The Gashgai are a group of tribal people located in central and southern Iran, around the region of Shiraz and Persepolise.

The Gashgai live and migrateGashgai woman spinning through parts of the Zagros Mountain range, mostly within the province of Fars (Persia in English) and the Four Valleys of Bahktiari as they move their livestock to greener pastures. This breed of sheep is one of the fat-tailed breeds of sheep found in Iran. Their environment is quite arid and many traditionally migrate with their herds in the summer and the winter, travelling 500kms and climbing to 2,500m.

The Gashgai should not be confused with the Bahktiar tribe, another big rug manufacturing tribe from this area of Iran. Gashgai are of Turkish ethnic origin. Some of the Gashgai are settled in villages and towns and rug weaving is still common occupation.

Traditional Gashqai rugs have all wool construction including wool wefts and warps with 70 to 170 knots per square inch. The rugs are geometric designs with central medallions and the colours are strong and rich and often reds and blues particular to the Gashgai tribe. They weave cut pile rugs and flat-woven rugs known as kilims or gilims. All their rugs are highly durable as the wool is strong and the knotts are very secure. The Gashgai rug pictured below was woven circa 1890, it was sold at Christies, London April 2012, for a high price, it is in very good condition.

old gashgai-chritiesThe wool is from their own sheep and the dyes are sourced from the local environment, wool is spun and woven into the famous Gashgai rugs and kilims.

Their rugs are patterns of both abstract and semi-naturalistic, that come from the nomad’s ancient traditions. Motifs include sheep, goat, birds, and humans, they will also incorporate trees, vines, flowers and other vegetation plus inanimate objects like hair combs. Gashgai use natural dye material collected from their environment, these dyes look beautiful and age beautifully and this is a great feature of the nomadic rug weaving tradition. Gashgai weave flat weaves and cut pile rugs.

There are various spellings of their name Gashkai, Qashai, Qasqai, Qashga’i and Kashgai are some. Their rugs are sometimes referred to as “Shiraz” because Shiraz was the major marketplace for these goods. The wool produced in the Gashgai region is soft and known to take colour well as is seen in the deep blue and the dark ruby reds. Known for their rugs and other woven goods like the saddlebags used over donkey and horse backs, these were highly functional for these mirating people, buy one of these and use it as a wonderful cushion, add some adventure to your room, each one is unique.


Empress Rug Warehouse sources and imports hand-made and machine-made rugs from many different countries. Our rug collection includes traditional designs and contemporary rugs, and we are always looking for unusual and interesting rugs and runners.

Our very first shipment to Australia was 20 years ago after a seek-and-find trip to Iran, my country of birth.

I met with many tribal and urban weavers and drank a lot of tea! Or chai as tea is called in Iran. This trip was very interesting and enlightening for me. Iran is a multicultural country and I discovered a lot about the people and the weavings.

I travelled into the tribal FullSizeRenderareas of the Bahktiars and bought the rugs directly from the weavers – women and men who have been doing this trade for many, many generations. The Bahktiar people grow their own wool and they wash, spin, dye and weave it into their unque designs. Hard-wearing and timeless, these floral rugs are passed down from one generation to the next.

New and old Bahktiar rugs are highly sought after in the west. The designs are very popular and form an imporant part of our rug collection. Empress stocks many of these Iranian rugs and many other tribal and city designs, we are happy to show you our goods, drop by soon.

Once my buying was done, I excitedly brought my rugs to Australia and set up shop. I hoped that people from my new country would like them just as much as they do in my homeland.

After learning about the colours and styles that most interested Melbournites, I adjusted what the rugs I added to my collection next time to suit local tastes.

I bought old and new rugs, Afghan rugs, large rugs and small rugs, as well as very fine rugs made with 100% silk and silk and very fine wool, plus I bought the great tribal rugs with their bold, energetic designs and robust colours.

Getting the first shipment to our new store in Brunswick St in Fitzroy, Melbourne was one of the greatest moments. Since that day we have sold many rugs and had many more shipments.

