Antique Balisht (pillow bag-face), Baluch Salar-Khani Tribes, ...

Item Ref
BM/ZM

I acquired this very rare and finely knotted Baluch pillow-bag-face (balisht) around 1978 on my return from Iran and apart from it being in my personal collection for many years and then sold to a private collection several years ago for a short period, it has now been returned to me! This beautiful bag-face with its 'tree-of-life' on a camel-hair background represents, to these nomads, the 3-level universe where the roots of the tree are in the underworld, the trunk is in the earthly world and the branches are in the realms of the spirit. Although sadly missing its flat-woven back, some border loss top and bottom and replaced selvedges (not seen in this photo as currently being done) this is probably the finest balisht I've ever come across. Highly collectable and illustrated in my book 'Tribal Rugs - Treasures of the Black Tent' it was made by the Salar-Khani tribe around the third quarter 19th century.
Size: 91cm x 43cm (3' 0" x 1' 5")
POA

Antique Vanity-Bag (chanteh), Qashqa'i Nomads, Fars Province, ...

Item Ref
BM/ANR

Just found, a very fine chanteh (vanity-bag) of the Qashqa'i nomads of Fars, south-west Persia, made around 1890-1900. The bag is complete in very fine knotted-pile, lustrous wool and a fabulous plain-weave back in two shades of vegetable-dye green. The overall design on the knotted-pile front consists of a myriad of '8-pointed' stars disappearing under the borders and out into infinity. The base of the bag is beautifully brocaded in typical Qashqa'i quincunx pattern.
Size: 30cm x 28cm (12" x 11").
POA

Antique Vanity-Bag (chanteh), Qashqa'i Nomads, Fars Province, ...

Item Ref
BM/NR

Just found, this beautiful small 'chanteh' (vanity-bag) of the Qashqa'i nomads, made circa 1890-1900 in Fars Province, south-west Persia. The bag is in excellent condition, complete with plain-weave back, all vegetable colours and good soft, lustrous woollen pile consisting of '8-pointed' stars disappearing under the borders and out into infinity.
Size: 30cm x 28cm (12" x 11").
POA

Antique Pair of Saddle-Bags, Timuri Tribes, Western ...

Item Ref
SJ2

Complete 19th century saddle-bags like this one are becoming scarce, as many were cut in half during the early commercial part of the 20th century, to sell as cushions. Therefore it's important that those complete 'khorjin' should be preserved. The Timuri produced probably the most elaborate saddle-bags, particularly as can be seen here in the brocade work that constitutes the bridge. Both knotted-pile bags are in very good condition, as is the plain-weave back. Made in western Afghanistan circa 1880.
Size: 1.28m x 0.56m (4' 2" x 1' 10").
POA

Antique Prayer-Rug, Timuri Tribes, Western Afghanistan.

Item Ref
SJ1

This unusual and charming prayer-rug (namazlik) was made by Timuri tribes in western Afghanistan circa 1900. The overall condition is excellent with soft, shiny wool and highlights of silk and yellow cotton. The rug is complete with attractive brocaded skirts at each end.
Size: 1.27m x 0.81m (4' 2" x 2' 8").
POA

Antique Prayer-Rug, Kordi Tribes of Quchan, North-East ...

Item Ref
BM1328

Just in, this rare and unusual flat-weave and brocade prayer-rug made by Kordi tribes in the Quchan region of north-eastern Persia, circa 1890-1900. The overall condition is good with very slight wear in the lower part of the rug.
Size: 1.22m x 0.74m (4' 0" x 2' 5").
POA

Antique Half Saddle-Bag, Baluch Tribes, North-East Persia. ...

Item Ref
BM/MT

A charming and relatively rare half saddle-bag with an indigo-blue field of cockerels - symbolically the harbinger of the day and dispeller of the night. The bag is in fairly good condition although it has seen wear during quite possibly, a hard life! The back is missing but otherwise complete all round with lappits at the very top. Bags made by the Baluch with cockerels in the field are considered quite rare and collectable. This bag is by no means 'best of type' but charming nevertheless, and this is reflected in the price.
Size: 71cm x 69cm (2' 4" x 2' 3").
£750

Antique Gabbeh, Luri Nomads, Luristan, Western Persia. ...

