Hi Rich, James,
Wright’s chart is rather
vague so, in the attribution game, it’s better to check also Wright’s article
on M.D. Isaev
bearing in mind that it describes accurately the
carpet-making in the early Soviet period
when, for example ” the
conversion under government sponsorship of the technics of pile rug
construction in western Azerbaijan and in Armenia from traditional coarse
weave to the finer more supple weave of eastern Azerbaijan”
place…A matter that shouldn’t concern us when dealing with pre-Soviet
But the question is: how Isaev’s description can
reflect also the pre-Soviet period?
We know that the production of
knotted carpet in Caucasia experienced a real boom around the third
quarter of the 19th century, or perhaps a bit earlier but anyway
the Imperial Russia’s kustar
movement, which - for
Caucasian rugs - started at the end of 19th.
Carpet-making was a
cottage industry but conducted in a traditional way if it’s true what
Wright says, i.e. even “The kustar programme did not affect traditional
production arrangements. There were no workshops and weaving took place at
Some artistic intrusion did occur… six thousand motifs were
collected and numerous patterns were distributed in the form of black and
But the patterns were traditional, and the real
mass/workshop production started only during Soviet time.
Even at the
time when Isaev conducted its survey “the activity was still
predominately one of the villages and undertaken at home rather than in
So I think it is safe to assume that Isaev’s work
should be useful to classify also the previous rug production at least
from the last quarter of 19th until WWI - the “boom” years – because THAT
was already the tradition from the Soviet era point of view.
as for Genje (Gendje, Gandja and so on) rugs, I follow Bennett’s
Structure, like Kazaks.
Design: small polychromatic
ornaments (and sometimes coarse) instead of Kazaks’ large bold
Colors: more colorful, with light and bright shades, than
the rest of South Caucasian rugs.