Bakhtiari Handmade Rugs
Bakhtiari province in the Zagros mountains of southwest Iran is home to the once seasonally migrant Iranian tribe, who have mostly settled down and who speak a dialect of Persian or Farsi, and retain distinctive traditions, clothing, music and dance. The city of Shahr-e Kord and the area around it has become the main production area of these village or tribal, handmade Bakhtiari rugs. The term Bakhtiari is based on the Persian root words bakht which means fortune and yar, which means companion, so the term translates as literally meaning companion of good fortune. This once nomadic tribe are regarded as descendants of Ferydun, a legendary hero from the Persian medieval, national, epic poem Shahnameh (Book of Kings).
Some very distinctive Bakhtiari handmade rugs feature geometric patterns and panel designs with compartments (square, rectangular, or lozenge-shaped) showing plants, floral and garden (khesti) motifs or animals using bright colors. Inscriptions dedicated to the leaders or khans appear in fine woven rugs from the late 19th and early 20th century in an end strip or cartouche (an enclosed area in the field or border of the rug). Another common pattern in Bakhtiari rugs is a pattern with repeated geometric or floral forms, which is referred to as mina khani: two or more flower blossoms connected by a diamond shaped lattice network. Older Bakhtiari rugs made before the mid-20th century are smaller village style rugs with portable looms use geometric patterns, while fine rugs made with vertical looms in workshops have a very high knot density and much higher quality that feature curvilinear designs.