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Antique Caucasian "Akstafa" prayer rug, Southern Shirvan Region, Azerbaijan. 3rd quarter 19th century 91cm x 168cm (3'x5'6")

This rug features a 'pear design' boteh. This type of boteh, characteristically surrounded by a bead-like border, has a full body and well-developed upper 'tail'. They are usually assigned to Akstafa and sometimes to Daghestan. The boteh in rugs of this type contain smaller boteh, floral and plant forms, or animals, Herrmann illustrates a rug with all four types of boteh in alternating rows in Seltene Orientteppiche IV, plate 25. Commenting on this rug, Herrmann writes, 'while the pattern is basically simple, interest is provided by the diagonal colour progression and the changing motifs the boteh. In the rug shown here the boteh are arranged in a random fashion, without a systematic rationale based on colour - somewhat similar in style to Marasali rugs. Unlike Marasalis, however, the boteh on this type of rug always face in the same direction. The borders of rugs in this group typically feature "latchhook and dice" designs or latchhooked lozenges. This example, however, has a kochanak and animal border, which is quite rare. The field of this rug, with the large red octagon beneath the prayer arch, is also unusual. In a typical configuration the boteh field would continue beneath the arch which is sometimes augmented by a comb.

published at Ralph Kaffel's Caucasian Prayer Rugs as plate 86