About the Antique Rugs of the Future Project

Sheep Breeds of Azerbaijan

Sorting, Washing, Carding, Spinning

"The advantages of handspun yarn to machine spun yarn"

Rediscovery of Ancient Natural Dyes
Our Natural Dyestuffs


Difference between synthetically and naturally dyed rugs

Weaving and Finishing Steps

Galleries of ARFP Caucasian Azerbaijani Rugs

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Antique Shirvan Marasali prayer rug, Azerbaijan, 3rd quarter 19th century. 112 x 152 cm, published Ralph Kaffel's Caucasian Prayer rug, plate 92

Early black Marasalis with curved prayer arches, although very special, are by no means the only Marasalis of merit. Some later examples - such as the rug shown here - have been wonderfully crafted- with large, bold, alternately facing boteh in a panoply of designs. In this example, the boteh are so large that only five horizontal rows are needed to fill the field. (In most later examples, which are more crowded and with less variation in boteh designs, the boteh face the same direction)
Marasali designs tend to be fairly standardized, usually featuring more or less geometric botehs on a blue field. Within this formula, however, some surprising variations can be found. In this example 11 colours are used and the 46 boteh display six different designs, including crosshatch, honeycomb, diagonal stripes, a central axis, diamonds and double diamonds. A total of 37 design variants can be seen. The typical Marasali "bird" border is flanked by characteristic blue-ground guard borders, then framed by a supplementary guard border of angular floral design, on a yellow ground.

Lit: Ralph Kaffel's Caucasian Prayer rug, plate 92