Gorgeous Antique Tribal Caucasian Shahsavan Bag, Country of Origin: , Circa Date: This magnificent, tribal bag uses bright colors and tribal motifs in a traditional design. It is pieced together using a running stitch and finished with blanket stitch edges. This is a typical construction method for bags of this type. Even though the bag is beautiful, they were utilitarian and often show some wear from use. They were used as saddlebags to carry small items while traveling.
The Shahsavan was a tribal confederation in Northwest and Western Iran during the Safavid Dynasty. It was created as a political and military resistance to the Kizilbash confederation. These tribes made kilims and pile rugs, but they are best known for their bags and other small items. These bags were produced from the 17th century through the 1940s.
This antique Caucasian bag features an Abdul barun motif, which is sometimes called the double bird motif because it looks like a bird peering both directions at once. It also features the S pattern which is thought to represent the power of the male dragon, but some claim that is representative of the sun and the level of divinity that man can reach. It also has the cross figure, which stands for the four forces of nature. A variation on the star symbol can also be seen, which is a symbol for good luck. These symbols give us a glimpse into the thoughts and beliefs of the weaver.
The vibrant, primary colors of the bag are achieved by using vegetable dyes. As a group, these bags are closely related to the rugs of the Caucasus mountains, but they do not conform to the use of design and color as rigidly. However, many of the symbols are found throughout the region. The Shahsavan are a nomadic tribe and have remained in small groups of no more than a few hundred at any one time. Now, many of them have settled in villages, but a few thousand still follow the nomadic lifestyle and migration routes.
This bag is a unique glimpse into a lifestyle that is quickly disappearing. Antique Shahsavan bags are highly collectible and perfect for display. This would be a beautiful piece draped over a table or carefully mounted and hung on the wall as a tribute to the tribal people that created it.