News ID: 318233
Published: 1221 GMT November 26, 2021

Ardebil’s varni-bafi, a manifestation of nomadic art in northwest Iran

Ardebil’s varni-bafi, a manifestation of nomadic art in northwest Iran

Varni-bafi is an art of weaving a traditional and popular floor covering in the northwestern province of Ardebil. It is currently being practiced in an area called Dasht-e Moghan (Moghan Plain), which lies in northwestern Iran.

Varni is a delicate kilim also known as a sumak. Many experts consider the varni that is double-sided, as something between carpets and kilims. It requires a skilled weaver with years of experience to produce a varni, wrote.

Varni is woven by a method called pudpichi. This is a method of making kilims, where an additional thin thread is woven into the weft and warp yarns. Weft yarns are then inserted and then thin weft is added before they are combed together. The extra weft strengthens the connection between the yarns and creates a stronger weave.

Kilims of this quality are considered to be the most durable in the world. Another weave that is very similar to varni is shirkipich, which is a product of the southeastern province of Kerman. The only difference is in the motifs and patterns. Noah’s Ark is said to have landed in Azarbaijan, explaining why animal motifs are so popular in the region.

Varni is a nomadic hand-woven art and stems from an ancient tribe known as the Shahsavan in the past, according to Visit Iran.

The famed Safavid King, Shah Abbas I (1571-1629) named the Shahsavan, which was formed from merging fifty tribes into one, after ordering them to settle in the Azarbaijan region as a defense against the Ottoman Empire. Shahsavan is now known as Ilsavan.

Varni is made more frequently in the winter season since the nomads have settled in one place and have the time. Wool and silk are used for the yarn. Handspun wool or silk yarns serve as wefts, while cotton, wool, or silk yarns are used as warps.

The Ardebil nomads use varni also to make saddlebags and horse covers that, in terms of style, motifs (birds and animals), and color palettes, are among the best in Iran. A large saddlebag, which is used to carry the utensils of nomads, is adorned with motifs that are inspired by prehistoric potteries from this area.


Sprawling on a high, windswept plateau, Ardebil is well-known for having lush natural beauties, hospitable people, and its silk and carpet trade tradition. It is also home to the UNESCO-registered Sheikh Safieddin Khanegah and Shrine Ensemble. Built between the beginning of the 16th century and the end of the 18th century, this place of spiritual retreat in the Sufi tradition uses Iranian traditional architectural forms to maximize the use of available space to accommodate a variety of functions, including a library, a mosque, a school, mausolea, a cistern, a hospital, kitchens, a bakery, and some offices, according to

The site is registered as number 1345 on UNESCO World Heritage List.

Sheikh Safieddin Khanegah and Shrine Ensemble is the mausoleum of Sheikh Safieddin Ardebili, the ancestor of Safavid kings.

The province is very cold in winter and mild in summer, attracting thousands every year.


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