a
Nazmiyal Antique Rugs
 
JBOC's  Notes on Oriental Rugs

Caucasian Rugs: Dragon Rugs Guide
 
Hagop Manoyan Antique RugsNazmiyal Antique Rugs

Of all the carpets of the Caucasus the Dragon Carpets are perhaps the most magnificence. Dating from the 17th century to the early 19th century there exact origin is a subject of some dispute. Generally attributed to Karabagh or Shirvan they were at one point attributed to Kuba.

John Wertime has advanced the Tabriz Hypothesis in books and articles in the 1990s. John is one of he most knowledgeable people in the field of Oriental Rugs. I tend to disagree with him in this one small area relating to the origin of Dragon Carpets. I explore my reasons in Dragon Rugs: Dragon Rug Dyes by Barry O'Connell

Thompson Caucasian Dragon Carpet FragmentThompson Caucasian Dragon Carpet Fragment

Map courtesy of the CIA

The Kuba attribution is muddied a bit. In Early Caucasian Rugs Charles Grant Ellis quotes the Encyclopedia of Islam that Kuba "did not exist until C, 1750. Early Caucasian Rugs page 10. I have heard the same from John Wertime discounting Kuba because it was not established until the mid 18th century. (Conversation at Hajji Baba meeting at Wendell Swan's house with Wertime) The problem with this is that the United States Embassy confirms the existence of a 16th-century fortress that dominates the city of Kuba. US Embassy Baku Call me suspicious but I have to suspect that the city is at least as old as the fortress in the city. So while I am not suggesting a Kuba provenance I am not ruling it out either.

The leading theory today is the Shusha hypothesis. Shusha the leading city of Karabagh and I think terming it the Karabagh hypothesis makes it more plausible. in the mid 16th century Shah Tahmasp began to use the Armenians of the Caucasus (still part of Safavid Persia) as royal merchants.

The Czarist Russians began to solidify their hold as early as 1805 - 1820 but they did not truly control the region for many years. With the capture of the great rebel religious leader Shamyl in 1859 and the end of the rebellion in 1864 did Czarist control truly solidify regional control. In 1865 to eliminate risk of future rebellion the Russians forced 1,2 million Caucasians to move to Turkey. http://www.mediaport.org/~caucasus/history/ I strongly suspect that areas such as Nagorno-Karabahk which were historically Muslim were depopulated and then repopulated with Armenians. As Christians the Armenians had an easier time with the Christian Russians.

The historical capitol Shusha was an ancient village in Karabakh that gained in importance when Panah Ali-khan Javanshir built a nearby fortress. From there he established himself as a Khan of an independent Khanate. Shusha was able to beat back the Persians in 1795 (VAR: SHUSHA -- City of Shusha, Karabakh region of Azerbaijan) but not many years later (1805) the Khanate fell to the Czarist Russians. http://scf.usc.edu/~baguirov/azeri.htm

The Textile Museum 1976.10.4  Arthur D. Jenkins Gift Fund and Proceeds from the Sale of Art 427 x 226 cm

The Textile Museum 1976.10.4 Arthur D. Jenkins Gift Fund and Proceeds from the Sale of Art 427 x 226 cm

The Shusha Hypothesis

The leading theory today is the Shusha hypothesis. Shusha the leading city of Karabagh and I think terming it the Karabagh hypothesis makes it more plausible.

In 1552 when Ivan the Terrible brought the Kazan Khanate under Russian control. Paksoy, Crimean Tatars it opened a northern trade route for Persian Silk. Up to this point the Ottoman Empire could exert some measure of control over Safavid Persia by opening and closing trade routes. in the mid 16th century Shah Tahmasp began to use the Armenians of the Caucasus (still part of Safavid Persia) as royal merchants. This way he could get his silk to Black Sea free ports and sell directly to Venetian Merchants. The increased foreign trade allowed Tahmasp to solidify his borders

The Armenian trade escalated under Shah Abbas. Faced with not only the Ottoman, Mughals, and the Uzbek, Abbas had to fight his own cousins. To wrest power from the tribes who through family ties made the core of his strength he had to build a power base. Abbas recruited Georgian and Kurdish soldiers and then he turned to the Armenians to pay for it. He did not just grant the Armenians trading rights he often financed them and perhaps even acted as a partner.

The Caucasus changed hands as Turkey and Persia jockeyed for control. This created a situation where Armenian merchants had money and a great deal of latitude to invest in their home region.

Older Caucasian Rugs

Ellis, Charles Grant. Early Caucasian Rugs. Washington DC: The Textile Museum, 1975.

Yetkin, Serare. Early Caucasian Carpets in Turkey

Articles that you may be interested in:

Oriental Rugs: Practical Seminar on Caucasian Rugs by James M. Keshishian

A Dragon Pile Rug A Discussion

Keshishian Collection of Caucasian Rugs at the TM

Chelabird Medallion Evolution 1592 - 1912

Dragon Rug Dyes

Packing Weft Lines
Packing Weft Lines

Thanks and best wishes,

J. Barry O'Connell Jr.

Index

A

B

C

D

E

F

G

H

I

J

K

L

M

N

O

P

Q

R

S

T

U

V

W

X

Y

Z

Site Map
Persian Rugs the O'Connell Guides

Tabriz Rugs

Kashmar Rugs

Isfahan Rugs

Antique Rugs | Oriental Rugs | Appraisals | Experts | RugRag.com

Hamadan Rugs

Mashad Rugs

Gabbeh Rugs

Heriz Rugs

Ardabil Rugs

Lylyan Rugs

Turkmen Rugs

Persian Rugs

Turkish Rugs

Suzani

Oriental Rugs

Persian Carpets

Baluch Rugs,

The Qashqai and Qashqai Rugs

Veramin Rugs

Tribal Rugs

Khotan-Rugs

Khotan-Carpets

Kirman-Rugs

Kirman-Carpets

Antique-Rugs

Antique-Carpets

Shahsevan-Rugs

Oushak-Rugs

Mashad-Rugs

Gabbeh-Rugs

Kurdish-Rugs

Becoming Missional