A map of the Baluch dispersion near the border between Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan
Baluch people speak a language belonging to western Iranian languages, sister to Kurdish, although they live alongside south-eastern natural borders of the Iranian plateau.
They are most likely descended from ancient nomads whose great migration eastward occurred during the rule of Sasanid Shahs and they still continue a semi-nomadic life-style in Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Baluchs have a great affection for ornaments. Having an ancient grace, their embroideries are used today as courtly fineries.
Needlework of Baluch
Needlework of Baluch
No matter a jeweled bridal gown or a woolen rug, Baluch woman put the same charm in all her hand-made pieces. What we call Beloch, Baloch or Baluch rugs are not made in the region of Baluchistan, but in Khorasan province by dispersed subtribes of Baluchs as well as some non-Baluch tribes of the region whose weavers are deeply under the influence of their Baluch neighbors.
Technical aspects and the structure of Baluch Rugs
Knots are asymmetrical (Persian) in Baluch carpets. Warps have been woolen traditionally but cotton warps are also seen inrecent decades. Weft and pile are mostly woolen. Both single-wefted and double- wefted pieces are reported but the latter is more likely.
Silken pile is also possible for dowry carpets indicating the deep affection of Baluchs for grandeur and grace. Rather wide goat-haired selvages are typical and good clues to Baluch pieces.Area rugs are more favored than carpet sizes due to the tribal nature of Baluch woven pieces.
Dyeing and painting of Baluch rugs
Dark shades are dominant on Baluch palette. Midnight blue, brownish black, deep dark red, dark reddish or purplish browns and dark violet are the main colors out of which gleam tinges of ivory, camel and jade. Patterns are mostly outlined with black. For camel they use undyed camel hair mainly in prayer rugs. Different hues of red glow against each other in repeating designs woven by Baluch tribes of northeastern Khorasan.
Designs and patterns of the Baluch rugs
Geometric patterns are the gems of Baluch designs, inlaid elaborately on all-over designed or prayer rugs, with the same grace you would see on a Baluch necklace. Variety of diamonds, rectangles, hexagons, and octagons, geometric rosettes and tiny hooked medallions are used as repeating or alternating patterns.
Each subtribe of Baluchs has its own interpretation of prayer designs so you could find a wide range of them.
All-over designs with repeating motifs are favored on area rugs as well as on saddle-bags, sofra and other woven pieces (flat- woven and piled ones).
A large number of Baluch subtribes dwelled on a region between Mashhad and Herat (two old cities of Khorasan) on both sides of Iran- Afghanistan border. The goods woven by these tribes indicate Turkmen and Kurmanj influences but recognizing Baluch pieces is not difficult: the shared patterns are arranged more intricately on Baluch rugs.