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A rare antique Caucasian Kazak rug, 19th century, NW Azerbaijan. Alberto Levi Collection, Italy

southwest caucasus
circa 1830
160 x 123 cm (5'3" x 4')
symmetrically knotted wool pile on a wool foundation

A rare and unusual rug decorated by a small hexagonal hooked medallion typical of the carpets from Borchalu, though flanked by two large ivory octagonal medallions characteristic of Fachralo Kazaks. The light blue field is enlivened by a series of hooked devices similar to the kotchanak motif seen on Turkoman rugs as well as on certain Karachop Kazaks, and is powerfully framed by a border consisting of polychrome double-T elements on a dark brown background. The archaic outline of the design and the refined palette allow us to date this rug to the first half of the nineteenth century, that is to a period preceding the establishment of the various Kazak typologies.