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Salon du Tapis d'Orient

The Salon du Tapis d'Orient is a moderated discussion group in the manner of the 19th century salon devoted to oriental rugs and textiles and all aspects of their appreciation. Please include your full name and e-mail address in your posting.


In the first part of the discussion four rugs are presented.

The Meyer-Müller rug

The Nagel-Hali 91 rug

The SNY December 12, 1997 rug

The Eagleton rug

From their appearance these rugs make an homogeneous group of which the earliest surviving seems to be from the beginning of the 19th century.

The Meyer-Müller rug, probably a North-West-Persian workshop product, the purest in design described as "Zoroastrian flame palmette", influenced undoubtedly on tribal and nomadic design from their Kurdish neighbors.

My purpose is to demonstrate through three indicators, the flame like palmette, the "calyx/ducks" motifs and, the borders the relationship between these and other Northwest Persian rugs.

Using the "flame like palmette" as first indicator: without too much imagination, these rugs can be related through this characteristic palmette, and the overall layout of the pattern, which becomes more and more stylized but basically conserves their shape and organization.

Using the "calyx/ducks" motifs as second indicator, a continuum can also be established.

This motif derives from the calyx of the floral palmette of the Meyer-Müller rug. It was clearly misunderstood and transformed through the centuries by the nomadic weavers in leafs and stylized duck-like motif. It gives us the opportunity to see how floral motifs followed a common transformation and evolution in nomadic weaving.

If we admit that those rugs are clearly related through designs similarities, I will tentatively relate them with two another for which a Sauj Bulak attribution has been proposed by some experts.

It is usually admitted that the rendering of the borders is a better guide in attribution of origins then the pattern.

The Dodds rug and the ORAC rug are added into this discussion, as they share with the Nagel-Hali 91 rug and the SNY rugs a typical main border that I haven’t seen in any other production, one palmette  at each sidefollowed by a trefoil motifby and a squarish degenerate flower head.

This border may be a characteristic of rugs for which a Sauj Bulaq attribution has been made.

Notice also that these rugs share the same minor borders, a meandering of small geometrical motifs on a blue or white and yellow ground or the running dog motif.

While relating rugs through design details or borders is generally recognized as not terribly reliable the fact that they also share the same structure characteristics puts us on former ground.

Common features in rugs that may be attributed to the Kurdish Sauj Bulak area are:

Warps: wool, white or beige brown, Z2S, level

Wefts: wool, red, two shoots

Knot: symmetrical, average between 45 & 80/sq. inch

Handle: thick & flexible

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Daniel Deschuyteneer

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