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rug no longer available Luri / Lori (or Kurdish?) khorjin face, end of 19th c.

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Luri khorjin face—click to see enlarged view


A simple small khorjin face, probably Luri / Lori origin, in coarse knotting, A blossoms border on white ground surrounds an octagon on a dark red field that in turn contains on blue ground a crudely drawn latch hook hexagon. Nice colour combination, strong contrast.

All design attributes: the irregular execution of the pattern (may be a child's work?); the pleasing colour variation and improvised nature of the blossom border (not one blossom like any other); the 'false start' of the octagon medallion (interestingly executed in different colours); the simplicity and irregularity of striped secondary borders; together with the volume and coarseness of the weave; all contribute to a charming and improvised feel that seems to emanate from the design. As to the false start medallion: it seems likely that it was abandoned once it became clear to the weaver that its chosen position and size would not leave enough space between medallion and the right edge of the field. Now, it gives the impression of a bowl on top of which floats the smaller, slightly rounded, medallion.

The closing system is very simple: the flat-woven panels are strengthened top and bottom by a blue-green line of oblique twining. There is a nice colour change in two of the closing panels.


The playfulness and design repertoire, the coarseness of weave, and the symmetric knotting would equally fit an attribution to the Luri / Lori and to Kurdish nomads. The palette however is quite light and the design is airy, escaping the 'horror vacui' that in Kurdish pieces so often leads to the use of many filler motifs crowding the space. I therefore think a Luri attribution is reasonable, in spite of the lack of dark brown warps which often distinguish Luri work. But no one knows for sure.

Regarding the age, the natural dyes and weave characteristics suggest a time of production of around 1900. It seems this piece has escaped use which accounts for the pristine condition.

The Luri nomads lived in Fars province in Southern Persia and in Luristan proper (a mountainous region in Western Persia extending eastwards from Khorramabad to the border to Iraq), with some living in the ethnically diverse Veramin area. Where this bag was woven, I am unable to tell.


The bag face measures 1ft.8in. x 1ft.6in. (51 x 46 cm). Knots are symmetrical and very coarse, 6.v, 6.h. (36 kpsi). The warps are ivory wool, with the exception of about five inches across on the right side where white cotton was used. This is an indication of a nomadic origin: in a village setting, weaving supplies would be more easily replenished, in a nomadic context, other materials are used if the original supply runs out. There is evidence for the same (especially regarding pile wool were certain colours may disappear to be replaced by others) in many old weavings. The wefts are light grey-brown wool, 2-4 shoots.

The thin one cord selvages wrapped in light grey-brown wool seem original (same wool as and continuous with the wefts, an integral part of the weave).


An excellent palette of saturated dyes: three shades of madder red (light, medium and a dark red playing into chestnut brown), a lighter and a medium indigo blue, off-white, a light greenish yellow, gold, a reddish and a blackish dark brown. All dyes look derived from natural dyestuff.


This is a real gem: pristine condition, excellent meaty and glossy pile. The bottom end where the piled area once continued into the flat-woven back has been secured. There are no repairs, no stains, holes or cuts, no dry rot, no bleeding or discoloration.

More images

Luri khorjin face - field

Luri khorjin face - lower left

Luri khorjin face - pile fold

Luri khorjin face - pile detail

Luri khorjin face - back side

Last update: 24 February 2007 | Impressum—Imprint