Over the last 20 years we have had numerous shops around Melbourne and many in Sydney, selling rugs to people all around Australia. Now Empress Rug Warehouse has two large warehouses, one in Melbourne and one in Sydney, retailing seven days a week. Our customers can also shop our amazing rug collection online and have it shipped anywhere in the world.

The Empress Empire is vast. Come and see our rug collection.


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That’s a good question.

Have you ever bought something and wished you had not. The quality is not good, it looks tired already, it doesn’t really do the job, on and on you regret that purchase, we all do this.

A good purchase isn’t about spending more however a little research and good advice goes a long way.

Ask yourself why you want a rug? Do you want warmth? Decoration? A soft landing for kids? A place to lounge? Something to impress? What size rug do you want? Large room rug? Small rug? Kids rug? One for the work place? Kitchen rug? Yoga rug? A rug to hang?

Do you want wool pile? Why do you want wool? What about some silk in the pile? Synthetic? Do you have a budget? Do you want a tough rug for high traffic? A delicate rug for the ‘good’ room? Do you want a hand-made rug or a machine-made rug?

What size do you want? How flexible are you with the dimensions? Do you want lots of colour? Warm or cool colours? Do you want a simple rug of one or two colours?

Rugs can add texture, colour and personality to your room. Big bold tribal rugs or more sophisticated, traditional rugs of delicate, floral symmetry. Highly colourful Persian rugs or Afghan rugs with extensive border designs and overall patterns can blend beautifully with many decorative interiors. Do you want a strong central medallion or a field of colour?

Empress imports and sells hand-made rugs from Iran (Persian rugs), form Afghanistan and from Indian and Nepal. Empress Rugs sells machine-made rugs from Turkey and China mostly. Empress Rug Warehouse has a huge variety of rugs in Sydney and Melbourne, plus we ship anywhere.

A good rug, look at the knots, how they are tied and how dense they are? Look at the materials used, is it natural or synthetic? How fine is the fibre? How long are the fibres? Do you know that fine and good quality are different? How long will it last and how old is it? What are the colours? Are the dyes natural or synthetic? which is better and why? Look at the rug, is it pleasing and is it a good product? Are the design elements balanced and positioned correctly? Does it suit your room? Is it authentic or a copy but much better quality than the original weavers can produce? Read more on choosing quality here.

Get some advice, keep an open mind but have a result ‘goal’ to work towards be it modern rugs, new rugs, antique rugs, kilims, fine Isfahan rugs, simple Shiraz rugs, rich red Tekke rugs, natural dyes of the Chube rugs, cheap rugs and expensive signed designer rugs.

Start your interior with the rug and work visually from the floor up. Redecorate with the rug in mind and choose colours for paint and soft furnishings to work with it.

Trade-in your rugs. One of the great features of rugs is that you can move them around the house; the kitchen rug might become the bathroom rug or the bedroom rug looks nice now in the study. If that does not work then you can trade-in hand-made rugs and buy ones that fit the new space or the new decoration scheme. Upsize, change colour or turn one into two, consult with us on your options. Whether you purchased form us or elsewhere a trade-in is worth considering.

Cleaning rugs and repairing rugs. Empress Rugs can clean and repair all types of rugs. We will quote and we can do various levels of clean and different types of repair. Call us or better still drop in to see us and bring your rug if possible. Empress can, for a fee, collect rugs and deliver back to you please call one of our stores to discuss this option. Melbourne 03 9833 0099 – Sydney 02 9555 9095.

A good rug is . . . well it is many things, the answer depends somewhat on you. For information on hand-made rugs please click here. For all types of rugs Empress Rug Warehouse has many, many very good ones, come see the perfect rug for you. Start your rug search at this site or visit our store at 362-366 Lygon St, Brunswick East Melbourne 3057 or at 32 Victoria Rd, Rozelle Sydney 2039.

 

 

 

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