Vintage Qashqai lion rug with a squadron of Iranian Revolutionary Guard. Very rare pictorial design woven in the Zagros Mountains of Southwest Iran.
Handwoven from 100% natural wool. Very thick and heavy for its size. Ends are a little lifted because the rug has been rolled in storage, but will quickly flatten out when walked on.
Out of my personal collection. I’ve collected and observed Persian lion rugs for a couple of decades and they are very rare with the Revolutionary Guard soldiers. I’ve only seen one other like this one.
Excellent — nearly mint — condition. No signs of wear. The wool fringes are in great shape, too.
The primary colors are red, blue, gray, orange, ivory, and green.
Woven from 100% natural wool by a Qashqai weaver. Probably early 1980s post revolution (1979). Last photo shows the backside with Morgan silver dollar. The leather strips on the back were added later and are mainly decorative– although they may help to stabilize some carpets.
Suitable for a high foot traffic area of the house. Exact size is 6 ft. 4 in. by 3 ft. 6 in.
These iconic Qashqai lion rugs are highly collectible and sought after by rug aficionados all over the world.
The Qashqai are a confederation of 5 distinct tribal groups who banded together in a political alliance in the 19th century. Another confederation — the Khamseh (which means 5 in Arabic) — formed in the 19th century as a counterbalance to the Qashqai. The rugs of all of these tribes are quite similar in many respects.
The lion woven into the carpet is a powerful symbol of Persia and Iran, and appear throughout the 19th century. Often the lion is depicted with a rising sun behind it, and this symbolism dates back 2500 years to the religion of Mithra.
More information on the origins of the lion and sun icon in ancient Persia:
“The oldest surviving Lion and Sun emblem in its’ early form, date back to the reign of King Artaxerxes II (436-358 BCE). The Achaemenid seal depicting king Artaxerxes (a Mithraist), honouring Goddess Anahita who is riding on a lion and sun is rising from the lion’s back.
The lion motif dates from ancient times in Iran, and is found on innumerable objects of daily use such as seals, vessels, horse equipment, and weapons and in the decoration of palaces, tombs, and temples as far back as the 3rd millennium BCE. Lion has been one of the most persistent iconography in Iranian art and religion, albeit with changing connotations.
Since the ancient times lion motif has a long tradition in political iconography and has always been used for the glorification of imperial power with well-known occurrences in artistic enterprises related to strong monarchic territorial structures in Iran; In literature, art, stories, and the social-life of the Iranians, lions have always been the symbol of power, courage and greatness. Iranian Kings and noblemen have demonstrated their greatness and glory through illustrations of lions on coins and swords.
In ancient Iranian religion of Mithraism, lion was connected to the sun and to fire and was perceived as a moral cleansing and purifying force, and it was the Sun God Mithra’s ‘totem’ animal, just as in the Greco-Roman culture Athena’s animal was the owl and Artemis’ animal was the deer.”
If you like this carpet it might be worth grabbing as it is the last one like it in my inventory.
Please contact me with questions. Shipping will be $34 within the continental U.S.