Akstafa Soumak Horse Cover
166 x 117 cm (5' 5" x 3' 10")
Caucasus, second half 19th century
Condition: very good, minor small repairs
Warp: wool, weft: wool
In the second half of the 19th century, a small number of highly decorative, ceremonial horse covers, chul, were finely woven in wool or silk using various different flatweave techniques. They were made as special dowry items in most parts of the culturally diverse Transcaucasian region, from Karabagh in the west to the Apsheron Peninsula in the east (see Robert H. Nooter, Flatwoven Rugs & Textiles from the Caucasus, 2004, pls10018).
It has been suggested that this very precisely drawn and impressively executed, all-wool, sumakh horse cover, replete with avian, animal and human figures, could be labelled 'Akstafa', a village some considerable distance west of Baku, perhaps on account of the presence of fan-tailed birds in two of the horizontal bands of the field.
Ultimately that remains somewhat speculative. The horizontally banded design format also appears, among others, on flatwoven Baku zili covers (Nooter, pl. 107) as well as on Shahsavan sumakh bags, and the birds, with their three zigzag plumes, are quite different from conventional 'Akstafa' birds. The closest parallelin which the bird bands, as here, are separated by narrower bands of syrga motifs, ubiquitous throughout the Turkic realmsappears on an old khorjin face attributed to the Kuba region (Nooter, pl. 182).
Estimate: € 8000 - 12000
4 000 €