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Salon du Tapis d'Orient

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When is Shared Design a Basis for Common Ethnic Attribution?
Daniel Deschuyteneer

Part Four: Rugs related to my Kazak rug

I have assembled in this picture three rugs that I think are clearly related. From top to bottom and left to right, they are:
Top left: Ralph Kaffel, Caucasian Prayer Rugs (Fachralo; plate 13)
dated A.H. 1245 (1829) 1.07 x 1.17m (3’6" x 3’10")
symmetrical knot, 49 psi, 780/dm²
also published: Sotheby's (London), 23 April 1980, lot 120; Engelhardt, Orientteppische der Sonderklasse, 1980, p. 41.

Top right: Kendrick and Tattersall, Handwoven Carpets Oriental and European, 1922, plate 138. Actually in Belgium, Vrouyr Gallery.
circa 1830
125 cm x 135 cm – 4’23 x 4’6" -
Knots: symmetrical – H 30/10cm V34/10cm 1020/dm² - H7.5 V9 64psi

Surfing on the Web, I discovered that the rug (top right) illustrated in BW in Kendrick and Tattersall (1922) was actually in the hands of a Belgium dealer who told me that this rug, which was already an antique at the time, had been sold by his grandfather to a Belgium personality around 1920, and that he bought it back recently. Thisallows us to date this rug as the Kaffel rug (dated 1829) to the second quarter of the 19th century. He very kindly allowed me to analyze his rug and a make a full description along with the direct scan seen below.

Bottom left: Les Tapis d’Orient, Ulrich Schürmann, p. 173; 118 x 142 cm, 4’ x 4’9"

Bottom right: My kazak rug
Date: circa 1860
202 cm x 154 cm, 6’9" x 5’1"
Knots: symmetrical, 2 singles, H6.5pi V6pi 39psi, H26/dm V24/dm 624/dm²

Although all the photos aren’t of the same quality, making comparisons more difficult, we will agree that all of them share the same color palette indicative of a common origin. The colors that predominate in these rugs are various shades of madder red, mottled bluish green (see the direct scan in Vrouyr’s rug) or bottle green, large use of white, aquamarine and light blue, and ochre yellow. All of them have a large white ground main border which in the two first examples are identical, framed by saturated aquamarine blue ground minor borders containing small polychrome diamonds. They all have eight point Fachralo-like medallions with the same inner ornamentation, and all except mine have a so-called prayer design. All of them have a squarish shape. The three first examples have small sizes, mine being bigger.

Two motifs are characteristics of this small and rare group:
1. The bold "S" or "reverse S" forms suggesting "swastika" motif, appearing free floating at the bottom of the rug in the two first examples (at top in the constructed photo) or contained into the eight points medallions in the two next pieces (at bottom) .
2. The second one is the "heraldic" motif, also free floating or contained into the medallions, which according to Ralph Kaffel has been likened to imperial Russian eagles.

I am searching for related pieces and technical data when they are available. Here are other analogies cited by Ralph Kaffel, which I don’t possess:
1. Hali No. 50, p. 84 (Review of Karim Khan and Robert Müller exhibition)
2. Christie's (London), 13 October 1993, lot 441. Closely related in design but a generation later and with more elongated dimensions, described by Hali as a Kazak pinwheel variant.
3. Bausback, Antique Orientteppische, p. 176. Another border of oblique linear design, virtually identical to Schürmann (p. 173) above. Assigned to Borchalo and dated to first half 19th century.

Technical data when available:
1. Ralph Kaffel rug:
dated: 1829
1.07 x 1.17m (3’6" x 3’10")
Warp: wool
Weft :brown wool
Pile: symmetrical knot, 49 psi, 780/dm²
Assigned to Fachralo, although according to Kaffel, the palette and ornamentation are more consistent with Borchalo weavings. Particular shade of light mottled green.

2. Kendrick-Tattersall and Vrouyr rug

125 cm x 135 cm, 4’2" x 4’6"
Yarns: spin Z
Pile: 2 ply wool height – 3 to13 mm –
Knots: symmetrical – H 30/10cm V34/10cm 1020/dm² - H7.5 V9 64psi
Rare overlapping knots in small diamonds motifs to articulate the design.
Warp: 2 ply dark and medium brown wool – no depression
Weft: fine - 2 ply - one cotton and one light brown wool in one half of the rug and 2 ply light brown wool in the other half – 4 picks (sometimes 5) – unevenly packed – wefts don’t cross –
Handle: very floppy
Colors: Particular shade of light mottled green, aquamarine blue, madder brown brick red, ivory, light beige, ochre, motifs are outlined with oxydized dark brown.
Original ends and selvage missing

3. My rug:

Date: circa 1860
Dimension: 202 cm x 154 cm
Yarns: spin Z
Warp: 2 ply, variegated ivory, light brown and gray wool – no depression
Weft: 2 singles, brownish red wool, 3-5 picks (mostly 3). Wefts don’t cross.
Knots: symmetrical, 2 singles, H6.5pi V6pi 39psi, H26/dm V24/dm 624/dm²
Selvage: as the free floating outer warp is not original, it was probably a reinforced selvage.
Ends: missing
Handle: floppy

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