The Importance of Natural Dyes

From Bohmer (2002) Source:
One must accept that all dyes, with the possible exception of chrome (chemical) dyes, have a tendency to fade with time and the prevailing ambient conditions.
What is so attractive, in the antique carpet, is that its natural colors tend to be modified with the years and, for instance, what seems to be a solid blue at the first superficial glance will, upon closer and careful scrutiny, reveal many nuances and shades of blue!  This is what gives the textile its “surface interest” and makes it come alive.  The finest of new carpets with the best chrome dyes can never achieve this miracle!  The colors of the antique rug also have a glow, called patina, which beggars description!  Only the experience of inspecting many of these antique rugs in person can grant one the necessary appreciation of this phenomenon!!

Traditional Dye Processes
There are three main different processes used to dye wool.

Direct Dyeing:
This is the oldest method of dyeing fibers. Some examples are purple dyeing as carried out on the coast of Mexico using purple shells and some methods of indigo dyeing.
Mordant Dyeing:
This method was discovered sometime between 4000 and 3000 BC in Mesopotamia. In this method, the wool is previously treated with certain salts, so that the dyes would bind to the wool fibers, resulting in a more-or-less colorfast dye. Some examples of mordants are alum, iron salts, copper salts, and tin salts. The type of mordant also affects the intensity of the colors.
Vat Dyeing:
This is the method used with indigo, discovered in the third or fourth millennium BC. It is debated whether this technique was discovered in Mesopotamia, India, and Egypt independently. It was also independently discovered in South America. This method is a combination of a reduction and oxidation process. The water insoluble blue dye from the indigo plant is extracted through a fermentation process. Then, it undergoes oxidation, converting the blue to a water-soluble, yellow dye. This is placed in a vat with the wools. When the wool is pulled out of the vat, it undergoes oxidation and again produces the water-insoluble blue indigo. Since the blue indigo dye is not chemically bound to the fibers, it is not very resistant to abrasion, especially on cotton.

After the wool is dyed, it is the tradition in Turkey to immerse the freshly dyed wool into an alkaline ash solution. Generally, this darkens the colors and adds a gloss to the wool.

Long ago dyers realized that as more wool was dyed in a single dyepot, colors became weaker and weaker. Dyers use this notion of depleated dyes to their advantage. The first dyeing produces a deep, strong color. Subsequent dyeings in the same dyepot produce lighter, softer colors. Such changes can often be observed in handmade, hand-dyed rugs in a phenomenon called abrage.

Some Examples of Traditional Natural Dyes
Rubia tinctorum (Common madder)
Red and Violet
Red and violet dyes can be obtained from both plants and insects.

– Common or Dyers’ Madder (Rubia tinctorum)
Turkish Name: Kök, Kökboya, Yapişkan otu
The finger-thick roots of this shrub is used for the dye. It is believed to have originated in Anatolia, but it is found in the Caucasus, Iran, and western Central Asia. Various hues from red to violet can be obtained.

From Bohmer (2002)
Kerria lacca (Lac)
Roots of the madder plant
– Safflower (Carthamus tinctorius)
Turkish name: Aspır
The yellow dye from this plant was considered useless, but the red dye was valued, despite its poor lightfastness. This can be seen on the 16th&17th century “Polish” carpets (really Persian), although the red is completely faded.

– Also others such as Lady’s Bedstraw, Dyers’ Alkanet, Pokeberry

Red is also often obtained from dye-insects. Some of the most famous textiles in the world contain this kind of red. For example, the Pazyryk Carpet has a red dye from the Polish kermes, the Safavid prayer rug from Persian in the Topkapı Museum has a lac red, Roman textiles from Palmyra has red from the Ararat kermes, and Ottoman sultan silks and many later Oriental rugs and kilims have a red dye from the cochineal.

– Mediterranean Kermes (Kermes vermilio)
This is a parasite of the kermes oak that is common on the Mediterranean coast and also probably in the Zagros Mountains of Iran. Females filled with their unborn larvae are collected, killed in vinegar, and dried. Now, it is mostly replaced by cochineal. It provides a bright red with a light yellow tinge, similar to madder red.

– Ararat Kermes or Armenian Kermes (Porphyrophora hameli)
This is a parasite that lives on the roots of two varieties of grass that grow in salt marshes on both sides of the Araxas river. On silk, it provides a medium pink and on wool, it provides a darker red.

– Lac (Kerria lacca)
This insect is native to India and other southeast Asian countries. Wingless, fertilized females settle on young twigs of a plant and begin to suck the sap. They then secrete a resin-like material that eventually covers the whole colony and forms a mass around the twigs that enclose the insects. These twigs are gathered and treated to obtain a red dye.

