The center of the Bakhtiari weaving area is found south-east of
Isfahan in Shahr-Kurd (literally "town of the Kurds"). This formerly
nomadic tribe, of which Soraya was perhaps the most famous daughter,
has since become settled. Today their carpets come from the Zagros
region of the Chahar-Mahal and Rugs of lesser quality are known
after their place of manufacture, such as Bibibaff, Saman of Hori.
Size: small and large rugs up to 1.50 x 2.20 m (5 ft. x 7 ft. 3 in.) are produced; occasionally narrow runners. Room size carpets up to 4 x 5 m (13 ft. x 16 ft. 6 in.) are produced in workshops.
Colours: there is great variety of colours in the carpets produced in the several hundred villages of the area. The principal colours include many white and ivory shades, as well as various reds and browns, greens and yellows, but relatively little blue. Natural dyes generally produce a harmonious range of colours especially on older pieces and the Bibibaffs.
Patterns: among the best known are the Garden carpets with their flower and tendril-filled compartment designs. In other carpets the field is decorated with lattice designs filled with floral ornaments, equally distinguished as the well drawn medallion carpets of Saman.
Foundation: warps and wefts are of cotton.
Knots: the Turkish knot is used in very varying knot densities, ranging from very coarse (Hori) to medium fine (Bibibaff, Chahal Shotur, Saman) i.e. between 500 - 1500 knots per sq. dm (30 - 100 per sq. in.).
Pile: even with wool obtained from the weaver's own herd, there are still different degrees of quality, ranging from dull to extremely glossy. The pile is clipped medium high to high.
Quality: There are wide variations in quality and price between different carpets from this provenance, ranging from consumer carpets through the whole gamut up to excellent collectors' pieces.
In summary, Hori carpets are generally of lower quality, while Bibibaff, Chahal Shotur and Saman pieces are good to excellent. Old and antique Bakhtiari rugs are sought after and rather rare collectors' pieces. Nomad carpets have a special charm and are distinguished for their beautiful patina.