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

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Utterly charming in its depiction of various birds and goats and a powerful 'tree-of-life' rising up from the underworld, through the earthly world to the world of the spirit. The undyed ivory central panel is woven in plain-weave with the surrounding borders and stylised creatures in knotted-pile. I can only surmise that this odd weaving was made as a dining sofreh where the nomads would sit cross-legged around it at mealtimes and eat the food placed on this sofreh. Nevertheless, it is truly nomadic and would make a fabulous wall-hanging.
1.27m x 1.12m (4' 2" x 3' 8").

Antique Vanity-Bag, Qashqa'i Nomads, Fars Province, South-West ...

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This superb vanity-bag ('chanteh' in Persian) has been in our collection for many years but now it's time for someone else to enjoy it as we have done. Made by Qashqa'i nomads in Fars, south-west Persia at the end of the 19th century, the bag is complete with knotted-pile face incorporating the 'continuous knot' symbolising the eternal cycle of life and a fabulous back, brocaded in soumack technique. Bags like this are now incredibly rare and few of this age exist amongst the Persian nomads today.
Size: 26cm x 23cm (10" x 9").

Old Baby Carrier, Kalamantan, Indonesia.

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A rare baby carrier from Kalamantan in raffia technique incorporating a beaded figure in the centre with bone amulets and cowrie shells.
Size: 49cm high x 27cm dia. (1' 7" high x 11" dia).

Old Beaded Baby Carrier, Dayak Tribe, Borneo, ...

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An early 20th century baby carrier made by the Dayak tribe of Borneo with full glass beaded panel and decorated with amulets - bone discs and teeth, brass bells and metal rings. It also has its original lining and wooden base as can be seen in the photos attached.
Size: 30cm x 48cm semi circumference.

Old Turkmen Bracelet, Teke Tribes, Turkmenistan, Central ...

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A charming 20th century Teke Turkmen silver bracelet set with 3 table-cut carnelian stones.

Antique Turkmen Bracelet, Teke Tribes, Turkmenistan, Central ...

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This beautiful silver Teke Turkmen bracelet is fire gilded and set with 3 table-cut carnelian stones.

Antique Baluch Rug, Ali Mirza'i Tribe, Khorassan ...

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The wonderful soft colour palette in this Ali Mirza'i Baluch rug of madder-red and indigo-blue is subtle and beautiful at the same time. The very slight corrosion to the dark-brown dye within the field gives the whole rug a 3-dimensional feel. It is in excellent condition and retains its fabulous kilim skirts at each end.
Size: 1.88m x 1.05m (6' 2" x 3' 5").

Antique Saddle-Bags, Shahsevan Tribes, Moghan, Azerbaijan.

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Small 'khorjin' (saddle-bags) like this are rare these days. Most were cut in half by unscrupulous dealers in the bazaars of Azerbaijan, Turkey and Iran being more saleable as individual bags. Therefore few complete bags survived. This small khorjin is extremely finely woven in soumack technique comprising double-headed birds in the centre of each bag symbolising the guardians of the gates of Paradise. The ivory cotton border is beautifully drawn with spacious symbols all the way round.
The khorjin is complete with plain-weave madder-red back.
Size: 67cm x 28cm (2' 2" x 11").

Antique Salt-Bag, Shahsevan Nomads, Moghan Region, Azerbaijan. ...

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This unusual but utterly charming 'namakdan' (salt-bag) is piled on both faces and was made by Shahsevan tribes in the Moghan region of Azerbaijan at the end of the 19th century.
Size: 44cm x 30cm (1' 5" x 1' 0").

Antique Mafrash Side Panel, Shahsevan Nomads of ...

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I love the immense power being generated by this fabulous reverse-soumack panel which at one time, was the side of a complete 'mafrash' - a large storage bag. Many of these beautifully made bags were difficult to sell in the western markets and dealers in the bazaars of Azerbaijan and Iran would simply undo the stitching holding them together or cut them up, and sell them more easily in the form of individual panels. The specific weave used in this panel indicates that it was woven by the Shahsevan nomads of the Karadag region, probably during the early - mid 19th century.
Size: 78cm x 33cm (2' 7" x 1' 1").

Contemporary Suzani, Lakai Uzbeks, Uzbekistan.

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The creation of an ancient art can be seen in this beautiful small Suzani, finely embroidered in silk, by Lakai Uzbeks in Uzbekistan in the last few years. Stunning!
Size: 89cm x 48cm (3' 0" x 1' 7").

Antique Baluch Tribal Rug, Khorassan Province, North-East ...

