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

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Illustrated in my 3rd edition 'Tribal Rugs - Treasures of the Black Tent', this magnificent storage-bag or 'khour' in Persian, was woven in intricate complementary weft-weave technique by Qashqa'i nomads during the last quarter of the nineteenth century in Fars Province, south-west Persia.
The work, as described in my book, is exemplary, bearing in mind the bag was an everyday utilitarian item, used to contain and transport clothes, bedding, pots and pans etc. and shows the skill and artistry that went into making these bags. The sides, handles and loops at the top are bound in strong goat-hair for resilience.
This is a rare and beautiful work of nomadic art which has been in my personal collection for many years and to which I have now decided to part with - rather sadly!
Size: 90cm x 69cm (3' 0" x 2' 3").

Antique Storage-Bag 'rakhtekhab-pich', Luri Bakhtiari Nomads, The ...

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Large storage-bags called 'rakhtekhab-pich' by the Luri/Bakhtiari and 'mafrash' by the Turkic tribes, of this age and fine quality, are scarce these days. This complete bag is similar to a stunning pair of saddle-bags illustrated by James Opie in his 1992 edition of 'Tribal Rugs', page 111, showing the ivory cotton side panels and top flaps with the interlinking columns of double-headed sun-birds, symbolic guardians of the gates of Paradise.
Sometimes it's hard to visualise how these beautiful bags can be displayed in the home! To make the best out of them, they need to have either foam cut to the interior size of the bag thus showing the bag in its full glory or having a wooden frame built to house the interior of the bag. Only then, it can be seen as a fabulous piece of woven furniture in the house and making a wonderful talking-point.
Size: 140cm long x 66cm wide x 56cm deep (4' 7" long x 2' 2" wide x 1' 10" deep).

Antique Khorjin (saddle-bags), Bakhtiari Tribes, The Chahar ...

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Just acquired from a private collection, this beautiful, complete Bakhtiari khorjin (saddle-bags), woven in soumak technique in the Chahar Mahal region of western Persia at the end of the nineteenth century. This khorjin was originally sourced in Iran in the 1940s by a man who travelled into Bakhtiari territory buying rugs and bags from the nomads. The khorjin is in near-mint condition with its original ties and lappits and knotted-pile base at the bottom of each bag. The back is woven in plain-weave technique with narrow horizontal bands of reds and blues.
Size: 1.15m x 0.56m (3' 9" x 1' 10").

Antique Bag-Face, Timuri Tribes, Borderlands of Eastern ...

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This is one of the earliest types of design found on bags knotted by the Timuri tribes during the early 19th century. Once part of a double saddlebag, bag-faces like this are extremely rare.
The colours are beautifully saturated with highlights of an early aubergine colour and the four central panels contain pre-Islamic symbols, lost in the passage of time.
Very collectible.
Size:- 59cm x 46cm (2' 0" x 1' 6").

Antique Vanity-Bag, Afshar Tribes, Kerman Province. South ...

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Woven in soumak technique, this stunning little 'chanteh' (vanity-bag) was made by Afshar nomads around 1900. Bags like this were highly-prized possessions amongst the nomads - for their own use only and never intended for sale or commercialism.
The front face of this chanteh consists of various stylised birds and animals - at the very top, a stylised peacock symbolising divine immortality and prosperity. The back of the bag comprises horizontal panels containing symbols - very meaningful to the nomadic woman who made this bag but lost in the passage of time!
The bag is in excellent condition with original selvedges, bound in different colours.
Little bags of this high quality today, are extremely rare with most being in private collections. This chanteh has just come out of a private UK collection where it has been treasured for many years.
Size: 26cm 23cm (10" x 9").

Antique Pillow-Bag, Baluch Tribes, Khorassan Province, North-East ...

