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Across Coveted Lands by Arnold Henry Savage Landor

Are seldom sold in the bazaars nowadays


Less

successful, in fact quite ugly, but quaint, are those in which very large and ill-proportioned figures are represented. One feels Arab influence very strongly in a great many of the Kerman designs. They say that Kerman sheep have extremely soft and silky hair, and also that the Kerman water possesses some chemical qualities which are unsurpassable for obtaining most perfect tones of colour with the various dyes.

The principal carpet factory is in the Governor's Palace, where old designs are faithfully copied, and really excellent results obtained. The present Governor, H. E. Ala-el-Mulk, and his nephew take particular interest in the manufacture, and devote much attention to the carpets, which retain the ancient native characteristics, and are hardly contaminated by foreign influence.

The Isfahan silk carpets are also very beautiful, but not quite so reposeful in colour nor graceful in design. Those of Kurdistan are principally small prayer rugs, rather vivid in colour, and much used by Mahommedans in their morning and evening salaams towards Mecca. In Khorassan, Meshed, Sultanabad, Kaian (Kain) and Birjand, some very thick carpets are made, of excellent wear, but not so very artistic. In the Birjand ones, brown camel-hair is a prevailing colour, used too freely as a background, and often taking away from the otherwise graceful design. Sultanabad is probably the greatest centre of carpet-making for export nearly

every household possessing a loom. The firm of Ziegler & Co. is the most extensive buyer and exporter of these carpets. The Herat (Afghanistan) carpets are also renowned and find their way mostly to Europe.

In Shiraz and Faristan we find the long narrow rugs, as soft as velvet, and usually with geometrical designs on them. Red, blue and white are the prevalent colours.

It would be too long to enumerate all the places where good carpets are made; but Kermanshah, Tabriz, Yezd,--in fact, nearly all big centres, make carpets, each having special characteristics of their own, although in general appearance bearing to the uninitiated more or less similar semblance.

The rugs made by the wandering tribes of South-east and South-west Persia are quaint and interesting. The Persian Beluch rugs are somewhat minute and irregular in design, deep in colour, with occasional discords of tones, but they recommend themselves by being so strongly made that it is almost impossible to wear them out. They are generally small, being woven inside their tents by the women.

In Northern Persia Turcoman carpets--the most adaptable of all for European houses--are seldom to be found now, as they are generally bought up for Russia. Dark red, warm and extremely soft is the striking note in these carpets, and the design is quite sedate.

Carpets, except the cheaper ones, are seldom sold in the bazaars nowadays. They are purchased on the looms. The best ones are only made to order. There are, of course, a few rug shops, and occasionally an old carpet finds its way to a second-hand shop in the bazaar.

Next in attraction to carpets come the jewellers' shops. The goldsmiths' and silversmiths' shops are not very numerous in the bazaars, nor, when we come to examine the work carefully, do they have anything really worth buying. The work is on good gold or silver of pure quality, but, with few exceptions, is generally clumsy in design and heavily executed. Figures are attempted, with most inartistic results, on silver cases and boxes. The frontage of a goldsmith's shop has no great variety of articles. Bracelets, rings, necklaces, tea and coffee pots, stands for coffee cups, and enamelled pipe heads; a silver kalian or two, an old cigar-box full of turquoises, and another full of other precious stones--or, rather, imitations of precious stones--a little tray with forgeries of ancient coins; that is about all. Pearls and diamonds and really valuable stones are usually concealed in neat paper parcels carried on the person by the jeweller and produced on the demand of customers.


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