Persian Salt Bags

Guide to Persian Salt Bags

A salt bag is a bag in which to hold salt. That is so obvious that it hardly seems worth saying but why would a shepherd need so much salt. Again obviously not to season his food. The real story may not be so obvious to everyone. The salt is rock salt to feed to the sheep. Taverns in the US will often give away salty snacks to cause custommers to drink more. There are times when shepherds need the sheep to drink and retain more water. Rock salt causes the sheep to drink more and retain that water weight.

In the winter snow blankets the upper meadows and sheep must feed in the lowland where they can still find forage. Often sheep will graze in farmers fields where they exchange fertilizer for whatever is left after the harvest. Water is not as critical at this time since there is likely to be better access to water in the lowland.

As the snow melts and the grasses grow the shepherds move the flock to the upper meadows. This may be done in a migration such as we see with the Bakhtiari tribe or in a relatively stationary model closer to Swiss style Transhumance. Whichever model is used there is typically areas where there is good grass significantly higher altitudes than the springs or wells suitable to water a flock. The longer a lamb can go between watering the more forage will be available to them. So the shepherds will salt the flock at a watering hole so that they take on extra water which can then allow the flock to go about three days longer without water then an unsalted flock in the same conditions. This allows the flock to feed in the thicker grasses of the upper meadows. Stronger healthier sheep more than make up for the added cost of the salt.

A true salt bag needs to be tightly woven and sturdy to haul the chunks of rock salt. The neck of the bag is narrower to keep salt in and water out.

Why are Luri or Sanjabi Kurd salt bags relatively common and Teke Turkmen bags so rare as I cannot remember seeing one? To need a salt bag one would have to have sheep and high meadows without water. I can but assume that Teke shepherds do not have that need.

Jaff Kurd Salt Bags

The Jaff Kurds are Sorani or Southern Kurds living in Kermanshah province. At the risk of being anecdotal it seems that the Jaff weave more saltbags then most Kurds.

Jaf Kurd Salt Bag

Luri Bahktiari Salt Bags

The Luri are a Persian people and their language is closely related Western Farsi the main language of Iran. The Bahktiari are a confederation of Luri peoples.

More on Jak Kurd bags.

Luri Bahktiari Salt Bags

More on Bahktiari rugs.

Khorasan Kurd Salt Bags

Khorasan Kurd Salt Bags

More on Khorasan bags.

Baluch Type Salt Bags
Baluch Type salt Bags

More on Baluch bags.

Sanjabi Kurd Salt Bags

Sanjabi Kurd Salt Bags

More on Kurd bags.