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Old June 30th, 2018, 07:52 PM   #4
Rich Larkin
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 124

Hi Joy,

Armenians have been closely involved with handwoven rugs in several contexts historically, and especially with Caucasians. (Just to be clear, your rug is without question Eastern Caucasian, produced north of Iran and close to the western shore of the Caspian Sea.) There is a lot of opinion with competing claims in those regards (i. e., the precise roles of Armenians), and I have no extensive knowledge about it. I would speculate that the writer of the label (very possibly, a dealer) was Armenian, and had opinions about specific designs favored by Armenian weavers.

The numbers are of the Arab form, which is employed by many Middle Eastern language groups (including the entire Arab world, though your rug is not Arab). The 'four' in particular (which takes two different forms) might be thought to indicate Persian influence, though I wouldn't push that notion too hard. However, numbers in Armenian script would be nothing like that, but rather in the form with which Europeans would be familiar (albeit a rather 'stately' version thereof). That is, the Armenian alphabet is unlike either the Arabic or European, but their numerals are European in form.

Rugs with dates often reflect the Islamic calendar, which started in 626 M. E. There are (at least) two versions, depending whether the year is solar (365 days) or lunar (354 days). That is a whole 'nother can of worms! Rugs from the late nineteenth or early twentieth centuries tend show 13-something; thus, my suggestion about your rug. I would say those numbers are trying to be a date, but missing a digit.

This sort of thing is not unusual. For starters, '1340' would have required only a simple dot after the last number, one knot in the rug. Furthermore, it is very possible the weaver was illiterate, and copying the date from some other source; and she didn't see the dot! Who knows. Anyway, this gives you plenty of material with which to mesmerize your dinner guests.

Almost certainly, the horizontal bar of lighter color was not intended for a functional reason, and rather reflects a dye aberration of some kind. Does it show similarly on the back?

The cross stitching at the ends is the most frequently encountered method by which professional repairers secure ends so that they will not unravel (any further than they already have!).

There are some Caucasian mavens on this site who may jump in here and give you additional commentary. Good luck with your rug!

Rich Larkin is offline