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THE QARAI RUGS OF TURBAT-I-HAIDARI part2

Turbat-i-Haidari survived as a small, insignificant village until Ishak Khan built a caravansarai in the second half of the 18th century.

Under his leadership the town grew to be an important commercial and cultural center during his life, a period in which the district thrived. His divan khaneh was large enough to hold 500 visitors and the bazaar was a large and substantial market supported greatly by a thriving transit trade with the east.
The transit trade declined during Muhammad Khan's rule but the bazaar continued to thrive with the primary business being contraband and slaves. Conolly28 ( 1830) states that the naturally fine district suffered from the retaliation of other tribes, instigated by Muhammad Khan's policy of plundering so that the cultivation of grain was carried on only in the vicinity of Turbat-i-Haidari and that the extent of this was limited to that which would suffice only their own needs. Mohan Lal29 (1832) found the district even more depressed. The bazaar was not its usual thriving self either. Lal states that he noticed that several shops were in ruins.
Forty years later the town was visited by the Boundary Commission, a group of British officers in Khurasan to determine the boundary between Afghanistan and Persia.30 The time, 1872, was at the tail end of a famine that ravaged Persia for three years. They describe this district as being the the most flourishing area on the frontier and the bazaar as being very active and well supplied.
Products included dried fruit, opium, tobacco, wool and goat hair. The wool and goat hair was the primary export in this district and had been since Ishak Khan's time. It was considered the finest quality in all of Persia.31
The 19th century boundaries of the Turbat district extended to Sharifabad, 24 miles south of Mashhad, in the north and to the villages of Danial or Miandeh in the south. The western boundary was Turshiz while the eastern boundary was indefinite. In the l8th and early 19th centuries the town of Khaf was considered a part of Turbat-i-Haidari. The district is peopled primarily by Qarai, Baluch, Hazara, Timuri and Lek tribes as well as some Tajiks.
Qarai Rugs.
A number of Baluch tribes are known to have existed in Khurasan from the advent of the Afghan invasion in 1721 until the present day. The influence of these tribes on the weaving of the indigenous tribes is enormous, so great, in fact, that until recently their weavings had been considered to be indistinct from those of the Baluch. In 1982 the weavings of the KhuraSan Arab tribes were separated from those of the Baluch on the basis of structure.32 An attempt will be made here to employ this method, as well as some iconographic assistance, to isolate the weavings of a native Turkic tribe, the Qarai, from this same body of Khurasan Baluch weavings. From a design perspective, a certain group of Khurasan "Baluch" rugs is strikingly incongruous with mainstream Baluch work. Though the dark palette of these rugs is very similar to Baluch rugs, the source of the iconography appears to be distinct in that the designs are derived from classical Kurdistan garden carpets and so called "Herat" carpets. This type of rug is easily visually discerned by its distinctive white five petal flowers integrated into a red Mina Khani design on a sharply contrasting dark blue field (Illustration 2). Several borders may be found on these rugs but the most classic type, based on Kurdistan garden carpet plant motifs, is the most relevant to this hypothesis. The kilim ends generally found on this type of rug are usually composed of a wide band of either multicolored chevrons or diagonals. A rug with this type of kilim end was purchased by Gen. A. A. Bogolubov at the bazaar in Turbat-i-Haidari around 1900.33

by Michael Craycraft

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