Antique Salt-Bag, Zaggar Mengal Tribe, Nushki, Chagai, ...

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Recently acquired in Baluchistan, this finely woven namakdan (salt-bag), was made by the Zaggar Mengal tribe in the Nushki area of Chagai Province in Baluchistan during the early 20th century.
Salt-bags, as the name implies, were used for containing rock-salt which was given to the pack animals during long, hot migrations to help in the dehydration process.
This handsome bag, woven in weft-faced plain-weave with pattern wefts floating on the reverse, is in excellent condition, complete with the remains of the tassels, which were attached for good luck.
Size: 55cm x 36cm (1' 10" x 1' 6").

Antique Salt-Bag, Timuri - Sangtschuli Tribe, Borderlands ...

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This is one of the very best salt-bags I've had the pleasure of handling over 40 years of dealing. Just magnificent!
Whichever way you look at it, one face is in very fine knotted-pile, the other side in exceptionally fine weft-substitution weave with highlights of silk.
This namakdan was certainly made by a weaver at the top of her profession and was possibly made either as a dowry piece or made for a very important person.
Made by the Timuri - Sangtschuli tribe in the borderlands of north-eastern Persia and north-western Afghanistan around the last quarter of the nineteenth century, the piled face contains a central water-lily with four fish swimming around it and symbolising happiness.
Superb in every way and highly collectable.
Size: 50cm x 37cm (1' 8" x 1' 2").

Antique Salt-Bag, Timuri - Sangtschuli Tribe, Borderlands ...

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Salt-bags of the Timuri - Sangtschuli tribe are rare as can be seen in this magnificent 19th century namakdan. In excellent condition, the ivory wool plain-weave field of the bag on both faces, depicts powerful symbols - the large, octagonal central lozenge depicting the double-headed Sunbird. The borders are in intricate soumak weave with highlights of silk throughout, possibly indicating that this namakdan was made for a very important person. maybe the chief of this tribe?
Size: 66cm x 48cm (2' 2" x 1' 7").

Antique Salt-Bag, Khalaj Tribes, North-Central Persia.

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This magnificent 'namakdan' (salt-bag) is attributed to the Turkic nomads of Khalaj in north-central Persia.
In fact, these tribes are linked to the Qashqa'i, having fled Turkmenistan in the 11th century with a group of nomads settling in Khalajistan and the rest of the tribe, moving further south-west into Fars Province where we know them today as the Qashqa'i.
This rare and stunning salt-bag, made during the last quarter of the nineteenth century, is woven in weft-float brocade with knotted tufts of wool decorating the front face. Long warp threads emanate from the neck, braided together to form a decorative finish.
Size: 48cm x 46cm (1' 7" x 1' 6").

Antique Salt-Bag, Afshar Nomads, Bardsir Region, Kerman ...

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This salt-bag (namakdan) is as fine as they come. Beautiful soumak weaving throughout with a compartmentalised design and superbly woven at the top opening with slits inserted for the ties to secure the bag during migrations. The neck section on the back of the bag had worn away and I sent the bag back to Iran to have the neck part re-woven, bringing the bag back to its original condition which I see as important on such a rare and stunning bag. This salt-bag was woven by Afshar nomads in the Bardsir region of Kerman Province around 1880.
Size: 49cm x 44cm (1' 7" x 1' 5").

Antique Salt-Bag ('namakdan'), Kurdish Nomads, Persian Kurdistan. ...

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This must be one of the smallest 'namakdans' (salt-bags) I've had the joy to handle! I suspect it might have been made for a young Kurdish shepherd boy, who might have accompanied his father while attending to the family's flock of sheep. The weaver, possibly the boy's mother, was a very accomplished weaver and this can be seen in the quality of this rare and beautiful little utilitarian bag. She may even have depicted her son in the natural camel-hair field, just above the large lozenge, surrounded by the family's animals as well as symbols for protection. Even the diamond-shaped 'eye' in the centre is knotted-in to ward-off evil spirits! The back of the bag is woven in plain-weave technique and the sides are over-bound in wool in a barber-pole design.
Salt-bags were made to contain lumps of rock-salt, used to give to the animals to help in the dehydration process but various nuts were also stored in these bags, such as pistachio and almonds. Rare.
Size: 30cm x 28cm (12" x 11").

