Tow-bafi, a celebrated handicraft from South Khorasan Province

Tow-bafi is the dominant handicraft of Khorashad village in Birjand, South Khorasan Province. The World Council of Handicrafts registered Khorashad as the global village of tow-bafi.

The most common product of tow-bafi is a towel. In fact, due to the softness and delicacy of tow-bafi fabrics and their high absorbability of moisture, this craft is also known as howleh-bafi, or the craft of making towels.

The primary material of this product is cotton yarn, which is used as the weft that is inserted between the warp. Then the weave is packed by a comb to complete the final step of the process, reported.

In addition to cotton, silk, and wool, synthetic yarn such as acrylic is incorporated into this beautiful and valuable handwoven product.

Tow-bafi is done using the traditional “chahar verdi” textile machine; the most important and notable characteristic of this handicraft is that all of the steps of the manufacturing process are done by the hands and feet of the makers.

To produce a tow-bafi product, the first step is to spin the cotton yarn by the machine and bobbin reel. Then the warp yarn is stretched over multiple wooden rods of the same size, which takes place in an open space. Then the warps are twisted round a large and fixed rod of wood called “navard”.

A row is woven when the shuttle is passed through the warps. After each travel of shuttle, the dafineh that acts as a comb is moved forward and backward to beat the yarn. There is an unlimited possibility for using colorful yarn, and a fascinating mixture of colors in margins and the background of the fabric can be achieved by the imagination of the weaver.

Traditional dyeing and herbal pigments are used to produce colorful yarn. Pomegranate skin, walnut skin, onion skin, “golrang” or safflower, orange, saffron thread, garlic and stone grind are some of the herbal sources of pigments.

Other products of tow-bafi are tablecloths, clothing and shawls. It should be mentioned that tow-bafi has a 300-year tradition in Iran, and was revived in 2004 by a group of women in Khorashad. The largest share of tow-bafi production belongs to this region.