Gabbeh rugs are woven by the nomadic Qashqai tribal people around Shiraz in the southern part of Iran. The Qashqai / Kashgai are nomads whose herds of sheep and goats produce the excellent fibre used in the wool rugs they weave.
The word Gabbeh literally means unclipped and refers to the weave. Gabbeh rugs are usually flat-woven from high-quality local wool with loose piles. Gabbeh rugs are very thick, soft, and luxurious to the touch. Gabbeh rugs can have up to 100 knots per square inch. The warps and wefts of Gabbeh rugs are both wools.
Each Gabbeh rug is a totally unique one of a kind work of art, no design being reused. The geometric patterns feature a very plain yet distinctive design with one or two small figures. All of the patterns on Gabbeh rugs are extremely simple and geometric. Birds and people may appear in newer rugs. The designs on Gabbeh wool rugs are completely uncluttered with large fields, bold stripes and geometric human or animal shapes. The colour palette is very harmonious in soft greens, light blue, and khaki. Newer Gabbeh rugs may feature bolder shades of red, yellow, and ivory.
Gabbeh rugs are renowned for their superb quality of materials, craftsmanship and durability. Although look-a-like Gabbeh rugs are produced in Pakistan, India, China, and Turkey, their quality cannot be duplicated. Most Gabbeh rugs are small.
The simplicity of the design lends itself to more modern and contemporary décor. Gabbeh rugs are a favourite among those with eclectic tastes and for those who believe that less is more. A Gabbeh rug may be telling a story, depicting a landscape or scene, or maybe even conveying emotion and are often a favourite of many contemporary designers because of their beauty and simplicity.