Gelimtas: Another treasure of Kerman handicrafts

Kerman is famous for handicrafts, especially rugs. Iranians and many people of the world who know our land have heard the name of Kerman and its handicrafts, and perhaps they were among the buyers of handicrafts and handlooms of this province. But there is a city in Kerman that has an excellent reputation for a type of gelim called “tas”. That city’s name is Koshkuiyeh; it is one of the cities of Rafsanjan district, in Kerman province.

Before machine-made carpets filled the houses of the people of Koshkuiyeh, you could see Tas rugs in every corner of this city and enjoy their pattern and coloring. But machine-made carpets took the work from the hands of Gelimtas weavers. Slowly, the method of Gelimtas weaving was forgotten and remained only in the memory of those who were still fond of the handwoven predecessors and did not want imported products to replace the art of their ancestors. Then, the fans of Iranian handicrafts stepped forward and did their utmost to revive this beautiful art by first having the art of weaving Gelimtas registered. The result of those efforts was the revival of carpet weaving in Koshkuiyeh. With the national registration of carpet weaving in the list of intangible heritage of Iran in 1401, the way was opened for weaving and popularizing this art. Now, masters and apprentices in workshops in Koshkuiyeh are busy restoring this art from what they learned.

As mentioned, the beautiful pattern seen on Kashkoye rugs is called tas. These rugs are used as underlays or carpets. They also have other uses and are one of the basic household items of Koshkuiyeh people. Gelimtas owes its beauty and charm to the simplicity of its design. Sometimes, there is art hidden in simplicity, which cannot be seen in bold and glossy designs.  Therefore, it is not without reason that every observer fascinated by this art buys one of these rugs for her home.

Gelimtas should be considered a treasure that deserves more attention. This art not only has cultural and historic background but is part of people’s daily lives. This rug is sometimes woven in 1 sqm so that it can be easily carried.  It is also favorable for exporting and is considered a currency earner. So, reviving this art is not only a reminder of one of the forgotten handicrafts of Kerman but also has economic benefits. Therefore, the stability of Gelimtas’s handicraft industry needs the support of the government and Iranian handicraft officials.

The exhibition held this year, in Rafsanjan, to introduce and revive memories, was a practical step for expanding carpet weaving workshops.

The Gelimtas artist weaves colorful threads on small and large looms, creating a spectacular backdrop. This work also requires the artist’s creativity for shaping impressive and eye-catching designs. The people of Koshkuiyeh, who know this art from centuries ago, despite their forgetfulness, do still have in their memory patterns that present charming handwoven Gelimtas and reveal a corner of their creativity. In the cities of Arak and Shahrbabak, in the province of Kerman, you can also look for and find traces of Gelimtas and praise the mastery of its artists!


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May 17, 2024