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





A fine antique Kuba Karagashli rug, early 19th century,  Lowland Kuba Region, Devechi (Divichi) District, Chay Karagashli village, North East Azerbaijan


LOT: 69
RUG NAME: Karagashli rug
AGE: early to mid 19th Century
ESTIMATE: 30 000 - 50 000 USD
SOLD: 60 000 USD
DESCRIPTION: 140 x 97 cm

Sotheby's 02/04/2004, New York

Although its condition and brilliant colors give it a relatively new appearance, this well-preserved rug is an early example of its type, known as "Karagashli". Its high quality wool, vivid dyes, and fine weave are representative of the best output of the Kuba district in the early 19th century. Its age is suggested both by its quality and by the spacious and fluidly drawn design of the field which in later Karagashli rugs tended to become stiffer and more squared-off. The floral design elements are derived from 18th-century blossom carpets of the eastern Caucasus, which descended from earlier Southern Azerbaijani (NW Iran) carpets.

Formerly in the Rudnick Collection, it was published by Bailey et al., "Through the Collectors Eye" (Providence 1991, pl.21) and was sold at Sotheby’s in New York in December 1999 HALI 109, p.153). It is one of the best of its type on the basis of colour, drawing, condition, wool quality, complexity, and fineness of weave. Very precisely drawn, it has intense, harmonious colours with three red dyes, including abrashed dark purple as a guard border background. The ivory palmette, an escapee from Chinese art, is intricately drawn. Later examples – with synthetic dyes, which make age determination fairly simple – omit the palmette(s), while the ogival forms are almost turned into rectangles. A comparison with pl.108 in Ulrich Schürmann’s, Caucasian Rugs (1965), in which the  design is incompletely rendered, is instructive. 

..Rugs with this design were woven all over the Caucasus. ‘Karagashli’ is a Kerimov-sourced village name, said by many writers about Caucasian rugs to be on the Daghestan border, near the Caspian Sea (wrong). But rugs allegedly woven in that area have substantially different patterns and structure from these two. Something’s not right. However, there is a town named Qaragashli west of Baku, but whether it is the source of either of these rugs is unknown. An educated guess is that anything as finely woven as the second rug could well have come from near an urban centre such as Baku. There are so many anomalies and contradictions in the study of older Caucasian rugs that one can, at this point, only appreciate them for their art value, and hope that some day they can be placed accurately in a matrix of Azerbaijani material culture.

SIZE: 55 x 39 1/4 in. (139.7 x 99.7 cm.)
WARP: wool, z4s; ivory
WEFT: wool, Z3S x 2; ivory
PILE: wool, Z2S, symmetrical knots slightly pulled to the left and straight, h. 10.5, v. n, 115.5 k/sq. in. (~180 000 knots per square meter); ivory, dark brown, dark red, red, gold, yellow, green, green-blue, dark blue, blue, light blue, dark purple, purple
ENDS: cut
SIDES: cut, modern overcast