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Sheep Breeds of Azerbaijan

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Antique Kazak or Gendje Prayer rug, Azerbaijan. 0.90 x 1.33m (2'11" x 4'4"), c. 1875

This rug belongs to a small group of mid- to late nineteenth-century south Caucasian pieces usually attributed to the Kazak weaving area. It shares a number of design characteristics with the rugs in plates 23 and 31. Describing a similar example sold in his gallery on 17 July 1981, Jean Lefevre suggested that some details of the ornamentation recall the decorative style of seventeenth- and eighteenth- century silk embroideries made in Shemaka, and that other aspects of the decorations (as well as the wool and handle) point to the southern regions of Talish or Moghan. The Lefevre rug was without doubt the model for a modern Turkish copy that was exhibited at the 1983 ICOC in London. Another very similar example, dated 1865, was sold at Skinner's in 1991. That example, however, had the stylized cartouche border associated with early related pieces (such as that shown in plate 31).

There is a large group of related Kazak rugs that utilize central medallions very similar to that seen here. These rugs differ, however, in that they feature free-floating gabled prayer arches rather than the stylized mihrabs of this group and its ancestors. They also generally have an arrowhead border rather than the scrolled S border of these pieces. A hybrid example was published in Hawley, Oriental Rigs, Antique and Modern, plate 50.

published at Ralph Kaffel's Caucasian Prayer Rugs plate 21