Item Ref
BMac12

Old gabbehs are rare and particularly in good condition. They were heavily used by the nomads for everyday rugs in the tents and for use as blankets during the long cold nights. Therefore few of this age survive and today have become very collectable in the world market.
This wonderful old gabbeh, made by Luri nomads in western Persia circa 1890-1900, has beautiful soft, lustrous wool, all vegetable colours and with a bold geometric design.
The use of sky-blue in the outer minor borders is particularly attractive.
Size: 2.10m x 1.28m (6' 11" x 4' 2").
POA

Antique Qashqa'i Rug, Bolvardi Taiefeh, Fars Province, ...

Item Ref
BM/RS3

The indigo-blue abrash gives the impression of looking into the sky with birds sitting in the branches of trees - symbolically, the carriers of the soul from the earthly world to the world of the spirit! The rug, made by Bolvardi - Qashqa'i nomads around 1900, is of a nice small square size and has immense charm.
Size: 1.53m x 1.32m (5' 0" x 4' 4").
POA

Antique Luri Rug, Luristan, Western Persia.

Item Ref
BMac11

A charming little rug made by Luri nomads around 1900 with a madder-red field of small shrubs or flowers. The rug is in very good pile with complete ends. The selvedges have been re-bound, otherwise no repairs whatsoever.
Size: 1.30m x 0.99m (4' 3" x 3' 3").
£1,750

PAIR of Antique Tabriz Rugs, Tabriz, North-West ...

Item Ref
BMac10

It's unusual to find a fabulous pair of Tabriz rugs that have remained together for over 100 years. They were acquired by a British family living in Iran during the early 20th century and handed down through the family until now. I acquired them because the family concerned were down-sizing and sadly couldn't use them any more. I've had them deep washed and both rugs have turned out beautifully - their glowing indigo-blue field and intricate detail in the central lozenge and spandrels just stunning. Made around 1880-1900, I am selling the rugs as a pair as it would be sacrilege to separate them after all this time.
Size: 1.76m x 1.17m (5' 9" x 3' 10").
POA

Antique Balisht, Baluch Tribes, Khorassan Province, North-East ...

Item Ref
BMac5

The wool quality in this 'balisht' is soft and lustrous. Of course it had to be, as the 'balisht' was a pillow-bag for resting one's head on at night and for lounging on during the day. Balishts are quite different from grain-bags which were much coarser in weave and wool quality and used for harder work. Many antique balishts found today have had their backs removed by unscrupulous dealers who thought they had a better chance of selling them as small floor rugs! This beautiful example is complete with original plain-weave back, made by Baluch nomads around 1900 with a natural camel-hair field.
Size: 89cm x 43cm (2' 11" x 1' 5").
£850

Antique Flat-Weave, Kurds of Eastern Anatolia.

Item Ref
BM/NZ

Here we see a beautiful quality flat-weave, woven in two sections due to the narrow looms used, and made by Kurdish nomads around 1900 in eastern Anatolia.
The flat-weave has lovely natural colours and is in very good condition.
Size: 2.10m x 1.50m (6' 11" x 4' 11")
£1,150

Antique Kilim, Qashqa'i Tribes, Fars Province, South-West ...

Item Ref
BM1281

An attractive kilim made by Qashqa'i nomads in south-west Persia during the early 20th century and in excellent condition.
Size: 2.90m x 1.52m (9' 6" x 5' 0")
£950

Antique Bijar Rug, Bijar, North-West Persia.

Item Ref
BMac3

This charming little rug in full, lustrous pile, was made in the Bijar region of north-west Persia during the first half of the 20th century. The overall design, in natural colours, is called in Persian 'herati' - symbolising two fish swimming around water-lilies in a water-garden.
Size: 96cm x 70cm (3' 2" x 2' 3").
£650

Antique Qashqa'i Rug, Shekarlu Taifeh, Fars Province, ...

