Saturday, June 5, 2010

Gabbeh Rugs-From Tents to Your Home-A History

I love Gabbeh area rugs. They have been my favorite rug since I started working at Luv-A-rug, here in Victoria BC, 3 years ago. Gabbehs are thick, plush and whimsical. I enjoy the traditional designs of random characters throughout the rug more so then the symmetrical designs.

The history of Gabbehs is rich and doesn't really have a starting point. The word Gabbeh loosely translated means bedding. The first mention of them is in the 16th century, but they were probably made for centuries before that. There is just no written proof of any earlier Gabbeh rugs.

The reason for lack of beginnings for the Gabbeh is because they were woven by Nomads who migrated in the summers to higher pastures with their livestock. The history of the tribe is woven in the rugs instead of on paper.

The Nomads made rugs to cover the floor of their tents that were easy to carry with them during their migration from the valley to mountains. Gabbehs are still made today in the same traditions. The designs are more symmetrical for today's rug buyer though.

They are made by the women who use the landscape and everyday life events to inspire their designs. Gabbeh rugs are woven in more daring colours then most hand knotted rugs because of the unrestricted nomadic lifestyle and because the rugs were made for personal use more so than commercial. That was until a Swedish furniture company mass produced them and sold them world wide.

Gabbeh rugs add a nice punch of colour to any room and are thick and plush. Gabbehs look like they were painted as there looks like brush strokes in the main body of the rug.

A few weeks ago we picked up two Gabbehs that belong to a local computer store owner. I was kinda hoping that they would forget about one of their rugs. It had a blue background with a single female character about 2/3 of the way up the rug. It looked like she was standing in the middle of an ocean because the background looked like waves.

When I look at a Gabbeh it is calming and intriguing. I try to figure out why the weaver used the characters and what story they are telling.

So next time you are in a Rug Gallery in Victoria or beyond that sells hand knotted rugs ask if they have any Gabbehs. They aren't everyone's taste, but everyone should see and touch a Gabbeh at least once.

Thanks for reading, RugloverMary, Your Victoria BC area rug cleaning and Gabbeh loving specialist!

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