There are two things that the Iranian Bakhtiari tribe is famous for: their annual migration over Zagros mountains and exquisite carpets. Characterized by their deep jewel-toned palette and elaborate patterns, antique Bakhtiari rugs are sough-after by both collectors and aficionados due to their rarity and beauty.
Almost all Bakhtiari Rugs designs include a central medallion, a characteristic trait of many types of Persian rugs. In the past Bakhtiari designs underwent a chain of changes inspired mostly by weavers of Isfahan, a neighboring town. When Bakhtiari craftsmen were trying to imitate classic floral patterns of Persian carpets, their simplistic geometric designs became more elegant and complex resulting in a completely original creation. While flowers are a popular motif appearing on this type of carpets, khesti, a garden motif, is undoubtedly utilized most often. Complex designs of Bakhtiari carpets are the proof of their creators’ skill. A typical oversized carpet can take up to 6 years to make and dye, but the final effect is definitely worth the wait. Natural dyes and lanoline-rich wool allowed to create wonderfully soft pile and stunning color palette. While the most popular hues are red and blue, it is possible to find also yellow and white.
However, until the 1930’s few people were aware of their existence. Before that Bakhtiari rugs were made by tribe for tribe or commissioned by locals. Thanks to that, the process of weaving was not commercialized, resulting in the highest quality products. After they were “discovered” by Westerners, some weavers started to modify their patterns, creating Guli Farang, translated as “Foreign Flower”, believed to originate from English cabbage-like flowers.
The size of Bakhtiari Carpets can vary from very narrow to oversized, although the biggest ones tend to be the most rare. Rugs with highest knot density, known as Bibibaff, are considered the most precious, while Chapel Shotur and Saman are slightlyer. Hori carpets, on the other hand, are of looser weave and inferior quality and as such are generally widely affordable.