Ghassem Abad Miravim Ma...(1)*
It all started one day when I walked into Rasht Museum. An old house converted into a modest museum, it took under an hour to view everything in the collection. Through my travels inside Iran, I had visited similar museums in other cities, Tabriz, Hamadan, Zanjan, Isfahan, Kashan, Mashad, Shiraz, etc. They all appear neglected and somehow sad as compared to the richer museums in Tehran, and of course none of them can hold a candle to Western museums, I’m ashamed to say. On this particular visit, on my way out of the museum in Rasht, I noticed a bright red piece of hand-woven fabric on a wall. I asked the museum attendant what that was, as there was no description for it nearby. She said this was a chadorshab. I knew what a chadorshab was. It was a huge square of fabric wherein in Iranian homes extra bedding for guests was lovingly wrapped to stay clean and dust-free. I suppose as the tradition of big houses, surprise visitors, and extended stays of guests have one by one disappeared in Iran, there is no more use for the concept of the article, at least in big cities. I asked her if it was made in Rasht, and she said that it was woven in the village of Ghassem Abad. I left making a note to myself to seek out Ghassem Abad and go visit it someday. Three years later, on a Nowrooz excursion to Gilan and Mazandaran, I pulled out a map, found Ghassem Abad on it, and suggested to my traveling partner that we go there to find a chadorshab. On the map, it looked like Ghassem Abad was right on the border of Gilan and Mazandaran, just past Chaboksar on the road from Ramsar to Rasht. We arrived in Chaboksar, and looking for someone to help us, we found a man standing by a realtor office, observing the traffic. I asked him if he could tell us which direction we should take for Ghassem Abad. He asked which Ghassem Abad? Ghassem Abad Olya (Upper) or Ghassem Abad Sofla (Lower)? We didn’t know. So, I explained to him that I was looking to find a chadorshab, and if he knew which one of the two villages had what we were seeking. He said that would be Ghassem Abad Olya. He further explained that there is no shop to go to in that village to buy the item; rather, he said we should wait for Ramsar’s Seh-Shanbeh-Bazaar (Tuesday Market), where assorted chadorshabs were brought to market for sale. This being a Friday, it seemed rather frivolous to have to wait for Tuesday to tackle this project, I thought! *Another Story in Several Episodes....Sorry!