(Persia Digest) – Shirikipich is a kilim handwoven by the nomadic and village women of Sirjan, an art that has registered their hometown as a Kilim World City by Unesco and the World Crafts Council.

Sirjan is in the southwestern part of Kerman Province and the home of Shirikipich kilim woven by the nomads of the area from old days. Shirikipich is the name of the most beautiful style of kilim hand woven by the nomadic and village women of Kerman. This was initially hand made only as a kilim. The new designs today are a combination of kilim and carpets.

Unlike other kilim, a special feature of the Shirikipich is that the weft shapes the end result, but has no role in shaping the design. It simply connects the warps together and strengthens the yarn. Shirikipich means a cover for the horses. It is likely that this was its main use in the past.

Another unique feature of this kilim is that its design is woven by heart. There is no pattern for the symbols and everything is improvised. Although younger weavers have distanced themselves from weaving by heart and at times use patterns for the main symbols, but the older weavers have remained faithful to their memories and what they learned by word of mouth from their predecessors.

Kilim experts believe that, reading between the patterns of the kilim, the memories and peaks and troughs of the lives of nomadic women can be seen in their weft and warp, and even the age of the weaver can be noticed here. Research has shown that the younger weavers use brighter colors, whereas these turn to darker colors as they age.

The kilim patterns vary based on the weaving methods and available facilities. At times, they go beyond their geometric shapes to change into half turns. Symmetry is almost always seen in the patterns. But at times, harmony is created out of asymmetrical patterns. The patterns woven around the edges are often a chain repetition of a geometric shape lying between two parallel lines.

Each Shirikipich pattern symbolizes a different theme. The peacock, for instance, is the symbol of good omen and blessings and the rifle is the symbol of courage and martyrdom of the tribesmen.

The colorfully patterned kilim is used to make bags, rug tableaux, and chair covers. It has made up part of Iran’s non-oil exports in past years and has its loyal customers in Europe and Arab countries.

In 2015, the city of Kerman proposed that Sirjan be registered as a World Kilim City. Following visits by international observers from the World Crafts Council, the city was registered as a World Kilim City.


Photo: Abuzar Ahmadizad / IRNA News Agency

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