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JBOC's Notes on Oriental Rugs

Caucasian Rugs: Guide To Marasali Rugs
 
Hagop Manoyan Antique RugsNazmiyal Antique Rugs

Antique Marasali Prayer Rug

Marasali Rugs

A few years ago I went down the wrong path in my attribution.

My Current thoughts:

I will go with the Kerimov understanding that the town is Maraza and the people Marazali or Marasali. I include my

I think I was wrong and Kaffel was right. Marasali rugs are attributed to a village south of Shemaka in the Shirvan region of the Caucasus. Then following John Mills very cranky Letter To The Editor in Hali 101, Nov. 1998 where he cites Kerimov that the town is Maraza and the people Marazali or Marasali.

Now that I have made my "Mea Culpas" i will add to the conventional wisdom a few of my own observation. Ralph Kaffel reminded me that structurally Marasali rugs are firmly in the Shirvan group but the Shirvan Group is really a name for Azeri weaving.

Barry O'Connell

My earlier (Wrong) thoughts:

Marasali rugs are attributed to a village south of Shemaka in the Shirvan region of the Caucasus. Kaffel, Caucasian Prayer Rugs page 34. I now have some doubts about that and am wondering if Marasali is actually Masally. Masally is a regions of Azerbaijan bordering Lenkoran, and Neftechalinski. It is primarily Azeri ethnically and was a major rug producing area. It is south of Shemaka, north of Talish, east of Mogan against the Caspian.

Massalin is the dialect of Talish Ethnologue: Azerbaijan - Talish spoken in Masally and as such I suggest that there is a possibly that Marasali rugs are Masally rugs and should be seen as a subgroup of Talish. I will post more as I explore the idea. One stumbling block is that as my friend Ralph Kaffel reminds me that structurally Marasali rugs are firmly in the Shirvan group. (Telephone call with Ralph Kaffel 8/29/00).

I think I see my error. There is a dialect of Talish spoken in Masally but the majority of the people in the area are Azeri Turk. The Azeri are the principle weavers in the Shirvan group so it makes perfect sence that the Masally rugs would be structurally akin to Shirvan rugs.

 

Map of the Masally Area

The Donald Richardson Marsali Prayer Rug Detail

The Donald Richardson Marsali Prayer Rug Detail

Skinner 12/9/95 Lot 91 Black Marasali

Marasali Prayer Rug
The Caucasus
19th Century
Hagop Manoyan

Typical Marasali Structure

  • Marasali rugs tend to be very similar to Shirvan rugs.

  • Warps wool 3ZS or sometimes tan or brown wool and cotton sometimes unplied (see Caucasian Prayer Rugs plate 97).

  • Wefts: 2 shoots often cotton but wool and silk are sometimes seen.

  • Ends: plainweave with fringe or offset overhand knots.

  • Sides: two cord white wool or cotton.

  • Warps are mildly depressed. 2 ply warps often barber-poled the lighter ply may be cotton.

  • Notes: Theer seems to me a dichotomy in knot counts. Examples from before the Russian period pre-1830 may have much higher knot counts. Rugs from the Russian commercial period circa 1865 onwards the rugs seem to be comparable to Shirvan rugs which average 113 kpsi. I do not think there was major commercial weaving in the mid 18th century in Southern Azaerbaijan.

Some Important Books and Articles on Caucasian Rugs:

Bennett, Ian et al. Oriental Rugs Volume 1 Caucasian.

Der Manuelian, L. and M. Eiland: Weavers, Merchants and Kings, Inscribed Rugs from Armenia

Kaffel, Ralph. Caucasian Prayer Rugs

Keshishian, James Mark. Inscribed Armenian Rugs of Yesteryear.

Schurmann, Ulrich. Caucasian Rugs.

Stone, P.F. Rugs of the Caucasus: Structure and Design.

Togan, Z.V., The Origins of the Kazaks and the ‘zbeks, edited and translated by H.B. Paksoy

For Further Reading:

Index to JBOC's Rug Notes


Thanks and best wishes,

J. Barry O'Connell Jr.


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