Antique Salt-Bag, Afshar Tribes, Kerman Province, Southern ...

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A truly magnificent and finely woven namakdan (salt-bag) in soumak technique on the face and madder-red plain-weave oin the back, made by Afshar tribes in Kerman Province, south Persia during the last quarter of the nineteenth century.
The front face contains a myriad of '8-pointed stars' in a lattice pattern in glorious natural shades of red, sky-blue, aubergine and green. The neck opening retains its original lappits and the remains of ties. I also love the undyed ivory wool braiding on either side of the neck.
In excellent condition, this bag ranks amongst the very best of 19th century salt-bags.
Size: 62cm x 49cm (

Antique Salt-Bag, Kurdish-Jaf Tribes, Kurdistan.

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This rare and exceptional salt-bag ('namakdan' in Persian) was made by Jaf-Kurds during the last quarter of the nineteenth century. The face of the bag is knotted in lustrous, silky wool, comprising the 'double birds heads' symbol in the lower bag with the typical Jaf 'birds-heads' symbol in the neck. Particulary attractive are the long neck-straps with braided woollen cord warps leading to a tuft of red wool, a sybol of good luck.
The reverse of this magnificent bag comprise narrow horizontal coloured bands in plain-weave technique.
Size: 55cm x 45cm (1' 10" x 1' 6").

Antique Salt-Bag, Bakhtiari Nomads, Western Persia.

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I love the simplicity of the ivory cotton plain-weave and the insertion of tufts of wool on the front face and a single tuft on the back. The base of this salt-bag is in knotted-pile to give resilience to the bag during use and a feature generally found on salt-bags and saddle-bags of the Bakhtiari tribes. This unusual namakdan was probably made at the end of the 19th century, is in excellent condition and retains its braided hanging cord.
Size: 55cm x 46cm (1' 10" x 1' 6").

Antique Salt Bag, Afshar Tribes, Kerman Province, ...

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The face of this beautiful antique Salt Bag is woven in extremely fine soumack technique with ivory highlights in cotton and sides bound in goat-hair. The bag is in excellent condition for its age with good natural colours throughout. The back, as seen in one of the photos, is woven in horizontal bands of blue and red plainweave with three dark indigo-blue bands of symbols. Woven around 1870/1880 by Afshar tribes in Kerman Province, southern Persia, this is a highly collectable example of the best of Afshar work.
Size: 63cm x 48cm (2' 1" x 1' 7").

Antique Salt Bag, Shahsevan Tribes of Hashtrud, ...

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This fabulous salt bag was woven by the Shahsevan tribes of Hashtrud in Azerbaijan. It is in excellent condition with wonderful natural colours throughout and a plain-weave back in horizontal bands of coloured and undyed wool. Bags like this are now scarce and I often wonder where the next one will come from! This bag was in a private collection for many years and was well looked after and treasured as the nomads themselves, treasured these prized possessions.
Size: 55cm x 43cm (1' 10" x 1' 5").

Antique Salt-Bag, Kazak Mountains, South-West Caucasus.

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Having been in my own collection for many years, I have found a rug I want to keep and have been in a dilemma as to whether or not I sell this rare and beautiful 'namakdan' (salt-bag) as I need to downsize only a little! Anyway, decision made and here it is - a rare salt-bag made in the Kazak Mountains of the south-west Caucasus circa 1900. The bag is complete with its original plain-weave back and braided hanging cords. I love the knotted-pile face with its 'Kazak lozenge' in the centre and the depiction of a double-headed quadruped and peacock in the neck. The glowing sky-blue 'medakhyl' border frames the madder-red field beautifully. A very collectable little bag which I hope will go to a good home!
Size: 51cm x 42cm (1' 8" x 1' 4").