Akstafa Shirvan prayer rug

Akstafa Shirvan prayer rug

from the eastern Caucasus

circa 1880

Size: 177 x 86 cm


This splendid prayer rug exemplifies the tendency of Caucasian weavers to abstract and stylise nature, in particular plants and flowers, to become purely geometric form.

One of the great classical motifs of Caucasian weaving, is the monumental so-called ‘Akstafa’  stylised birds as seen on long rugs of this type. These birds do do not generally feature in Akstafa prayer rugs but there is otherwise much in common such the colour palette, the border design and the tendency to fill the surrounding spaces with a plethora of small stylised animals and other geometric devices.  

Prayer rugs became somewhat of a cult in the Caucasus and Turkey during 19th century, and such rugs were a mark of wealth and social status.