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Rug with Hooking Lancet Leaves. Early 19th Century. Textile Museum R 36.2.8 (formerly R 2.44). Kurdistan (of Iran) or Karabagh
The dark blue field of this carpet is enlivened by eight pairs of interlocking, sweeping, curling, jagged lancet leaves. The leaves of each pair vary in color. If one is ivory, the other is red; if one is light yellow-green, the other still is red. Extremely crude forked arabesques in light brownish pink or red occur in pairs, accompanying but not conjoined to small palmettes which are placed transversely to the carpet. Groups of four conventionalized buds serve as focal points in a general diagonal arrangement. There is a host of small extraneous figures. This carpet has been copied directly from another, for its design beginning, marked by halved elements, appears at the field's actual top. The dull rose border stripe shows an abrashed dull light blue vine which throws off split arabesque blossoms. The ivory guard stripes offer a vine adorned with tiny hearts, a pattern used at Ushak and in other places widely separated.
Earlier versions of the field design may be seen in an early 18th century Kurdish rug in the Brooklyn Museum, 32.61, and in an 18th/ 19th century rug, probably also Persian, once in the Berlin market (Erdmann 1960: Fig. 119). In the Berlin market rug the curling-leaves are rather clumsy but they clearly surround a blossom—a rosette. The split arabesques are handled in the same manner as in the "Afshan" pattern, from which they come (Plates 28, 29). In the "Brooklyn rug their treatment is closer to that in the Textile Museum piece, but the lancet leaves are much more plumelike and graceful. This rug, with a dark blue ground, has the same construction and presumably it represents an earlier version from the same weaving district.
The field design is one of those amalgams in which elements of several patterns have been combined. The transverse palmette and pair of split arabesque blossoms come from the "Afshan" pattern repertoire, while the pairs of large lancet leaves that clasp a blossom trace from a series of 16th and 17th century Kirman carpets allied to the vase carpets, specifically to such rugs as the Corcoran Gallery's throne rug (Pope 1939: Pl. 1234) and the more stylized carpet of the Gulbenkian Foundation (Pope 1939: Pl. 1235). In these the enfolded blossom is a palmette. The intermediate stages seem to have disappeared with time. The model of the split arabesque vine border again is from Kirman. It appears as a narrow single stripe in the Havemeyer rug with intersecting panels, 56.185.1 of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (Erdmann 1960: Fig. 78).
The combination of Senna knotting with warps and wefts of multi-strand cotton makes it most unlikely that this rug, and the Brooklyn rug for that matter were produced in the Caucasus. These are North Persian characteristics, suggesting an origin somewhere in Kurdistan. This is probably also the case with the rug from Berlin, shown by Erdmann, as well as a rug in the same book (Fig. 114) which combines the arabesque border stripe of Plate 36 with a field pattern copied from an "Indo-Ispahan". These rugs have commonly been ascribed to the Caucasus due to the fact that the conventionalizations and shortcuts of primitive weaver copyists have produced similar effects in the two areas. For proper differentiation one must turn to color scales and techniques.
Size: L. 3.43 m. (11'3") x W. 1.73 m. (5'8").
Warp:'Z7S ivory cotton. Alternate warps depressed.
Weft: Z4S ivory cotton. Two shots. Occasional small wedges in field and at sides to even the work.
Pile: 2Z wool. Senna knotted, open at the left. 8 1/22 horn. x 8+ vert, per in. (70 per sq.in.).
Sides: Weft is returned around a double warp, beneath modern overcasting.
Ends: At bottom 1/4 of plain weave kilim, Z2S wool in a light mixture dyed light blue. Groups of 5 or 7 warps cabled Z and tied 1/4 " beyond kilim. Top cut.
Colors: Ivory; black-brown; dull rose red; light brownish pink; dark, medium and dull light blues; light green; light yellow-green.
Condition: Very much worn. Not suitable for showing. Published: Ellis 1970: Fig. 13.