Daizangi Kilims from Afghanistan

Another day at Arastan: a new tribal rug arrives, we learn about another weaving technique, we are awed again by a brilliant skill. Today’s splendid new product is the Daizangi kilim from Afghanistan.

Though often confused with Berjista or Mashwani Nakhunak kilims, Daizangi kilims in fact constitute a genre apart.

The Daizangi are a Hazara tribe from western Afghanistan, living mostly in Badghis and Herat provinces. Daizangi women typically weave on their own looms in village homes, using designs common to their tradition, but also adjusted to suit the requirements of modern rug traders.

Like other Afghan tribal weavers, they incorporate multiple weaving techniques in each rug. Most frequently they combine a background made with weft wrapping (sometimes known as plain soumak) with design elements in knotted pile.

The precision required to make small design elements in knotted pile dictates an unusually high knot count for tribal rugs, up to 300 knots per square inch. Thus the pile, which is usually trimmed quite short, appears as small, densely knotted islands on the flat-woven background. This makes the surface of the rug appear as if it were engraved or embossed. In this regard Daizangi kilims are similar to Berjista kilims.

Afghan Daizangi Kilim

A pattern constructed with knotted pile
against a flat-woven surface

What sets Daizangi rugs apart from other Afghan textiles, however, is the use of a much lighter, brighter and more varied colour palette, eschewing the dark, sober hues typical of many Baluch and Mashwani textiles.

The Daizangi kilims available from Arastan include several examples in which gentle pastel hues predominate, especially light browns and yellows, but also strikingly colourful geometric compositions that feature reds and browns, with purple, blue, pink and ivory accents.

Designs favoured by the Daizangi tend to be repetitive diamond patterns, often with crosses or elongated diamonds within other diamonds. They make minimal use of any distinctive tribal motifs, but extensive use of multiple concentric frames, often blurring the distinction between border and field.

These kilims are made using a combination of camel wool and  sheep’s wool. Colours are achieved with both natural and synthetic dyes.

 

 

Please visit our online store to view other examples of this striking kilim artwork from Afghanistan, and click on the images below to see some of the patterns up close.

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