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Archive for the ‘Abadeh’ Category

Wiktor Wyszymski’s last diary entry for his rug buying trip to Iran: Day 5. Friday – Breakfast at 7.30. Interesting to watch the other guests in the hotel. There are no foreigners, but a lot of middle-class Iranian families with young children. Many people had taken an extra day off on Thursday, bridging the religious holiday and the weekly day of rest on Friday.

First port of call: seven brothers who produce gabbehs. The rugs re woven in the surrounding villages. Each brother has his own production, and when we select something they make a note of whose piece it was. We find some nice goods, though not as many as I’d hoped for; it seems that the brothers are responding to a demand, not from us, for totally plain goods, mostly in cream, devoid even of little animals in the corners.

Ornate tiles on a pillar in Shiraz

We then drive to my favourite Shiraz supplier: an elderly man who holds his stock in a Hosseiniyeh, a religious institution which, amongst other functions, distributes food to the poor. Enormous cauldrons are prominent in the courtyard. I love coming here because there are always some gems to be found amongst acres and acres of unsaleable goods. We find some remarkable old gabbehs, and some modern gabbehs with good designs. In fact we find so much that we stay too long and run into our next appointment – we’ll be back later.

Walk thorough the old quarters of the town, past the Armenian church, a huge Imamzadeh called, I think, Bibi Dokhtaran, and intriguing signs to a boutique hotel – probably a restored old house.

We get to our appointment – I’ve never been here before – and find some good gabbehs, and also some Qashqai, in various sizes. It’s now late afternoon, so we stop for lunch and go back to the Hosseiniyeh. More treasures: old gabbehs with trees, botehs, zigzags, stripes and leopards. I haven’t found any nice lions, which I was looking for specifically. The only ones I find have silly expressions, whereas I am looking for fierceness. But I do find some good representations of Darius and the Lion, which I hope to make the theme of a little exhibition in the autumn.

It’s now getting late; I was hoping to get a few hours’ rest before my 3 am. flight. But we have one more place to visit, in a suburban house, where we always find good pieces at fair prices. When we arrive, we’re offered some ‘Samanu’, a sticky dessert, not too sweet, based on malted wheat. We find gabbehs, bags, the two foot square mats I’ve been looking for, and finally I come upon a good stash of Jajims, with natural dyes and good clear designs. It’s pitch black when we finally finish measuring and ticketing them.

Back to the hotel for a quick dinner and a few hours in the room. I tot up my purchases, and realise I have hugely overspent, but in both Shiraz and Hamadan it seems I was the first buyer since the Persian New Year, and the stocks in both places were very good. Can’t sleep at all. I finish ‘Persia: An Archaeological Guide’ and at one o’clock join the two hour queue for the Istanbul flight.

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an old Iranian doorway

Wiktor Wyszymski’s continued diary of his buying trip to Iran: Day 4. Thursday – Breakfast at 7 and out at 8 with our agent. Buying goods in Shiraz is a different experience from other cities. We hardly go to the bazaar, but to a succession of private houses, some of which are ancient and beautiful, in the old quarters of the town. Shiraz is famous for its gardens, and at this time of the year they are fragrant with jasmine and orange blossom.

In the first house we visit we find some good Qashqai, runners in 2 and 3 metre lengths, plus Abadeh and some old gabbehs. We also find some small Qashqai mats, about two feet square. We always sell these very well, but they are increasingly difficult to find.

This house has a beautiful painted wooden ceiling, in green and gilt, in one of the rooms. The medallion and corner design reflects the carpet which would have been placed on the floor.

The next house we visit is run by a father and son team. We’re rarely disappointed here, and find some good Qashqai in zaronim sizes, some Luri, some Abadeh, and some old Gabbeh. We also find some nice Afshar Sirjan.

The next house we visit is spectacular. The owner has roofed over the courtyard to serve as a warehouse. On the walls are some Qajar tile panels and, at dado level, some low relief carvings. We’ve come here to look for gabbehs, and find a good lot, in various sizes, colours and designs.

Lunch at the Arq Hotel: barley soup, and a kebab of ‘Shir-Mahi’ or lion fish, a firm-fleshed fish from the Gulf. Afterwards we buy some Faloudeh, the classic Shiraz dessert of frozen vermicelli with lemon juice.

More gabbehs in the afternoon, and then we visit an old acquaintance of ours with a clean modern warehouse and well selected clean goods, but at prices which would not disgrace a west-end dealer. I succumb, and take some old saddlebags and saltbags, and find some more accessibly priced Qashqai in zaronim sizes. It’s now 8.30 and night is falling, but we have a couple more people to visit, and find some very good old gabbehs, and coloured modern gabbehs in various sizes.

Back in the hotel after 10.30. The restaurant has closed, and we have to eat out. Amazing commercial activity at 1 am; whole families are out, and shops and street traders are doing a brisk trade.

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