Lily and Palmette Rug. Shirvan or Karabagh. Late 18th Century. Textile
Museum R 36.2.11 (formerly R 2.62).
Published Charles Grant Ellis "Early Caucasian rugs" plate 35
No similar rug has yet come to light. Its field is a medium green with an a
brash of dark medium blue toward the top. The pattern consists simply of
staggered rows of two basic forms: a Turk's cap lily, crudely rendered, and
a similarly crass palmette. All of the lilies are red, save for the central
one, which is light blue. All palmettes on the side axes, the lowest one and
the incomplete highest along the center line are ivory, with a dark medium
blue central area, edged in red. The remaining two on the central axis are a
greenish brown with varicolored details. Their centers are green, surrounded
by red. The lowest palmette has a pair of curious, clawlike leaves in
orange. The border is ivory, with multicolored blossoms along a black-brown
The scheme of palmettes marshaled in rows is similar to that of the little
known class in which the characteristic "blazon" palmette of the dragon rugs
alternates in the same fashion with a differing palmette form from the same
source. The best known example is the one from Sepsiszentgyorgy church in
Transylvania (Vegh and Layer 1925: Pl. XXX); others are in the Burrell
Collection of the Glasgow Museum, 9/65; The National Museum, Stockholm, NM
158/1899; No. 7262 of the Louvre. This scheme is much more common in
Sou-maks. One might also cite the brocade pattern rugs such as Plates 33 and
34, which occasionally show more variety, as in a carpet of the Musee des
Arts Decoratifs in Paris, 7823 (Erdmann i960: Fig. 115).
The lily forms are familiar from the jufti-knotted Persian (it can scarcely
be Caucasian) rug fragment I.12 in East Berlin and the late 18th or early
19th century Caucasian version of the "Afshan" pattern in Vienna (Erdmann
1960: Pl.VI). They come directly from the vase carpets which have made such
frequent use of them in more curvilinear forms.
This rug was formerly in the C.R. Lamm Collection at Nasby House in Sweden,
and was purchased at the auction in New York.
Size: L. 3.56 m. (11'8") x W. 1.73 m. (5'8").
Warp: Z2S wool in a light range with few dark fibers. Alternate warps
depressed; elsewhere on one level.
Weft: Z3S ivory cotton. Two shots.
Pile: 27. and 3Z wool. Gordes knotted, pile slanting to right. 7&1/2 horiz.
x 8 vert. per in. (60 per sq.in.).
Sides: A two cord cotton selvage on 2 (Z2S) 2Z cables. It appears to involve
added material as well as the return of the weft.
Ends: At top 1/2" of Z4S and Z3S ivory cotton kilim. Bottom cut.
Colors: Ivory; black-brown; greenish brown; dull orange; brick red; pink;
dark medium, medium, light and pale blues; green; violet.
Condition: Worn; palmettes on central axis badly repaired; now rendered
unfit for show by the streak of severely faded repair down the center. Other
repairs at sides.
Published: Martin 1908: Pl. XXXIII; American Art Galleries 1923: No. 982;
Orendi 1930: Abb. 688; Erdmann 1960: Fig. 118.