Posted by Patrick Weiler on 04-29-2003 10:49 PM:

A Tough One ?

Here is a chanteh that may or may NOT be Luri:

It has the same border as many Luri bags, the one Opie says may well be originally Luri, and a miniature rosette with a "dice" interior.

It has an undepressed warp, red wefts and white warps, similar to the southern Lur weavings.

The outer border of a zig-zag is the same as one of the rugs in the salon, which you can see part of here:

This zig-zag border is also on the large khorjin in the salon, as is a "dice" border.

And the major design, of a shrub, may be a miniature version of the shrub rug on page three of the salon:

What do you think?

Patrick Weiler

Posted by Vincent Keers on 04-30-2003 08:09 PM:

Dear Patrick,

Here's the Beloudj I once had

And here's the border from the chanteh

The two borders are the same.
Up to this moment I still believe this type of design setting isn't very common.
In the chanteh design, the colour switch makes the
S dominant. But in the Beloudj, this isn't the
case. The vertical lines that connect the S shapes
are essential. Without the cross design.

It seems these two pieces are connected in this way.

But a Beloudj isn't a Luri,
and the Chanteh isn't a Beloudj

Best regards,

Posted by Patrick Weiler on 04-30-2003 08:54 PM:


It is interesting that you should show this rug. The border design on the beloudj is similar to what is called the Badam, or almond design in Afghan rugs. It does look similar to this Luri "S" or dragon or bird-head border.
It is also a lot like another version in Anatolian rugs. I will show an example tomorrow.
As for Beloudj rugs, they are one of the few sources of tribal prayer rugs from Iran. The article on the New England Rug Society web site about prayer rugs:

details reasons for the relatively few prayer rugs from Iran. These include the use of the prayer stone, or mohr, in Iran. This was placed on a qalamkar, or printed prayer cloth, and the forehead was placed on the mohr. The qalamkar was then used as a bokcha, or covering, to carry the prayer stone. This meant that prayer rugs were not as common for use in prayer as they were in Anatolia. Most of the Iranian and Caucasian prayer rugs were woven for commercial sale, including the fine Kerman, Isphahan, Qum and other "city" prayer rugs.
Why the Beloudj wove prayer rugs is not mentioned. I have only seen one rug attributed to Luri weavers that is in a prayer format. The suggestion that most Luri weaving was not commercial is the most likely reason for the dearth of Luri prayer rugs, rather than the possibility that their pre-Islamic religious traditions prohibited them from weaving them.

Patrick Weiler

Posted by Tracy Davis on 05-01-2003 01:15 PM:

Luri or not?

Patrick, what would you think of this rug? It's approx. 5x7, with red and blue barber-pole selvages. It has a darker, more "Luri" palette, and I have a gut-level reaction that wants to call it Lur. However, the wool is quite soft and the pile is long, which isn't typical, and it has those little turkic motifs and soccer-ball-style rosettes.

This photo is the top half of the rug:

Posted by Patrick Weiler on 05-02-2003 12:11 AM:

The top half is really nice!


Since we all know that we can't trust you anymore, ........
This rug looks for all the world like a "typical" Khamseh khorjin, but with what appears to be an extra border on a brown ground.
One feature that seems to show up on many Khamseh khorjin is the half-diamond along the edge of the field.
Many of the other motifs are shared in the SW Persian milieu.
And, frankly, it is just not crude enough!
Perhaps when you tell us The Rest of The Story (a photo of the whole rug? structural features?)
I particularly like the striations in the blue field.

By the way, the chanteh face I showed above has a knot count of 9x13, nearly 120kpsi, probably too high for a Luri weaving.

Patrick Weiler

Posted by Chuck Wagner on 05-02-2003 01:36 AM:

Border Patrol

Hi Pat,

From the For-What-It's-Worth department, I'll offer the following
observation: That zig-zag border is commonly seen on Qashqai
work as well as Luri, and apparently made it's way up the
mountains into the southern Caucasus, as seen in Wertime's
book on Caucasian Prayer Rugs. Congrats on a nicely prepared salon.!


