Ghasem Abad (Iran)
Chador-Shab is a handmade cloth woven in Iran, Guilan and particularly in Ghasem Abad since the ancient time. In Guilan, Chador-Shab has mainly been woven in patterns, which are hugely inspired by the surrounding nature and geometrical images. Considering the fact that this type of handicraft has always had local use and never been used as the means of commerce, we were encouraged, in the light of government support to register Ghasem Abad as the national Chador-Shab village, and applying for its global recognition. We believe this will aid us to maintain and preserve this ancient art.
Ghasem Abad is one of the far eastern villages of Guilan province. This village is situated by the Caspian Sea and mountainous areas and is well-known for its natural beauties. The village is 4000 hectares and has a population of ca.6308 from which 15% are under 15, 73% are aged between 15 and 64 and the rest are above 65. 96% of the population came from the local ethnic, Gilak, while others are immigrants who have either moved there to seek job opportunities or because of marriage. Other inhabitants are consisted of 4.5% Turks, 0.9% Lors and only nine Afghanians. In recent years, due to new gained popularity of Chador-Shab art, many have chosen this village as their residential place.
Studying employment status, it is mostly women who are into Chador-Shab weaving. Men are usually employed in governmental, private and service sectors, or also do agriculture foodstuff such as cultivating rice, tea, herbal plants, grains, in addition to animal husbandry and gardening.
Several thousand years of its historical background and their ancient identity can still be observed in rituals, symbols, traditional believes and technologies in the area. The traditional system of irrigation and agriculture are derived from their grand history and ancient experiences.
Ghasem Abad is one of the villages near Roudsar city, which is located in Guilan province in North of Iran. Three thousand-years of history of the village is not only reflected in its historical monuments, but also in the region’s handicrafts. One of the distinct features of this village is the prevalence of several handicrafts fields among the locals, such as Chador-Shab weaving, felt making, Tailoring local costumes and traditional knitwear with unique patterns and characteristics. Amongst the aforementioned fields, Chador-Shab has gained national and even international fame due to its exceptional features.
Chador-Shab is a kind of hand-woven cloth made of silk or cotton that is woven by an especial weaving loom called Pachal. It is proved that this hand-woven fabric became massively popular in this region about 1400 years ago. Its physical features, such as the raw materials, usages, patterns and others are mainly influenced by the region’s climate, cultural heritage and traditional believes.
Textile and weaving are the inseparable components of Iranian traditional arts and handicrafts. Based on available evidence and findings, weaving history in Guilan goes back to 8000 years ago. During Safavid era and under Shah Abbas reign (16th century AD) silk trade and sericulture flourished in Guilan. Since that time, weavers from Guilan, who had already gained the skills and experiences in weaving woolen and cotton cloth, turned into silk-woven fabric. Among those, weavers from Ghasem Abad overtook the competition. Being affected by the natural beauties, traditional believes, their own personal perceptions of the world and life experiences they have been creating patterns from their hearts. No weaver has ever used a weaving pattern while working on their loom, Ghasem Abad’s Chador-Shab is inimitable.