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

back to "An Educational Guide to Antique Shirvan Prayer rugs" main page


Antique Shirvan Prayer rug, Shirvan Region, Azerbaijan.

This rare prayer rug was purchased by its present owners in the 1980s from a small antique shop in New England - fostering renewed hope that great pieces may yet be found in unconventional venues (although the days of Star Kazaks being discovered at flea markets by torchlight in the early morning hours have receded into myth). The chevron pattern is very unusual, and the vivid colours in the rug combine to create an effect of mobility and cheeriness. The V-shaped 'base' of the field uses only three colours (red, dark blue and ivory); in concert with the polychrome field this creates an effect of depth and the illusion of a third dimension.
Although multicoloured striated patterns are common in Caucasian rugs, the most common arrangement is diagonals, followed by verticals - a configuration usually found on Karabaghs. Narrow stripes are generally used in east Caucasian rugs, with broader stripes being more typical of south Caucasia. A Genje prayer rug with an unusual zigzag arrangement of stripes is also known. This example was published as plate 23 in the catalogue of the New Boston Rug Society's exhibition Through the Collector's Eye, 1991-92. Mark Hopkins, in the catalogue caption, identifies a Kazak with a similar configuration.


published Ralph Kaffel's Caucasian Prayer rug, plate 40