Selected acquisitions of antique textile art

Alg 1801
Zili cover
Azeri tribe
Northeast Caucasus, Baku area
circa 1870
180 x 120 cm (511 x 411)

Notes: balanced plainweave in wool with extra-weft wrapping in wool and cotton
A finely embroidered flatweave decorated by horizontal panels displaying a plethora of zoomorphic elements, from abstract fan-tailed birds (as seen on the so-called Akstafa rugs from the same region) to curious, mythical two-headed animals, alternated to rows of stylised botehs, tree-like forms with animals and others embellished by pairs of opposing eagle-type motifs. Covers of this type embody the tribal language of the Turkic tribes of the area, as well as an archetypal imagery of tribal iconography in general (R. Pinner, The Animal Tree and the Great Bird in Myth and Folklore, in Turkoman Studies I, London 1980, pp. 204-208). Embroideries such as this one are the most genuine manifestations of the Caucasian folk tradition; its exquisite tactile quality as well as its pristine condition makes it a masterpiece of rare beauty.
Bibliography: R.E. Wright, J.T. Wertime, Caucasian Carpets and Covers, London 1995, pp. 72-76. 11.



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