Home      Discussion      Topics      Dictionary      Almanac
Signup       Login
Qashqai

Qashqai

Discussion
Ask a question about 'Qashqai'
Start a new discussion about 'Qashqai'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia
Qashqai are the largest group of nomadic pastoralists
Pastoralism
Pastoralism or pastoral farming is the branch of agriculture concerned with the raising of livestock. It is animal husbandry: the care, tending and use of animals such as camels, goats, cattle, yaks, llamas, and sheep. It may have a mobile aspect, moving the herds in search of fresh pasture and...

 people of Azeri descent who mainly live in the provinces of Fars, Khuzestan and southern Isfahan on the territory of modern Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

, especially around the city of Shiraz
Shiraz
Shiraz may refer to:* Shiraz, Iran, a city in Iran* Shiraz County, an administrative subdivision of Iran* Vosketap, Armenia, formerly called ShirazPeople:* Hovhannes Shiraz, Armenian poet* Ara Shiraz, Armenian sculptor...

 in Fars. They speak the Qashqai language
Qashqai language
Qashqai is a Turkic language spoken by the Qashqai people, an ethnic group living mainly in the Fars region of Iran. Estimates of the number of Qashqai speakers vary. Ethnologue gives a figure of one and a half million...

 which is a member of the Turkic family of languages
Turkic languages
The Turkic languages constitute a language family of at least thirty five languages, spoken by Turkic peoples across a vast area from Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean to Siberia and Western China, and are considered to be part of the proposed Altaic language family.Turkic languages are spoken...

 and is very close to Azerbaijani language
Azerbaijani language
Azerbaijani or Azeri or Torki is a language belonging to the Turkic language family, spoken in southwestern Asia by the Azerbaijani people, primarily in Azerbaijan and northwestern Iran...

. The Qashqai were originally nomadic pastoralists
Pastoralism
Pastoralism or pastoral farming is the branch of agriculture concerned with the raising of livestock. It is animal husbandry: the care, tending and use of animals such as camels, goats, cattle, yaks, llamas, and sheep. It may have a mobile aspect, moving the herds in search of fresh pasture and...

 and some remain so today. The traditional nomadic Qashqai travelled with their flocks each year from the summer highland pastures north of Shiraz roughly 480 km or 300 mi south to the winter pastures on lower (and warmer) lands near the Persian Gulf
Persian Gulf
The Persian Gulf, in Southwest Asia, is an extension of the Indian Ocean located between Iran and the Arabian Peninsula.The Persian Gulf was the focus of the 1980–1988 Iran-Iraq War, in which each side attacked the other's oil tankers...

, to the southwest of Shiraz. The majority, however, have now become partially or wholly sedentary. The trend towards settlement has been increasing markedly since the 1960s.

The Qashqai are made up of a number of tribes and sub-tribes including the Amalaeh, Darreh-Shuri, Kashkuli, Shesh(6) Baluki, Farsimadan, Qaracheh, Rahimi and Safi -Khani.

History



Historically, the Turkic languages are believed to have arrived in Iran from Central Asia from the 11th or 12th centuries onwards. According to the Encyclopædia Iranica
Encyclopædia Iranica
Encyclopædia Iranica is a project whose goal is to create a comprehensive and authoritative English language encyclopedia about the history, culture, and civilization of Iranian peoples from prehistory to modern times...

: "Like most present-day tribal confederacies in Persia, the Il-e Qašqāʾi is a conglomeration of clans of different ethnic origins, Lori, Kurdish, Arab and Turkic.
"To survive, nomad
Nomad
Nomadic people , commonly known as itinerants in modern-day contexts, are communities of people who move from one place to another, rather than settling permanently in one location. There are an estimated 30-40 million nomads in the world. Many cultures have traditionally been nomadic, but...

s have always been obliged to fight. They lead a wandering life and do not accumulate documents and archives.
But in the evenings, around fires that are burning low, the elders will relate striking events, deeds of valour in which the tribes pride themselves. Thus the epic tale is told from father to son, down through the ages.
The tribes of Central Asia were forced by wars, strife, upheavals, to abandon their steppes and seek new pasture grounds . . . so the Huns
Huns
The Huns were a group of nomadic people who, appearing from east of the Volga River, migrated into Europe c. AD 370 and established the vast Hunnic Empire there. Since de Guignes linked them with the Xiongnu, who had been northern neighbours of China 300 years prior to the emergence of the Huns,...

