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Antique Shirvan "Akstafa" Qushlu (bird) rug, Southern Shirvan Region, Salyan (Saliani) District, Azerbaijan. 19th century. 125 x 300 cm.

The dark-blue central field displays four medallions alternating in red and white. The ten enormous fabulous birds symmetrically arranged in counterset positions at the four corners of the medallions are characteristic. It is because of these birds that this group is termed Kushlu Salyan (Bird Salyan). Birds are depicted for various reasons: for instance, one Sufi sect regards the peacock as its holy animal and emblem, and according to L. Kerimov, the weavers call these birds tavus or taus (peacock). Innumerable small and large patterns fill the entire remaining field. A further characteristic of this group of rugs is the light-ground main border with its row of squares with hooks in varying colours. In Persia, this border is called hashiye bazubandi, meaning "armband", a term with a deeper significance: women used to place a dua (amulet) in a small square leather pouch and fasten it around the upper arm of their husbands or, more often, their sons. This was thought to bring good luck and to ward off all evil, especially any threat to life.

Warps: Wool, Z3S, light ivory
Wefts: Cotton, Z2, white, 2 wefts: 1st tight, 2nd waved.
Pile: Wool, Z2
Pile Height: 5 mm
Knots: Symmetrical, H 42 x V 32 = 1344 knots per square decimeter
Selvedge: 0.6 cm blue wool shirazi around 2 ribs in figure of eight wrapping with supplemental threads.

published at Siyawouch Azadi "Azerbaijani Caucasian rugs" plate no: 106