Chuck Wagner

Posted by Patrick Weiler on 05-02-2003 09:30 AM:



Here is a photo of a similar border from an Anatolian prayer rug:

It may have originated as a floral meander and became the various geometric versions seen in 19th century tribal weavings. Notice also a couple of different zig-zag borders, one a thin, single line and the other a more blocky version.

And, for Chuck, a photo of the zig-zag border from the large khorjin, along with one of the "dice".

Patrick Weiler

Posted by Chuck Wagner on 05-02-2003 11:46 AM:

Communications Breakdown

Hi Pat,

Thanx, but I meant the the larger border that you show
in the first image of your reply, the blocky meander with
the arrows at each segment end. Hindsight shows that I
misread your original post. I hate it when it does that...

Nice closeup of the khorjin !


Chuck Wagner

Posted by Patrick Weiler on 05-04-2003 01:30 AM:

Zeroing In


Are you referring to the border design that is similar to the one Tracy shows in her rug? The one similar to the middle border in the Anatolian Camardi rug?
The one Vincent so adroitly mirrored?
It could be said to be derived from dragons, bird's heads, evil-eye diverting devices or, my personal favorite, a geometric floral meander.
This border seems to show up in rugs from a lot of different places.

Are you aware of this border in any flatweaves? Many minor motifs have been modified from flatweave traditions. If the feeling is that the Lurs pile weaving was a later phenomenon, then perhaps their most identifiable pile motifs would have followed from their flatweave tradition. The "plain" zig-zag, as seen in some Luri pile rugs, certainly can be easily woven in a sumak, as the close-up of the khorjin readily shows.
If so, would it not be likely that this common Luri design, too, started as a flatweave design?

Which plate(s) in the Wertime book are you referring to?

Patrick Weiler

Posted by Chuck Wagner on 05-04-2003 01:30 PM:


Here are a couple partials from the book I was referring to,
"Caucasian Carpets and Covers: the weaving culture" by
Richard E. Wright & John T. Wertime (Hali Pub. Ltd., 1995)

The first is illus. 40, from a design drawing album dated 1913:

The second is plate V, a piled saddle bag the authors attribute to the Kuba district:

I haven't personally seen any flatweaves with this border but I'd
be surprised if they're not around somewhere. As I mentioned earlier,
it does seem that this border design that is in use up the Zagros all the
way into the Caucasus. I have a recent Qashqai rug with this border,
so it's clearly still in use today.

The resemblence of the terminating elements to the Afghan Badam
design is quite clear in the first illustration, but not nearly so in the
second. I suspect it's more likely related to "boteh miniaturization" than
Afghan transmogrification.


Chuck Wagner

Posted by Vincent Keers on 05-04-2003 07:28 PM:

Hi Patrick and Chuck,

The 2 designs do look the same at first sight.
And maybe they are related.
But it looks as if one is floral and the other isn't.
If the Beloudj was made in Persia, this could
explain why the border design is of the same
construction as the S.W. Persian design.

I never thought the Beloudj was a prayer rug.
More something like a graveyard rug because of all
the cypresses and the Falcon on top. Something to
do with the circle of live.


Posted by Patrick Weiler on 05-04-2003 11:55 PM:


Your first photo certainly shows, very clearly, the same border as seen in the Anatolian rug. I have a Shirvan Baku with a similar border that has even shorter "stems" between the flowers.
In the Luri rugs, though, (and in Tracy's mystery rug) the "heads" of the birds go opposite ways, one is up and the other is down. In the Caucasian and Anatolian rugs, the "petals" open to the left and right. Vincent is right, these two border types may originate from different sources.
They may be two completely different border types that just look similar, the Luri border being a "bird on a pole" and the Anatolian/Caucasian border being a geometricized floral meander.
It is well known that North and East Anatolia share a fluid border with Armenia. It is not unlikely that the floral meander travelled between the two cultures. Bennett shows a Lori Pambak, page 25, with a possibly related floral border. Do the Lori Pambak Caucasian rugs fit somewhere into this puzzle? If the border design did travel between them, which way did it flow? If it is, in fact, a tulip, one might think it travelled from Turkey, the land of the tulip, to the Caucasus.

