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Chigh Bafi of Ilam


Chigh is the cover of the walls of nomadic people of Ilam province. This handicraft product is woven by the skillful hands of their women. According to the Dehkhoda word encyclopedia Chigh is “a Turkish word and shutter like weave that is made of common reed and thin wood branches and hanged in front of the entrance door. However, in different regions it is known with different names such as Alaghigh, Chikh, Chit and Chig.” The most important material of Chigh is a kind of reed and hair goat that is produced from the herd of nomads themselves. The reed is hollow and grows wildly in the natural habitat of nomads. The weaver gathers the reeds from the surrounding land of the rivers. Depending on the diameter of the reeds, they are divided into three or four pieces, so that each piece is ten centimeters in width. Then they are woven together by the spun wool yarn that is usually colorful. The woman weavers analyze the design in their minds and weave each piece separately. Then they are arranged next to each other to make the intended design. Since the nomads have always been tent dwellers and the Chigh has been used as the covering of the tent walls, the history of the Chigh has entwined with the history of nomadic tents.

Not only is Chigh a beautiful and fascinating product, but also it prevents the heat, cold, wind and dust to enter the internal space. One reason is that the reeds are hollow which allows them to act as a filter. On the occasion of raining and cold weather, the humidity adds to the volume of the reeds and makes them attach to each other and prevent the cold. When the weather is hot and dry, the reeds shrink and leave spaces for the air to pass through. In addition, the hair goat produces a strong shade which makes a Chigh an ideal awning. Another interesting characteristic of hair goat is that it is a natural repeller of insects and snakes.

The traditional Chigh is decorated with symbolic and versatile motifs such as “Togh Savar”, “Eask” or gazelle, “Ghezhak” or crab, “Pardal” or eagle feather, star, duck and geometric motifs that are inspired by both nature and memory of the weaver. The tools of making a Chigh are no more than the simple and primitive sickle, knives, grinds, scissors, needle and stitching awl, and it is the taste and skills of the women weavers that make these products valuable. Today, considering the design of the Chigh and the fact that the distance between the reeds are adjustable, this product can also be used as shutters, dividers, wall coverings and decorations in urban houses, too.

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