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What is Gabbeh ?

Gabbeh - Bakhtiari carpet
Gabbeh is a type of traditional Iranian carpet woven by nomadic tribes and pastoralists in Iran. These carpets differ from other Iranian carpets due to their simpler weave and often minimalistic designs. Gabbehs are known for their comfort, durability, and natural charm, and have become one of the most popular handmade carpets in recent years. In this article, we will take a closer look at Gabbeh, its history, characteristics, materials, weaving methods, and applications.

Gabbeh - Bakhtiari carpet

What is Gabbeh?

Gabbeh is a type of traditional Iranian carpet woven by nomadic tribes and pastoralists in Iran. These carpets differ from other Iranian carpets due to their simpler weave and often minimalistic designs. Gabbehs are known for their comfort, durability, and natural charm, and have become one of the most popular handmade carpets in recent years. In this article, we will take a closer look at Gabbeh, its history, characteristics, materials, weaving methods, and applications.

History of Gabbeh

Gabbehs have their roots in the culture and traditions of Iranian nomads. These carpets are primarily woven by the Qashqai, Bakhtiari, and Lori tribes. The history of Gabbeh weaving dates back centuries when nomads used these carpets for protection against cold and heat in their tents. Initially created for their simplicity and practicality, Gabbehs evolved into an art form and a handcrafted industry over time.

Gabbeh - Bakhtiari carpet

Characteristics of Gabbeh

1. Weave and Thickness

Gabbehs are known for their simpler weave and greater thickness compared to other Iranian carpets. These carpets have longer piles, which give them a distinctive softness and comfort.

2. Designs and Patterns

Gabbeh designs are usually simple and minimalistic, featuring geometric shapes, animal motifs, plants, and everyday objects. These patterns are often woven spontaneously and without a pre-determined plan, reflecting the weaver’s creativity and mindset.

3. Colors

The colors used in Gabbehs are typically natural, derived from vegetable or animal dyes. These colors range from various shades of brown, red, blue, and green, adding unique beauty and charm to the carpets.

Materials

Gabbehs are usually woven from sheep’s wool, which is soft, durable, and highly receptive to dyes, making it an ideal choice for these carpets. The wool from nomadic sheep is of high quality and absorbs colors well. In some cases, cotton threads are used for the warp and weft of the Gabbehs.

Weaving Methods

Gabbeh weaving is predominantly done by hand, mainly by the nomadic women. The process includes various stages such as shearing and preparing the wool, dyeing, spinning the yarn, and finally weaving the carpet. Weaving a Gabbeh requires precision and patience, and each carpet may take months or even years to complete.

Applications of Gabbeh

Gabbehs are used in various interior settings due to their softness and comfort. These carpets are popular in homes as living room, bedroom, and even kitchen rugs, as well as in commercial spaces and offices. Additionally, Gabbehs are used as decorative wall hangings, adding a unique aesthetic to the space.

Gabbeh - Bakhtiari carpet

Conclusion

Gabbehs are not only recognized as valuable handcrafted art in Iranian culture but also appreciated worldwide as practical and beautiful products. These carpets, blending tradition and modernity, have secured a special place in interior decoration and are celebrated globally as symbols of Iranian culture and artistry. Weaving Gabbeh is an art that requires skill, patience, and creativity, with each weaver weaving a story of their life and culture into the fabric of these carpets.

 

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