Sofrehs are small covers, usually flatwoven by the women of the family, that play an important part in the traditional daily tasks and ritual of the tribal life, while serving to exemplify the very varied decorative repertoire of the Persian tribal group who produce them. The bread or flour sofreh, usually about a meter square, is used during the preparation of the bread to stop dough from falling on the ground, and again after baking to warp the bread and keep it fresh.
The sofrehs in this collection, are from Bakhtiari, Kurds, Afshar and Baluch tribes. The Persian sofreh (from the Arabic ‘sufrah’, meaning ‘dinning table’), is a traditional cloth, often spread on the ground, on which to place food, which is considered sacred. The cloth is symbolically used as a clean surface where it is possible to eat without contaminating the food. These sofreh, woven in the tents of tribal groups or in small rural villages of southeastern Persia, mainly in the region of Kerman and Sirjan, are the subject of this condensed exhibition and go under the name of sofreh ardi and sofreh-ye nan-pazi (bread sofreh).
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