Perhaps my favorite
At ACOR I was re-acquainted with a rug that I first saw in New England perhaps
10 or so years ago. The wall label was confusing, saying something about it
possibly being Kurdish, which it could not be. The light colored wefts suggest
Southern Caucasus or possibly NWP.
It came to the US quite a long time ago, before the breakup of the FSU. In any event, the colors are almost magical to me. Despite its seeming simplicity with four diamonds, the border is quite sophisticated and the weaving quality is superb and fine. The color balance, contrast and alternation as well as the graphic balance are great. To me, it was the best Caucasian rug on exhibit.
It seems quite old and outside the feeling that one gets from the commercially produced pieces. For a long time I haven’t been fascinated by most Caucasian rugs. This is an exception.
A remarkable rug, albeit, quite clearly, a workshop product. Which is not always a fault, as this case demonstrates.
It’s interesting to compare it with plate 21 of Bennett & Bassoul’s Tapis du Caucase – Rugs of the Caucasus, a “Shulaver Kazak” (but Bennett admits that the attribution is “not so easy”):
Bennett says: “the inner diamond of each medallion has four strange zoomorphic finials, which relate it to motifs found on old Anatolian kilims, some of which are now considered to pre-date the 18th century”.
IMHO the zoomorphic finials could be floral as well, although those solitary ones in the minor medallions of the ACOR rug have, in fact, an arachnoid appearance.
The “perhaps my favorite” rug that I posted above was in the New England collections exhibition curated by Julie Bailey, not in the Rudnick exhibition of Caucasian rugs as perhaps some might have supposed.
Here is an image of a Caucasian rug that is similar to the “favorite” and also to the Bennett rugs which Filiberto posted. This one is unpublished and in a private collection. It also has dazzling colors.
While the reciprocal border distinguishes the ACOR rug, the green field on this one is exceptionally nice. I prefer the simpler border system to that of the Bennett example.
Unlike the rug at ACOR 8, the above rug has red wefts. By comparison, the knots and light wefts on the back of the ACOR 8 rug look like this:
As to any of these being “workshop” rugs, the question might be asked: what pile Caucasian rug isn’t from a workshop? The rugs in this group are relatively sophisticated, just about right for my tastes.
If you are referring to the kustar programme, please read the following from Wright & Wertime, Caucasian Carpets & Covers, page 49:
“The Caucasian kustar programme concerned itself with loom technology in order to eliminate crude home-made apparatus and resultant problems in the final product. Modern looms, however, were not successfully introduced. Other measures for material assistance were limited; a yarn spinning factory was in operation in 1903 and a dye works was in service in Tiflis by 1911. The kustar programme did not affect traditional production arrangements. There were no workshops and weaving took place at home, although by 1904 the Caucasus Kustar Committee had concluded that establishing workshops on the model of the Ziegler operation in Persian Sultanabad was the ‘mandatory’ course to be followed. That this did not occur reflects both the government’s financial constraints and the nature of the traditional weaving base.The workplace was the home and the family was the work force. The programme might get patterns and materials into the home; it did not get the weavers out."
By the way, when I referred to the first rug here as a workshop product I should have more properly written “woven from a cartoon”, given the precision of the layout and the resolution of the borders.
Here is the back of the green ground early 19th Century rug that I posted in comparison to the ACOR 8 and Bennett examples.
As you can see, there is a substantial structural difference, but the colors in this rug are outstanding.
I like assembling several examples of the same design: I think they make useful databases for future memory.
Here’s another one, from Azizollahof’s “The Illustrated Buyer’s Guide to “Oriental Carpets”, page 107:
The bad colors could be imputable to a bad typographical reproduction; otherwise the color scheme is pretty much like in the first example of this thread. Also the borders are the same, but look at the border resolution and at the quirk distribution of the minor elements in the field…
This one seems to be a rustic reproduction of the first, much closer than the other two.