Item Ref
BMac2

This Qashqa'i - Shekarlu rug is just fabulous. In very good overall condition, albeit with the selvedges replaced, the rug has glowing full-pile shiny wool. The indigo-blue field contains a myriad of tribal symbols, typical of the Shekarlu palette. The border too is typically Shekarlu but this rug has to be seen to be really appreciated.
Take a look at the detail images to get a better idea of the natural colours. Made in the second half of the 19th century in Fars Province, south-west Persia, this is a rare and highly collectable rug.
Size: 2.21m x 1.71m (7' 3" x 5' 7").
POA

An Introduction to 'TRIBAL RUGS'

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The term 'Tribal Rugs' loosely refers to the carpets, rugs and trappings of the nomadic peoples of Anatolia (Turkey), the Caucasus, Persia (Iran), Afghanistan and Turkmenistan.
The very best and most collectable rugs and weavings date to before 1900 - those that were made from high quality hand-spun wool and vegetable dyes. However, there are some exceptional pieces that were made into the 1930's where certain tribes were unaffected by the introduction of chemical colours which appeared in the East from the late 19th century and happened to destroy the use of the age-old natural colours.
Today, exceptional tribal rugs are rare and hard to acquire from a dealer's point of view, and those private sources and collectors acquiring such pieces from a dealer, are generally, in many cases, getting a 'very good deal' in a market obsessed with the so-called 'vintage' look.
Since my days living with the Afshar and Qashqa'i nomads, back in the 1970s, I have been passionate about acquiring the very best quality 19th century and earlier rugs and weavings of the nomadic tribes, something I carry on with today and will continue to do so until I'm on my way to Paradise - if I'm to head in that direction!!
My website, I hope, displays those rare and exceptional carpets, rugs and weavings, all broken down into their tribal categories.
So please enjoy looking at those works of woven art and maybe you too, will find the incredible pleasure that they have given me over the years and still continue to do so.
Let your heart be your guide!
Brian MacDonald.
POA

Antique Qashqa'i Rug, Bolvardi Taifeh, Fars Province, ...

Item Ref
BM/BD2

This charming little rug with its beautiful light-green outer and inner borders, was possibly made by the Bolvardi taifeh of the Qashqa'i Confederacy circa 1890. The rug is in lovely condition with beautiful soft, glossy wool and a depiction of various animal life throughout the central field.
Size: 1.27m x 0.81m (4' 2" x 2' 8").
POA

Antique Soumak Carpet, Daghestan/Kuba Region, Eastern Caucasus. ...

Item Ref
BM/SMK

Just in, this stunning decorative Soumak carpet has wonderful, soft natural colours and is in very good overall condition bar some tiny areas requiring minor restoration. Acquired in Spain, it was apparently acquired by the family in 1909. I estimate the age is somewhere between 1880 and 1900.
Size: 3.20m x 2.24m (10' 6" x 7' 4").
POA

Antique Turkmen Chuval, Teke Tribes, Akhal Oasis, ...

Item Ref
BM/TC

The madder-red field in this exceptionally fine Teke chuval (bedding-bag), can be compared to the most desirable reds in the weavings of the highly collectable Salor Turkmen. The chuval has highlights of cochineal-dye silk and was a very special piece when it was made. Although there is a small area of moth damage and the original selvedges are missing and the flat-woven back has long gone, the chuval still exudes power and intense beauty - a sign of the very highest quality work of the Teke weavers during the third quarter of the 19th century.
Size: 1.18m x 0.66m (3' 10" x 2' 2").
POA

Antique Turkmen Chuval, Sariq Tribe, Turkmenistan, Central ...

Item Ref
BM/JS2

An attractive chuval (bedding-bag) made by Sariq Turkmen circa 1900-1920. The bag is missing its original flat-woven back and is now more suitable for floor use.
Size:
£475

Antique Salt-Bag, Zaggar Mangal Nomads, South-East Persian ...

Item Ref
BM/FC2

A finely woven little salt-bag, made circa 1900 by Zaggar Mangal nomads in the south-east borderlands with Baluchistan. The back is the same as the front - beautiful work.
Size:
£475

Antique Bag-Face, Kurdish Tribes, Kurdistan.

Item Ref
BM/KB

This bag-face was once part of a large saddle-bag and lost its other half at some point in the past! Made during the early 20th century, the side borders are missing and new selvedges added.
Size:
£175

Antique Turkmen Mafrash, Ersary Tribes, Northern Afghanistan. ...

Item Ref
BM/ET

A charming little mafrash (personal belongings bag) woven in brocade technique with plain-weave cotton back. Made during the early 20th century, the bag is in very good condition.
Size: 81cm x 36cm (2' 8" x 1' 2").
£175