Persian Gabbeh (literally ‘uncut’)) rugs are handmade by the tribal weavers of the Shiraz region of south-central Iran, mainly by the Qashqa’i but also the Luri. They are made in both lighter and heavy weights, using dyed and un-dyed wool, which has a tremendous lustrous feel and quality. They were originally only made for their own use as quick to weave functional coverings which doubled as amazingly warm blankets for the freezing mountain nights. The export versions have a shorter pile. However, like flatweave kilims, they became recognized as worthy in their own right.
They are perhaps the heaviest rugs you can buy so have the added advantage of staying still without rucking up and wrinkling. No underlay is required. Persian wool Gabbeh rugs are chunkily hand knotted in designs ranging from completely plain to one small corner motif to repeating rows of blocks or stylised animals. THE most comfortable rug on the market and amazingly luxurious under bare feet- so a family snug or a bedroom are ideal.
These rugs can take wear in any room in the house but because of the amount of plain areas need to be watched over for spillages or animals making their mark- this is because the wool is largely untreated with chemicals and has plenty of natural lanolin which animals recognise and respond to. The superb wool and its protective fibres do clean up brilliantly so if the worst does happen all is not lost. They are also inexpensive to restore because the knots are huge and the colours easily matched.
Indian copies are available at a lower price – you can find them in chain stores, IKEA and similar outlets -but are nowhere near the quality of the Iranian wool and weave.
Available from mat size up to 12’x9’/3.66×2.74. Handmade wool Persian Gabbeh rugs are occasionally seen in larger sizes but due to their tremendous weight are hard to source.
This example is very subtle and abstract with just a couple of tiny nature motifs. The undyed wool has a huge amount of colour variation, called abrash, which comes from different wool batches.