The town of Bakshaish resides in a remote area of Northwest Persia. Situated in a mountainous region 60 miles east of the esteemed city of Tabriz, Bakshaish is thought to be the oldest rug weaving village in this locality. It has become acclaimed for carpets with highly artistic, exceedingly diverse adaptations of age-old tribal and classical Persian motifs. The finest of these antique carpets are typically larger roomsizes with a geometric, folkloric character usually found only in small tribal rugs. Their weavers were undoubtedly influenced by local tribal weavings as-well-as the prolific tribal designs from the nearby Caucasus Mountains.In their use of soft color tones and angular lines, the appearance of antique Bakshaish carpets closely resembles the Sultanabad carpets of Central Persia, yet with designs substantially more free form, improvisational and geometric. These are folk art compositions in which the individual creative decisions of the weavers can be abundantly seen. The viewer will take delight in discovering the creative temperament of the Bakshaish weaver, as seldom is one motif drawn in exactly the same fashion twice, where borders, and central medallions, are usually playfully misshapen. The best antique Bakshaish carpets are connoisseur’s delights, exhibiting truly original patterns; unusual movement and asymmetry of design. Coupled with a richness and maturity of color obtained by the masterful use of natural dyes, they transcend the decorative to become truly one-in-the-world art objects.
Bakshaish weavers often employed both soft reds or navy tones for the base color of the field, with the use of ivory, or occassionally a rare golden camelhair ground. Undyed camelhair can create a unique, luminous backdrop to the field, inpart due to the coveted natural color variations known as ‘abrash’. The masterful use of indigo dyes is a hallmark of these antiques with hues of azure, turquoise, peacock and teal. Muted salmons, corals, buffs and yellows, as-well-as rich spring to jade greens, can also be found in abundance.
These carpets offer unique geometric allover design and medallion formats. They developed their own intriguing adaptations of the traditional repeating Herati pattern. Their all-over field designs of overscale emblematic or stylized floral patterns offer striking graphic artistry. Bakshaish rug weavers are also renowned for creating carpets featuring the age-old ‘Tree of Life’ motif.
These carpets flourish perfectly in contemporary or casual decors, and can brilliantly enhance a wide range of design styles, architecture, art forms, and unique collectibles. The 19th-century examples of Bakshaish weaving, if artistically distinguished, memorable in their beauty, and in good condition, have performed very solidly as art investments. Because of their great rarity, inspired artistry, and overwhelming appeal, the best 19th-century representatives are widely sought after. Collectible-level pieces are seldom available on the market, and when they do, regularly receive strong demand.