Antique Salt-Bag, Qashqa'i - Amaleh Taifeh, Fars ...

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An absolute stunner! One of the best 'namakdans' (salt-bags) to come my way for a while. Particularly interesting as it was made by the Amaleh sub-tribe of the Qashqa'i Confederacy during the second half of the nineteenth century. It is in beautiful, complete condition with a knotted-pile face and a white cotton back. The madder-red central field comprises tiny, stylised botehs in magnificent, natural golden-yellow and surrounded by a golden-yellow inner border. The outer surrounding border is in ivory wool and the original selvedge seals the bag with wool in different colours. The top opening is also complete with wool cords and brocaded lappits. This is a truly magnificent and highly collectable salt-bag.
Size: 67cm x 59cm (2' 2" x 1' 11").

Antique Salt-Bag, Qashqa'i Darrehshuri Tribe, Fars Province, ...

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This magnificent salt-bag ('namakdan' in Persian) was recently found in Iran. It was made by the Darrehshuri sub-tribe of the Qashqa'i Confederation circa 1900 and is in complete, excellent condition.
The warp structure contains an equal mix of goat-hair and white cotton with overlay/underlay goat-hair patterning on the wide vertical bands. The 3 borders are woven in brocaded wool as are the 3 horizontal bands in the main section of the bag. Particularly charming are the woollen tufts throughout which were possibly inserted for good luck.
This is a rare and fabulous salt-bag and would complement any collection.
Size: 55cm x 46cm (1' 10" x 1' 6").

Antique Salt-Bag, Qashqa'i Tribes, Fars Province, South-West ...

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What is important in nomadic tribal life is bread, salt and water. Salt-bags were specifically used for containing lumps of rock-salt which was given to the animals during long migrations to help in the dehydration process. This bag, woven by Qashqa'i nomads in Fars, south-west Persia circa 1890-1900 has an exciting 'zig-zag' design all over the face. I remember discussing symbolism with an elderly Qashqa'i woman in the 1970s and she said that zig-zags represented flowing water. So here we have the water and salt!
The back of the bag is woven in narrow bands of plain-weave, both in dyed and undyed wool. The bag is complete with braided warp threads, tied with coloured wool and originally used for threading a pole through which the shepherd would then carry over his shoulder.
The bag is in excellent condition.
Size: 66cm x 50cm (2' 2" x 1' 8").

Antique Salt-Bag, Afshar Nomads, Kerman Province, Southern ...

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This magnificent salt-bag (namakdan) has a most attractive field of '8-pointed stars' - symbols of protection, all disappearing under the main border and out into infinity. Beautiful shades of madder-red, ivory and mid indigo-blue dominate the face of the bag, woven in soumak technique by Afshar nomads in Kerman Province, south Persia circa 1870-1880.
The back of the namakdan is in plain-weave with narrow horizontal bands in red and blue and the remains of the hanging loop can be seen on either side of the neck. The top opening retains its slits and lappits, again, woven in soumak weave. There is one old re-weave which can be seen at the neck on the photo showing the back of the bag - possibly done in the field at some point in the distant past.
This is a truly rare and superb example of a lost woven art. A very collectable namakdan.
Size: 54cm x 44cm (1' 9" x 1' 5").

Antique Salt-Bag, Shahsevan Tribes of Varamin, North-Central ...

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I love the simple drawing of a tree, dominating the pink-red ground of this unusual but charming plain-weave salt-bag from the Shahsevan nomads of the Varamin region of north-central Persia.
Made during the early part of the 20th century, the back of the bag is woven in undyed wool - quite a contrast to the colourful and simplistic front!
Size: 63cm x 38cm (2' 1" x 1' 3").

Antique Salt-Bag, Afshar Tribes of Bardsir, Kerman ...

