Tues - Fri 10-5:30  |  Saturday 10-5
1 Governor St, Providence RI 02906

Lay Out the Sofreh, People!

Persian tribal groups have historically woven cloths to place on the ground in preparation for food. Instead of a dining room table, a Sofreh served as a clean eating surface and is considered sacred. These textiles were not made for the surrounding markets, rather as household items, woven by the women of the family. In laymans-ville, these rugs might look like any other kilim or soumak, however, their size is usually a predictor that they served as Sofreh. Not as narrow as a runner, these cloths range from about 3-4 feet wide and can either be square or more rectangular. Qashqa'i and Bakhtiari tribes had more white in their sofreh, while Afshari people used darker reds and purples. Sofreh can be flatwoven or have a mixed technique. Soumaks take longer than weaving a kilim, however, produce crisper lines and a sturdier outcome. 

While there are Sofreh cloths, there is also Sofreh Aghd. In Farsi, sofreh translates to spread, aghd to ceremony. Persian weddings practice this tradition with a multitude of symbolic elements to celebrate their cultural heritage. On top of the Sofreh lies a mirror (ayeeneh), candles (shamdoon), spices (khoncheh), flatbread (noon sangak), eggs (tokhmeh morgh), almonds, walnuts and hazelnuts (badoom, gandom, gerdoo), fruits (meeveh), coins (sekkeh), rose water (golaab), honey (asal), sweets (sheereeni), sugar cloth (tooreh ghand), sugar cones (kaleh ghand), wild rue (esfand), needle and thread (soozan nakh), coal brazier (manghal), Holy Book of choice, embroidered cloth (termeh) and the Bride/Groom's seating (mokhaddeh). All of these items hold a significant meaning to honor a couple coming together as one. Because Persia was once so vast, it's people come from many religious backgrounds and this beautiful custom is still practiced no matter what faith.



*Photos Courtesy of Peter Pap Rugs

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Rustigian Rugs
One Governor Street, Providence, RI 02906

(Off-street parking in the rear of the building).
Call: 401-751-5100.

Tuesday-Friday: 10am-5:30pm
Saturday : 10am-5:00pm
Closed Sunday & Monday

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Copyright 2023 by V. George Rustigian Rugs