Re: More Caucasian (and Baluch) Human Figures

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Posted by Christoph Huber on February 12, 1999 at 09:40:47:

In Reply to: More Caucasian Human Figures posted by Irwin Kirsch on February 01, 1999 at 17:07:24:

: :
: : I think human figures are more common in Caucasian rugs than you imply. As a sterling example, note the Rudnick rug, no. 25 in 'Through the Collector's Eye.' I have a Shirvan with two three-legged human figures. One should also mention the Caucasian rugs with pictures of the Tsar, which were featured in a recent HALI.
: : I am no authority on Islamic docrine, but I am under the impression that the prohibition against human figures is not as absolute as most people believe, certainly not among the Shiites. It would be nice to hear an authoritative exposition on the subject.

: : Regards, Yon

: Dear Yon, et al:

: A local dealer here in Kansas City, Ara Zakaryan, who is Armenian and was born and lived in Tehran for years, believes that indeed it is a sin to depict human figures in the rugs and feels that for the Caucasian rugs where human figures are depicted were woven by Christian Armenians. He has a Shirvan lattice prayer rug with a female in one spandrel and a male, shown anatomically correct, in the other spandrel. He says that this rug was woven by Armenians--there are turtle animals which the latter liked to include. He also feels that this prayer rug is sacriligious because of the human figures and the male appendage, especially in a prayer rug.

: On another of his Caucasian rugs, exhibited as plate 46 in "Weavers, Merchants And Kings" by Manuelian and Eiland (1984), two men are shown at the bottom of the double cruciform medallian, with their backs to us, bending over. This too is an Armenian woven rug since it is inscribed in Armenian. It is dated 1903.

: Regards,
: Irwin

Dear Irwin
Looking through my carpet books I today found another prayer-rug with human representations. It is a Baluch which makes an Armenian / Christian origin unlikely and which so perhaps questions the sacrilegious intention assumed for the Caucasian piece- doesn't it ? It is depicted in: Aschenbrenner, E., Orientteppiche, Bd. 2: Persische Teppiche, München, 1981, No. 135. The two figures seem to be women and are headless.
Regards, Christoph

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