Tuesday, May 18, 2004\Afshar

The Afshar Nomads of Iran-kerman

An Afshar woman making tea for tour group. The Afshar that we met were very friendly.
This information was sent to us by German tourist to Iran 1999. He took a book published in Iran about different nomads and showed it to a tour guide and said take me to as many of these tribes as you can. In Southern Kerman province near the boarder of Fars province they came upon some tents of some Afshar nomads. The name of this area is Boshu. Below are some photographs from this trip.

This Afshar man and wife had 10 children.
After the trip I looked on the internet and found some crazy information about the Afshar. I do not think the Afshar is another name for 20 million Azeri people. There might be Afshar people in the North of Iran near Tabriz but these Afshar in the South are a very disctinct tribe. According to what the tour guide found out these Afshar speak a kind of Turkish closer to Qashqai Turkish than Azeri that is spoken in the North.

The Afshar are known as excellent carpet weavers and much can be found about thier carpets on the web. Here is a photo we took inside an Afshar tent of a carpet they had woven. Most of the Qashqai tents visited did not have nice carpets and we were told that any nice carpets they had woven they had sold to make a living.
I would love to find out more about the Afshar of Kerman Province and Fars province. I would love to meet an Afshar person. Please e-mail me at The person who took these photos gives up rights to them. You can use them for the positive promotion of nomadic cultures.

An Afshar tent which served as a parking garage for the family motorcycle. It seems that trucks and motorcycles have replaced camels and horses for the yearly migration between summer and winter pastures.
Here is some other information on the Afshar that was sent to us....

Afshar Sub-Tribe Kerman

Another Afshar tent. This one had the same reed sides used by Arab tribes in this same region of Iran. The tents are hand woven from black goat hair.
The tribes of Kerman consist of different Clans and immigrants who, after the Arabs conquest, moved from the west to the south-east of Iran. Therefore the Sub-Tribes and tent-dwellers settled in Kerman Province are actually a combination of Balooches, Kurds, Arabs and indigenous people.

These two Afshari girls were weaving this carpet by hand. 100% wool and they said it takes months to finish.
There are about 40 Sub-Tribes, 191 Clans and 230 migratory Families in the neighborhoods of Kahnooj, Baft, Sirjan, Jiroft and Bam counties. Afshar Sub-Tribe, one of the largest at the time of Safavid Shah Tahmasb, and now live in an extensive area stretching from the south-west of Rafsanjan towards the south-east of the Kerman-Bam highway. Their center of trade is at Baft. Their winter residence is Balook Orzooyeh and the summer residence is Balook Aghtae.

This old man told us a folk story about the Afshar people and he told it in his native Afshar language. It was not hard for us to find Afshari people who spoke in Farsi which our guide could then interpret for us.
The tribes of Kerman are originally Turks and speak in Turkish, but due to contacts with tribes of other areas, Farsi words have penetrated their mother tongue. Animal husbandry is their main activity. They also engage in handicrafts. Handmade materials of the Afshar Sub-Tribe are of a high quality, and are known throughout the country. Products like: carpets, ornamental weaving (jajim), gelim, panniers (khoorjin), satchels chanteh), Shiraki, Salt containers (namakdan), spoon holders (Ghashoghdan), and other necessary household goods made by the tribesmen and tribeswomen bring them a considerable sum of money. Soft wool, obtained from their sheep is amongst the best there is and enjoys world renown.

Almost every tent we visited had a cassette recorder and radio. Some had short wave radios. We found used batteries all over the ground. Not too good for the enviorment but it shows that these nomads stay connected to the world through the radio. They love to listen to music.

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