The Amazing Carpets of the Luri Tribe

 In History, The Weave

The Luri (also known as Lurs, Lori or Lors) a proud and colourful people with their ancient arts and mysterious rituals are one of the most ancient nomadic tribes of Iran, they still live a roaming and tribal lifestyle in the Lorestan Province of south west Iran to this day in the harsh, isolated and mountainous terrain. Living in the cooler climates of the Zagros Mountains in the summer and the low land and warmer areas of Persian Gulf in the winter.

In the spring and summer months the Luri live in black goat-hair tents. In the colder months they move into double ended houses known as Zemga. These houses are half buried in the slope of a hill and are finished with boulders -leaving about 2/3 of the area of the dwelling covered by a roof of branches and sod.

The carpets woven by the Luri represent some of the purest forms of Persian Rug weaving, they are widely renowned for their magnificent quality pile made with very fine hand-spun wool from the flat tailed sheep. The wool is produced in the Zargos mountains and valleys near to the city of Shiraz and is exceptionally soft and attractive, also being favoured as it takes a deeper colour and dye absorbance than wools from other parts of Iran.

Luri weavers freely use their imagination to add motives and other patterns, symbols used are generally representational to their nomadic lifestyles, they also incorporate a broad range of other geometric shapes and patterns. Each piece has its own specifications and is a unique piece of art.

Luri carpet weaving is exclusively undertaken by women, men only helping with the sheering of the sheep and sometimes for the collection and preparation of materials for the dyeing process.

There are two main types of Luri rugs which we typically see. The first are the nomadic type produced in the southern regions of the province; these are called Luri Behbehan. These are quite similar to Qashqai rugs being made entirely of wool, although they use a different range of motifs from the Qashgai.

The other type of Luri rug is mostly marketed in the town of Khorramabad. These are squarer and more restrained in colour often with using strong contrasts soft and strong reds.. The designs and sizes are very varied; all-over patterning is common. The unique designs used in the Luri carpets are typically with a knot density of roughly 170-250 KPSI (Knot Per Square Inch) or 2500-3600 per 10 cm2.

The Luri are one the few tribes Iran who have continuously used conventional dying techniques, even in the 1930 when synthetic dyes were considered by most of the world to be the best ways forward the Luri have always maintained their long-established vegetable dying techniques. The formation of the dye substances is perhaps one the most technically skilled aspects of achieving a impressive carpet – this skill is almost always held by the tribal elders who have this as a sole contribution to the carpet.

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