Patrick Weiler

Posted by Steve Price on 05-05-2003 05:42 AM:

Hi Patrick,

Perhaps you were saying this, but I'll point it out anyway. I believe that the "Lori" part of "Lori Pombak" refers to the same friendly folks we have been referring to as Luri.


Steve Price

Posted by Patrick Weiler on 05-05-2003 09:54 AM:

Luri, Lori


You are correct. I was throwing out the Lori Pambak link because the border is seen in the Caucasus and Luristan. I do not recall any references showing how Lurs got to the Caucasus, when they went there or if they consider themselves Luri or not. Lurs were moved about by various empires, but when this happened I do not know. Perhaps you could enlighten us?

Patrick Weiler

Posted by M. Wendorf on 05-05-2003 11:15 AM:

Kurds also used border


Lest we forget, this border was also used by Kurds weaving rugs with Persianate designs such as the herati. Witness this well colored rug:

This carpet was part of the Traditional Kurdish Rugs exhibition mounted by the NEARC in 1999. Another example is in Discoveries From Kurdish Looms.

Thanks, Michael

Posted by Patrick Weiler on 05-05-2003 04:00 PM:

Bordering on Insanity

Dear Border Enthusiasts,

As Michael has pointed out, this border is used by many weavers.
Here are a couple more examples:

The first is an example of the Badam/Almond border as used in Afghan Baluch rugs. The second is a Baku/Shirvan. Interestingly, the "stem" is very short on these two versions compared to the Anatolian rug above. And looking at the bottom border of the Baku, you can see what may have been a "single unit" of the border, without stems.

I still think that these two versions are modified floral meander borders rather than the possibly more likely "animal-head" border as seen on Luri, Qashqa'i and Khamseh rugs.

Patrick Weiler

Posted by Tracy Davis on 05-05-2003 04:36 PM:

No fooling

Sorry it took me so long to post the rest of this, Patrick! Here's the (almost) complete rug:

It measures roughly 5'x7', and the structural characteristics are as follows:

Warp: undyed brown, beige, sometimes ivory 2-ply wool
Weft: two passes of dull reddish-brown wool, no warp depression (note: in one place, I saw a third blue cotton weft, extremely thin--almost a thread-- but I never found another.)
Knots: Symmetric, pulled to the right; 6 kpi horizontal, 8 kpt vertical
Pile: long, almost shaggy
Sides: Red and blue barber-pole overcasting
Ends: Not extant

I suppose it could certainly be Khamseh, but there's something about its overall tonality and drawing that just says Lur to me.

Posted by Chuck Wagner on 05-06-2003 11:08 AM:

Subtle Yet Blatant

Hi Pat,

I don't see the "badam" design connection to the border (who knows what it's called ?, so I'm going to refer to it as "IT") that we've been discussing as clearly as you appear to.

"IT" is almost always a very crude execution, and seems to have been thought of as something to use on a rug with BIG knots. Most of the images in this thread are of pieces with relatively coarse weaves, and "IT" fits well with them. However in the rug that Michael posted, and in the design drawing I posted, the level of detail achievable is far finer than that of the border. This is a puzzler for me. Why go with a fine weave and then put a coarse angular border into the design ?

The "badam" design is generally drawn with well done curves, neat outlines, and no connecting straight element between the individual "badams". This is true for Afghan rugs of all ages, and only the coarsest have "badams" with an angular appearance.

I think "IT" has its origin in either a floral design element, or (as I mentioned earlier) the boteh design. The design drawing show the similarity to a boteh; a redundant hook with a flat crossover. There are several borders in Caucasian and northern Perisan rugs with similar geometries to "IT", but with floral or leaf terminators on the linear elements. (If I can scare up a couple images I'll post them).

Here are a few shots of well done "badams" from Afghan rugs.

The first is a pre-World War II Sulayman:

The next is a 1950's-ish Chob Bash:

This one is a 1970's-ish piece, probably from Kabul:

And the last is a recent piece showing "badams" outside the border arena:

All are used quite differently from the elements of "IT", which does seem to be pretty consistently represented in rugs from the cultures along the length of Zagros.

