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JBOC's  Notes on Oriental Rugs

Kazak Borchalo Prayer Rug,

Tufenkian Carpets Area Rug Sale.
Kazak Borchalo Prayer Rug,

Kazak Borchalo Prayer Rug,

Circa: 1880.

Dimensions: squarish format as in many Kazak rugs 107 cm x 118 cm

Pile: soft wool, symmetrical knot

Warps: ivory wool, Z2S

Wefts: red wool, Z2S, 2 shoots

Selvages: not original

Colors: madder red, corroded dark brown, light yellow-brown, ivory, blue-green, dark indigo blue.

Very closely related example: Ralph Kaffel – Caucasian prayer rug – Plate 6 – pages 44/45

Comments:
The example presented here has on a usual red ground a re-entrant mihrab containing an endless knot motif. The mihrab takes up “most of the field”

Following Ralph Kaffel this is typical of West Caucasian prayer rugs profoundly influenced by Anatolian examples in contrast to Eastern Caucasian rugs where the prayer arch is “free floating”. This rug has the most common design of two green (sometimes blue) central diamonds arranged vertically each containing a small hexagon of which the decoration is reminiscent of older arranged “4 C” motifs .

Each diamond has a common white stripped edging and one cross at each pole. They are flanked by two typical hexagons with a cross design inside.

Following Ralph Kaffel – Caucasian Prayer Rugs – page 26 – He suggests that they are “ similar to crosses craved in medieval Armenian churches, and that it may well evolved from this tradition.” He also notices: “Of all Caucasian prayer rugs, Borchalo are the least Islamic in appearance containing many symbols related to the cross…...”

Following other authors and experts:
“The cross is one of the most commonly found pattern and it generally has nothing whatsoever to do with churches or Christianity”. “It's a natural outcome of making lines that intersect, and is a very simple form.  Unless there is some other obviously Christian symbolism in a rug, a cross-like motif probably has little significance.  Armenian rugs often do have such significant elements, and the crosses in them are usually obviously Christian symbols.

This rug is somewhat unusual as it contains typical “waterbug palmettes” normally associated with rugs attributed to the Fachralo area.

Following some experts: “Borchalo and Fachralo must be considered as trade names and likely have very little significance for provenance. The trade recognizes some rug designs by these names, but distinctions become much less clear when an example appears using elements of both”

Following Ralph Kaffel – Caucasian Prayer Rugs –page 26: “Borchalo prayer rugs differ so radically in color and design from their secular counterparts that one marvels that they come from the same area. Prayer rugs with the zigzag latchhhook design typical of secular Borchalo rugs are unknown …. “

Information and picture courtesy of Daniel DSD

I am not sure I agree with all of Daniel's conclusions but I do like the way he examined this rug. I will revisit this at some point and discuss where I differ. JBOC

For Further Reading:


Thanks and best wishes,

J. Barry O'Connell Jr.

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