, the Visigoths, and before them the Aryan
Aryan
Aryan is an English language loanword derived from Sanskrit ārya and denoting variously*In scholarly usage:**Indo-Iranian languages *in dated usage:**the Indo-European languages more generally and their speakers...

s, had invaded India, Iran, Europe.
The Turks, forsaking the regions where they had dwelt for centuries, started moving down through the Altai mountain and Caspian
Caspian Depression
Caspian Depression or Pricaspian/Peri-Caspian Depression/Lowland is a low-lying flatland region encompassing the northern part of the Caspian Sea, the largest enclosed body of water on Earth. It is the larger northern part of the wider Aral-Caspian Depression around the Aral and Caspian seas.The...

 depressions, establishing themselves eventually on the frontiers of the Iranian Empire and in Asia Minor.
We are of Turkish language and race; some say that we are descendants of the Turkish Oghuz
Oghuz Turks
The Turkomen also known as Oghuz Turks were a historical Turkic tribal confederation in Central Asia during the early medieval Turkic expansion....

 Tribe, known for its cruelty and fierceness, and that our name is derived from the Turkish "Kashka" meaning "a horse with a white star on its forehead". Others think this name indicates that we came from Kashgar
Kashgar
Kashgar or Kashi is an oasis city with approximately 350,000 residents in the western part of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of the People's Republic of China. Kashgar is the administrative centre of Kashgar Prefecture which has an area of 162,000 km² and a population of approximately...

 in the wake of Hulagu. Others still that it means "fugitive".
Though these versions differ, we believe that the arrival of our Tribes in Iran coincided with the conquests of Jengis Khan, in the thirteenth century. Soon after, our ancestors established themselves on the slopes of the Caucasus. We are descendants of the "Tribe of the Ak Koyunlu" the "Tribe of the White Sheep" famed for being the only tribe in history capable of inflicting a defeat on Tamerlane. For centuries we dwelt on the lands surrounding Ardebil, but, in the first half of the sixteenth century we settled in southern Persia, Shah Ismail having asked our warriors to defend this part of the country against the intrusions of the Portuguese. Thus, our Tribes came to the Province of Fars, near the Persian Gulf, and are still only separated from it by a ridge of mountains, the Makran
Makran
The present day Makran is a semi-desert coastal strip in the south of Sindh, Balochistan, in Iran and Pakistan, along the coast of the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman. The present day Makran derived its name from Maka, a satrap of Achaemenid Empire....

.
The yearly migrations of the Kashkai, seeking fresh pastures, drive them from the south to the north, where they move to their summer quarters "Yailaq
Yaylak
Yaylag , yaylak , ailoq, jaylaw , or jayloo , yeilâq is a Turkic term, meaning summer highland pasture...

" in the high mountains; and from the north to the south, to their winter quarters, "Qishlaq".
In summer, the Kashkai flocks graze on the slopes of the Kuh-è-Dinar; a group of mountains from 12,000 to 15,000 feet, that are part of the Zagros chain.
In autumn the Kashkai break camp, and by stages leave the highlands. They winter in the warmer regions near Firuzabad, Kazerun, Jerrè, Farashband, on the banks of the river Mound, till, in April, they start once more on their yearly trek.
The migration is organised and controlled by the Kashkai Chief. The Tribes carefully avoid villages and towns such as Shiraz and Isfahan, lest their flocks, estimated at seven million head, might cause serious damage. The annual migration is the largest of any Persian tribe.
It is difficult to give exact statistics, but we believe that the Tribes now number 400,000 men, women and children." Told to Marie-Tèrése Ullens de Schooten by the 'Il Begh' Malek Mansur, brother of the 'Il Khan', Nasser Khan, Chief of the Kashkai Tribes, in 1953.


The Qashqai were a significant political force in Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

 during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. During World War I they were influenced by the German consular official Wilhelm Wassmuss
Wilhelm Wassmuss
Wilhelm Wassmuss was a German diplomat, also known as the "Wassmuss of Persia". He attempted to foment trouble for the British in the Persian Gulf in the First World War.- Birth and schooling :...

 and sided with the Germans. During World War II the Qashqais organized resistance against the British occupation forces
Anglo-Soviet invasion of Iran
The Anglo-Soviet invasion of Iran was the Allied invasion of the Imperial State of Iran during World War II, by British, Commonwealth, and Soviet armed forces. The invasion from August 25 to September 17, 1941, was codenamed Operation Countenance...

 and received some help from the Germans, once again becoming the major political force in southern Persia. In 1945–1946 there was a major rebellion of a number of tribal confederacies, including the Qashqais, who fought valiantly until the invading Russians were repelled. The Qashqais revolted during 1962–1964 due to the land reforms of the White Revolution
White Revolution
The White Revolution was a far-reaching series of reforms in Iran launched in 1963 by the Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. Mohammad Reza Shah’s reform program was built especially to strengthen those classes that supported the traditional system...

