The Qashqai peoples are a confederation of generally Turkic tribes which are believed to have established themselves in the Fars district of Southern Iran around the sixteenth century. They were pastoral nomads who depended on a biannual migration to feed their flocks. To escape the heat of the summer, they moved themselves and their livestock from the valleys to the remote pastures of the Zagros mountains. It was in these summer camps that most of the carpet weaving was accomplished.
In the nineteenth century, the majority of the Qashqai still led a nomadic existence. However, there was a tribal aristocracy composed of the wealthy families and heads of the tribes who lived a more urban lifestyle.