An Introduction to the
by Ann Nicholas & Richard Blumenthal
South Persian nomads were among the
most prolific of weavers, making both pile pieces and
flat weaves. Piled bag faces may be the best known and
loved of their weavings in the West, but their many
small, colorful utilitarian bags were what most
enhanced the nomads’ own lives. The original ACOR
exhibit presented thirty-one small South Persian
pieces and fifty historical photographs of weavings
being used in South Persian life.
Lori woman weaving on a
horizontal ground loom in the 1940’s:
photographer unknown, from Yoruk, edited by
Anthony Landreau, Pittsburgh, 1978.
Qashqa’i 1946 spring
migration: photographer David Douglas Duncan,
from ‘Photography Collections,’ Ransom
Humanities Research Center, University of Texas,
Twice a year these
nomadic sheepherders made an epic migration, traveling
more than a hundred miles with all their flocks and
household possessions between their summer pastures
high in the Zagros Mountains and winter ones in the
foothills. Their weavings provided transport and
storage for their possessions, color and beauty in
their lives, and status and prestige to the weavers.
A nomadic family’s
wealth was measured by the number of fine weavings and
sheep they possessed, so it is not surprising that
colorful, beautifully decorated woven articles were
displayed prominently in their tent or on their pack
photographs in the original exhibition were found in
books, many of which were old, rare, or out of print;
in university and museum archives; and in the private
collections of ethnographers. Correlated with
information in ethnographic studies of the South
Persian nomads, these photographs provided an
understanding of how woven objects were used.
Unfortunately, while they were integral in giving
context to the weavings, most of them cannot be included
in this web exhibition due to
Loading a grain bag (joval)
during the 1946 Qashqa’i migration: photographer
David Douglas Duncan, from ‘Photography
Collections,’ Ransom Humanities Research Center,
University of Texas, Austin.
1975 Qashqa’i bridal
procession with horse wearing a tasseled
ceremonial blanket: Photographer Dr. M. Kiani,
from Searching for the Anemone, Shiraz, 1992.
Visitors to this web
site can enjoy these weavings for what they are:
wonderful works of art with great color, imaginative
use of design, and fine workmanship. Alternatively, to
better appreciate their cultural context, viewers can
refer to our articles in HALI, issues 150 and 151
(2007). Whichever way you choose to experience this
exhibition, enjoy it!
Please send email if you have comments.