rug 3

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Posted by Michael Wendorf on August 09, 1999 at 21:00:32:

Dear Daniel:
I will take a stab at rug 3 which is unusually sized at nearly 4'6" x 14'6". The drawing of the four medallions in three colors implies some inspiration from a rare group of Kazak rugs. In 1971, Mike Tschebull first illustrated a great example in his landmark book "KAZAK" as plate 40. That carefully executed rug with ivory and mixed brown warps and rose red wefts, 2-3, mostly 2, loosely piled, featured a ivory ground center medallion with six memling guls divided into two vertical rows above and below the medallion. What drew my attention to your rug 3 is the basic drawing of the 4 medallions and the interior elements of these medallions which may be derived from this group. Numerous other examples with this format have later appeared including the Rudnick rug illustrated in "Through the Collector's Eye" as plate 20 as well as a 16 memling gul example discussed in Hali 82 at page 140 and labelled Shirvan. In this Shirvan rug, however, the central medallion is an eight pointed star. This medallion may be derived from 17/18th century west Anatolian star medallions.
The group was further discussed in Hali 69 with other examples listed. These include Gans-Ruedin plate 118, Bennett, Oriental Rugs: Volume 1 Caucasian plate 66 and several rugs published by Herrmann. To my recollection all of these are on a blue ground.
Quite apart from this group is a distinctive group of Kurdish rugs with a related central medallion usually on a aubergine-purplish/red ground and usually attributed to around Kagizman. These sometimes have blue wefts and all have long glossy wool with a floppy handle. On this group the medallion is again six pointed, usually red, with straight sides as with the medallions on the group above and the runner format illustrated as rug 3. Yetkin published an example in Early Caucasian Carpetsin Turkey, Volume 1 as plate 98 from the Carpet Museum of Vakliflar. Inv. No. 100(52). Warps there are reported as white and brown twisted together Z2S with wefts as Z2S w, 2 shoots and fine short pile. I have recently examined a distressed example on a red field with purple wefts, see Hali 68 page 173 where other examples are listed. The Kurdish group has a distinctive border and lacks the field arrangement of the Kazaks where memling guls are employed. Instead a 2-1-2 format is utilized.
What may relate the two groups is the six sided medallion and the interior elements found in the medallion. On both groups the medallion is powerful and fairly consistent over the diferent examples.
I think that identifying these two distinguished groups may help to place your rug 3 in context. It has some elements of the Kazak medallion but simplified with only the elements that may be palmettes drawn above and to the sides. Some of the field like elements comprising the 2-1-2 orientation of the Kurdish group are compressed into the medallions which are then multiplied. I do not know where rug 3 was woven, if it was Khorasan by Kurds this would have interesting implications for relatively early design transference and independent degeneration since those Kurds were displaced relatively early. It may also be that the Kazak, Kurdish and Khorasan designs groups evolved out of a single source independently and that the similarities suggested are mere coincidence. It may also be that rug 3 is a caucasian rug woven from a simplified and repetitive cartoon of these earlier rugs. I will be interested to read whether others see any comparisons or some completely separate explanation of rug 3.
Thank you. Michael W.

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