– Cochineal (Dactylopius coccus)
This insect is native to Central America and lives on cactus. The sucking female lice becomes covered with a white substance. When pierced, they secrete a dark red drop. The cochineal red has taken over the Old World dye-insects mentioned above in the volume of the dye and the brilliance of the color. Cochineal red is a dark red with alum mordant and violet with ferric mordant.

Dactylopius coccus (Cochineal)
Distinguishing Insect and Madder Red
Although distinguishing the different reds is difficult for the untrained eye, there is a distinct difference in the colors. Madder red is a warm red with a red tinge and can even tend toward orange. In contrast, reds from insects are cool reds with a touch of blue. Differentiating between cochineal and lac reds are more difficult. However, in general, cochineal red is more brilliant and luminous than lac red, which tends to appear matt and dark.
Hexaplex trunculus (Purple snail)
– Purple Snails
Purple dyeing can be done through the use of purple snails, mainly Bolius randaris and Hexaplex trunculus. Often specified as Tyrian purple, in ancient times, it was highly desired, very prestigious, and expensive. The method was probably discovered in the 12th century by the Phoenicians on the eastern shores of the Mediterranean and eventually spread to Egypt, Greece, and the Roman Empire. After the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople in 1453, the purple dyeing with the use of snails dyed out in the Mediterranean. Now, it can be seen only in the Pacific coast of Mexico. In ancient times, snails were removed from their shells, the hypobrochial gland was cut out, salted, and then processed. In modern times, a more humane process is used, which does not require the killing of the snails.
Yellow and Orange
There are numerous plants that dye yellow, although many of them tend to fade.

– Dyers’ Weed or Weld (Reseda luteola)
Turkish name: Muhabbet çiçeği
All of the above-ground plant parts, fresh or dried, gathered shortly before it stops blooming in June is used. It provides an intensive yellow color with very good lighfastness. The plant is native to western Asia and the Mediterranean area. It was preferred by the Romans and also found on the Uşak carpets and 16th-century “Lotto” carpets. This dye plant stopped being used in Turkey and Europe toward the end of the 19th century due to the introduction of synthetic dyes. However, since the 1980s, they are being increasingly used again due to the reintroduction of natural dyes in Turkey.

Varieties of Chamomile (Just in Turkey at least 50 species are known)
– Anthemis chia
Turkish name: Beyaz papatya
The flowers are used to obtain a yellow with sufficient colorfastness. Found in western and southern Turkey and southern Europe.
Anthemis tinctoria (Yellow chamomile)
– Golden Marguerite or Yellow Chamomile or Dyer’s Chamomile (Anthemis tinctoria)
Turkish name: Boyacı papatya, Sarı papatya
Flowers are used to obtain a yellow with sufficient colorfastness. Found in Turkey, Europe, and southwestern Asia.

– Chrysanthemum coronarium and other varieties of Chrysanthemum
Fresh or dried flowers are used to obtain a orange-yellow with good lighfastness. Found in the entire Mediterranean region, as far east as Iran.

– Barberry (Berberis crataegina)
Turkish name: Karamuk
The fresh or dried roots and bark from this plant has been repeatedly mentioned in Turkey as a dyeplant. However, the yellow obtained from this plant tends to turn brown with exposure to light. The plant is found throughout southwestern Asia on stony slopes. During WWI, Turkish army tents were dyed with barberry.
Puica granatum (Pomegranate)
– Pomegranate (Punica granatum)
Turkish name: Nar ağacı
The fresh or dried peels of the fruit are used. Yellow with adequate lighfastness can be obtained with an alum mordant and a yellow-brown to black with good lightfastness can be obtained with a ferrous mordant. The plant is native to southwestern Asia.

– Saffron (Crocus sativus)
Turkish name: Safran
The stigmata of the flowers are used and its price is close to that of gold. The robes of Persian kings were dyed with saffron, which gives a light yellow color, but with inadequate lightfastness. Saffron is known primarily as a spice, medicine, and for perfumes. It is believed that the Asia Minor was the original home of the plant, but has been cultivated for over 3000 years.

– Inula viscose
Turkish name: Güve otu, Bit otu
The flowers, leaves, and stems, preferably fresh, are used to obtain an intensive yellow that can change to brown-yellow due to the influence of light. The plant is found throughout the Mediterranean area and this dye has been identified in several antique carpets from Bergama.

– There are also numerous other plants such as Three-leafed sage, Strawflowers, Chaste Tree or Monks’ Pepper Tree, Yarrow, Thyme, Verbascum, Foxglove, Daphne oleoides, Sorrel, Dyer’s Sumac, Sicilian Sumac, and Anatolian Buchthorn.
However, these tend not to be as lighfast as the ones mentioned above.
Juglans regia (Walnut oak)
There is only one significant dyeplant for brown, the walnut family.

