Caucasian Shirvan | 3ft 10in by 4ft 10in, circa 1850

 

 

 


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This 170-year-old rug is a stunning example of the masterful use of color and design seen in the finest Shirvans. There is fascinating lack of repetition in the colors and sizing of the serrated hexagons in the field, yet through the weaver’s great artistic sensitivity the composition magically retains an entirely harmonious ambiance.

Only very early Caucasian rugs use a pure Tyrian purple. You can find this color strategically suffusing some of the medallions with its particular potent hue. This precious dye yielded from seas snails is also used randomly in the stars in the inner border, the diagonal stripes in the main border and finally in a grand flourish at the very top of the rug.

The rug’s five borders achieve a virtuoso level of weaving. First there is the triplet set: the surprising diagonal striped main border enclosed by carnation bands that tilt in precise angles. Then the set of two inner borders, one with stars, the other a tiny inner frame holding a delicate strand of beads. Especially when viewed on a wall, this amazing little rug contains innumerable intentional inconsistencies that are a joy to discover.