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Just very occasionally, a fantastic Baluch rug comes my way - and it is a rare occurrence these days!
This is such a Baluch. This is a wonderful example of the best type where the weaver has used fabulous dark and sky indigo-blues and that highly desirable glowing tomato madder-red. Made around the mid 19th century, the weaver originally planned to use ivory for the inner minor border but then changed her mind and used a light sky-blue colour instead. Charming! Just look at the main border with its rendition of the 'hashie anguri' or grape-vine - powerful and beautifully drawn. To start and complete the rug, the weaver has intricately woven brocaded skirts - another highly desirable and collectable feature in the best of 19th century Baluch rugs.
I love this rug!
Size: 2.14m x 1.07m (7' 0" x 3' 6").

Antique Turkmen Engsi, Teke Tribes, Turkmenistan, Central ...

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The Engsi had a very important symbolic meaning to the Turkmen. Hung at the entrance to the Turkmen Oy (yurt), facing inwards, it represented the gateway to Paradise. Looking at it as you see it in the photo, the lower panel symbolised the sky-door leading to the central '4 gardens of Paradise'. Once in one of these gardens, the person leaving the earthly world, was spiritually secure. The pentagonal shape at the top is the 'kejebe' - a symbol representing power and fertility to the owner of the rug. This engsi was made by the Teke tribe around 1870-1880 and is in very good condition.
Size: 1.40m x 1.13m (4' 7" x 3' 9").

Antique Baluch Rug, Ferdows Region, South-East Persia. ...

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This is an unusual and lovely antique example of the Ferdows group of Baluchis, made during the last quarter of the 19th century. The rug has an attractive palette of light and dark blues, golden yellow, ivory and madder-red.
Size: 1.30m x 0.80m (4' 3" x 2' 7").

Antique Torba, Igdyr Turkmen Tribe, Turkmenistan, Central ...

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This handsome little torba (small personal belongings bag) comprises three 'trees' in the central ivory field - symbolising eternal life in Paradise and the 3-level universe, where the roots of the tree are in the under-world; the trunk in the earthly world and the branches in the world of the spirit. Made by the Igdyr Turkmen around the middle of the 19th century, torbas from this group are a relatively rare find today. The Igdyrs are listed amongst the Oguz as early as the 11th century and inhabited the Khorezm Oasis with a proportion of the tribe living in the northern Caspian region. This torba is complete with its plain-weave back, woven in undyed sheep's wool.
84cm x 38cm (2' 9" x 1' 3").

Antique Tibetan Flint Pouch, Tibet.

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A charming little flint pouch with flint still inside, and made in Tibet during the 19th century.
Size: 9cm x 5cm (3" x 2").

Antique Vanity-Bag, Qashqa'i Nomads, Fars Province, South-West ...

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Tiny vanity-bags ('chanteh' in Persian) from the 19th century are now very scarce and rare.
I found this one in Turkey last week - a beautiful small chanteh made by Qashqa'i nomads, in Fars Province, south-west Persia circa 1900. The lozenge in the indigo-blue knotted-pile field contains 'birds-heads' - symbols depicting the guardians of the gates of Paradise and the charming plain-weave back with 'zig-zag shapes which might very well symbolise flowing water.
The knotted face is very fine and the wool is soft and velvety.
Size: 30cm x 26cm (12" x 10").

Antique Tribal Purse, Qashqa'i - Darrehshuri Nomads, ...

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This is the cutest little 'khorjin' (mini saddlebags) probably used as a purse because of the small size. It is woven in a technique called 'shesha derma' by Darrehshuri Qashqa'i nomads at the end of the 19th century. Bags made using this shesha derma technique are very rare in todays market-place.
Size: 38cm x 17cm (1' 3" x 7").

Antique Salt-Bag, Bakhtiari Nomads, Western Persia.

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This wonderful old 'namakdan' (salt-bag) was woven in soumack technique by Bakhtiari nomads in western Persia during the 3rd quarter of the 19th century. The weave is extremely fine and the tiny highlights of white throughout, is cotton. The base of the bag is in knotted-pile comprising a row of '5s' - a quincunx symbol for warding off evil and protecting the contents of the bag. This is a rare and early example of Bakhtiari work.
Size: 56cm x 49cm (1' 10" x 1' 7").

Antique Turkmen Torba, Salor Tribe, Turkmenistan, Central ...

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This beautiful torba was made by Salor Turkmen in Turkmenistan circa 1880 with the use of cochineal-dye wool.
The Salor were once the most powerful, noble and aristocratic Turkmen tribe up until the early 19th century when they were heavily defeated in battle with the ruling Persian Qajars and from this they did not recover. Later on, they were badly defeated again by the Teke and Sariq Turkmen and they moved away from what had been their homeland and eventually settling in the Sarakhs Oasis - a sad end to a most noble tribe. Today, carpets, rugs and trappings which were made by the Salor are highly collectable and rare to acquire.
Size: 1.07m x 0.26m (3' 6" x 10").