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

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Antique Derbend palmette pattern prayer rug, 19th century 

3rd quarter 19th century 0.94 X 1.37m (3'1" x 4'6")

The colouring and drawing of the field of this very pretty palmette Daghestan are quite similar to those of a rug sold at Christie's in 1990, which deservedly quadrupled its auction estimate. The employment of palmettes in Caucasian rugs is an old, unbroken tradition dating back to the classical Dragon and Blossom carpets of the seventeenth century. By the nineteenth century, this motif had developed into the geometric, abstract version seen here.

Most palmette Daghestans bear reasonably credible dates from the second half of the nineteenth century. The guard borders are always of alternating oblique stripes. The main borders most frequently feature the floral 'crab' design and less often a design of hexagonal lozenges containing hooked motifs. The present 'leaf-and-calyx' border is uncommon for prayer rugs of this group. One other such example, virtually identical to ours (although less colourful) was published in Nagel (auction catalogue), 7 June 1980, lot 264, colour plate 96. Both pieces feature a Persian-style inner guard border, of floral design with a blue ground, that frames the field and matches the pattern of the gabled prayer arch. This is a rather unusual feature: in most of the parallel pieces the prayer arch is free-floating and of a pattern not connected with the guard borders.


published Ralph Kaffel's Caucasian Prayer Rugs, plate 59
lit: published Ralph Kaffel's Caucasian Prayer Rugs, plate 59