About Qashqai Rugs
Shiraz, a city in the south of the Fars Province, is a large rug-trading and marketing center, producing rugs and carpets from a number of linguistically different and ethnically diverse weavers. The Qashqai are one of the major rug-producing peoples of the Shiraz market.The Qashqai, a nomadic herding tribe of Turkish linguistic affiliation, evidently arrived in Iran, either with the Seljuks, or later with the Mongols -Ghengis Khan or Timur. They have traditionally herded sheep and horses, and have migration routes that involve moving to lowlands for winter grazing, and then spending the warmer months grazing herds in the cooler highlands and mountains.
The Qashqai weavers produce an exceptionally good rug product, which is valued highly in the Shiraz market. Among many sizes of rugs, they also produce bags, tents, and animal accessories. They are particularly known for their Hebatlu design, which contains 5 medallions, with Turkoman-style “Guls”. Often there are many plants and animals in the ground of the rug. Typically, a red ground is used, but occasionally blue grounds are found. The Qashqai peoples are often in close proximity to various other confederations of Luri, Persian, and Arab nomadic and semi-nomadic peoples, as well as village dwellers. As a result of the interactions and mixing of cultural heritages, the Turkish knot, traditionally used by the Qashqai, is no longer used exclusively by the rug-weaving peoples of the region.
Qashqai rugs have always been known as a superior product, in terms of attractiveness, beauty, durability, and quality of wool.During at least the last century, rugs in the Shiraz market have typically been identified as Qashqai if they were a good product – So, any well-made rug was simply assumed to be Qashqai in origin. This remains the case today, and explains the continued confusion regarding “Shiraz” versus “Qashqai” rug products. Many villagers, and nomadic and semi-nomadic herders, participate in the Shiraz rug market, whichproduces a wide range of weaving products, in terms of quality and workmanship. The Qashqai remain the best known of these peoples. Frequently in association with the Qashqai weavers are peoples, like the Luri, other Persian weavers, and Arab weavers. However, the Qashqai continue to dominate the market in terms of the quality of their rugs, and other weavers continue to produce rugs that attempt to emulate the Qashqai product. The Qashqai quality, fineness of weave, tightness of construction, softness of wool, and beauty, remain largely unparalleled, and as a result the Shiraz market continues to remain largely identified with the Qashqai nomadic weavers.