Mazandaran Lahaf (Sleeping Quilt)

Mazandaran Lahaf (Sleeping Quilt)


235 x 158 cm / 7''8''x 5'2''


This Mazandaran Lahaf, or sleeping quilt, was made in the latter part of the 19th century in the high mountain range located between Mazandaran and Semnan Provinces in northern Iran.

The top layer consists of four panels of a Sangsar jajim (for another example of this type on our website, see A jajim is a flat woven textile made in great lengths in a narrow loom width and then cut to the required length and assembled with other panels to form a cloth serving a variety of functions, in this case that of a sleeping cover.

Jajim weaving incorporates a number of different weaving skills, and it is usually the work of one woman to produce a jajim, from the carding and spinning of the wool through to the weaving itself.

Loose, unspun wool is used for the filling. An indigo dyed cotton fabric serves as the backing as well as the framing of the jajim on the front, much like a passepartout on a picture.

These lahafs were and sometimes still are used for bedding  in village houses, the colourful jajim as the top cover rolled up, serving as decoration at the back of the living space when not in use during the day. Since they were exposed to continuous use, they often became damaged or the wool inside became flattened. As recently as 20 years ago, a man on a bicycle with a bow and a bolt of cloth would travel around the towns and villages and take damaged lahafs to pieces, fluff up the wool filling with his bow and sew on a new backing, obviously reusing the decorative jajim . It is, however, difficult to find them in good condition to buy today.

The piece in hand is one such example in very good condition.