Antique Mazandaran Sofreh

Circa 1900
Hezar Jerib area, Mazandaran region, Northern Persia
152 cm x 137 cm
4'11" x 4'5"

A very fine flat-weave with a jewel-like quality that is almost impossible to convey by picture. Distinguished by the use of a very precious type of wool which feels almost like silk, the apparently simple composition is a made of two panels each characterised by a plethora of shades of apricot, with both ends in black embellished by very fine lines in the same shade of apricot. The juxtaposition of the two panels creates a kind of rift in the horizontal flow of the pattern, which in turn imparts a particular visual dynamic to the composition. This type of flat-weave is called sofreh, and it is used by Kurdish nomadic tribespeople as a presentation textile onto which they would offer food to their guests. The exceptional quality of this sofreh suggests that it was intended as part of the dowry. Weavings of this type are quickly disappearing and represent the pinnacle of tribal textile art.

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