The Circle of Ancient Iranian Studies
GILIM; INTRICATE DESIGNS OF SPLENDOUR
By : Nasrollah Taslimi
As an important art, weaving has always been practiced among scattered tribes
in Iran ; it is the birthplace and origin of numerous other arts which have
gradually evolved along with the tree important factors of need, necessity and
time. Those who are after perfection and beauty can turn to woven works of art
and find their share of satisfaction in them.
They are used as floor-coverings, curtains, tents, bed-packing covers, prayer
rugs, "khorjins" (saddle-bags), "poshtis" (woven fabrics to
lean on while sitting on the ground ) and even sufrehs. Gilims have developed
according to each area's characteristics, its tribal heritage, the taste and
thought of its people and its culture and artistic background. The artist weaver
gives shape to thoughts which have roots in the mature surrounding her and the
songs she hears to create her wonderful artefact- the gilim.
The oldest specimen of a gilim in Iran belongs to the
Seljuq period. It is
embellished with Kufic script and an illustration from the ancient book Kalileh
There is a woman in this gilim who has pulled a stripped cover on her on some
strips of which there are zigzag design. This particular type of design is
reminiscent of gilims in Fars region which were used as decorative quilts.
Types of gilims
Ordinary gilims: this type of gilim is woven with hemp,
cotton and also woolthreads.
Gunny gilim: this special type is woven with varicolored
pieces of cloth.
Suzani gilim: this type is embroidered with raised figures
after the ordinary gilim is woven.
Needle -work gilim: this type of gilim is hung on the wall
and is woven with cotton threads.
Jol: is a kind of gilim the surface of which is embroidered.
With its decorative designs, it is used as horse saddle.
Palas: is a kinds of gilim in which each color is used for
weaving several rajs, it does not have a pile. Palas is also the name used for
the coarse woolen robes dervish wear.
Jajim or chador-shab: is a kind of stripped carpet thinner
than palas woven with colored threads.
Zeelo: is a kind gilim woven with cotton threads and simple
designs quite in harmony with rural life. It has cotton wrap and weft.
Rakht-e-khab peech (bed-packing gilims): this type of gilim
is used in migrating tribes.
Charkhi-baaf gilim: is a kind of sturdy and thick gilim only
one side of which can be used.
Khorjins (Saddle-bags) and Juwals: these gilims are used for
Gilimches (small gilims): these are woven like gilims but
are smaller and decorative.
Masnads: these are sturdy and fine-woven decorative
Navar-chador (tent-band): this type of gilim is
Sajades (prayer gilims): these are woven with altar designs
and are used for prayers.
Ghigh: this gilim is used for the walls of tents; boyh of
its side are the same and can be used alike.
Gilim-Weaving tools instruments and materals
Home instrument (i.e an instrument which is used in homes):
this instrument is a type of loom used for horizental and vertical weavings
depending on the traditions of each area and its regional characteristics.
Scissors: these are used for cutting extra pile and threads.
Dafa: this is a metal-or sometimes wooden-tool used for
beating the weft and strengthening the weave of the gilim.
Shikh: this is a metal tool with a thin tip for beating,
undoing or tightening the spiral waves of the gilim.
Knife: this tool is used to cut the extra thread (pile).
Goorod: this is a wooden rod the same width as the gilim's
loom and is used to separate two rows of wefts and in fixing them in one places;
it also keeps the gilim straight.
Wool: after wool is sheared from the sheep or goat, it is
hit on with sticks of wood (tarkés) and spun with machines or by hand with a
spinning wheel (tash). It passes through the stages of twisting, skinning,
dyeing and rolling ( into balls) and is then used for weaving.
Warp: it literally means spun thread or thread which is spun
with thin fibres. Length- wise, parallel, regular threads and fibres from the
weave and main structure of the gilim.
Warp thread: this is made from wool, cotton or silk of
Pile: this is woolen threads for fibres used for weaving various kinds of gilims and carpets.
Keywords: Rugs, Rug, Kilim, Gelim, Gilim, Qali, Ghali, Farsh, Qali, Ziloo, Zilu, Qalicheh
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