Shiraz and Qashqai are based in the Fars region; which is the land of original Persians. Fars is a large region located at the southern end of the Iranian plateau. It was the heart of the Achaemenid empire and an important section of the Sassanian kingdom and indeed it has always been one of the most important regions of Iran through out it’s history. During the reign of Karim Khan Zand Shiraz was the capital of Iran. Consequently with such rich history comes a very rich culture and art. Two of Iran’s most famous poets; Hafez and Saadi; are from Shiraz.
Fars has always had it’s nomadic tribes as well as it’s city; town and village dwellers. The nomads trekked twice annually from their warmer winter pastures in the southern lowlands to the cooler summer grounds in the northern highlands.
The oldest nomads of this region are the Lors; who are related to the Lors of Luristan and to the Bakhtiaris. The Lors have two main branches; Boir Ahmads and Mamassanis. Then there are the Qashqais; who are turkish speaking and comprise the largest ethnic group among the nomads of Fars. They migrated or forced to migrate to the province six centuries ago. It was common practice by the Shahs to move the tribes to the borders for strategic reasons.
The Qashqais get their name from Qashqa; which means horse with a white face in Turkish. This is because they used to own a lot of horses with white face. The Qashqais are not one tribe but a confederacy of six tribes; Shesh-Boluki, Kashkuli Bozorg, Kashkuli Kuchek, Dareh-Shuri, Amaleh and Farsimadan. Each Tribe has it’s own migration route and pastures. Also each tribe has many sub-tribes; in fact there are 66 sub-tribes.
The Kashkulis have mainly settled in the Firuzabad area of Fars province. They weave some of the finest carpets of the area and unlike the other tribes their carpets are usually woven on cotton foundation.
From about 1990 a revival of old ways of hand spinning wool and natural dying has taken place in the area. This has also resulted in some extremely fine pieces being produced, with very interesting designs and colours.