ANTIQUE TEXTILE ART III
A Collection of Oriental and European Carpets and Textiles
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6. 
Karachop Kazak prayer rug
Southwest Caucasus
Circa 1860
162 x 115 cm (5’4” x 3’9”)


Notes: Symmetrically knotted wool pile on a wool foundation
A unique example of its type, this Karachop prayer rug is characterised by a rectangular niche enclosing square devices and chequered motifs typical of the so-called Karachop-variant design (see for example H.M. Keshishian, The Treasure of the Caucasus – Rugs from American Collections, (Washington, 1992) plate 3: 23). These elements are clustered around a striking zoomorphic motif that resembles an eagle in flight. At the base of the niche we see a pair of foot palms, to which corresponds a pair of hand palms located in the upper compartment, indicating the position of prayer. A curious feature is the presence in the latter compartment of a cartouche containing an enigmatic sequence of Arabic numbers (starting with five, followed by 225 repeated three times). The waterbug-type motifs that decorate the border are sometimes seen on Fachralo prayer rugs, although they are known to frame some of the earliest Karachop rugs ( see for example J. Bailey, M. Hopkins, Through the Collector’s Eye – Oriental Rugs from New England Private Collections, (Rhode Island, 1991) plate 18: 63).
Bibliography: R. Kaffel, Caucasian Prayer Rugs, (London, 1988).

 



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