Kilims or Gilims are flatwoven textiles with a woollen weft on a woollen, goat hair or cotton warp. There are many different techniques and designs. The weaver normally works within a tradition of techniques, motifs and designs specific to a particular area or ethnic group. The designs relate to her natural surroundings, protection, fertility and the harmony of family relationships. Each weaver adds something from her own creativity and sense of composition. Kilims are often woven as part of a marriage dowry and can be used to create many different objects like storage bags, horse-blankets, baby carriers, blankets and wall and floor coverings.

This vintage kilim was hand-woven on a simple loom by a village or nomadic weaver for her own use. Probably the weaver used wool from her own sheep. The wool was first cleaned, then hand-carded, hand-spun and finally dyed by hand, often using natural dye materials like roots, nuts, berries, fruits, flowers and plants. Kilims from the last quarter of the twentieth century mostly use synthetic dyes. This kilim would have taken many months to complete.

All our kilims selected in the country of origin and are professionally washed and restored before we import them directly from Iran, Turkey and Afghanistan. Natural patina and charming imperfections in design and colour (abrash) are highly valued characteristics of hand-woven kilims.

The Afshar, one of the main Persian tribes, are among the most scattered of the Turkic peoples and there are still recognizable groups of Afshar in Azerbaijan and Khamseh inthe north west, Khorasan in the north-east, Kerman in the south, and still within their ancient homelands of Khuzestan. Afshar have adapted to their local environments by integrating with the people, adopting many distinctive features of their rugs and kilims. There is a dense and heavy feel to Afshar kilims other types lack.

Sofrehs take their name from the Farsi (Persian) word for cloth and are used for several functions connected with preparing and eating food. Eating cloths are normally referred to simply as sofrehs and vary enormously in size-from small, rectangular mats for personal use to extremelly long, narrow runners for communal eating. They are woven in several standard techniques, including alternating bands of kilim and pile rug, and produced by a number of nomadic and tribal weavers in Iran, Afghanistan, Central Asia and to a lesser degree, elsewhere.

This sofreh or kilim for food functions is from around 1960. It is very densely woven so it will hold up well in a high traffic area. At a later date, the same weaver, or perhaps another, added the colorful embroideries all over it.

Material: 100% hand-spun sheep wool              

Size: 132×125 cms

Origin: Afshar tribes, Irán

Date of weaving: 1960s

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