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Antique Caucasian Shirvan "Akstafa" prayer rug, Southern Shirvan Region, Azerbaijan. 3rd quarter 19th century 84 x 140cm (2'9" x 4'7"). Mazzie Collection

Akstafa prayer rugs, with a few exceptions (such as plate 87), feature three basic field designs: all-over boteh; lattice designs, frequently on a blue field (these rugs tend to be long and narrow and to have double-hook or kochanak borders); and three or four linked medallions beneath a square prayer arch. This rug is of the third type. The characteristic Akstafa 'peacock' motif, although fairly common in secular long rugs, is rare in prayer pieces, appearing only in two of the listed analogies (no: 5 and 7). The example shown here is small and jewel-like, with wonderful colours. The border, an abstraction of the 'crab' floral motif, appears on only one other known Akstafa prayer rug. It does, however, feature on other types of prayer rugs from the Shirvan region.


Warps: ivory wool, Z2S, 18 threads per inch (72 per dm)
Wefts: ivory and light brown wool, Z2S, 2 shoots, 12 knots per inch (48 per dm)
Pile: wool, symmetrical knot, 108 knots per sq. inch (1728 knots psd)

published at Ralph Kaffel's Caucasian Prayer Rugs as plate 88




1) Bennett, Caucasian, pl. 221
2) Sotheby's NY, 30/10/1982, lot 17.

3) Sotheby's LO 28 April 1982, lot 151
4) Hali 5 / 2. p. 167, ad. for Kunsthaus Pollman, Munich.
5) Nagel 2 Oct 1982, lot 4535
6) Oriental Rug Review, 10 / 6, p. 9 add. for John Murray, Williamsburg, VA
7) Dennry and Walker, The Markarian Album, pl. 52.
8) Sotheby's NY, 9 March, 1994, lot 73.