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Oriental Rugs the O'Connell Notes

Abbas and Parham Sayahi and the movie Gabbeh
Tufenkian Carpets Area Rug Sale.

Abbas Sayahi the Master of Vegetal Dying in Iran

I had the honor and privilege of attend 13th annual Grand Carpet Exhibition in Tehran Iran August 2004. One of the special parts of the trip was the chance to see my dear friends Abbas and Parham Sayahi. Abbas is known to a wider audience as "Uncle" in the movie Gabbeh.
More movie pictures below

Here on the grounds of the Tehran International Fair Ground the Sayahis set up an exhibition of their natural dying. My trip to Iran was a whirlwind of activity for me. My time was not my own as I went from interviews to meetings and my lecture. The one thing I insisted upon was time for dinner with Parham and his wife and a visit to the Sayahi exhibit at the Festival.

Parham is our translator but somehow I never remember Abbas speaking Persian. He is so animated that I understand more of him than anyone else in Iran. What also helps that Parham has such impeccable English that the conversation just flows. Abbas takes care of the dyes and Parham is building a very successful kilim business using all naturally dyed wool. The kilims are so successful in England that Parham has not expanded distribution to the states or Europe.

Abbas has an incredible understanding of the dying process and he is always willing to share his vast knowledge. The Renaissance of natural dying in Iran is due in large part to Abbas Sayahi and his teacher's heart.

I have an article on Abbas Sayahi at the Kish Carpet Fair that I call The Master of Vegetal Dying in Iran. I also have pictures of their dye plant at Scenes from the Sayahi Dye Plant.

This is the US Poster for the film. Gabbeh broke out of the Iranian movie market and gained far wider distribution than is typical for an Iranian movie. It also helped popularize the Gabbeh rug to the world.

Abbas Sayahi center top row with the crew

From the Screenwriter, Editor, Set Designer, Sound Designer & Director: Mohsen Makhmalbaf

“Gabbehs have soothing designs somewhat similar to the simple paintings of children. Unfortunately, out of every ten thousand Iranians, only one might have a Gabbeh at this house, or out of every one thousand Iranians, only one might have heard of it. What did we used to sit on forty years ago? A carpet or a kelim. And what is a carpet, except some wool and color and the labor of the weaver? And what is wool, except the labor of a herder? And what is color, except the labor of girls picking flowers in the fields? And don’t we make all of these out of our own labor our own materials here? Gabbeh is one of the most original types of nomadic carpets."

Gabbeh is both a romantic tale and an introduction to Iranian rugs for many people.

Abbas's costar, the Gabbeh

The Tehran Photos are mine and special thanks to http://www.Makhmalbaf.com/ for the movie images and quote.

Oriental Rugs the O'Connell Notes