– Walnut Tree (Juglans regia)
Turkish name: Ceviz ağacı
Fresh or dried leaves and the husks of the nuts are used to produce a brown dye with excellent lightfastness. The walnut tree is native to the Balkans, Asia Minor, and the Middle East. Interestingly, classical Turkish carpets from the 15th to 17th century do not have walnut brown, although Persian carpets from the same time period do.

Black dyes are possible when tannins combine with iron. However, this causes the corrosion of the wool. Use of ferrous mud and salts are less harmful. In addition, a black that is totally free of corrosion can be produced through a triple dyeing process. First the wool is dyed blue with indigo, followed by yellow from dyer’s weed, and finally dyed red with madder. Black seen in classical Persian carpets were made this way.
Quercus ithaburensis (Walloon oak)
– Walloon Oak (Quercus ithaburensis)
Turkish name: Palamut meşesi
The acorn caps from this tree native to the open forests of western Turkey, southern Italy, and southern part of Balkans are used. First a lightfast, yellow-brown color is achieved by boiling the wool with the acorn caps and leaving them soaking for several hours, followed by a rinse and dip in alkaline water (mixed with ashes). In order to make this turn black, a hot mordant bath with ferrous salts is used.

– Quercus infectoria
Turkish name: Mazı meşesi
These are gallnuts, a cancer-like growth on trees, produced by gall wasps on some species of oak.

– Also other plants have suitable amounts of tannin such as Sicilian sumac and Mullein (Verbascum)

Indigo produces a beautiful blue that is lightfast, has been used for four thousand years. It has no natural competitors, although now synthetic indigo, which is virtually indistinguishable by just looking, is made. However, indigo does not chemically join with the molecules of the fibers. It is only attached by a mild adhesion to the surface of the wool. This is why it is not resistant to abrasion. Vat dyeing is the usual method, but direct dyeing is also used in some areas such as northeastern India, Laos, Malaysia, and Indonesia (see top of page for details on various dyeing methods). There are many species of plants that contain the preliminary stages of indigo, but only a few from the Indigofera family are used for dyeing.
Indigofera tinctoria (Indigo)
– Indigo Shrub (Indigofera tinctoria)
This plant is the only member in the Indigoferafamily that is indigenous worldwide in tropical and subtropical areas. First, shortly before the plants blossom, they are cut above the ground before sunrise. Then, after the branches are bundled, they are weighed down with tree trunks and covered with water. Fermentation starts at temperatures greater than 86 degrees F (30 degrees C), which cause the enzymes in the plants and bacteria to break down the indicant in the leaves into a soluble yellow indoxyl and glucose. Fermentation continues for over 12 hours. When the resulting yellow indoxyl comes in contact with oxygen on the surface of the water, an iridescent layer of indigo forms. When the fermentation is finished, the liquid and plant materials are separated. Then, the long oxidation process follows. The yellow liquid is stirred so that oxygen comes in contact as much as possible to form the insoluble indigo. This sinks to the bottom and forms an indigo slurry, which is then strained. The remaining water is then removed, either by boiling or straining over a finely woven cloth or bed of sand and formed into clumps.

– In addition, Dyer’s Woad (Isatis tinctoria), Dyer’s Knotweed (Polygonum tinctorum), and Marsdenia tinctoria are some other plants that are used to produce blue dyes. 

How to Calculate Carpet Density



The density of a carpet is one of many factors that determine a carpet’s quality and overall performance. Despite a common misconception, carpet density and carpet face weight are not interchangeable terms that mean the same thing, although face weight is one factor used to calculate density.  Face weight and density are two entirely different components when it comes to evaluation of the quality of a carpet.


  • Carpet face weight refers to the weight of the fiber found one square yard of carpet. the standard is measured in ounces.
  • Carpet density refers to how closely together the fibers are tufted into the carpet backing.

How to Calculate Carpet Density

Carpet density is calculated using the following formula:

  1. Carpet face weight multiplied by 36
  2. divided by carpet pile height
  3. equals density, measured in ounces per cubic yard

The pile height is the length of the carpet fibers from their end tips to the point where they reach the carpet backing. In the above formula, pile height should be represented as a fraction of an inch, reflected in decimal format. For example, a pile height of one-half of an inch would be represented as 0.5, while a pile height of a one-quarter of an inch would be 0.25, and so on.

The number that results from the above density calculation will be a four-digit number. For example, a carpet with a 50-ounce face weight and a pile height of half of an inch would have a density of 3600 ounces per cubic yard (50 x 36 / 0.5 = 3600).

