I didn’t take many photos on my last trip abroad. I have a dinky but powerful video recorder, and while it is possible to take stills with it, it’s very awkward. I should be able to ‘lift’ stills from the videos, but I have yet to get to grips with the video editor I have found.

So, this picture was taken in Masouleh, a well known tourist destination in Iran, in the foothills of the mountains south of the Caspian Sea. Legend has it that Masouleh was the hideaway of the revolutionary Mirza Kuchek Khan, a hundred years ago, but that’s a whole other story. For me the photo brings back happy memories, not only of this outing, but of my previous trip there some 30 years ago.

I don’t think I was aware of the weaving traditions of the area when I first visited, but this time I was actively trying to find traditional weavers. Sadly though, like just about everywhere these days, hand made doesn’t fetch the premium prices that it deserves, and so there are almost no weavers left, and those that are only demonstrate by previous appointment, if at all.

The bags in the picture are made from scraps of old blankets, and while the round one may or may not have been handwoven, the one with the zig-zags definitely was, so I bought it. Recognising it’s antiquity, I snatched it up, but actually it had been waiting a long time, and would probably still have been there even if I hadn’t got there for another year.

Some day, I will get around to deconstructing it to study the weave (it’s lined), then I’ll remake it into a simpler pouch bag.


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