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2010/33/2 Flatweave eating mat or soffreh, wool, hand woven by Baluchi woman in eastern Iran or north western Afghanistan, c.1920. Click to enlarge.

Baluchi eating mat or soffreh from Iran or Afghanistan

Made
  • c.1920
Both aesthetically and structurally this flatweave soffreh or eating cloth is an excellent example of weaving by the Baluchi women of eastern Iran and western Afghanistan. The colour palette of reds, blues and browns with white accents is typical of Baluchi rugs. Most soffreh, like this example, are roughly square in shape although Baluchi as well as Kurdish weavers from the same Khorasan region of eastern Iran also make long narrow ones. Characteristic of both square and long soffreh are the …

Summary

Object No.

2010/33/2

Object Statement

Flatweave eating mat or soffreh, wool, hand woven by Baluchi woman in eastern Iran or north western Afghanistan, c.1920

Physical Description

Flatweave eating mat or soffreh, wool, hand woven by Baluchi woman in eastern Iran or north western Afghanistan, c.1920

A roughly square, finely woven, weft face flat weave soffreh with wool warp and weft. The rectangular plain weave central field is in rust red with the zigzag 'finger' design characteristic of soffrehs worked in tapestry weave in dark brown down either side. Deep decorative borders in tapestry weave and complementary weft patterning ornament each end. As is characteristic of Baluchi rugs and trappings, the colour palette overall consists of reds, blues and browns with white accents.

Marks

No marks.

Dimensions

Width

1000 mm

Production

Made

  • c.1920

Notes

Soffreh are flatweave wool rugs mainly woven by the Kurds of Khorasan in eastern Iran as well as by the Baluchis who also inhabit Khorasan in eastern Iran and across the border into western Afghanistan. Soffreh are often square in shape, measuring a little over a metre on each side, although the Baluchis and the Kurds and Afshar people of Khorasan also weave long narrow soffreh which feature the same characteristic zigzag fingers down the sides of the field together with elaborately decorative borders at each end.

The making of soffrehs provided an opportunity for the weaver to exhibit her skill and dexterity in a range of flat weave techniques such as the plain tapestry weave, supplementary weft, weft float and twining used in this example. The weft face plain weave of the central field was achieved through using a fine red wool weft beaten firmly to cover the more widely spaced warp, with the triangular fingers down each side worked in plain tapestry weave. Tapestry weave has also been used to produce striking interconnected diagonal bands in the deep border while complementary weft float patterning in red, blue and white create firm floral and geometric bands in the border.

Sometimes knotted pile was used for the border of a soffreh, but the field remained invariably monochromatic and flat woven, sometimes with the use of a small animal motif. Typically, fine old Baluchi weavings used wool in just four colours: brown, madder reds, indigo blue and ivory. Goat hair was used as hard-wearing selvedge threads and undyed camel hair was sometimes used for knotted pile areas.

History

Owned

Notes

The soffreh was purchased in Sydney between 1979 and 1982 by the donor Dr George Soutter AM, a retired pediatrician. Dr Soutter, who grew up in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), first became interested in rugs as a medical student in South Africa and has collected rugs, carpets and textiles for many years.

Source

Credit Line

Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program by Dr George Soutter AM, 2010

Acquisition Date

7 May 2010

Cite this Object

Harvard

Baluchi eating mat or soffreh from Iran or Afghanistan 2021, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 27 October 2021, <https://ma.as/399297>

Wikipedia

{{cite web |url=https://ma.as/399297 |title=Baluchi eating mat or soffreh from Iran or Afghanistan |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=27 October 2021 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}