Judging Carpet Quality

Don’t use one factor alone as an indicator of a carpet’s overall quality. All factors (density, face weight, twistfiber type, etc.) all work together in a carpet to determine how the carpet will look and perform overall. Each of these factors must all be taken into consideration when making a decision on the appropriate carpet for your home.

However, all other things being equal, the higher the carpet density, the more durable the carpet will be, and the more pleasing it will be underfoot. Just as lawn of turf grass is more luxuriant if the grasses are thick underfoot, a carpet with higher pile density will feel plusher and will hold up better under wear.

Minimum Density Values

For optimal performance in normal household conditions, a density value of 3000 or higher is ideal. According to the Carpet and Rug Institute, extra heavy traffic conditions (such as are found in heavy commercial use) require a minimum density of 5000.

Carpet Weaving in Iran



“All around the world, Iranian carpets are the symbol of poetical luxury”

A. Pope

When we talk of carpets, involuntarily, the name of Iran comes to mind. The great art experts of the world believe this fact. The 2 words of carpet and Iran are synonymous in any language, therefore, carpets being the obvious symbol of the Iranian talent in art.

We can positively affirm that the finest and the most sumptuous carpets of the world are woven in Iran. The art of carpet weaving in Iran is deeply connected with the culture and the customs of the people of this land and it sources from their instinctive feelings. Iranian skillful carpet weavers mix wonderful patterns with admirable colors, an art which is only expected from outstanding painters. Art experts in the world compare the Iranian carpet to a multicolored pleasant garden, full of flowers, vegetables, birds and beasts and terrestrial and legendary creatures. Everyone can possess this little charming garden in his house.

Prof. Pope States: the priceless historical carpets of Kashan are symbol of the Iranian genuine art. The different phases of perfection in this industry show the life and the culture of Iranian people.

The Iranian carpet in an image of the time spirit of this country’s various arts. It is not clearly known, where the very first carpet was woven. Archaeologists and chronologists of the history of art believe that carpet weaving was invented by the people who’s main line of occupation was cattle rising.

Agriculture and cattle rising were among the first occupations of the inhabitants of the Iranian plateau. These people, who were in contact with domestic animals, gradually became familiar with the utilization of wool and its properties. Garment making was the first step and gradually a sort of weaving was established for covering the floor.  These primitive rugs replaced the hides of animals, formerly used as floor coverings. Considering this process, it is acceptable that those inhabitants of the Iranian plateau, whose occupation was cattle rising and agriculture, are the first weavers of carpet and the inventors of this art.

The most ancient Iranian carpet adorns one of the halls of the “Hermitage” museum in Leningrade. This carpet which is partly intact was accidentally discovered by Prof. Rodenko, in the border of Moqolestan, a region called “Pazirik”, under piles of ice.

This Pazirik carpet was placed in the large sarcophagus (coffin) of a Satrap (Hakhamaneshian governor general, 33~35O BC) near his mummified body. Thus carpet weaving has been common in Iran since at least 25 centuries ago. The Pazirik carpet was used to cover horses and according to Rodlenko’s statement, was made by Mad, or Pars (Hakhamaneshian) artists. The measures of this carpet are 2xl.83 meters, and its exact copy has been reconstructed.

From the blooming period of the art of carpet weaving in Iran, relatively numerous samples are being preserved in the world’s greatest museums and private collections. Art experts in Iran and around the world have published numerous books and essays about the most outstanding carpets of Iran. These carpets are the reminiscence of the golden age of carpet weaving in Iran.

The “Ardabil” carpet preserved in the museum of “Victoria and Albert” in London, from the viewpoint of design and weaving is one of the world’s most famous and precious carpets. This carpet was woven in 1539 AD, and its warp and woof is of silk.

The “Hunting Ground” carpet preserved in the “Art and Industry” museum of Austria is also among the most sumptuous and precious carpets of the world. Images show hunters, while hunting different sorts of animals. This carpet was woven in the 16th century and is entirely made of silk. Other samples of the ‘Iranian famous carpets are preserved in the museums of Paris, Metropolitan, Iran-e-Bastan and Astaneh-Kodseh Razavi in the city of Mashhad. In 1601 AD, also several pieces of costly silken carpets were woven in Kashan by the order of Sigmond Vaza, King of Poland.

The artists of the Safavi era have created the world’s most magnificent masterpieces, and the Safavi reign is considered to be the brilliant era of this art. The painters of the Safavi era comprised a deep transformation in the patterns and designs of carpets. And skillful weavers using the choicest kinds of wool and silk gave life to their imaginations.

