About the Antique Rugs of the Future Project

Sheep Breeds of Azerbaijan

Sorting, Washing, Carding, Spinning

"The advantages of handspun yarn to machine spun yarn"

Rediscovery of Ancient Natural Dyes
Our Natural Dyestuffs


Difference between synthetically and naturally dyed rugs

Weaving and Finishing Steps

Galleries of ARFP Caucasian Azerbaijani Rugs



Overall light wear with localised areas of wear, partly corroded colours, a few small areas of repiling and repairs, one short tear
8ft.6in. x 4ft.4in. (259cm. x 132cm.)

Price Realized £58,850 ($90,864)

Sale Information
Christie's SALE 7988 —
4 October 2011
London, King Street

Ulrich Schurmann, Caucasian Rugs, Braunschweig, n.d., pl.6
Robert Pinner and Michael Franses, 'Caucasian Shield Carpets', Hali, vol.1, no.1, pl.70, p.17.

Lot Notes
There are two rugs which have been published which have very closely related designs. One, which shares with the present rug an ivory field but with slightly more angular drawing and a clear lozenge lattice formed of serrated leaves, is in the Orient Stars Collection (E Heinrich Kirchheim et al, Orient Stars, A Carpet Collection, Stuttgart and London, 1993, no.74, p.140). The other, which shares the serrated leaf lattice with the Orient Stars rug, but on a red ground, is published in various places including Schurmann (op.cit., pl.94, p.257).

The design of all three is very clearly the same, or at least based on the same original. In their important Hali article noted above Michael Franses and Robert Pinner argue convincingly that they are closely related to the Caucasian shield carpets. Whether the design derives from the shield design, or whether they share a common root is less clear. Pinner and Franses do not comment on this issue, simply stating that the designs are related. The very clear lozenge lattice and the very rounded form of the composite palmette elements in our carpet are both closest to the shield carpets that Pinner and Franses conclude are the earliest, dating from "no later than the 18th century" (op.cit, p.21). It seems probable that both share a common source, a carpet that unfortunately no longer survives.

The present rug has always been published as being Caucasian, although Schurmann hedges his bets, having decided to include it in the Kazak section in his book on Caucasian Carpets, by calling it an Armenian carpet; "Armenian", that useful attribution for the Caucasian carpet that does not quite fit into any neat category! Its wefting is in a natural dark brown wool, much more typical of Eastern Anatolia than of the Caucasus. The wool also has the softness and the handle the floppiness that are much more typical of Anatolian than Caucasian weavings, particularly in the 18th century. The brown ground border is almost identical to that on a carpet published by Franz Bausback as being from the Konya district, with a field of ascending palmettes on yellow ground (Anatolische Knüpfteppiche aus vier Jahrhunderten, Mannheim 1978, pp.34-5). The two carpets also share the variety of small motifs scattered within the field. A similar carpet is in the Keir Collection (Friedrich Spuhler, Islamic Carpets and Textiles in the Keir Collection, London, 1978, no.70, pp.134 and 136). Another rug, albeit very damaged, that was closely related to the Bausback example was sold in these Rooms 30 April 1998, lot 7, the note to which compared it to another rug sold here from the Bernheimer Collection which had a very Caucasian style medallion with pendants but on a red ground. The structures of all of these carpets are very similar, and all are without a doubt from Anatolia. The designs however in each case bear strong resemblances to those of the Caucasus which, combined with the structure, strongly indicates an origin in the East of the country. This is a relationship which would reward further study.

Of all these Anatolian rugs the present example is the best preserved, with a wonderfully strong design. It is a fascinating carpet from an academic viewpoint, and an enormously attractive one from an aesthetic one.