Lori or Lorestan carpets
Lor, Lori or Lorestan carpets
Lori rugs, woven by the people of Lorestan, in the western part of Iran, are traditional tribal rugs. Lori weavers produce traditional carpets with designs and styles similar to those of the Kurds. Lori rugs are still alive as they were hundreds of years ago, woven using artisan tools that follow traditions passed down from generation to generation over the centuries.
Lori rugs are flat-woven, meaning they are woven without fleece. Flat weaving is a weaving technique that does not use knots. In contrast, warp threads are used as the foundation of traditional rugs, and weft supports are used both as part of the foundation and to create the designs. The weft threads are woven through the warp threads.
The Loris, also called "Lor" or "Lur", are a large tribe living in the province of Lorestan and in the Zagros Mountains in western Iran. They are the oldest known tribe in Iran. Over the centuries, the Lory tribe of Lorestan spread and settled in the province of Khuzestan in southwestern Iran near the Persian Gulf. Today, the Lori live among the Afshar, Bakhtiari, Kurds and Qashqai tribes. They live in towns and cities in the region, but a small percentage are still nomadic, raising livestock and moving every six months. A historically significant sub-tribe of the Lori are the Mamassaner.
Lori rugs were woven in the mid-19th century. Carpets from this period through the 1920s have a wool base. Since the 1920s, weavers have primarily used a cotton backing. Lori weavers are known for making flat-woven rugs that are primarily for personal use. Some weavers use additional textures for their flatweave designs, similar to the Soumal styles of the Caucasus region. Pile rugs are also woven, most often with the Turkish (symmetrical) knot, although occasionally some are made with Persian (asymmetrical) knots. Lori designs are geometric with tribal influences from Kurdistan and Turkmenistan. Lori rugs typically feature an all-over pattern of diamond-shaped lozenges with or without hook motifs, as well as horizontal and vertical stripes, Turkmen motifs of Gul (flower), Shrub (bush), Star (star), and S, leaves, animals, birds, flower heads, and other tribal motifs. Tribal movements and cross-breeding between tribes have resulted in combinations of designs.
It is important to note that Iranian tribal rugs received special attention in the world market after World War II. Production has increased dramatically and this has largely had a positive economic impact on all tribal weavers.
Today, any 19th-century tribal rug, including a Lori rug, is considered a collector's item and is highly sought after in the antique market. The Lori tribe also produces Gabbeh rugs in the natural wool colors of white, brown and black, which are fashionable in the western market. In addition, the Yalameh sub-tribe produces Lori carpets and rugs that are successfully marketed in Europe. Early Lori rugs have the traditional red, blue, brown, and ivory field colors. All shades of red, blue, green, gold, beige, cinnamon, brown, gray and black have been used for backgrounds, borders and design elements since World War II. These colors appear particularly in Yalameh carpets in particularly fascinating and popular combinations.
By the mid-20th century, lori rugs were woven in sizes ranging from bags to rugs of around ten by five metres, while yalamehs reached sizes of up to three by nine metres. After this time, the size of the lories grew to the size of small rooms.