Antique-Shirvan-Rug-43980The region lying on both sides of the Caucasus Mountains and bounded on the west by the Black Sea and the Turkish frontier, on the south by Persia and on the east by the Caspian, has been an undisputed Russian possession for almost a century. Prior to that parts of it had changed hands from time to time between the Turks and Persians, and in the early stages of rug importation to America its fabrics were known as Turkish textiles. They were more widely used than those of Persia or the Anatolian Peninsula, and are still often referred to, in a general way, as Turkish rugs. This is due partly to the tenacity of custom and partly to the unwillingness of the dealers to sacrifice any whit of the fascination, which clings to a purely Oriental name. “Caucasian rugs” unquestionably sounds cold, bleak and Russian. There is in it no suggestion of the warm, languorous Eastern life of which the word Turkish is so eloquent, though these Caucasian fabrics have in them perhaps more of pure Oriental decoration than many which rejoice in more luxurious titles.

But there is about the fabrics from this section so much that is distinctive, and their kinship is so plainly traceable, that they merit a more modern and more accurate classification. They are essentially as well as geographically, caucasian rugs, and have a character of their own, wholly different from that of most of the fabrics now made in Turkey proper.

Caucasian rugs are primarily produced as village productions rather than city pieces. Made from materials particular to individual tribal provinces, the rugs of the Caucasus normally display bold geometric designs in primary colours. Styles typical to the Caucasus region are Daghestan, Shirvan, Gendje rugs, Kazak and Quba rugs.

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