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Talking 'Baluch' with Jerry Anderson: part 7

The Bahluli are another relatively large adherent group to Sistani culture. They are very easy-going people – very gentle, very liberal in a sense.

And certainly not very religious. I've never seen a Bahluli pray. The Sarbandis and Sharakhis are very arrogant, closed minded people, proud also, but respected. I bought one of the best rugs I ever had from a Sarbandi. Sistani tribal lifestyle was essentially intact until about 1980, nomads moving around in the same locales as they had for centuries. But then the Sarbandi and many other Sistanis were displaced during the Islamic Revolution. Before 1979, they were not here in Pakistan and these weavings, salt bags, shepherds' bags and the like, were just not available.

17. Shahraki Sarbandi prayer rug, Sistan, late 19th century. 0.74 x 1.07m (2'5" x 3'6"). Warp: Z2S, ivory wool; weft: natural brown wool, 2 shoots; knot: 2Z, wool, AS open right, 9H x 8V = 72/in2 (1,116/dm2); sides: not original: ends: weft-float kilim at top, weft-faced plainweave at bottom; colours: 11. Private collection, USA.

The Sarbandi and Sharakhi rarely sold such salt bags and rugs before – these were dowry items, not for sale at any price! But when they were forced out of Sistan, they had no choice but to sell, and that is why you find them in the marketplaces – Quetta, Karachi, the markets were flooded with all sorts of weavings from these Sistan groups. They are a very nationalistic people, the Sistanis, and when they left Iran, most of them settled near Nushki.

18. Kurdish (?) prayer rug, north east Iran, 19th century. 0.67 x 0.99m (2'3" x 3'3"). Warp: Z2S, natural ivory wool, slightly depressed; weft: natural brown wool, 2 shoots, loosely packed; knot: wool, AS open left, 10H x 12V = 120/in2 (1,860/dm2); sides: 2 cords 3Z(Z2S) ivory wool overwrapped in figure-8 with continuous wefts and overcast in wool chequerboard pattern; ends: weft-float and dovetail tapestry at top, similar plus stepped discontinuous weft-float and slit-tapestry at bottom; colours: 8. Belouch Prayer Rugs, pl.30, attributed to "Turkestan, Timuri Baluch", subsequently reattributed to "Jamshidi, Pende". Private collection USA, courtesy Adraskand Inc., San Anselmo, California.


19. Sangchuli prayer rug, Zabol area, Sistan, late 19th century. 0.84 x 1.57m (2'9" x 5'2"). Warp: Z2S, natural ivory wool, slightly depressed; weft: natural brown and dark brown wool and camel hair, 2 shoots; knot: wool, AS open right, 10H x 11V = 110/in2 (1,705/dm2); sides: 2 cords 3Z(Z2S) and 4Z(Z2S) ivory wool overcast in alternate lines of natural brown and plum red wool; ends: missing; colours: 7. Belouch Prayer Rugs, pl.22, attributed to "Herat", subsequently reattributed to "Hazara, Murghab". Courtesy Adraskand Inc., San Anselmo, California.

Anselmo, California.

From the Horses Mouth

Original text & photos appeared in HALI 76, © 1994

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