I was makin' the rounds of the
usual suspects when I came across this rug, cut in half, and with one
piece folded up in a corner.
Interesting, it measures 6' 9" x 9'
6", and reminds of two classes of rugs which Von Bode discribes as being
"progressive"; the "Tree or Shrub Carpets", and the "Vase Carpets". It
also reminds in many ways, of a carpet design which seem to have proven
successful in Persia, the Mughol "Millefleur" design.
I have found
two published examples of rugs with similar border and field designs; one
as advertised by Marcuson and Hall on the now defunct Cloudband website http://www.spongobongo.com/em/em9758.htm
and one in the
IHBS 1974 Xmas Baluchi catalogue and accompanied by the following
This rare and lovely old piece is another example
from the Andraskand Valley of Afghanistan.
As in the preceeding
illustration, the dark blue field is filled with numerous asymmetrical
rosettes, small flowers and geometric forms in dark
red,coral-red,medium blue, dark plum and ivory. An
is the three stylized birds outlined in ivory in the upper portion of the
rug. The dark red
major border contains a dark plum and blue vine and
leaf meander with each leaf containing a small
red, plum, or ivory
flower.. The dark plum inner and outer borders are superimposed with an
'S" scroll figure while the gaurd borders reflect a dark brown
and ivory reciprocal trefoil motif. The first
quality wool from which
this antique rug is woven is soft and lustrous and the colors are clear
beautiful. The remains of a blue, brown and red striped plain-woven
kilim apron appears at the top
but the side borders have been reduced
and the bottom apron lost as one would expect in a piece
of this age.
Also, a section has been removed from the center of the piece, possibly to
width so as to fit in a narrow space.
double wefted, 72 senna kpsi
4' 9' X 7 '8"
Sir Edmund C. and Lady Bacon, Norfolk, England
this is a rather small sampling, but a characteristic demonstrated by both
of the published
examples, and which seems related to a singular
characteristic demonstrated by my rug, is that both the
seem to have been reduced in size, and in turn my carpets greater
is in width and not length.
It is stated in the text
that the IHBS rug is "cut and shut". I know it's not a very good
but some of the border resolution in the Cloudband piece suggest
that the borders may have been altered.
Could these two published
examples in fact be reduced fragments from a carpet of a larger
Is my carpet a complete example of this larger format ? The
warps run vertical in my rug as shown in the photo.And the lower border is
from another rug, a replacement although quite similar. This border seems
complete and to have come from another carpet of similar
The knotting of this rug is senna, 8-9 h and 10 v.,
open left. So the unusual end finishes are, as it turns out, wide multi
cord side finishes...
I suspect that this fragment
represents less than half of this rug's original dimensions. A 2/3 ratio
of width to length would place this rugs dimensions at roughly 10' x 15'.
There would have been five rows of design elements ("trees and inkwells")
to the original composition. Perhaps used in a Mosque or religious school?
The "inkwell" motives speak of scholarship, and Bode suggests that the
"tree or Shrub carpets", with their narrow borders, were designed to lie
along side each other to cover a large space, such as a mosque floor. And
there really do seem to be a "Thousand flowers" in the field of this
Interesting that there is not one true red in this carpet, all
madder shades of redbrown, with a strong Henna orange thrown
I invite questions or comments, of course.