A handmade Beluch carpet manufactured by nomads near the border between Iran and Afghanistan.

The Beluchis live on the border district between Iran and Afghanistan. Beluch is a generic term of nomads consisting of smaller tribes with varied origin. Their livelihood consists of agriculture, raising sheep, goats and camels together with carpet manufacturing.

The Beluch carpets have a close relationship with carpets from Afghanistan and Turkmenistan. The colours are often dull and dark red, dark blue, black and brown. The patterns are geometrical with curvilinear life trees. They are often designed as prayer carpets with a prayer niche.

Sometimes, the carpets have decorative kelims on the short sides to protect the carpet against wear. The long sides often consist of many cables, made with goat and horse hair. The warp is made of wool or a mixture of wool and goat hair and newer carpets have a warp made of cotton.

The workmanship is of high quality; these carpets are tight and thin and give a real feeling of genuine nomadic handicraft. The carpets are mostly made in small sizes with lively patterns and prayer carpets are common.

These carpets are sold in the city of Mashad in Iran and are called Mashad-Beluch carpets, while others are sold in the city of Herat in Afghanistan, and thus known as Herat-Beluch carpets.

Some examples of Beluch carpets:

Backside of a Beluch carpet.

Technical specifications:
Pile: wool
Weft: wool or goathair yarn, 2 wefts.
Warp: wool yarn, cotton also occur nowadays
Knot: asymmetrical
Knot density: 70 000 - 200 000 knots per square metre

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