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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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A mid 19th century Shirvan Marasali prayer rug, Azerbaijan, the Skinner Auction in Boston, December 9, 1995

The star of the sale was probably a Marasali prayer rug, Lot 91, that the reviewer confesses to have overlooked during the preview. At passing glance, it looked much like any other "black Marasali," as the type is known, with angular, flame-edged botehs on a deep indigo field and with characteristic border of red knight-like figures on a white ground. Since it carried an unassuming estimate of $2,000 to $3,000, it was easy to suppose there was nothing special about this rug and to pass it by. People who took a close look apparently discovered otherwise, however, since after lively bidding it finally sold for $17,250, by far the highest price paid for any Caucasian in the sale.

In retrospect, the piece seems to have been distinguished by the spaciousness of its design. The botehs in Marasali prayer rugs are usually closely packed, which creates an almost electric effect. Probably the best example to have come up in recent years was a silk-wefted one that sold as Lot 89 at Sotheby's on December 15, 1994, bringing $21,850. In the tightness of its composition and brilliance of its colors, it positively sparkled. The Skinner piece was more open in its design -- that is, with more space between the botehs -- than the Sotheby's example or others commonly pictured in the literature, and that feature along with crisp drawing may have attracted collectors.