. The revolt was put down and within a few years many Qashqais had settled. Most of the tribal leaders were sent to exile. After the Iranian Islamic Revolution of 1979 the living leader Khosrow Khan Qashqai moved back to Iran from Germany. He was soon arrested and executed in public for promoting an uprising against the government.

Qashqai carpets and weavings



The Qashqai are renowned for their magnificent pile carpets and other woven wool products. They are sometimes referred to as "Shiraz" because Shiraz
Shiraz
Shiraz may refer to:* Shiraz, Iran, a city in Iran* Shiraz County, an administrative subdivision of Iran* Vosketap, Armenia, formerly called ShirazPeople:* Hovhannes Shiraz, Armenian poet* Ara Shiraz, Armenian sculptor...

 was the major marketplace for them in the past. The wool produced in the mountains and valleys near Shiraz is exceptionally soft and beautiful and takes a deeper color than wool from other parts of Iran.
"No wool in all Persia takes such a rich and deep colour as the Shiraz wool. The deep blue and the dark ruby red are equally extraordinary, and that is due to the brilliancy of the wool, which is firmer and, so to say, more transparent than silk, and makes one think of translucent enamel."


Qashqai carpets have been said to be "probably the most famous of all Persian tribal weavings." Qashqai saddlebags, adorned with colorful geometric designs, "which are superior to any others made."

Cultural references

  • Nissan Motors have introduced a small SUV named Qashqai
    Nissan Qashqai
    The Nissan Qashqai, known as the Nissan Dualis in Japan and Australia, is a compact crossover SUV produced by the Japanese car manufacturer Nissan since 2007...

    . In 2006, Nissan
    Nissan Motors
    , usually shortened to Nissan , is a multinational automaker headquartered in Japan. It was a core member of the Nissan Group, but has become more independent after its restructuring under Carlos Ghosn ....

     named its new European model after the Qashqai people. The designers believe that the buyers "will be nomadic in nature too". The new unconventional name was however met with surprise and even skepticism.
  • In Philip Kerr
    Philip Kerr
    Philip Kerr is a British author of both adult fiction and non-fiction, most notably the Bernie Gunther series of thrillers, and of children's books, particularly the Children of the Lamp series....

    's political fiction novel, Hitler's Peace, Qashqai fighters are used by the Abwehr
    Abwehr
    The Abwehr was a German military intelligence organisation from 1921 to 1944. The term Abwehr was used as a concession to Allied demands that Germany's post-World War I intelligence activities be for "defensive" purposes only...

     in an operation aimed at assassinating the three Allied leaders convened in the Tehran Conference
    Tehran Conference
    The Tehran Conference was the meeting of Joseph Stalin, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill between November 28 and December 1, 1943, most of which was held at the Soviet Embassy in Tehran, Iran. It was the first World War II conference amongst the Big Three in which Stalin was present...

    . Betrayed to the Soviets, they are then executed by the NKVD
    NKVD
    The People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs was the public and secret police organization of the Soviet Union that directly executed the rule of power of the Soviets, including political repression, during the era of Joseph Stalin....

    .

Further reading

  • Beck, Lois. 1991. Nomad: A Year in the Life of a Qashqa’i Tribesman in Iran. University of California. Berkeley, Los Angeles. ISBN 0-520-07003-8 (hbk); ISBN 0-520-07495-5 (pbk).
  • Shahbazi, Mohammad. 2001. "The Qashqa'i Nomads of Iran (Part I): Formal Education." Nomadic Peoples NS (2001) Vol. 5. Issue 1, pp. 37–64.
  • Shahbazi, Mohammad. 2002. "The Qashqa'i Nomads of Iran (Part II): State-supported Literacy and Ethnic Identity." Nomadic Peoples NS (2002) Vol. 6. Issue 1, pp. 95–123.

External links