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Old September 23rd, 2013, 06:30 PM   #3
Pierre Galafassi
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 87

Hi Filiberto,

Interesting that Europeans rug merchants would call Caucasus rugs "Circassian", despite the fact that these people were not weaving pile rugs.

To me, it may give us a few tinny informations:
- The rugs imported from the Caucasus into Venice etc.. were not mainly Armenian weaves, otherwise the importers would not have needed to pick an exotic name like "Circassian" to market them. Even more so since these business people were certainly largely Armenian themselves, or Jews.
- The rugs had probably many different Caucasian ethnic origins: A generic name was therefore needed since the importers did not care for making the ethnological education of Renaissance buyers
- The name "Circassian" was probably a pretty good vector since these people were well known in Occident as supplying excellent slave-warriors (Circassians and Turks traditionally made the hard core of the Mamluk armies and of their leadership) and Circassian ladies were said to be the "crème de la crème" of the seraglio.(And were the mothers of many a Sultan).
Pierre Galafassi is offline   Reply With Quote