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Antique Shirvan Prayer rug, Shirvan Region, Azerbaijan. 100 x 141 cm. 1870s

The field design of this unusual white-ground Shirvan prayer rug is obviously inspired by an earlier group of Kuba rugs. Its pattern of stylized trees in vertical rows almost exactly matches that of a Kuba rug published in Volkmann, Old Eastern Carpets (plate 64), which the author suggests may have developed from Persian (Iranian) textile designs. Examples in this Kuba group almost invariably feature golden yellow fields with highly stylized arabesque borders piled in blue and black or ivory and black Although no prayer examples with that exact classic Kuba design are known, a small number c: related prayer pieces with variant designs exist. The most widely published of these (catalogued as Kuba and Baku) has a yellow ground with a single narrow border and an understated prayer arch shaped like an inverted "U".