving can be referred to as Takab, Shahin Dezh, Bijar surroundings, Zanjan, Yaskand, Bidgineh, Gholtogh, Shahrak, Khor Jahan, Garmab, Fareydoun, Ola Boyk, Dadezin, and Borchelou.