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mid 18th century Azerbaijan Dragon carpet, Safavid Period, Kuba or Karabagh Province (Beylerbeyi), Azerbaijan

Sotheby's Sale: N08456 | Location: New York
Auction Dates: Session 1: Wed, 11 Jun 08 10:00 AM

LOT 119 (of 224)
18th century

reduced in size, oxidized browns, reweaves, repiling, patches, reselvaged

10,00015,000 USD
Lot Sold. Hammer Price with Buyer's Premium: 20,000 USD

MEASUREMENTS: approximately 15ft. 2in. by 6ft. 8in. (4.62 by 2.03m.)

DESCRIPTION: 18th century

reduced in size, oxidized browns, reweaves, repiling, patches, reselvaged

PROVENANCE: Collection of David Sylvester

LITERATURE AND REFERENCES: Simon Franses, "The David Sylvester Collection," Hali, Issue 120, January-February 2002, p. 39 showing this carpet surrounded by antiquities in Mr Sylvester's home.

Unlike most Caucasian rugs, where classification is not made by design alone as it is often done with weavings from Anatolia, Turkmenistan, and Persia, 'Dragon' carpets are so named for their emblematic design showing a lattice of leaf shapes containing dragons. The inclusion of dragons is the most evident link between these early Caucasian carpets and Chinese art. However, by the time the 'Dragon' design reached Shusha, where it is believed to have first appeared in the Caucasus, the figural elements had become highly stylized and geometric. The most commonly used ground color for these rugs was red, but occasionally yellow, brown and blue, as is the current lot, were used. An intriguing feature of this carpet is the extreme stylization and orientation of the dragons. Usually the dragons are placed with their heads upward between the intertwining lattice. Here, the dragons have become abstract hexagonal shapes with serrated ends, suggesting a dating of the carpet to the eighteenth century. 'Dragon' carpets from the 1600s tend to have more organic shapes with the dragons more detailed and curvilinear. In even later carpets the dragons evolved into simple geometric forms, such as the eighteenth century example illustrated in Serare Yetkin, Early Caucasian Carpets in Turkey Vol. 1, London, 1978, pl. 21. For an example of a 'Dragon' carpet exhibiting partially stylized dragons, see Charles Grant Ellis, Early Caucasian Rugs, Washington, D.C., 1975, p. 16, fig. 7. A comparable example was sold Sotheby's New York, October 8, 1999, lot 46 and an eighteenth-century 'Dragon' carpet with similarly stylized dragons was sold Sotheby's London, September 20, 2006, lot 115.

Please see note to lot 6 in this catalogue for further information on provenance.