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Extremely Handmade by Tufenkian.
Gabbeh rugs are spirited works of improvisational art springing from the culture and surroundings of the nomadic tribes of Southwestern Iran. These one-of-a-kind creations are playful and naïve while reflecting a highly evolved artistic sense. Ours are the 'real thing' now much imitated in other producing countries that cannot match either the spontaneity or the glorious natural dyes and shimmering Persian wool that define the originals we specialize in.
‘Gabbeh’ is a generic name for this category of spontaneous and modern-feeling rugs that come in many qualities. It is also a historical name applying to a specific type of course tribal weaving by an Iranian ethnic group. In our collections you will find a variety of well-loved and highly sought after Gabbeh weaves, including Tajik, Kashkouli, Sedeh and Loribaft. From fine and sophisticated to more textural and casual, but all from the same wonderful yarn and dyes.
For Tufenkian, wool has always been the essential starting point for evaluating a rug. It has been so since I (James Tufenkian) first began producing rugs, and when nobody cared about such things. “I never buy a rug without putting my hands on it and stroking it to feel the wool and understand its character.”
All our Gabbeh rugs are made from the same amazing Iranian sheep’s wool. This is in contract to the majority of Gabbeh rugs in the market. Gabbeh coming from Pakistan, India, and elsewhere are made from highly processed wools coming from different breeds of sheep without the perfect Iranian climatic conditions that produce the best possible wool for these rugs.
The wool has characteristically long fibers which prevents shedding, and is brilliantly shiny. It allow for deep penetration of the natural dyes to produce rich colors and carries within it the same enchanting natural variations in shade and character that our other Armenian and Tibetan wool rugs display. It also retains some lanolin to discourage soil retention and make cleaning effective, though not to the level of our Tibetan wool.
The yarn is hand-carded and hand-spun, as is the yarn in our other Tufenkian rugs. The yarns are all either natural colored whites, grays, and browns, or vegetable-dyed in a range of colors. These dyes are extremely stable and don’t easily fade in sunlight or washing.
The benefit of the natural dyes is the charming variation in colors within a single color of the rug (abrash) and the individuality of each piece that they contribute to.
It is unfortunate that our Gabbeh rugs are not repeatable. We wouldn’t want to take the spontaneity out of them by trying to regiment the work or standardize the colors and materials. This individuality is part of the value proposition distinguishing our authentic Persian Gabbeh rugs from the imitations commonly found in the market at lower prices and with far less individuality, character, and integrity.
Our Gabbeh rug designs of the last decade capture the spontaneity that was inherent in the original tribal weavings. They feature bold, richly pigmented designs that depict a scene or convey an emotion, as well as the most subtle and modern color field designs in the vein of Rothko.
They pair amazingly as complements to modern art but also can bring eclectic variation to more traditional or transitional spaces.
Large sizes are rare in authentic Persian Gabbeh rugs, and more expensive because the rugs are primarily made by nomads.
As they were traditionally hand-woven by local artisans for their own use, Gabbeh rugs are designed to last a lifetime if properly cared for. Each Gabbeh rug is not only a unique work of art, but a story passed from one generation to another.
The current US supplies of Gabbeh rugs are limited, but we have the best and broadest selection of what is currently available—and pride ourselves on the excellent examples of the genre.
Enjoy browsing our collection of Gabbeh rugs and fall in love with a unique handwoven piece for your home. Test Drive any artisanal Gabbeh rug in our collection and discover why the Gabbeh are truly works of art.