KURDS

Kurdistan is a large area which extends westwards to the Iraqi and Turkish frontiers from a line which begins at Hamikasi and terminates at the southern end of Lake Urumiah. On the south it is bounded by Kanagavar-Kermanshah road.

The area is very mountainous and until fifty years ago the inhabitants were mainly nomadic. Reza Shah succeeded in forcibly settling most of the tribes of eastern and less mountainous regions. But the tribes in the inaccessible mountains were left alone and continue to pursue a nomadic or semi-nomadic existence.

The Kurdish language is an Indo-European tongue allied to ancient Persia and possessing many modern Persian dialect forms.

Lack of communication and the religion ( Kurds are Sunni Moslems) and remoteness of the area made them secure from interference and outside pressure, until Reza Shah drove a few roads in to the area. Because they are a minority and as it happens with most religious minorities there exists a streak of fanaticism in the Kurds, probably brought about by their leaders religious and political.

There exists three totally different weaves in this area. Senneh, Bijar and the weave of the Kurdish Tribal Rugs. The first is exclusively woven in the town of Senneh. The second in the town of Bijar and in some fourty villages surrounding it. The third is common to semi-nomadic and settled tribes of Kolyai, Guraami, Senjabe and Jaffis who weave tribal rugs in their tents and cottages.

Kurdish Tribal Rugs

These are the rugs of settled or semi-nomadic Kurdish tribes who live on the borders of Iran. Most of the Kurdish Tribal Rugs differ widely from Bijar or Senneh. The principal area of production of the Kurdish Tribal Rugs lies with in a rough circle of 80 kilometres radius centred a little to the west of the large village of Qorveh. This include Kolyai with the little market town of Songor and a second group to the Northwest of Kolyai of which the centre is Shirishabad.

The most important one is Kolyai; then it is Shirishabad which produces rugs with some affinity with those of nearby Bijar. The other important Kurdish tribes are Heriki, Senjabi, Gurami, Jaffi and Kalhors. These no longer weave on an important scale.

The decline in output is because of disruption of tribal life caused by settlement policy of Reza Shah Pahlavi and an unprecedented demand and consequent high price of wool about 50 years ago.