White-ground Persian Afshar Rug

White-ground Persian Afshar Rug


183 x 128 cm


This white-ground Persian Afshar rug dates to the late 19th century.

The Afshar are a highly fragmented tribe found in parts of Turkey and various parts of Iran. Their history is linked to the movements of Turkic tribes from Asia east of the Caspian. The largest group of Afshar is to be found in the area south of Kerman, where they mingled with other tribes and villagers. This mingling is reflected in their weavings, showing traces of different traditions and very diverse patterns. As Tanavoli points out, the Afshar created carpets that were “a combination and synthesis of Kerman and Turkoman traditions” (in: Tanavoli, Parviz, Afshar. Tribal Weaves from Southeast Iran. MATN Institute for Authorship, Translation and Publication of Artistic Works, Iranian Academy of Arts. Tehran, 2010, p. 41): as far as design is concerned, they combined the floral traditions of Kerman weavings with the more geometric patterns inherent in Turkoman pieces.

The rug in hand is a good illustration of this marriage of traditions. Its all over design of shield-like patterns which, according to Tanavoli (op.cit., p. 115), are called “demon head” designs by the Afshar, contains both floral elements while at the same time being geometric in layout. A rug with the same field design is in the cited publication (p. 115, Plate 46); it is attributed to the Sirjan area. Occasionally, the same “demon head” design can be found in Afshar bags (see for an example on this website https://www.christopherleggeorientalcarpets.com/products/view/late-19th-century-afshar-khorjin/ ).

The white ground gives the restricted colour palette a great lift.

The rug is woven in wool on a wool foundation and is in very good condition.