Tabriz Persian rug; Iran’s cultural ambassador

TABRIZ, Jul. 17 (MNA) – Carpet weaving industry in Tabriz has faced many problems including young generation’s tepid welcome of it as a modest would-be profession and social security for veteran carpet weavers.

Mehr News local correspondent in Tabriz reports that carpet weaving is a highly original craft, almost unparalleled and unrivalled with any other craft of its kind globally; it has created large number of jobs for country’s economy as well.

Among Iranian carpets, Tabriz Persian rugs employ a wide array of beautiful and mesmerizing natural hues and intricate design and shapes of oriental art, which gives the rug its unique place among its lovers; no home across the nation would live without a Tabriz Persian rug.

However, conditions are not so promising for the practitioners of the art; the prospects of the rug-weaving as a would-be job is quite murky, with young generation now paying only a tepid welcome to the age-old profession; other plights such as social insurance for veteran rug-weavers pose their own problems for the industry.

Once upon a time, the sound of tying knots on the warp would be a familiar sound in province’s towns and especially rural areas with young people being among the major weavers; now, few youth would be spotted as rug weavers. Gholamhossein is a veteran rug weaver who has been weaving for a lifelong. In doing so, he had however support of his family members. Now, it is for sixty years Gholamhossein has been weaving carpets; “when I was ten years old, I started weaving along my father; in those times, sons and daughters would work along, sitting in carpet weaving; however, today few young lad would see the profession as a genuine profession, and the old generation will not be replaced with freshmen to continue the craft,” he tells Mehr News.

“Perhaps the upcoming years will bring the serious concerns over carpet production in the province; now, the majority of weavers are in retirement age; with lower pay and poor economic prospects, no young people welcomes to walk the path trodden by his father and forefathers,” adds Gholamhossein.

Soraya is a middle-aged weaver who has made a living by weaving rugs; she says different diseases found her all those years; “ophthalmic, pulmonary, and skin diseases afflicted me with pains; however, to make a living of a family, I would continue the job,” she tells Mehr News.

“Preparing the necessary paraphernalia is a difficult task; to find a wooden carpet scaffold would sometimes take more than a year; the payoff is very low, with so many dealers of carpet who make a fortune of our years of efforts,” Soraya asserts. “The dealers would sell our beautifully and painstakingly woven rugs to drastic prices; this demoralizes us in our profession,” she objects.

Farid Gholami is a third carpet weaver, who points to other problem: social security for weavers. “Social Security would not cover carpet weavers who invest their whole life in the craft; however, it is definitely to go unnoticed,” he laments.  

Our attempts to reach out an official bring us to Esmail Chamani, the head of Hand-Woven Carpet Associations 0f Iran (ETFA), who is also unsatisfied with the current situation in social security coverage of carpet weavers.

“In a province of higher per cent of carpet production and export, and just ahead of the ceremony which is to choose the city as Carpet Innovative City, such lackluster performance in duly addressing the problem is totally unacceptable,” says Chamani, “Ironically, last year, Parliament passed a law eliminating the social security coverage for carpet weavers, which has been a major source of crisis facing nation’s best craftsmen and women,” he adds.

“Tabriz carpets are exported to and loved by people in all countries worldwide; East Azerbaijan have almost 500,000 employed directly and indirectly in the industry; with another 200,000 people in related fields, the figure would be great enough to attract the attentions to the industry’s problems,” Chamani tells Mehr News.

Dr. Ghada Hijjawi-Qaddumi the president of World Crafts Council - Asia Pacific Region paid a visit to Tabriz to meet provincial Cultural Heritage Organization officials; “every year, few cities worldwide are selected as the capitals of a handicraft product from among different products, and Tabriz has been nominated for the global capital of carpet title, which would help publicize Tabriz Persian rug even in remote parts of the world,” she said.

Hijjawi-Qaddumi ascribed Tabriz nomination to the unique style and design of its rugs; “this type of carpet should be introduced to the world, and all should work to promote the place of this unrivaled art form,” she emphasized.

The nomination and selection of Tabriz would catapult its rugs to peaks of fame; however, it would be possible only if the issues of many unknown bud devoted weavers issues are effectively addressed; until that time, economic hardships would mar their love of tying knots to warp of Tabriz Persian rugs as their forefathers did in the past.

report by: Faezeh Zanjani  

News Code 108620

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