For thousands of years, two thirds of the population in the province of pars (composed of different tribes) have lived in the vast land and moved constantly to find greener pastures. The Ghashgha’I tribesmen, who had immigrated to this territory many centuries ago, are the biggest tribe in Fars and even in Iran. According to historical testimonies, different groups of this tribe moved to this land from the western and eastern regions of the Caspian Sea and the northern province of Khorasan. The main occupation of the Ghashgha’i tribesmen is animal husbandry, and the art of carpet weaving is customary only among women and young girls. The rugs woven by them are known as Turki-Shiraziand are rarely offered for sale. They prefer to weave these rugs for their own use or give them as dowry to their daughters when they get married. Like other tribesman. Ghasgha’I, too, weave their rugs without copying from any pattern on horizontal (flat) looms secured to the ground. Normally, they get their inspiration by referring to another rug.
The wife of French orientalists, a certain Madame Diolafoi, who together with her husband had lived for some time among the tribesman of Fars (1884), has written in her diary regarding the carpet weaving of these people:
“The tents of the tribesman in Fars protect them from the sun but not from the cold. The weaving loom is spread on the ground at the end of the tent. Whenever this tribe gets ready to move, they roll up the loom and load it on a mule or donkey. When they reach their destinations they once gain spread the loom on the ground and start weaving. This constant moving sometimes causes color change and distortion of the rug. These women receive their training for color blending and weaving from the family, especially from their mother. No patterns are used to weave these rugs which are solid and fast as the dyes applied are extracted from vegetables; neither sun nor rain changes their colors and these last for generations.”
The flat woven rugs of Ghashgha’i are usually small, the standard size being Zar-o-nim and Pardeh. The wool used in Fars is of the best quality. The rugs are woven in double-weft, with Senneh knots and long pile, the prevailing colors being red, blue, golden yellow, and the dye (which is extracted from the Dyer’s weed). Synthetic dyes have been adopted since the Second World War. Geometrical and stylized designs are woven into the old carpets partially being influenced by Caucasian designs. Those of the Shirvan area are preferred. To distinguish the old textured carpets of the Ghashgha’i rugs is dark brown and almost black (while those of Caucasian rugs are lighter in color). In the province of Fars one can find a variety of repeat patterns as well as medallion compositions. Geometrical animal and bird drawings are also a common feature and are used both as a part of repeat patterns or as filler ornaments.
Another specific rug which is attributed to this tribe is called “Lion rug” (Gabbeh-Shiri). A small rug coarsely woven with a multi-weft structure decorated with lion figure. A big lion or a few small lions are woven in parallel rows in the center of these rugs. Referring to historical records, the religious and traditional beliefs and importance given to a lion by the people of this region, it seems that the design and texture of the “lion rug” is the initiative of the tribes in Fars, among them in Ghashghai’s.