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    Verni-Bafi: Unique persian nomadic art

    Ahar - Verni-Bafi: Unique persian nomadic art


    Verni-bafi (literally meaning Verni-weaving) is a unique art of northwestern Iran.

    This artistic activity is quite popular among women of the region, especially Arasbaran. Some 85 percent of nomads of East Azarbaijan province are active in weaving Verni.

    However, this Iranian handicraft is more prevalent among nomads and some villages of Arasbaran region. In fact, Verni-bafi is a source of livelihood for over 20,000 residents of Arasbaran region, Mehr News Agency reported.

    With a population of over 400,000, Arasbaran is situated in the northeast of East Azarbaijan province.

    It is widely produced by nomads of Shahsavan and in Ahar, Kalibar, Khoda-Afarin, Hourand and Varzaqan.

    At present, Iran is the only exporter of this product in the world.

    Image result for ‫ورنی بافی‬‎


    Verni shares the features of both kilim (handmade nomadic carpet) and rugs. It is woven without any prepared pattern by the nomadic women and villagers of Arasbaran.

    The weft of Verni is made of cotton, wool and silk threads. It is woven both on horizontal and vertical looms, and used in tents and houses of villagers and nomads.

    Verni’s patterns reflect the region’s beliefs and traditions. Imaginative designs and images of animals and birds are used in weaving Verni. Colors such as cream, light blue and white are mainly utilized in Verni, which is produced in a variety of sizes.

    The regional people procure their raw materials from local and non-local middlemen, and then give the woven Verni to supplier of raw materials against a wage.

    Verni is mostly woven by the nomadic women when they migrate in winter. This is why most patterns and colors of Verni reflect the nomadic culture, beliefs and spirits.

    The main hub of Verni-bafi is the nomadic region of East Azarbaijan province from where this art form has spread to other regions.

    Arasbaran’s Verni is a suitable product for boosting the province’s non-oil exports. Offering low-profit bank facilities, supplying raw materials at reasonable rates and guaranteeing the purchase of their product can help increase the income of nomads and generate jobs.

    At least two people in any nomadic family are engaged in Verni-bafi.

    Based on the results of a field study, every year over 14,000 pieces of Verni are produced in different sizes and presented to domestic and foreign markets. Of this figure, 30 percent are sold in the domestic market and the rest is exported to European, Asian and Persian Gulf states.

    Verni is neither a carpet nor a kilim, but rather a floor covering that is as simple as kilim and has the exquisiteness and beauty of a carpet. Since no knots are used in weaving Verni, it is similar to kilim and has a carpet’s design and appearance.

    It is also used by Moghan’s Shahsavan nomads for carrying their belongings during the winter migration.

    Related image

    Arasbaran Verni

    Most patterns of Verni produced in Arasbaran region contain figures of animals. These include deer, rooster, cat, snake, birds, gazelle, sheep, camel, wolf and eagle.

    Verni is typically woven in the same room where the nomadic tribes reside.

    Known for its diligent nomadic craftsmen, Arasbaran is an important center for safeguarding the authentic and indigenous handicraft. However, without the support of the government and suitable facilities, these artistic activities will not flourish.

    Handicraft experts maintain that one way to support Verni-bafi is by providing long-term and low-profit banking facilities to craftsmen active in this sector. Another measure for supporting this artistic activity can be honoring Verni weavers on official occasions.





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    This workshop is designed according to the UNESCO World Heritage Education Programme in order to give young people a chance to voice their concerns and to become involved in the protection of our common cultural and natural heritage. It seeks to encourage and enable tomorrow’s decision-makers to participate in heritage conservation and to respond to the continuing threats facing our World Heritage. The idea of involving young people in World Heritage preservation and promotion came as a response to Article 27 of the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage (World Heritage Convention). Furthermore, Patrimonito means 'small heritage' in Spanish and the character represents a young heritage guardian. Patrimonito has been widely adopted as the international mascot of the World Heritage Education Programme.
    Date: 29th December
    Number of trainees: 7
    Duration: 3 hours

    The workshop of "Patrimonito" was held on 29th of December. Participants arrived around 10:30 and they were welcomed by hot chocolate and Persian cup cakes. After a little introduction by trainers and trainees, the process started by making two groups and letting them choose a name for their group, each group was accompanied by a mentor then each group was given some images of world heritage sites in Iran and some descriptions, each group was asked to match images and descriptions, the mentor was guiding them throughout the activity. All trainees were participating actively and trying to remember their experiences about their travels to these places. When they were done with the activity, the mentors started giving the answers and a brief explanation about each site; mentors were using trainees’ ideas and experiences to complete their tasks.

    Shortly after that, the second part started which was a presentation done by two of mentors. The aim of this presentation was to define the value of these world heritage sites and duties of each person as a "Patrimonito", and what happens if there is no "Patrimonito" and nobody cares about our tangible or intangible heritage. In this part trainees started questioning and understanding the whole concept of being a "Patrimonito", they also added their own suggestions on how to protect our heritage and by the end of this part, they were completely aware about their role as a "Patrimonito".
    Now it was a best time to have a short break, during the break trainees were introduced to some of intangible heritages as they were served by traditional food and snacks and even they way of serving was according to traditions and everyone had this opportunity to discuss about intangible heritage while enjoying some traditional food and snacks.
    When the break was done, everyone was asked to choose a heritage either tangible or intangible and they had to introduce their chosen heritage to a tourist by making a postcard using what they have learnt. They were given all of necessary tools such as color papers, color pencils, glue, scissors, images of heritage and a mentor was with them in order to help them completing the task.

    When they were done, they handed out their postcards and with the mentors they sat together and spent a few minutes asking and answering about what they have learnt. Then they were told to say their vows for protecting their heritage and caring about it, the mentor said the vow and the trainees repeated after her and they officially became a "Patrimonito".

    The last but the best part was when they were given the certificates, and they were told that since they are aware of the value of the heritage and they know how to protect it, they are chosen as "Patrimonito" and they should continue their mission by introducing the value of heritage to others. They were granted certificates and labels and the workshop of "Patrimonito" was finished by taking some memorial photos.