Posted by Filiberto Boncompagni on 03-25-2003 09:50 AM:

Another bag

Hi Bertram,

Interesting salon, thank you!

Here is another bag from "Caucasian Carpets & Covers", page 120.

Like most of the weavings that - in my humble opinion - appear to be Shahsavan in that book, itís attributed to Azeri by the authors.
As a matter of fact, Wright and Wertime do not pay much attention to the Shahsavan: they describe them as "prolific weavers" using the Moghan Steppe as winter quarters but adding that there is no way to differentiate their products for similar ones made by other groups.
If you are right the area of geographic influence of the S. confederacy goes well beyond the Moghan district.
My habitual suppliers, the Hajjs from Daghestan, usually sell quite a lot of Shahsavan-looking flat weaves. I suppose some if not all of those items come from Daghestan itself (Iím going to post a couple of my recent purchases on Show and Tell).
I understand that the Shahsavan were a confederation of ethnically mixed tribes that included the Kurds.
That could explain the variety of motives. A sort of mini-Caucasus inside the Caucasus.
Could you please show us the design elements you consider as typically Shahsavan?

Best regards,


Posted by Bertram Frauenknecht on 03-25-2003 11:08 AM:

Hi Filiberto,
this bag looks like it is in nearly too good condition. I'd love to examine it closely.
I'll send some pics of for me typical Shasavan designs tomorrow.
When you look into Wertime's or my Shasavan book you will very qickly notice a number of elements that show up consistently.


Posted by Wendel Swan on 03-25-2003 12:09 PM:

Dear Filiberto and all,

I am familiar with this khorjin. While I donít have the Wertime/Wright book in front of me, Iím quite certain they attribute this to the Karabagh area and to the Azeri or Turks there.

One distinguishing feature of this khorjin is the overlay-underlay brocading used for the bridge. This technique is used extensively by Turks and Kurds on a variety of weavings, including covers and bags. It is not characteristic, in my opinion, of Shahsavan weaving, just as there are some structures used by the Shahsavan that are used (or very rarely used) by other weavers.

Another distinguishing feature is that, for some reason, the faces of these Karabagh khorjin are more elongated than the sumak khorjin of like design that are more commonly attributed to the Shahsavan. One of the earliest Karabagh examples published was that face belonging to Joseph V. McMullan and found in From the Bosporus to Samarkand.

I can also say that the wool in khorjin of this type from Karabagh, as well as the covers, seems to feel a bit drier than that used by the Shahsavan.

The cruciform device is found in Turkish weavings, as Bertram has shown. Its origins can be traced back to much earlier times in Anatolia. Exactly how and when this and other popular designs came to be used in Northwest Persia and the Transcaucasus remains largely unknown.

Incidentally, if Wertime/Wright seem to ignore the Shahsavan in their book, it is because the concentration was on the production of the Caucasus, not Persia. The Shahsavan are essentially Persian, although depending upon what time period we are in, exactly what is Persia and what is the Caucasus is problematic.


Posted by Filiberto Boncompagni on 03-25-2003 12:31 PM:

Thanks Wendel,

Yes, the bag is attributed to Karabagh, mainly because of the structure of the bridge.


Posted by Bertram Frauenknecht on 03-25-2003 04:49 PM:

Karabagh was Shahsavan country in the 18th c. till approx. 1830