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Just in is this beautiful 'balisht' or pillow-bag, made by Baluch tribes in the province of Khorassan, north-east Persia around 1900. Balishts had to be finely knotted using the very best glossy wool, bearing in mind their purpose as a pillow where the head was placed during sleep. Balishts were also used for lounging on inside the tent during the day and evening. This handsome balisht has a natural camel-hair field with stylised 'tree-of-life' rising up from the underworld, through the earthly world and into the realms of the spirit.
Few balishts that come on the market these days are complete with their plain-weave backs, unlike this fabulous one which does have its plain-weave back and is in excellent condition.
Size: 88cm x 50cm (2' 11" x 1' 8").

Antique Saddlebag-face, Afshar Nomads of Aqta', Kerman ...

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This beautiful bag-face is an early example of Afshar work, dating to circa 1870 from Aqta' in the province of Kerman, south Persia. The golden-yellow main border is very interesting and one needs to look closely to see the depiction of two birds, opposing each other on either side of a stylised 'tree of life' on the top and bottom borders and on the side borders, camels opposing each other. These are popular symbols amongst the Afshar tribes. The field design seems to comprise a highly stylised lotus blossom amid vegetal patterns embellished with geometrical motifs but it might also stem from the open-winged eagle - an ancient Persian motif. Once part of a double saddle-bag, this face is all that remains. The superb, vegetable-dye colours are beautifully saturated and it is in very good pile all over.
Size: 61cm x 56cm (2' 0" x 1' 10").

Antique Balisht, Kizyl Bash Tribes of Varamin, ...

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This beautiful knotted-pile weaving was once a pillow-bag ('balisht' in Persian) albeit now without its plain-weave back. The juxtaposition and natural colour of birds-heads lozenges is simply stunning and this has to be seen to be fully appreciated. The remains of the madder-red plain-weave back can be seen at one end.
Made by Kizyl Bash tribes in the Varamin region during the last quarter of the 19th century, the piece is in superb condition.
Size: 77cm x 38cm (2' 6" x 1' 3").

Antique Saddle-Bag, Afshar Nomads, Bardsir region, Kerman ...

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The natural ivory-wool ground of this Afshar half saddle-bag, contains stylised roses surrounded by a main border depicting stylised camels.
The bag, made circa 1880, which was once, one half of a pair of double saddle-bags, has long lost its partner, although this half bag is complete with its madder-red plain-weave back with slits and lappits at the top.
Size: 63cm x 67cm (2' 1" x 2' 2").

Antique Vanity-Bag, Qashqa'i - Kashkuli Tribe, Fars ...

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This is one of the finest woven little vanity-bags - 'chanteh' in Persian - that I've ever handled.
Woven by a woman of the Kashkuli taifeh, Qashqa'i Confederacy during the second half 19th century in Fars, south-west Persia, the incredibly fine soumak weave on the face is astounding. Sadly, there is some minor damage to the lower 'birds-heads' lozenge, as can be seen in the close-up photo, but this still doesn't detract from the overall beauty and rarity of this piece.
The back of the chanteh, which also has some damage, is woven in madder-red plain-weave with intricate weft-float brocade at the very top.
Apart from the damage, this is a truly beautiful and very collectable little bag.
Size: 28cm x 28cm (11" x 11").

Antique Half Saddle-Bag, Qashqa'i Ard Kapan Taifeh, ...

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The stylised 'scorpion' depicted on an attractive ivory central lozenge send a powerful message to live scorpions - keep off!! Whilst living with the Qashqa'i back in the early 1970s, I remember an elderly Qashqa'i woman explaining to me that weaving scorpions into their rugs and bags was to ward off live scorpions! I can say that sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn't!!
This extremely attractive half saddle-bag was made by the Ard Kapan taifeh of the Qashqa'i confederation towards the end of the nineteenth century and is in excellent condition.
Size: 56cm x 56cm (1' 10" x 1' 10").

Antique Pair of Mini Bags, Bakhtiari Nomads, ...

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A truly charming pair of mini saddle-bags made by Bakhtiari nomads around 1900-1910 in the region of the Chahar Mahal in western Persia. Unlike the lage saddle-bags ('khorjin' in Persian), these tiny bags were probably made for containing coins, even jewellery. Little bags like these are rare today and this pair have just come out of a private UK collection.
Size: 38cm x 20cm (1' 3" x 8").