The carpets of this era are generally in silk. The subject of their patterns is: cypress trees, floral designs, scenes of hunting grounds and patterns. The main part of the carpet is the context; and the patterns in the margins help reveal the beauty of the context. Iranian carpets are of 3 kinds: carpets, rugs (small carpets), and side carpets. Rugs are smaller than carpets and side carpets are used to cover the corridors and the margins of a room. The designs and colors of Iranian carpets are unique and very diverse. Now a day, the patterns of superior carpets borrow inspirations from those of the Safavi era.

The art of carpet weaving is common almost in all the cities and villages of Iran. Cities, villages and rustic regions are major centers of carpet production. The cities of Kashan, Isfahan, Tabriz, Mashhad, Kerman, Qom, Nain, Sanandaj, Arak and Hamedan are the main centers where costly carpets are woven. Rustic people use agreeable styles in weaving carpets. From the old times, women and the youth, girls and boys are the best carpet weavers in Iran. The out of designing carpets has always instinctively existed in their hearts. Through time, the designs of these carpets have been prepared by great masters.

Today, outstanding designers have set forth innovations. Iran is the birthplace of wonderful designs for carpets. The patterns of Iranian carpets are mostly inspired from those of the unique Iranian tile-works and miniature. Images of gardens, full of flowers and trees, different types of birds and animals, legendary creatures, scenes of hunting grounds and design, bestow a paradisiac beauty to Iranian carpets. Iranian carpets possess at once the 3 qualities of fineness, elegance and durability, and for these reasons are unique in the world. The skillful carpet weavers are anonymous artists. Only a few weavers of carpets left behind from the past are known. Carpet weaving is a complicated art, showing at the utmost level the talent, taste, perseverance and the creativity of Iranian artists. In addition, it requires months of ceaseless effort, work and high costs.

The examination of the art of carpet weaving requires an elaborated and detailed chapter in the history of arts in Iran. From a certain point of view this chapter seems endless….!

Iranian People and Tribes: Baluchis


The Baluchis are the ancient genuine Iranians who have their exclusive and special celebrations and feats.

Basluchis first moved to the region in the twelfth century. During the Moghul period, this territory became known as “Baluchistan.”

Their name, “Baluch/Baloch,” is shrouded in controversy. Some say it means “nomad,” while others claim that it is an Aryan (Old Persian) word meaning “the cock’s crest.”

Balochi language is spoken in Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, the Persian Gulf Arab-States, Turkmenistan and East Africa. It is classified as a member of the Iranian group of the Indo-European language family which includes Kurdish, Persian, Pashto, Dari, Tajik, Ossetian. Baluchi is closely related to Kurdish and Persian.



There are two main dialects: Eastern and Western. It is difficult to estimate the total number of Baluchi speakers, but there are probably around six million, most of whom speak Western Baluchi, which is also the dialect that has been most widely used in Baluchi literature. Within the Western dialect are two further dialects, Rakhshani (in the northern areas) and Makrani (in the south). The areas where Eastern Baluchi dialects are spoken (the north-eastern areas of Pakistani Baluchistan, Punjab and Sindh) are in many ways less developed, especially when it comes to education, which accounts for why it is little used in the written form.

For a curious visitor who arrives in ancient province of Sakestan, or today Sistan va Baluchistan, the first interesting issue that attracts the attention most is the way Baluchis are dressed up. Baluchis have preserved their way of clothing with a slight change.

Men wear long shirts, loose pants resembling Partho-Sasanid outfits, added by a turban around their heads while women put on loose dress and pants with needle works that are special of the people of the area and is not common in other parts of the country.

The upper part of the dress and sleeves are decorated with needle works, an artistic work that is specific of the clothing of the women Baluchis. They cover their hair with a scarf that is called `Sarig’ in the local dialect.

Baluchi women usually put on gold ornaments such as necklace and bracelet but their special jewelry is `Dorr’ or heavy earrings that are fastened to the head with gold chains so that their heavy weight will not cause the tearing of the ear. They usually wear a gold brooch called `Tasni’ that are made by local jewelers in various shapes and are used to fasten the two parts of the dress over the chest.

Apart from the dressing style of the Baluchis, there are interesting points in the way they live and in their traditions and customs that this article tries to illustrate in parts. Indigenous and local traditions and customs were of greater importance to the Baluchis in the past as apparently up to about half a century ago when the central and provincial government of the chieftains were imposed as the individual dictatorships.

Therefore, it can be concluded that there were no formulated laws and regulations in order to regulate social behaviors. Under such circumstances, traditions and customs in fact filled the vacuum caused by the absence of laws which were used in the regulation of many social relations and therefore enjoyed special credit among the Baluchi tribal people.

