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Old February 12th, 2014, 12:15 AM   #10
Horst Nitz
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As I see it, we have a Caucasian so-called Eagle or Sunburst Kazak from the Chelaberd, Gendje or East Karabagh area in or at the fringe of present day Azerbaidjan, which owes to an ancestory design shared with rugs of the Pohlmann type and the Scheunemann rug, introduced by Pierre Galafassi in the essay.

But why Sassanid and Nestorian; how do I know and, when did it happen?

Volkmar Ganzhorn in his book (Orientalische Teppiche) apparently feels ambivalent about a West Anatolian attribution of the rug in the literature, but consoles himself by stressing, that in the not far-off city of Bursa an Armenian bishop was seated until 1454, when he moved to Istanbul shortly after the conquest. However, with an Armenian filter applied to the rug, except for the obvious crosses in the garland, the specific symbolic content of the rug must have eluded him. In depth interpretation goes with an understanding of the Nestorian axioms of the time. The double diamonds on the vertical axis represent the hypostatic union, those on the horizontal axis God Father and Holy Spirit. Together the four diamonds form the Trinity in its peculiar (extended) Nestorian version.

The Christian mission into the Caucasus progressed from the south (Parthia, Sassanid Iran) and from the west (Roman Empire). Eventually, Armenia was divided up between the two powers. With this, the whole area that I considered further up as likely but later origin of the Caucasian rug in the discussion, had become an Iranian dominion and open to intense missionary efforts on part of the Nestorians. This was when the time window for design influence was wide open. Later, the Armenian and Georgian churches increasingly established themselves as national churches and struggled for independence from Sassanid control. In the course of this development monophysitism gained the upper hand. With the fall of the Sassanid empire to the Arab conquest, and divided from the other churches by schism as a result of earlier consils, the Christological symbols of the Nestorian church became unacceptable in Armenia and faded into extinction. There are no records to prove this development, but it seems a fair assumption. At that time the window for design influence from the south was firmly closed already. But the design survived better in such areas that came under direct Muslim rule. This had happened to other designs as well, that had come from the south in earlier centuries. For a limited period after the collapse of the Byzantine Empire, the Church of the East (Nestorians) was able to expand its influence to the west, beyond Euphrates, perhaps to central Anatolia. But in principle, its influence ended at the river, the old border between the Roman and the eastern Empires.

The Nestorian Christology is dyophysical. The nature of Christ is understood as two hypostasis, Christ is God and human, the two natures are as distinct as they are inseparable and combine in the ‘Hypostatic Union.’ The two vertical ‘diamonds’ express this concept in image language. Its a little bit like this (sorry for the badly drawn markings whilst on a train journey) :





The same arrangement in minute form is found in the four corners; red and blue markings are applied by me for better visibility:





Thank you Pierre, again, for your valuable essay and the opportunity it offered me to contribute my thoughts on the matter.

Regards,

Horst
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