The Khamseh Confederation
Khamseh Confederation rugs are a group of related rugs of rugs centering around Fars province. These rug are predominantly woven by weavers who speak Persian Azeri and Arabic. Workshops are the main impetus with even the lesser work copying the greater.
In 1861 – 62 The Persian Shah Naser ed-Din created the Khamseh Tribal Confederation. He took 5 tribes, the Arab, Nafar, Baharlu, Inalu, and the Basseri and placed them under the control of the Qavam ol-Molk family. Khamseh is the Arabic word for 5 and the confederation gets its name from that. Combining tribes was not a new idea the Safavid Shahs created many Kizilbash confederations. The idea was that the Qashqai were gaining so much power that the Shah wanted to create a counter to Qashqai power in the region.
The Arab, Nafar, Baharlu, Inalu, and the Basseri were a mixed lot of Turks, Luri, and Arab. However they all came to be called Arabs in contrast to the Turkic Qashqai.
Khamseh rugs tend to be most like their Qashqai neighbors in construction. As a general rule Qashqai rugs are more likely to have white or light tan warps and Khamseh rugs are more likely to have dark wool wefts. In color Qashqai tend to be brighter and Khamseh are more muted.
Warps 2 ply wool mostly tan and darker, some use of “barberpoled” warps – two different shades plied together.
Wefts; 2 shots 2 ply brown wool.
Khamseh Rugs use the Hamadan Rug Weave
Single weft is called “Sennah Baft” or Hamadan weave. Here the wefts are rigid and the warps are sinuous. As you can see in the sketch the wefts are heavier than the warps. It is woven with symmetrical knots. Since there is only one shot of weft between each row of knots this shows every other warp which makes these rugs easy to spot.
Important Books on the Khamseh:
Barth, Fredrik: Nomads of South Persia, The Basseri Tribe of the Khamseh Confederacy
Opie, James. Tribal Rugs
Opie, James. Tribal Rugs of Southern Persia
Edwards, A. Cecil. The Persian Carpet. London 1953.
Eiland & Eiland’s Oriental Rugs A Complete Guide
Ford, P. R. J. Oriental Carpet Design. London: Thames and Hudson, 1981, paperback 1993.
Housego, Jenny. Tribal Rugs. New York, Interlink Books, 1991.
MacDonald, Brain W. Tribal Rugs Treasures of The Black Tent. Woodbridge: Antique Collectors Club, 1997.
Khamseh Bag Fars Province early 20th C
Southwest Persia, early 20th century, (some end fraying), 2 ft. 2 in. x 1 ft. 9 in.
Arab Khamseh Rug Circa 1900
Secured ends, one little shorter end, marginal fold wear, localized minimal wear, overall very good condition. Size 187 x 155 cm.
1850-1870 Khamseh Long Rug
Size: 5’7″ x 11’2″. Age: 1850-1870 circa.
A very early example of Khamseh, most likely woven for a chief or “headman,” due to it’s size, age, and early colors of East Turkestan flavor.
Condition: Good. Has silky wools throughout, with the exception of scattered worn areas to the construction. The warp & weft is very healthy and the rug would take weaving, beautifully. One small place, approx. 2″ x 3″ has been re-woven years ago, and is hardly noticeable. What is also nice about the condition is the rug is complete with it’s original edges & selvage both sides.
Great designs of interlacing bird-like botehs over a deep blue field. Very interesting main border with stylized birds in flight. Vegetable dyes. Multi-colored natural wool warp & brown wool weft. A very collectable early Khamseh rug.
Khamseh Confederacy Pictorial Rug
South of Iran, Fars province. Size 197×138 cm.
Baharlu/Khamseh Confederation Rug 2nd Half 19th C.
Fars Province, Southwest Persia, second half 19th century, 7 ft. 9 in. x 4 ft. 4 in. 2. 36m. x 1.32m. Condition: Slight even wear overall, heavier in center, small area of damage bottom left corner.
A Khamseh Confederation Rug late 19th C.
213 by 167cm., 7ft. by 5ft. 6in. Southwest Persia, late 19th century.
A Persian Khamseh Confederation Rug C. 1900
274cm x 152cm. Ivory and blue floral caned field, centred by four poppies, terracotta flowering border.
Khamseh Bag 1875 – 1885
Size: 45.7cm(H) x 61cm(W) / 1’6″(H) x 2’0(W)
Region: West Asia – Persia – Southern & Southwest Persia – Khamseh Confederation.
Item Type: Rugs and Carpets – Bags and Trappings – Bagface
Period / Date: 19th century – late (1875 – 1885)
Other Colors: Jewel tones of vegetable dye.
Materials: All wool pile on a wool foundation.
Structure / Technique: Nondepressed warp weave in Persian knotting technique, flatwoven back with flatwoven ties at the top.
Condition: Excellent condition with several small reweaves.
Full Description: Cane design with floating star palmette. A rare and unusual design type for this group.
Arab Khamseh Confederation Rug late 19th c.
late 19th century. 5-3 x 5-11.
Baharlu Carpet of the Khamseh Confederation
Fars Province, southwest Persia about 1890-1910. 9 ft. 7 in. x 6 ft. 9 in. 2. 92m. x 2.05m. Condition: Overall even wear, heavier in places, slight losses both ends.
Khamseh Rugs and Carpets
Karabagh Shahsavan Bag Face – 2nd half 19th c.
Origin: South Caucasus, Karabagh Region 2nd half 19th c.
Size: ca. 49 x 47 cm
Traces of age and wear, small holes, corrosion; some damage to sides.
Khamseh Shahsavan Khordjin – 2nd half 19th c.
Kurdistan 2nd half 19th c.
Size: ca. 161 x 64 cm
Complete double bag made by Khamseh Shahsavan; in very good condition and fully intact.