Today, millions of people live as nomads in the Orient raising sheep as their main income. The camps with black tents made of hair from goats, the large herds of goats, flock of sheep and the shepherds on their donkeys and horses still make a fascinating picture in the landscape.
Nevertheless, a large part of the nomadic culture is disappearing as the nomads tend to be more "resident". The reason for this is that they find areas where the conditions are so good that they can stay for longer periods without having to move so often. Slowly they are changing into some kind of "resident nomads". Today most nomads get around with jeeps and motorcycles, a sight very different from the one we have with a nomad and his camel for example.
In the olden days there was competition among the different nomadic tents. When a woman was working on her carpet she would seek inspiration from the surroundings and tried to be better than her neighbour. Since the picture has changed today, the motifs do not tend to be so artistic either. An old nomad carpet therefore is a good investment well worth to preserve for the future.
Carpets, kilims and bags of different sizes are important for the daily life of the nomads. Keeping their own animals provides them with materials for their weavings. The weaving take place on horizontal looms and the patterns which have been inspired by the surroundings of the nomads are passed on from generation to generation. The weavers do not use any kind of original, they knot the patterns and motifs from their memory.
Even the nomads that are resident most time of the year knot carpets the same way. Carpets not needed within the family are sold at nearby bazaars under the name from the tribe where they were made.
In the surroundings of the city of Shiraz live the largest nomadic federation in Iran, the Ghashghais. West of Isfahan we find the Bakthiaris and north of them the Loris. Close to the borders between Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan live the Beluches.
The look of the nomadic carpets varies a lot. You can see everything from carpets with very naive patterns, for example the Gabbeh carpet, to carpets with really throughout patterns and sometimes even figural motifs.
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