Persian Bakhtiar Sofreh
The word sofreh is used in modern Persian and Turkish to denote a tablecloth. In terms of tribal weaving, sofrehs are small kilims woven for a family to sit around when eating on the floor of the tent. Traditionally they have a plain or very simply decorated ground, generally white in the sofrehs of the Qashqai and Bakhtiari, and red or purple in Afshar sofrehs. The reason for the plain ground is that the decoration is formed by the food which is placed on it. Nomadic food is simple: bread, tea, foraged herbs, and balls of dried yogurt. In recent generations it has become usual for a plain white cloth to be placed over the sofreh which will protect it from accidental staining, and perhaps as a consequence the ground of Qashqai sofrehs are now often filled with simple all-over patterns.
The is a Bakhtiari sofreh, probably from the first half of the twentieth century. The ground is of cotton which imparts a more absolute whiteness than wool. The borders and ends are very simple, and the only decoration is a chequerboard lozenge towards one end. This is an extremely primitive and archaic weaving of a type which rarely appears on the market place.
Measures: 154 x 88 cm.
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