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Embossed Kelims of Ilam


Embossed Kelims are one of the original and the most important handicrafts of province of Ilam in Iran. Like many other cities, Ilam has a long history of producing Kelims, but Embossed Kelims are considered a contemporary innovation in the handicrafts of this region. Embossed Kelims were first introduced by a woman weaver named “Sahar Chalengar”. She successfully created an embossed motif while weaving a traditional Kelim by incorporating carpet knots. This style became popular in Ilam from then. In this style of making Kelim, the background is weaved using traditional method, which local Ilam people call “Sufi Bafi”, but the motifs are made using Turkish knots of carpets. Naturally the motifs, in comparison to the background, are embossed.

The material are most commonly wool and cotton and also silk yarn. They are used as wraps and wefts. The Ilam weavers are supplied by local cattle farmers. The wool is used both in its raw color and dyed, and is dyed by natural and chemical pigments. White alum, which stabilizes the color, is also an important chemical in dyeing process. 

To make Embossed Kelims, like many other weaves, the first step is installing the loom. Both vertical and horizontal looms can be installed, but today vertical looms are chosen more often. These Kelims are woven based on symmetrical patterns. One of the important differences between them and simple Kelims is that cursive motifs can be applied and woven in Embossed Kelims.

There are many motifs such as “Lachak – Toranj” or paisley, “Goldani” or vase, “Gol-e Farang” or rose flower, “Naghsheh Ghalat”, “Botehee” or bush, “Mehrabi” and more floral, animals, objects and figurative motifs. An approach that can add to the value of an Embossed Kelim is applying combined motifs or altering the materials. Bright colors such as cream, red, light blue, white, green, pink and orange are chosen in making of these handwoven products. Dark colors, such as brown, black or blue, are used only to enhance the brightness of the rest of colors. Today, Embossed Kelims are prospered in cities such as Ilam, Dehloran, Shiravan, Darreh Shahr, Mehran and Abdanan.

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