Abdolghaffar Nadim in his book `Gashin’ that is written in Baluchi language says: “The Baluchi folklore is being inspired by the Baluchi way of life and, therefore, could have addressed many needs of the tribal people who were forced to settle their disputes on the basis of their traditions and customs in the absence of a powerful central government.”

Here, it is only enough to review the Baluchi traditions within the two categories of cooperation and feasts:
1. Beggari: This is a custom specific of the time when the Baluchi youth reaches the age of marriage but apparently his family cannot afford the marriage expenses due to their economic condition. Under such circumstances, the youth would go to his relatives and friends and would discuss with them his decision about marriage and would ask for their `Beggari’, or in other words, their contribution.

Such a tradition is so strongly respected that even the poorest member of the family cannot remain indifferent towards such a demand and feels obliged to pay a certain amount of money in cash or offer material aid. Lack of participation in such a benevolent affair will cause humiliation and disgrace. Therefore, although Beggari is a voluntary contribution, however, a social compulsion can be traced in it somehow. Even in the case of those who have no children and cannot benefit from the advantages of Beggari in future, participation in this benevolent act guarantees further social credit. As a result of this, marriage is being made more easily among Baluchis as the community is meeting the cost.

2. Hashar: This is a custom that is applied when an individual cannot perform a task alone and needs help of the others.

Traditionally, working for money is not customary, and those who need help would go to their relatives and friends and would inform them of their decision to do a special job on a specific day and for that purpose they need a certain number of work force. Under such circumstances, as many volunteers may join the collective work without being paid.

If the work is accomplished within a day, the only thing that the employer has to do is to prepare lunch and dinner for the workers by usually slaughtering a sheep for making the required food. If the work takes longer, more preparations will be made and new volunteers will substitute the previous ones.

However, there would be enough volunteers to complete the work through collective cooperation, as it is not customary to give a negative response to the call for contribution.

Such a habit is mostly customary in rural areas where people are mainly engaged in agriculture where Hashar is being practiced in various stages of the work from cultivation to harvest. It is also widely practiced in building rural houses and bridges and in collecting dates. Such a habit is still practiced given its positive social effects despite the fact that paid work is gradually established.

3. Bagi: This custom was widely practiced in the past while these days it is losing importance in areas going through the trend of urbanization.

In the practice of such a tradition, people are used to cook extra food and would distribute it among needy people in their neighborhood. Those who were well off and could have better nutrition would carefully observe this.

The positive social impact of such a tradition has removed the negative feeling of humiliation as receiving Bagi is not tantamount to receiving donations but rather is some sort of contribution among neighbors and is not limited to a specific person or a specific family.

Bagi is not merely confined to consumption but is performed in a wider dimension that forges greater convergence among neighbors and minimizes probable disputes. At the meantime, it helps fair distribution of limited facilities.

4. Divan: Settlement of disputes in their everyday life is of great importance. In order to solve problems, people would gather in a place and while studying various aspects of disputes, they try to find the best possible solution in an effort to secure satisfaction of the parties involved. The place in the local dialect is called `Divan’ and is normally a house that belongs to the eldest member of the community.

Of course Divan is not merely exclusive for the settlement of disputes but is also used for exchange of information and consultations for the coordination of affairs. However, the significance of Divan at the time of the settlement of disputes lies in the fact that although decision-making at Divan is not legally valid, however, it is applicable and is rarely ignored by the parties to the dispute.

The reason is that presence of the gathering at the place is to some extent the executive and moral guarantee for the parties to the dispute and if one party for any reason ignores the agreement reached at Divan, in fact it would damage its own social credibility. If Divan fails to settle the dispute, the case will be solved on the basis of the rules of the religion.

The tradition of Divan is being gradually forgotten in both rural and urban areas but it is still being enforced among some tribes. A unified Judicial system in fact have substituted traditional Divan and the elderly people are still settling regulations in rural and urban areas but not completely as in primary stages attempts are made to resolve the disputes through local traditions and at the Divans of the elderly.

5. Mayar: The habit is inspired by a social reality and need for the support of the oppressed against the oppressor. When a powerful individual is oppressing a powerless person for any reason, the former can seek help from a stronger person who has enough power to defend his right. Given the undertakings that the host feels towards the person who seeks help as `Mayar’, he is free either to accept the demand or deny it.

But, as soon as he accepts, the social tradition puts the responsibility of the Mayar’s defense on the shoulder of the host. Of course, the importance of the tradition becomes further evident when the person who seeks help is not guilty and whose rights have been trampled upon. However, when the person seeks help according to the tradition of Mayar, he becomes a member of the family and tribe of the host and can enjoy his support until his problem is solved.

