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8334 Mid 19th Century Khamseh Bird Rug 3'10" x 6'


The Khamseh Confederacy was a cobbled together coalition of five tribes (khams meaning “five” in Arabic) in the nineteenth century characterized by political intrigue and influence by foreign governments, seeking to diminish the hold of the Quashqu’i tribes in the region, and to solidify control for the Shah of Iran and his backers in the British Government. Ultimately, this coalition proved to be temporary, as the only thing that bound the five tribes (and subgroups) was a persistent desire to remain nomadic and free from such forms of hierarchy. But from this coalition comes the Khamseh “bird rugs.” While the historical and symbolic origins remain open to debate and speculation, such as the “botehs” appearing in the main border here -said to represent everything from a hand print to the entire universe- they are believed to denote village origins. While the infinite bird pattern seen here was produced in both village and urban pieces, it is less common in nomadic produced pieces. The beautiful gradation of abrash in the indigo blue central field of this piece, dating to the mid 19th Century is both subtle and intentional.

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