Balouchi rugs are hand knotted rugs originally woven by the Balouchi tribe living near the border between Baluchistan, Northeast Iran and Afghanistan. They are also called Beluchi or Baluch rugs.
Because of the nomadic lifestyle of the tribe, the designs of the rugs were constantly changing, resulting in many hybrid styles. However, despite the differences in style amongst the different tribes, all Balouchi rugs retained certain characteristics. These rugs are defined by their exceptional wool quality, coarsely woven structure and their unique color combinations. The tree of life motif remained a constant feature in all of the rugs woven in this area.
Traditional Balouchi rugs
Balouchi rugs are generally small in size, measuring about 2 to 5 feet by about 3 to 9 feet in dimension. The finished rug is almost square in shape. One of the reasons why the weavers of this region preferred to weave smaller rugs is because their nomadic nature did not allow them to own larger or more sophisticated looms. All Balouchi rugs are woven on rudimentary horizontal looms, usually under primitive conditions. Weaving larger sized rugs on these looms was not possible. Also, from the practical viewpoint, carrying large rugs as they roamed from one settlement to another was just too cumbersome.
What they compromised on size however, these rugs make up for in design and colors. One of the outstanding features of these rugs is their deep, dark, rich colors and their bold, fascinating designs. The main colors that used in these rugs are rich burgundy red, very dark navy blue, black and dark chocolate brown with accents of ivory, orange or white. The small amounts of ivory that were used in the weaving helped make the patterns stand out from the dark background.
Design and Size of Balouchi Rugs
Most of these rugs have an overall pattern with a few having a prayer rug design. The designs used were bold and prominent. In addition to the tree of life motif, two of the common motifs that can be seen in many Balouchi rugs are the pear shaped medallion and a highly stylized camel’s foot. These motifs were typically used in a repetitive pattern and surrounded by geometric borders on all four sides. Every rug produced in this region is one of a kind. If you own a Balouchi rug, you know there will definitely not be another rug with the same pattern and coloration anywhere in the world.
Material of old Balouchi Rugs
In the older rugs, the warp was made of wool or a combination of wool with goat hair. In the newer carpets, the warp is made of cotton. The weavers almost exclusively used the asymmetrical Persian knot in their weaving. Balouchi rugs are known to be of excellent quality and very durable. They last for many years, a quality that has found favor amongst serious collectors as well as those looking for a family heirloom that can be passed down through the generations