Iconic Iran Exhibition
 Friday 3rd to Sunday 26th March
(except Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th March)
Free event.
  • 'Lion Rugs' from SW Iran
  • 'Sofreh' kilims from N W Iran
  • A rare Kurdish ‘chigh’ - a nomadic reed screen
  • Photographs from the field by Ghasem Salimi and Rufus Reade 

Lion Rugs

Lion rugs were first 'discovered' by acclaimed Iranian sculptor Parviz Tanavoli. 40 years ago a group of these extraordinary rugs was assembled with help from Jennifer Scarce, then curator at The National Museum of Scotland, and shown here in Edinburgh in the late 1980s. 



Sofreh are a special type of village woven kilim (flat woven textiles), which a family sits around to share a meal. They are closely associated with the leavening and baking of bread and some are known as bread sofreh. The often brilliant, abstract designs of sofreh of Kamo village Western Iran, seem to have evolved along a path all of its own. In the contemporary examples in our exhibition the weavers have used natural dyes and continue the traditions of past weavers with highly individual, abstract and angled patterns. 

The chigh reed screen (detail shown) was found by our friend and agent in Iran, Abbas Rahimi (see Nomads News). Reed screens rarely last more than a few decades in use but this one is in almost perfect condition, mainly because it was left unused for many years since the family who owned it had given up their nomadic ways. The making of a reed screen is explored in a magical short documentary on our Film Night.


Ghasem Salimi travelled to areas where the nomads of different tribes had their camps, to learn more about them, taking pictures and doing some filming with a Super 8. (see 'Film Night'). He also travelled with Parvis Tanavoli while looking for lion rugs in SW Iran. Rufus Reade, founder of The Nomads Tent 40 years ago, made many trips to Iran during a period when nomadic ways were still strong. His companion and guide on many such trips was Abbas Rahimi. In the current Nomads News, Rufus describes this connection, among others, and its importance to The Nomads Tent.