Traditional skills of carpet weaving in Fars

Inscribed in 2010 (5.COM) on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

Country(ies): Iran (Islamic Republic of)



Traditional skills of carpet weaving in Fars

Iranians enjoy a global reputation in carpet weaving, and the carpet weavers of Fars, located in the south-west of Iran, are among the most prominent. Wool for the carpets is shorn by local men in spring or autumn. The men then construct the carpet loom – a horizontal frame placed on the ground – while the women convert the wool into yarn on spinning wheels. The colours used are mainly natural: reds, blues, browns and whites produced from dyestuffs including madder, indigo, lettuce leaf, walnut skin, cherry stem and pomegranate skin. The women are responsible for the design, colour selection and weaving, and bring scenes of their nomadic lives to the carpet. They weave without any cartoon (design) – no weaver can weave two carpets of the same design. Coloured yarn is tied to the wool web to create the carpet. To finish, the sides are sewn, extra wool is burned away to make the designs vivid, and the carpet is given a final cleaning. All these skills are transferred orally and by example. Mothers train their daughters to use the materials, tools and skills, while fathers train their sons in shearing wool and making looms.


Decision 5.COM 6.22

The Committee (…) decides that [this element] satisfies the criteria for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, as follows:

  • R.1: The traditional skills of carpet weaving are transmitted from generation to generation as a cultural manifestation characteristic of the nomadic communities of the Fars area that recognize them as a symbol of their identity;
  • R.2: The inscription of the element on the Representative List could contribute to raising awareness about the importance of intangible cultural heritage and to promoting dialogue among cultures that have their own carpet-making tradition, thus promoting respect for cultural diversity and human creativity;
  • R.3: Safeguarding measures include promoting academic research on the traditional skills of carpet weaving in Fars and the complex symbolism it involves, developing educational programmes, and granting financial and administrative support to practitioners;
  • R.4: The practitioners of various carpet-making skills welcomed and supported the nomination, and offered their free, prior and informed consent to it;
  • R.5: The traditional skills of carpet weaving in Fars are included in the National Inventory of Iran maintained by the Iranian Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization.



© Foundation ‘Dialogu Kultur-Edinyi Mir’, 2014

These videos (and many more) can also be consulted through the UNESCO Archives Multimedia website