Shopping finds: Traditional Gabbeh fabrics in Iran

Shopping finds: Traditional Gabbeh fabrics in Iran

TEHRAN - Gabbeh, a traditional fabric of Iran, was originally hand-woven by the Qashqai people, an ethnic group of nomads in a mountainous region in the south of the country.

Made of wool yarn, the fabric is thick but retains a fine texture. Five colors are used for the products - red, blue, yellow, brown and green - which feature simple patterns, such as animals and forests.

Gholamreza, 81-year-old owner of the carpet store chain Zollanvari in Iran, started taking an interest in Gabbeh products in the 1950s.

Zollanvari directly buys Gabbeh products from the Qashqai people and exports them to seven countries, including Japan. The products became extremely popular when they were introduced in Europe.

In a store in Tehran, more than 100 Gabbeh products are on display. One three-meter by two-meter Gabbeh carpet was priced at about 150 million Iranian rials (about S$7,500. A smaller product - 30 centimeters by 50 centimeters - that would be suitable as a doormat, was priced at about 1.8 million rial.

"If you buy these products in Japan, expect the prices to be three to six times higher than here," Mirsoltani, an employee of the store, said with a smile.

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