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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.

When is Shared Design a Basis for Common Ethnic Attribution?
Daniel Deschuyteneer

Part Three: Rugs related to the Transcaucasian/Moghan/Shahsevan rug

After having already written this Salon I came across a rug with a field design nearly identical to mine, illustrated in an exhibition catalog (Herrmann Eberhart, Kaukasische Teppichkunst, Munich, 1993, plate 49). This rug is labeled Southern Transcaucasian rug - 19th century – 101 x 302 cm – woven by a Kurdish group.
Warps: natural 3 ply ivory wool, Z3S
Wefts: brown wool, 2 singles, 2 & 3 picks
Pile: symmetrical knots, one or two wool singles, height 8-13 mm, V/H 42/30 – 1260/dm²

I have assembled the next related rugs in one picture, to better show their clear relations.

Top left: James Burns (The Caucasus – Tradition in Weaving, plate 21) illustrates a first third 19th century south Caucasian rug having a nearly identical ashik design and color palette border as the cited Herrmann rug. Its cotton foundation also suggests a southern attribution.
Technical data:
Pile: wool, symmetrical knot V6 H8 48psi
Warp: 3 reply (Z5S) ivory cotton – no warp depression
Weft: ivory cotton – 3-4 picks
Original edge and end missing

In the two next rugs (Shürmann, bottom-left and Willborg, top right), this ashik motif has been used in the borders and/or in the field, again with the same palette, pointing to Transcaucasia. Note that the apricot shade is always present.

Bottom left is a rug illustrated in Ulrich Shürmann (Caucasian Rugs, plate 8). He attributes his rug to the Bordjalou Kazak area, telling us that this rug is a forerunner of more common Bordjalou, and dates it to the 18th century.

At the top right is a rug that Peter Willborg illustrates in a 1995 exhibition catalog (Textile Treasures, plate 20). It is very similar to the Shürmann rug. Following Shürmann, he labels his rug Borchalou Kazak.

Size: 63-66cm x 145 cm
Age : circa 1770-1840
Yarn: spin Z
Warp: 3 ply dark ivory beige wool – no depression
Weft: 2 ply madder red dyed wool, 4-6 picks, mostly 4
Pile: one or two singles, pile height 2-10 mm mostly 6-7
Knot: symmetrical H33/dm V27/dm 891/dm²; 56psi
Selvage: flatwoven over 4-5 warps via the wefts (?)
Ends: bottom not extant, Top: red wool weft faced plain weave skirt
Colors: 14, ivory, pale yellow, pale greenish yellow, yellowish apricot, pinkish red, dark red, brown red, yellowish green, sky blue, greenish blue, navy blue, violet, grey black heavily corroded.

The color palette of these two rugs don’t suggest to me a Borchalou Kazak attribution. Nevertheless, they share similar design and palette with the south Caucasian and Transcaucasian rugs cited above.

At the bottom right, also evoking a more southernly attribution, is a related rug illustrated in Ghereh (No. 20, p. 52). Taher Sabahi attributes it to the north Persian, southern Azerbaidjian, Hashtrud area.

Were similar designs and colors used in the Borchalou area and in Transcaucasian or Hashtrud rugs? I don’t think so but you are the judges.

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