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Melik Memmed (Malik Mammad) rug, based on an Azerbaijani folktale (myth) of the same name (designed by Vugar Dadashov)


Size: 193x230cm

Size (ft): 6'3"x7'6"

Area: 4.43 m2

Density: 155 000 knots per square meter, totally ~700 000 knots

Colors: dark brown, ivory, red, light rose pink, tan, royal blue, midnight blue, medium blue, sky blue, yellow, apricot, maroon, aqua green, green, medium brown, light brown.

Dyes: madder, weld (Reseda Luteola), onion skins, indigo, pomegranate skins, walnut husks, natural dark brown sheep wool, natural ivory sheep wool.

Materials: Handcarded and handspun wool for pile, ivory wool warps and ivory wool wefts (two shots). 1cm of flatwoven kilim ends at both sides. - wool on wool

Knots: Gördes (Turkish, symmetrical)

Pile height: 0.4cm

Ends: triangular plaited fringes.

Inscriptions: 1439 (weaving date), tamga (tribal seal) of Afshar tribe

Weaver: Masma, Saida, Yasemen

Weaving Period: Four months

Handwoven in Azerbaijan

Design: The themes of an old Azerbaijani folk tale "Melik Memmed" are applied to the sunburst medallion and blossom design of an 18th century Azerbaijani embroidery.

The design should be followed starting from the left top part of the central field. This part symbolizes the royal garden of the king. There is a tree in this garden, yielding magical apples once a year. These apples grant an ever young life. Here, Prince Melik Memmed holding a bow, is depicted on a horse in a small ivory medallion. Next to Melik Memmed, a giant div is shown, who steals magical apples from the garden. The stepped medallion to the right of Malik Mammad is a deep well. Melik Memmed follows the traces of the Div and climbs down to the bottom of the well. He finds the Div and kills him. The upside down red Div is killed. The bird inside a small glass container carries the Div's soul (shown on both sides of the Div). The figure inside the other small ivory medallion is the girl who Melik Memmed rescued from the Div. He falls in love with her. On their way back to the well, Melik Memmed sees two rams. The ivory ram would take him back to the palace and the black ram is to travel to the world of Darkness. Melik Memmed jumps on the back of the ivory ram, but he throws him onto the black ram. The black ram takes Melim Memmed to the world of Darkness.

The dark-brown ground color of the central field (woven with undyed black sheep yarns) symbolizes the world of Darkness. In the different places of the field, some mythical creatures are depicted in the form of hooked motifs with eyes. The story continues in the bottom left side of the central field. After a long travel, Melik Memmed wants to sit and rest under a tree. He kills a giant snake climbing up to the tree to eat the fledglings. These are the baby birds of the Simurg - a benevolent, mythical bird in Azerbaijan and Iranian mythology and literature (She is depicted inside a small ivory medallion on the bottom left corner). As a gratitude, Simurg takes Melik Memmed to the World of Lights on her back. The curvilinear motif on the right bottom side of the central large medallion symbolizes clouds. Melik Memmed arrives in a city and there he kills a dragon who cut the waterway of the city for a long time. The two medium blue diagonal lines show the running water. Here, double dragons (male and female) represent the dualistic nature of the universe. Here, the swastika motif in-between the two dragons is meant to symbolize the "magic realm" of the myth.

The right bottom part of the central field shows the scenes where Melik Memmed meets his lover and three apples fell from the Heaven to finalize the story. The expression is often found in Azerbaijani and Anatoilan folktales: "Three apples fell from the sky - one for the story teller, another for the listener of the story and the third for the one who will read this story"

The central medallion is interpreted as a stylized version of the double-headed eagle - which found its way into the mythology and symbolism of many ancient cultures as the Guardian of the Gates of Paradise. The symbol was also used as the emblem of the Medieval Seljuk Turkic dynasty. It is also seen as a sunburst symbol.

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Malik Mammad follows the traces of the Div


The Div is killed and Melik Memmed meets the girl


The white ram


The fledgelings of the Simurg


Double dragons (male and female) represent the dualistic nature of the universe. Here, the swastika motif in-between the two dragons is meant to symbolize the "magic realm" of the myth.


The Simurg


The cloudband motif




Mytical creatures




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