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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
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Difference between synthetically and naturally dyed rugs

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Harvard Art Museums antique Shirvan Marasali prayer rug, Azerbaijan.

Prayer Carpet, 1890-1910
Caucasian, 19th-20th centuries
133 x 113 cm (52 3/8 x 44 1/2 in.)
Creation Place: South Caucasus, Caucasus
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of Elizabeth Gowing, Harborne W. Stuart, Peggy Coolidge, and the Estate of W.I. Stuart in memory of Mr. and Mrs. Willoughby H. Stuart, Jr., 1977.166
Department of Islamic & Later Indian Art


A prayer rug from the area of Marasa, whose name was corrupted to the term ‘Marasali’ used today for these rugs. the Marasali rugs could trace their design heritage back to slit-weave tapestry kilims, and the rugs have to be seen in that context. There are both finer and coarser rugs using the Marasali design. This particular piece had an in-woven date of 1908. Despite having a relatively late date of creation, the piece had only natural dyes. It was also stiffer and more regular than the greatest of the black Marasalis, but there were a number of examples of weaver inventiveness. The piece was very finely woven, and in extremely good condition, suggesting that it was woven for export, and perhaps even as a prestige production piece. The collector who donated the piece to the Sackler had acquired it prior to 1920. The piece had some design features reflecting its late date, such as an additional main border.