Bakhtiari carpet

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Bakhtiari weaving has an interesting and complex history. The Bakhtiari are nomadic pastoralists living in western Iran. Twice a year they would move from their winter pastures to their summer pastures and vice versa. The survival of the tribe was dependent on the well-being of their herds which provided them with meat, milk, and wool, the last of which could be sold or traded at market for other goods or hard currency. With the growing global popularity in the late 19th century of Oriental rugs, the Bakhtiari established workshops outside of Isfahan to accommodate the local, national, and international needs for rugs and carpets. Similar to other Persian tribal people, the Bakhtiari realized they could get more for finished products than raw materials. Often these workshops were managed by local Armenian merchants with the client contacts needed to fascilitate sales over vast territory.
This Bakhtiari carpet uses a design which would become identified with the group; an assortment of various trees, blossoms, and vegetal forms arranged within a field of boxes. The individual forms drawn here and the colors they use are particularly rich and developed. Some of these forms are derived from classical prototypes while others reflect 18th and 19th century Persian village weaving. A classic Persian variant border using alternating palmettes frames the piece.