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 Medallion rug
Code: SHMD28
Size (metric): 104x147cm
Size (ft): 3'4" x 4'9"
Area: 1.54 m2
Density: 165 000 knots per square meter, totally ~250 000 knots
Weaving period: three months

Colors: madder red, navy blue, medium light blue, midnight blue, yellow (pomegranate+weld), green, old purple/mauve, natural ivory, natural brown.

Dyes: 100% natural dyes: madder, weld (Reseda Luteola), indigo, pomegranate skins, walnut husks, natural brown sheep wool, natural ivory sheep wool
Materials: all wool - handcarded and handspun wool for pile, wool warps and cotton wefts
End finish: knotted bundles

Handwoven in Azerbaijan

Design:  The indigo field scattered with various polychrome floral, animal and geometric minor motifs around three central stepped medallions, in a golden yellow ground polychrome "leaf and calyx" main border and outer flowerhead minor borders.
Signed with the Afshar tamga and dated (1436)

Central field motifs

The serrated/saw-edged medallions (flame, gubba, gubpa) have been related by some authors to ancient Egyptian and Persian Royal insignia.

Tree of life

The inscription above shows the name of the Shirvanshah Ibrahim I in kufic pattern - who was the king of Shirvan between 1382-1417. A wise ruler and clever diplomat, Shirvanshah Sheikh Ibrahim I managed, during his rule of 35 years, to save Shirvan from excesses of foreign invasions from both Timur from the south and Tokhtamysh from the north.

The weaving work is dedicated to the wise ruler of the Shirvan - Ibrahim I (reign 1382-1417)

A peacock or simurgh motif - According to Latif Kerimov, the above bird motif depicts a peacock. But there is a big possibilty that it may also represent a Simurgh -
ancient benevolent, mythical flying creature, which was widely used in Iran and Azerbaijan Folklore for centuries. There is a long tradition of using the simurgh/phoenix motif in early Safavid Art, including in rugs and kilims (derived from manuscript illumination).

The benevolent phoenix has its counterpart in Iranian and Central Asian (known as Tughrul Kushu) lore, where it is known as the simurgh - a wise and protective bird.


Later named as crayfish (19-20th centuries), this motif is probably an adaptation of Central Asian hooked totemic themes.


Reciprocal birds

Interestingly similar birds motif can be found in this column capital of the VII century church with an inscription in Caucasian Albanian, found in Mingachevir, Azerbaijan.



spinning wheel or spindle motif


Note, the minor border consists many various elements, placed eccentrically.


so called "glass and leaf" (or calyx and leaf) border


a rug with the calyx and leaf border can seen in "Jesus in the House of Marta" (c. 1535), by Vasco Fernandes (better known as Grão Vasco)

Portrait of a Young Nobleman, circa 1545 portrays a Caucasian rug with the so called "calyx and leaf" border. Veneto-Lombard School

King Henry VIII, (1537-1557) standing on a rug with a "calyx and leaf" main border.
Unknown, after Holbein. Petworth House.

Contact us for more information about this rug









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.