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Antique Shirvan "Akstafa" rug, Southern Shirvan Region, Salyan (Saliani) District, Azerbaijan. second half 19th century.

19th century, 11'4" x 3'9" [m. 3.50 X 1.16]

Warp: wool
Weft: wool, three shoots after each row of knots
Knotting: Ghiordes, wool, 56 knots per square inch (900 per dm.2)

This is one of the most easily recognizable and decorative rugs made in Azerbaijan, because birds resembling peacocks with diagonal rayed tails are lined up on either side of the rug. These rugs are usually runners, or at least rectangular, giving the birds a prominent length to strut—after all, the peacock is the royal insignia of "Persia". As a rule, there are white figures in these rugs, including one border, and a dark background, here blue. The field is decorated with three stars, which may be squat and not as graceful as these; two are red and the one in the center is white.

The background of this rug is filled with four-legged horned beasts, dogs, octagons, stars, botehs, "S" shapes. swastikas, and flowers.

There are four small borders, the inside edge being crenellated. The middle border is white with a handsome "S" on it. Inside is a green and red one, outside a blue one, then a barber stripe.

..part of the charm of this rug comes from its fresh, clear, primary colors, and it gives proof once again of the virtue of indigo.


published at Luciano Coen & Louise Duncan's The Oriental Rug, plate 74
Lit: Luciano Coen & Louise Duncan's The Oriental Rug