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

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Antique Moghan (Mughan) rug, 19th century, Azerbaijan

2nd half 19th century 1.13X 1.83m (3'8"X6'o")

This carpet presents us with an intriguing conundrum. As pictured, it reads as a conventional prayer rug. The oblique white lines suggest a rudimentary prayer arch, while the little arrows pointing upwards to an apex recall similar, enlarged motifs in the fields of some Anatolian rugs. The field below the arch is filled with geometric renditions of floral forms, in the familiar pattern of prayer rugs. If examined the other way up, however, the 'arch' becomes an abstract flowering vase. The 'eagle's beak' border can be read in either direction. The owner. Jim Dixon. is convinced that the weaver's primary intention was to make a prayer carpet; he points out that all mihrabs are reflections of heaven and. as such, are sometimes rendered like a mirror. Many early Anatolian prayer rugs feature upside-down vases, lamps and ewers. (How this convention made its way from Anatolia to the Caucasus is a subject for interesting speculation.)
A possible 'dual purpose' for this rug cannot be discounted, however. Although the soft wool and dyes are of the highest quality, as is typical of Moghan work, the execution is experimental, not following convention or a cartoon. It is possibly a unique rug, or made far a client who wanted a dual-purpose piece. It is likely that more that one weaver was involved in making this rug:  the reciprocal guard borders, particularly those closest to the field, are imprecisely rendered while in other places the pattern in handled with sureness and skill. No parallel pieces are known.


Technical Analysis


Warp: white and brown wool, mixed together, Z3S, 20 threads per inch (80 per dm)
Weft: white wool, Z3S, 2 shoots, 10 knots per inch (40 per dm)

Pile: symmetrical knot, 100 knots per square inch (1600 per square dm)
Ends and sides are not original.


Dixon Collection


lit: Ralph Kaffel " Caucasian Prayer Rugs"
published Ralph Kaffel " Caucasian Prayer Rugs", plate no: 36