Who then are the Afshar? Today many Afshar do not think of themselves as Afshar nor would they identify themselves as such. So how can we attribute rugs to a nearly forgotten tribe. As usual I suggest that political groupings have little relevance to weaving but language is very meaningful. Weavers who speak Afshari as their “Milk Language” are Afshari no matter how they describe themselves at any point in time.
The Afshar are one of the great weaving tribes of Persia. Originally one of the Ohguz Turkmen Confederation the moved to Persia and Turkey at a early date.
Afshar is a dialect of Southern Azeri. It is a Turkic language and represents the early history and the tribal nature of the people we know as Afshar. At this point in time with muddled or non-existent tribal structures it is helpful to use a linguistic basis to make attributions. The Afshari were a major Turkic confederation from the days of at least the Timurid dynasty to the Khajar dynasty. They are found in Kerman, Khorasan Turkey and Northwest Persia (East and West Azerbaijan) They weave attractive small format Persian tribal rugs. Afshar weavers also produce the finest grade of Bijars.
Large Afshar Bedding Bag
Size: 3 foot by 4 foot 6 inch.
Structure: Symmetrical knot. 10 knots per horizontal inch and 12 knots per vertical inch. 120 per square inch (1860 per square decimeter)
Color: Navy blue, tangerine, ivory mahogany, green blue, tan backing.
Yarn Spin: Z.
Warp: 2 ply white, orange, green wool.
Weft: 2 shot blue wool.
Pile: 2 wool singles.
Ends: Folded over plain-weave hem finish.
Selvages: 2 cord plain blue, orange wool joined by overcastting blue, orange, brown wool.
Handle: Soft, medium, pliable, durable
Further Notes: Excellent condition.
The Alberto Boralevi Afshari Persian bag
Afshari (?) complete piece
Size:54 x 51 cm / 1’9″ x 1’8″
Region: West Asia – Persia – Southeast Persia – Afshar
Item Type: Bagface
Period / Date: 20th century – early (1900 – 1933)
Other Colours: blue ground
Materials: all wool
Structure / Technique: symmetrical knots
Comments On Condition: mint condition
Full Description: A very odd piece with an interesting design. Structure seems to relate this piece to the Afshars, but some elements, like the kilim end at the bottom point to a possible Baluch or Kurdish influence. Colours seem to be natural, including a very deep dark orange.
Tulip Lattice Afshar
Closeup of the wide sumac end finishes.
Here we can see a closeup of the half hitch band. Above that we see a small strip of balanced plain weave. Above that we see alternating black and red twining.
Please note the two small animals flanking the Tulip.
Here we see a sample of an overcastting with two pairs of separate red and blue selvage yarns.
This is an old repair from the looks of it. Rugs are generally repaired like this in Iran and almost never like this in the United States. When I see this it is generally a sign of age and authenticity.
Kerman Tulip Afshar
The rug is a classic style and this rug is a best of type piece. The color is excellent, it is well drawn, and in excellent condition. But this rug has something most rugs don’t: Important provenance. This rug was published as plate #27 in “Oriental Rugs of the Hajji Babas” (Walker, Daniel. Oriental Rugs of the Hajji Babas. New York: Asia Society/Abrams, 1982 ). So it looks good to me.
Kerman area, Persia, south west overall.
6ft.3in. x 1.50m.
Even wear second half 19th century,