Lily and Palmette Rug. Shirvan or Karabagh. Late 18th Century. Textile
Museum R 36.2.11 (formerly R 2.62).
No similar rug has yet come to light. Its
field is a medium green with an a brash of dark medium blue toward the top.
The pattern consists simply of staggered rows of two basic forms: a Turk's
cap lily, crudely rendered, and a similarly crass palmette. All of the
lilies are red, save for the central one, which is light blue. All palmettes
on the side axes, the lowest one and the incomplete highest along the center
line are ivory, with a dark medium blue central area, edged in red. The
remaining two on the central axis are a greenish brown with varicolored
details. Their centers are green, surrounded by red. The lowest palmette has
a pair of curious, clawlike leaves in orange. The border is ivory, with
multicolored blossoms along a black-brown stem.
The scheme of palmettes marshaled in rows is similar to that of the little
known class in which the characteristic "blazon" palmette of the dragon rugs
alternates in the same fashion with a differing palmette form from the same
source. The best known example is the one from Sepsiszentgyorgy church in
Transylvania (Vegh and Layer 1925: PI. XXX); others are in the Burrell
Collection of the Glasgow Museum, 9/65; The National Museum, Stockholm, XM
158/1899; No. 7262 of the Louvre. This scheme is much more common in Soumaks.
One might also cite the brocade pattern rugs such as Plates 33 and 34, which
occasionally show more variety, as in a carpet of the Musee des Arts
Decoratifs in Paris, 7823 (Erdmann 1960: Fig. 115).
The lily forms are familiar from the jufti-knotted Persian (it can scarcely
be Caucasian) rug fragment I.12 in East Berlin and the late 18th or early
19th century Caucasian version of the "Afshan" pattern in Vienna (Erdmann
1960: Pl. VI). They come directly from the vase carpets which have made such
frequent use of them in more curvilinear forms.
This rug was formerly in the C.R. Lamm Collection at Nasby House in Sweden,
and was purchased at the auction in New York.
Size: L. 3.56 m. (ll'8") x W. 1.73 m. (5'8").
Warp: Z2S wool in a light range with few dark fibers. Alternate warps
depressed; elsewhere on one level.
Weft: Z3.S ivory cotton. Two shots.
Pile: 2Z and 3Z wool. Gordes knotted, pile slanting to right. 7 1/2 horiz. x
8 vert. per in. (60 per sq.in.).
Sides: A two cord cotton selvage on 2 (Z2S) 2Z cables. It appears to involve
added material as well as the return of the weft.
Ends: At top Bottom cut.
1/2" of Z4S and Z3S ivory cotton kilim.
Colors: Ivory; black-brown; greenish brown; dull orange: brick red; pink;
dark medium, medium, light and pale blues; green; violet.
Condition: Worn; palmettes on central axis badly repaired; now rendered
unfit for show by the streak of severely faded repair down the center. Other
repairs at sides.
Published: Martin 1908: Pl. XXXIII; American Art Galleries 1923: no. 982;
Orendi 1930: Abb. 688; Erdmann 1960; Fig. 118.
Early Caucasian Rugs, Textile Museum, Washington D.C., 1975, plate 35