What Is A Gabbeh Rug

Loosely translated to raw or unfinished, Gabbeh are one of the most subtle and creative types of Persian or Oriental rugs. Traditionally, Gabbeh rugs were rather basic with simple color combinations, large open fields, and symbolic shapes or geometric motifs. Today, however, Gabbeh rugs feature bold designs and brighter colors despite maintaining their unmistakable uniqueness.

Unlike many other types of Oriental rugs, Gabbeh rugs are not named for the village, town, or tribal region where they are made. Instead, the name refers to a specific style and construction of rug based upon the original rugs made by nomadic Qashqai tribal weavers throughout the Zagros Mountains region. Today, other tribes such as the Kurds, Lurs, and Bakhtiari also weave Gabbeh rugs.

Handwoven Gabbeh Rugs

Gabbeh rugs are woven from hand-spun sheep’s wool. The wool used is typically of high quality and comes from the neck area of locally bred sheep. The long-fibered wool provides these rugs with unparalleled softness and luster, but it also demands regular professional Oriental rug cleaning. Natural vegetable dyes are used for color.

While many Persian rugs are known for their tight knots, Gabbeh rugs are more loosely knotted with an extremely low knot-per-inch count. The women of the tribe use basic horizontal looms to create ultra-soft yet rather simple rugs inspired by nature and imagination.

Most rugs are available in 3 x 5, but larger rugs are also produced. Despite being smaller in size, the time, effort, and level of design poured into each one is incomparable.

While modern Gabbeh rugs offer bolder design elements than their traditional counterparts, they still tend to be very basic with a limited number of motifs or decorative objects. Some rugs have no discernible design whatsoever. Instead, they are inspired by each weaver’s surroundings and everyday life, making them nothing short of unique works of art.

These unique rugs receive their color through natural vegetable dyes. Bold, bright colors like oranges, reds, blues and yellows are Gabbeh hallmarks.