Caravans, Covers and Containers
Tapestry-Woven Cover (gileem)
Iran, Qashqai Tribe, 19th Century
144.8 x 219.7 cm (57 x 86 1/2 in.)
Vinay Pande Collection, Greenwich, CT
The Qashqai belong to a large tribal confederacy, which historically has wielded considerable political power. They speak a Turkic language, and Qashqai women are well known for their skill in several different weaving techniques. Decorative tapestry-woven covers such as this one are made by most Near Eastern nomads. They have multiple uses, but invariably the bedding stack at the back of a tent is covered by such an item. Gileems are often prominently displayed while on migration, a time when everyone likes to put on a good show.