In short I think they're two different designs.


Chuck Wagner

Posted by Patrick Weiler on 05-06-2003 11:41 PM:



Your rug is much larger than it appears on my monitor. If it is 5x7 it is nearly as big as the four medallion rug on the salon, so it is not another "small" Luri like the last rug on the salon. This unusually large size in relation to the normal smaller format for this design speaks to the Luri tradition of disproportionate designs.
The dice outer border is seen on the largest of the salon rugs and, of course, the bird meander border is commonly used by Luri weavers. The low knot count and light red wefts also point to a possible Luri source, as do the dark warps.
So, you may actually have a Luri piece after all. Congratulations for probably downgrading the value of your estate!

Patrick Weiler

Posted by Vincent Keers on 05-08-2003 07:56 AM:

From the land of the pillows, some more useless knowledge.

There seems to be a difference between this design in a horizontal setting and in a vertical setting. In the Chanteh the border is rotated 90 degrees.
In the Tracy rug a different part, from the same design is used.
I have two pillows that show this too.

Think in the coarser pieces we'll find the rotation. In the finer pieces we'll find the more refined approach? (What am I talking about? Pillows?)
Or does this have to do with somethig else. Different production? Different tribe?

Best regards,

Posted by Patrick Weiler on 05-09-2003 07:55 PM:

Piece of a puzzle


I see where you point out that Tracy's rug uses just a section of the larger vertical border design on the horizontal axis.
In the vertical borders, each "section" is outlined, and the design consists of two sideways "W" shapes, or sections, nestled neck-to-neck.
The horizontal design takes one piece from each of three of these "sections" , the top "bird head" of one section, the middle pole of the section facing the other way, and the bottom "bird head" of the next section.
This taking apart and recombining of pieces of a border design to make a different design entirely is similar to the border in the Baku Shirvan rug where the "tulip" is lopped off the stem and is set in a row along the horizontal borders:

It is not unusual for this reconstructin to happen because tribal weavers may have found it difficult to resolve the corner solution and vertical/horizontal transition of the design. The question that arises from this conclusion is, which came first, the simpler horizontal border or the more complex vertical border?

Patrick Weiler

Posted by Patrick Weiler on 05-10-2003 01:06 PM:

Border Patrol


These photos show the small khorjin from the salon. It has the full animal heads on a pole border on the vertical sides and the modified version on the horizontal sides.:

The top border has changed so much that the bird's heads have disappeared, leaving just a dash and a slash! -/_\-/_\-/

Patrick Weiler

Posted by Vincent Keers on 05-14-2003 02:33 PM:

Dear Patrick,

Took me some time to digest what it was, I was thinking.
What you're saying is clear.
The thing is: I'm more and more obsessed with this
"two bird heads, looking the same direction, on a pole". pattern.
It can't be found in any other design.
It's a 1 line-symmetry. The most simple form.
More simple than the S form. That is a rotation symmetry.
The closest comes Turkman design.

Then I saw the groundplan from the Rocktempel in
Jerusalem. The groundplan from the Aya Sofia etc.
In general: How to construct a dome that doesn't come down because of it's own weight.
Looked at Salon 40 by Mr.Huber.

So I made this drawing.

Think this basic
2 heads-on-a-pole-looking-the-same-direction design
is very basic.
More basic than
2 heads-on-a-pole-looking-opposite-direction design
that is a rotation symmetry. was fun,
thanks for the inspiration,

Best regards,

PS. Whatever design you could think of, it can be made with this pattern. Cross, X, etc.

Posted by Patrick Weiler on 05-15-2003 12:48 AM:

Vincent da Vinci


You have performed a masterful deconstruction of this design element, showing the multitude of permutations possible from a single source!
Is it possible that the weavers of these works of art also realized this potential? Or did they naturally gravitate to combinations of this single element out of necessity?
Your insightful explanation reminds me of what is known as the Golden Mean, a concept so basic to architectural and artistic construction that it may be hard-wired into our genetic code. Take a look at this web site:

Thank you for your investigation and enlightenment.

Patrick Weiler