About the Antique Rugs of the Future Project

Sheep Breeds of Azerbaijan

Sorting, Washing, Carding, Spinning

"The advantages of handspun yarn to machine spun yarn"

Rediscovery of Ancient Natural Dyes
Our Natural Dyestuffs


Difference between synthetically and naturally dyed rugs

Weaving and Finishing Steps

Galleries of ARFP Caucasian Azerbaijani Rugs




Shirvan Marasali Prayer rug with flaming boteh motif
Size (metric): 110x140cm
Size (ft): 3'7"x4'7"
Area: 1.54 m2
Density: 175 000 knots per square meter, totally ~270 000 knots
Weaving period: three months

Colors: madder red, mauve/old purple, medium blue, gold yellow, cerulean blue, variegated forest green, variegated light green, midnight blue (woad), natural ivory (undyed), natural brown (undyed).
Dyes: 100% natural dyes: madder, weld (Reseda Luteola), indigo, dyer's woad, pomegranate skins, walnut husks, natural brown sheep wool, natural ivory sheep wool
Materials: Handcarded and handspun wool for pile, ivory wool warps and ivory wool wefts (two shots)

End finish: five rows of decorative knotted meshwork

Handwoven in Azerbaijan
Weaver's name: Arzu
Dated (1436) and signed

The upper left spandrel contains the tamga of Afshar tribe

The indigo field with diagonal rows of polychrome serrated boteh, the indigo mihrab arch above with an red keel arch of star pattern scattered with minor animal and tribal motifs around rows of polychrome boteh, inner reciprocal skittle-pattern stripe, in an ivory border of angular stylised floral vine between indigo flowerhead angular vine stripes


Buta/Boteh has been used in Iran and Caucasus since the Sassanid Dynasty (AD 224 to AD 651). A decoration of applied-leather plant motif on a leather flask from the Pazyryk tombs, Altai Mountains shows a double boteh-like element, which dated 5th century BC. This is perhaps the earliest decoration which can be connected to the boteh motif.

Some design scholars believe the boteh is the convergence of a stylized floral spray and a cypress tree: a Zoroastrian symbol of life and eternity. Later, this motif was widely used in the Safavid Period (1501 to 1736) and also was a major textile pattern in Iran and Caucasus during the Qajar Dynasty.

The pattern was used to decorate royal regalia, crowns, and court garments, as well as textiles used by the general population. According to Azerbaijani historians, the design comes from ancient times of Zoroastrianism and is an expression of the essence of that religion. It subsequently became a decorative element widely used in Azerbaijani culture and architecture.

The pattern is still popular in Iran and South and Central Asian countries too. It is woven using gold or silver threads on silk or other high quality textiles for gifts, for weddings and special occasions.

The usage of the pattern goes beyond clothing – paintings, jewelry, frescoes, curtains, tablecloths, quilts, carpets, garden landscaping, and pottery.

Buta/Boteh was also one of the most important ornamental motifs of Mughal Indian art, consisting of a floral spray with stylized leaves and flowers. It was used in architecture, painting and textiles, enamels, and almost all other decorative arts. The motif began to gain importance in the reign of the Mughal emperor Jahangir (1605–27).

Coptic silk textiles (5-7 centuries AD) depicting floral and boteh motifs were found in Akhmim, (a city in Upper Egypt. Referred to by the ancient Greeks as Khemmis, Chemmis and Panopolis, it is located on the east bank of the Nile). Published at " Lyon Musée Historique des tissues Soieries Sassanides, Coptes et Byzantines V – XI siècles". According to the book, the boteh motif derives from the lotus leaf (Ziziphus lotus  is a deciduous shrub in the buckthorn family Rhamnaceae, native to the Mediterranean region).

A similar motif can be found in the ancient textiles of Native Americans (Andean textiles, South America).

In short, boteh/buta element may have different meanings in the different cultures: Zoroastrian flame, shrub, Scythian decorative motif, a bird, flower, cypress tree etc.


Contact us for more information about this rug









A decorative sleeveband with two horseman above depicting a boteh like motifs. Silk, Egypt, 6-8 centuries, Victoria and Albert Museum, London


For more information about the above rug or to place an order please email vd@azerbaijanrugs.com (Baku, Azerbaijan) or ra@azerbaijanrugs.com  (San Francisco Bay Area). We will get back to you within 24 hours or less.