Sometimes the situation will remain unchanged forever and the person who seeks help will remain in the new condition. Therefore, it will become part of the responsibility of the host to find a job for the person who seeks help and puts enough capital at his disposal. This will help enable the powerless people to defend themselves against the oppressors.

6. Karch-va-Kapon: This tradition is practiced when a person for any reason kills someone else, either intentionally or unintentionally. Under such circumstances an unreasonable feeling of revenge will afflict the Baluchi tribes to the extent that no matter to what tribe the murderer belonged, if he is out of reach, a member of his family or one of his relatives can be killed in his place or, in other words, take revenge.

Under these circumstances many innocent people will become victim of such a revenge merely for belonging to a certain family or tribe. At this moment, in an effort to prevent further bloodshed, the elderly members of the family resort to the custom of `shroud and knife.’ They send the murderer together with a knife and a piece of white cloth to the family of the person who has been killed and they are free either to punish him or forgive him.

However, punishment of the murderer is not a proven act from social and scientific points of view while forgiveness is the manifestation of generosity. For this reason, the murderer will be forgiven and returned to his family.

Sometimes it may happen that in order to remove all the hostilities and misunderstandings, the two families prepare marriages as a means to put aside differences. Of course, sometimes ransom would be demanded. In that case the family of the murderer or the tribe to which he belongs will pay the money.

Although prosecution of the murderer falls within the authority of the law, however, there are still evidences indicating that tribal people are willing to safeguard the tradition of `shroud and knife’.

7. Patardeyag: This tradition is practiced when there is a quarrel between two or more members of a tribe. The side that is guilty of fomenting the quarrel accepts to apologize but not verbally rather through a mediator who is usually an elderly of the tribe. No matter how deep the difference, the other party usually accepts the apology, as its rejection will cause criticism of others.

Following the acceptance of the apology, the side that had fomented the quarrel will invite the other party to a dinner party through the mediator and a sheep is slaughtered on the occasion. There is no need for verbal apology and normally no word would be said about issues causing the dispute. Holding the Patardeyag ceremony implies acceptance of the apology and removal of all differences.


1. Mangir: The important Baluchi traditions are mainly in connection with their ceremonies and feats.

The marriage ceremony stands prominently among such festivities as it goes through different stages starting from engagement to the wedding ceremony. Public participation in the wedding ceremony is normal as in other parts of the country but with slight differences. But there is one exclusive difference in the wedding ceremony and that is the Mangir ceremony.

It seems that the ceremony is a custom acquired by the Baluchi tribes from other customs. Mangir is the ceremony for the simultaneous mass marriage of several couples for various reasons, notably economic considerations.

What further supports the idea is the holding of mass wedding ceremony among lower class people of the society. This would not only reduce the costs but would also economize in time as in the past wedding ceremonies used to last for seven days.

2. Sepat: Festivities that are held in Baluchistan at the time of the birth of new babies are called Sepat. Some parts of the ceremonies are influenced by superstitious presumptions believing that both the baby and the mother are threatened by a genie called Aal as it awaits the opportunity to seize and swallow the liver of the baby and the mother.

Therefore, in order to prevent such a happening the relatives of the mother and the baby stay awake for several nights and pray to God and seek His help in order to protect the mother and the baby against the genie.

However, there are good and bad customs among the Baluchi tribes that demand more research works and studies.

The Baluchis same as other Iranians are known for their cultural specifications such as hospitality, bravery, generosity, faithfulness, and moral commitment and mostly Iranian nationalism.

“Abrash” Imperfections in Tribal/Nomadic Rugs

Many hand-made rugs and carpets feature blemishes and imperfections that will seem unique and charming to a seasoned rug enthusiast.  One might think that a hand-woven rug with a clear flaw manifestly demonstrates a break from industrial consumerism, and so some carpets become sought after precisely to display this down-to-earth human quality.  Indeed, for some time during the Persian empire, the best artisan weavers and workshops would intentionally include an imperfection of some sort hidden somewhere in the work, as a nod to the philosophical impossibility of reaching perfection here on Earth – a quality thought only be to obtainable by divinity.

One kind of these imperfections is a discoloration known as a “Abrash,” where large fields of differing color patterns will stand out with unusually hued striations or bands of color.  It is a surprisingly common feature in handmade rugs, especially among those which are older or when the wool was spun and colored by a nomadic tribe.  Because their yarn is hand-spun rather than machine-made, these abrashes will come up quite commonly.

