East Caucasian Dragon Carpet
249 x 198 cm (8’ 2” x 6’ 6”)
Azerbaijan, late 17th or early 18th century
Condition: very good according to age, corroded brown, selvages rebound, several small old repairs
Warp: wool, weft: wool, pile: wool
Unusual for this carpet is not only the powerful and free drawing, but also the excellent state of preservation. Peter Bausback, Mannheim, described it on the occasion of his exhibition at the Textura 1992 in Maastricht (see also HALI, Issue 67, 1993) as follows: In my opinion, this is an excellent specimen of this group, to which in quality, colour and expression no comparable piece is found”.
The carpet was probably made in the 17th century in the Caucasus (in HALI 61, February 1992, the carpet is shown on p. 61 but is carefully conservative dated with 18th century) and resembles the early dragon carpets; it is much more expressive due to the powerful design of both the border and the field with the filling ornaments like people and animals. Very expressive are also the living dragon ornaments as the main motif of the carpet, whose center forms a grimace-like element.
The carpet comes from a noble Central European house and I suspect that it once came to Europe via Transylvania. Unlike most of the other surviving dragon carpets, which come from manufactories, it is of undoubtedly village origin. Only in the Vakiflar Museum in Istanbul there is such a dragon village rug shown, corresponding in size, but in a deplorable condition. (In HALI 70, August 1993, all six known carpets belonging to this group are shown on page 140).
In addition to the weaving technique with the rough back, the four white, stag-like animals around the center (including two blue ones on the edges in the upper field), are also found in Anatolian carpets of the 15th to 17th century, and the two large, blue C-shapes on the side of the central motif could indicate that this carpet was made in the 17th century.
In later dragon carpets they are, if they exist at all, much smaller and inconspicuously used as mere filler ornament. In Hali 81 (June/July 1995), a fragment from the 18th century is found on p. 132, top left, similarly, though quite cursory, is referred to that in Murray L. Eiland, Pacific Collections Seattle”, no. 227, is illustrated and described. This carpet was auctioned at Dorotheum in Vienna in 1988 and exhibited for the first time at the Munich Antiques Fair the same year.
Estimate: € 60000 - 90000
25 000 €