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rug in my possession Small Qashqa'i bag in weft-substitution weave

Qashqa'i bag in weft-substitution weave - opens jpg in same window

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Attribution and age

This nice flat-woven Qashqa'i bag carried out in weft substitution weave (compare Marla Malletts description of the technique) was made near the end of the 19th century. A strap for carrying no longer exists, also a third tassel that probably adorned it once is gone. The beautifully executed repeat pattern, the meticulous treatment of the barberpole sides, the high quality natural dyes and the good state of preservation make this a rather special piece.


The endless repeat design is beautifully balanced and tightly integrated. Set within the fields of a diagonal double lattice which is offset and linked by small red crosses, we find on white ground small read cross-shaped elements that carry a 'window' motif and have a line vertically extending upwards and downwards to the corners of the lattice. The negative space forms twelve small white triangles around each of the red crosses. Rows alternate between blue-green and dark blue windows within the red motif.

The narrow red ground border is framed by white sawtooth lines an carries a simple row of diamonds alternating dark blue and white.

The tassels contained in their upper part by striped wrappings are probably original, including the white shells. They may have been reconnected, though.

The bag is continuous around its bottom end. Across the top of both sides run aditional small borders: set between narrow lines, there is a row of red roundels, on a dark blue ground, each roundel divided into six segments.


The bag measures 1ft.2in. x 1ft.4in. (35 x 40 cm). All-wool construction. The weft substitution weave technique has weft lines that alternate between two colours to form the pattern, having the unused colour float on the backside / inside of the weave where it creates a dense padding. Weft threads of any one colour are double. The weave is very strong, regular and dense. The fabric may be described as a grid of 50 warps per dm horizontally, and about 48 double weft lines per dm vertically. Warps are off-white wool, formed by two z-spun threads in a s-plied strand. The handle of the bag is firm, sturdy and springy without being stiff.


A very simple but effective palette of strong, all natural dyes: madder red, teal green, dark blue dark brown for the lattice lines, and off-white.


Apart from the missing third tassel structurally sound and in excellent condition. There is a slight damage to one of the sides (see images).

More images

All photos are taken outdoors in full sunlight.

Qashqa'i bag - full view

Qashqa'i bag verso - full view

Qashqa'i bag - field pattern

Quashqa'i bag - tassels

Quashqa'i bag - tassels verso

Qashqa'i bag - top right corner

Qashqa'i bag - inside view showing the floating wefts

Qashqa'i bag - Qashqa'i bag - top detail

Last update: 6 September 2011 | Impressum—Imprint