A typical abrash discoloration will often be seen within one specific color in a carpet.  For example, a carpet might have a wide red field, and a third of that field might be shaded or hued slightly more dark.  Notice in the following images the distinct discoloration effect:


Some machine-made imitations of handmade oriental rugs will even include a false abrash to give the effect of nomadic authenticity!

An abrash can have a variety of causes.  The dyeing process used by carpet-weaving nomads is not an exact science, so when one tub of dye is used up, the next tub might contain a dye that is more or less strong in vibrancy, though approximately similar.  This is by far the most common cause of an abrash.  However, they can also be caused by natural aging of a carpet or due to colors fading with too much direct sunlight over time (especially if the sun only partially hit the carpet from, say, a window).  In these cases, the abrash is accidental.  Carpet-weavers from far away are not entirely ignorant of Western preferences, though!  Vintage-looking, over-dyed carpets, and carpets with clear imperfections have become quite popular in Europe and North America, so be mindful that some carpet-makers have opted to intentionally include abrashes in their designs to give them an even more authentic vibe (and thus increase their value).

Turn Rugs into Artwork: How to Hang Rugs on the Wall


Have an heirloom rug that you want to display, but don’t want to wear out? Maybe you picked up a pretty rug on your travels, but don’t want to replace the rug you already have. Or, perhaps you just think your rug would make a beautiful wall hanging. Whatever your motive, there are a number of reasons why you may choose to hang your area rug on the wall instead of laying it on the floor. The question is, how do you do it?


There are a couple of ways to hang your area rug on your wall. The method you choose will depend on the size and weight of your rug, the location where it will hang, and your personal preference. Below I have outlined the two most common methods to hang a rug on the wall.

Method 1: Velcro

Using Velcro to hang your area rug on the wall is currently the method preferred by many museums, including The Textile Museum. This method can be used on heavy-weight rugs with success, and without causing damage to the rug.

Velcro tape consists of two separate strips: the hook tape and the loop tape. The hook tape is the rough part of the Velcro, and the loop tape is the softer, fuzzy part.

Attaching to the Rug

The loop tape should be sewn onto the back of your area rug, along the top edge. If your rug is an heirloom piece or a high-value rug, it is recommended that a strip of plain, unbleached muslin or canvas that is wider than the Velcro strip be used to prevent any damage to the rug from contact with the Velcro tape or other materials.

First, stitch the Velcro loop tape to the muslin strip, then sew the muslin to the rug.

If your rug is handmade, the muslin should be hand-sewn to the rug using a whip stitch to avoid any damage to the rug. To hide the stitching, use a heavy cotton thread that is close in color to that of your rug, and carefully guide the needle between the rug fibers.

Attaching to the Wall

The hook tape may be stapled to a thin, straight piece of wood that is the same width as your rug. This piece of wood may then be mounted to the wall, and the rug attached by connecting the two Velcro strips.

Raw, untreated wood should never come into contact with the rug. The use of muslin or canvas as outlined above prevents this from occurring; however, if you have not used a muslin or canvas strip, ensure that the piece of wood has been sealed.

For large and heavy rugs, this process may be repeated several times so that there are three or four strips of wood stacked vertically every few feet, to help support the weight of the rug. Alternatively, Velcro strips may be used in the above manner around the perimeter of the rug; however, this method requires extreme precision in measuring and placing the wood, so as to avoid buckling or stretching of the rug.

Method 2: Curtain Rod

The second method of hanging an area rug on the wall involves the use of a curtain rod. A heavy cotton casing may be sewn onto the back of the rug (again, this should be hand-sewn if hanging a handmade or antique rug) to form a tube, through which the curtain rod may be inserted. This should be attached close to the top of the rug.

The rod may then be mounted on appropriate brackets on the wall.

If your rug is an antique and/or is valuable, first attach a piece of unbleached muslin to the rug to run under the casing, preventing the rod from coming into contact with the rug.

The rod used must be sturdy enough to support the weight of the rug without bending in the middle. For a decorative touch, extend the rod several inches beyond each edge of the rug, and cap with ornamental finials. Or, to hide the appearance of the rod and brackets, the rod may be slightly shorter than the width of the rug, with the brackets aligned with the inside edges of the rug, so that the rug hangs in front.

Some Important Tips

Regardless of which method you choose to hang your rug on the wall, there are some important tips to note.

Rugs should never be hung directly above or very near a heat source (such as a heat vent or fireplace).

Rugs should never be hung by nailing or pinning them to the wall. The weight of the rug pulling against the nails will cause stress on the fibers and will irreparably damage the rug.

Whether you display the fringe or tuck it behind the rug out of sight is up to you. Personally, I dislike the look of fringe hanging over the top of the rug, so I would opt to tuck it in, but it is a personal choice.