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Fachralo (original name - Fakhrali, Fakhraly) Kazak namazlyg, early to mid 19th century, Borchaly / Bordjalou. Mike Tschebull. published in Ralph Kaffel's Caucasian Prayer rugs, plate 14 (size: 117x152cm (3'10'x5'0"))

Ivory-ground Fachralo prayer rugs are extremely rare. This piece was created in the middle of the nineteenth century, perhaps even earlier, and with its clear, uncompromising lines is extremely impressive. Only two comparable pieces from this period are known:


A variant was published in Bausback, Antike Orientteppiche, p.185. This rug has a rectangular white field with a blue medallion and a finely drawn prayer arch on a red ground, decorated with stylized tulips and a white-ground border with crosses. Tschebull, in his article 'The Development of Four Kazak Designs' (Hali 1/3, pp. 257-61), illustrates a white-ground prayer rug very similar to this example (fig. 34) with a white mihrab with a re-entrant motif on a plain red ground. While this example has the confronting dragon motif in the re-entrant archway, the Hali example has a latchhooked diamond. The two rugs share many aspects with the traditional small rugs of Lori-Pambak, which Schurmann described as 'favouring few colours and large areas of plain colours' (Caucasian Rugs, p. 8). Herrmann published a secular Fachralo rug with an octafoil central medallion (ATT4, pl. 41) which, were the medallion replaced with the typical 'turtle' image (symbolizing longevity), would be virtually identical in all respects to a well known Lori Pambak (Jacobsen, Oriental Rugs, p. 446 = Hali 1/3, p.260, fig.32=Hali5/3, p.352=CNY 8 Feb.1992, lot 47). In his text, Herrmann refers to the connection between the two types, and states that a piece comparable to an early Facralo piece is not known He identidies two later white ground analogies: Hali 5/2, p.200=SLO 12 Oct. 1982, lot 89; Hali 6/2, p. 192.


The white re-entrant mihrab of undyed wool is dominated by a typical Fachralo medallion, composed of a smaller red stellar medallion inside the larger blue eight-pointed star. Small spikes project from the sides, and latch-hooks emerge from the top and bottom. Pairs of elaborate red rosettes appear above and below the medallion. The only other decoration in the mihrab is the polychrome cruciform motif underneath the prayer niche. The border is the characteristic 'leaf-and-calyx' pattern. The owner of the rug, Mike Tschebull, is of the opinion that the white wool in this and similar Fachralos has been bleached, which would explain why it has not yellowed - even a little - like most white wool.

White-ground Fachralo prayer rugs are attributed by some authorities to Lori-Pambak. Perhaps it is because of their white fields or a similarity of colours and their arrangements, or like border designs, or simply the geographical proximity of the two regions. In recent years a number of white-ground Kazak carpets with herald-like Lori-Pambak drawings have been found.