shirvan prayer rug
dated 1233 a.h. (1820)
142 x 133 cm (4’8” x 4’1”)
|| symmetrically knotted wool pile on a wool foundation
|| Prayer rugs with similar design elements were made in various areas of the Caucasus. Early examples such as this one were woven both in the Karabakh region with cotton and/or silk in their foundation, and in the Shirvan district. Later examples show a structure more akin to the Kazak/Gendje group.
This pattern seems to originate from three sources. The large octagon with quartered motifs that decorates the area under the niche is clearly derived from the Anatolian 'large-pattern Holbein' tradition, again illustrating the impact of early Ottoman patterns in Caucasian village rugs. Another source of inspiration are Caucasian silk embroideries; this can be seen in the presence of the pair of small octagons that fill the lower hand corners of the field as well as the hexagonal oblong cartouche placed beneath them. The hooked hexagonal device below the large octagon is also seen on certain sumakh-woven bags ascribed to the Shahsavan and Azeri tribes.
|| R. Kaffel, Caucasian Prayer Rugs, (London 1998): plate 70, p. 124.