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This finely woven salt-bag -'namakdan' in Persian - has a field design in soumak technique of stylised '8-pointed stars', symbols of protection. The main border comprises 'S' symbols or stylised 'dragons', also protective. The neck of the bag is beautifully finished in chevron pattern and braided at the very top. The plain-weave back is finished in wide horizontal bands of madder-red and apricot with one area having a small stain which I presume, happened during its time in tribal useage.
Woven by Afshar nomads in the environs of Bardsir, Kerman Province, south Persia circa 1900, the bag is in great, original condition.
Size: 72cm x 66cm (2' 4" x 2' 2").

Antique Salt-Bag, Kurdish Jaf Tribes, Kurdistan.

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I love the natural colours in this charming salt-bag, made by Jaf Kurds in Kurdistan at the end of the 19th century. The wool pile on the front face is soft and glossy with the large hexagon in the lower section of the bag depicting the double headed sun-bird or dog, symbolising the guardians of the gates of Paradise. The back of the bag is woven in narrow bands of plain-weave and the remains of the handles emanating from the neck, are woven in soumak technique. Salt-bags made by the Jaf tribes are rare.
Size: 57cm x 36cm (1' 10" x 1' 2").

Antique Salt-Bag, Azeri Tribes, Azerbaijan.

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This charming salt-bag - 'namakdan' in Persian - is complete with braided hanging cord and is in excellent, complete condition.
Woven by Azeri tribes in Azerbaijan during the early part of the 20th century, salt-bags were mainly used, as the name implies, for containing lumps of rock-salt which was given to the animals to help in the dehydration process.
Size: 45cm x 36cm (1' 6" x 1' 2").

Antique Salt-Bag, Timuri - Sangtschuli Tribe, Borderlands ...

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This is one of the very best salt-bags I've had the pleasure of handling over 40 years of dealing. Just magnificent!
Whichever way you look at it, one face is in very fine knotted-pile, the other side in exceptionally fine weft-substitution weave with highlights of silk.
This namakdan was certainly made by a weaver at the top of her profession and was possibly made either as a dowry piece or made for a very important person.
Made by the Timuri - Sangtschuli tribe in the borderlands of north-eastern Persia and north-western Afghanistan around the last quarter of the nineteenth century, the piled face contains a central water-lily with four fish swimming around it and symbolising happiness.
Superb in every way and highly collectable.
Size: 50cm x 37cm (1' 8" x 1' 2").

Antique Salt-Bag, Afshar Nomads of Varamin, North-West ...

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This salt-bag ('namakdan' in Persian), ranks amongst the earliest examples of this type and a similar bag is illustrated in Parviz Tanavoli's 'Bread & Salt'. Woven in plain-weave, the bag contains a base in knotted-pile - specifically done for resilience when carrying lumps of rock-salt, nuts and raisins. The bag, which was made by Afshar nomads settled in the Varamin region of north-west Persia, is complete with its original back and dates to the mid 19th century. Rare!
Size: 59cm x 39cm (2' 0" x 1' 3").

Antique Salt-Bag, Timuri - Sangtschuli Tribe, Borderlands ...

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Salt-bags of the Timuri - Sangtschuli tribe are rare as can be seen in this magnificent 19th century namakdan. In excellent condition, the ivory wool plain-weave field of the bag on both faces, depicts powerful symbols - the large, octagonal central lozenge depicting the double-headed Sunbird. The borders are in intricate soumak weave with highlights of silk throughout, possibly indicating that this namakdan was made for a very important person. maybe the chief of this tribe?
Size: 66cm x 48cm (2' 2" x 1' 7").

Antique Salt-Bag, Khalaj Tribes, North-Central Persia.

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This magnificent 'namakdan' (salt-bag) is attributed to the Turkic nomads of Khalaj in north-central Persia.
In fact, these tribes are linked to the Qashqa'i, having fled Turkmenistan in the 11th century with a group of nomads settling in Khalajistan and the rest of the tribe, moving further south-west into Fars Province where we know them today as the Qashqa'i.
This rare and stunning salt-bag, made during the last quarter of the nineteenth century, is woven in weft-float brocade with knotted tufts of wool decorating the front face. Long warp threads emanate from the neck, braided together to form a decorative finish.
Size: 48cm x 46cm (1' 7" x 1' 6").