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Gabbeh, Poetic Protest

  • HEIRLOOM 81 Grand St Brooklyn, NY 11249-4123 US (map)

Gabbeh, Poetic Protest

Heirloom works to cultivate a deeper understanding and appreciation of handmade rugs. We strive to keep this ancient tradition relevant to this generation and the next. We supply rugs to everyone from the sets of feature films to boutique hotels to local New Yorkers.

Almost three decades ago, Mohsen Makhmalbaf, one of the most popular post-revolutionary Iranian directors, was approached by a local organization to make a documentary about the nomadic Qashqa'i tribe from southern Iran. With the intention to promote the sale of gabbeh rugs, more coarsely knotted, thick, village rugs, often depicting animals and humans in a more simple geometric design. 

While this project has the content of a staged documentary of the Qashqa'i tribe, Gabbeh is a visually enticing experience exploring the creation of a local carpet, and the weaver's and their community that literally weave their life stories into the rug. As with gabbeh carpets, color is a key visual element in this film, and at the time, a protest to the recently tightened dress code of black for all women. Makhmalbaf connects the illegality of colorful clothing with the suppression of nature and life. Taking after the poetic tradition of Rumi, Hafez and Attar, Gabbeh longs for the realm of imagination, of heightened colors and magical elusions of time and space.

Gabbeh is an epic tale of the forbidden passion that shapes the legend of a magical carpet. 
"Dazzling! The bold, almost psychedelically vivid images are woven together with a dreamlike density as pure as that of 'The Blood of a Poet' or 'Natural Born Killers'" - Entertainment Weekly, 1995.