|This embroidery is
one of the finest and most beautifully drawn examples of the type
generally attributed to Azerbaijan. This attribution, which there is
little evidence to substantiate, probably arose because these
embroideries share design features of both Persian and Caucasian art,
and Azerbaijan separates the Caucasus from Persia as we know it today.
They are mostly thought to date from the late 18th century.
Fortunately, two examples have precise dates associated with them. It
is also possible, however, that the tradition goes back one or two
The present textile
represents approximately one half of the original. The design is
composed of an endlessly repeating pattern made up of large
diagonally-placed hexagonal cartouches, which interlock at the
interstices with four-pointed crosses. In the space between the large
cartouches, a design of yellow-ground diamond-like stars is formed.
Each star has eight points and is filled with a salmon-ground floral
medallion, inside which is a diagonally-set four-pointed cross with
stylised cloudbands, containing an eight-pointed star with split
leaves. The overall grid-like structure of the design is similar to
that of Safavid ceramic tiles, but the individual ornaments belong to
the repertoire of textile design. The field is enclosed now on three
sides only by a wide ivory-ground border, which includes pointed
medallions with large protrusions in the shape of split leaves.
As with the other
examples we attribute to this group, it is fully embroidered in a
counted stitch in a regular manner. This gives the effect of diagonal
lines which can be seen on the surface. On several examples, while the
borders and pattern are worked in a counted stitch, the background to
the field is often worked in a `drawn' technique; thus these areas are
left un-embroidered, and the warps and wefts of the backing cloth are
gathered and wrapped in silk, creating a net-like effect.
exhibited: Wiesbaden, Rippon Boswell, Textile
Art of the Caucasus, brochure to accompany an exhibition organised
by The Textile Gallery, 6 to 18 October 1996, text by Michael Franses,
London, 1996, fig. 7 (in colour).