Karabagh Prayer Rug

Karabagh prayer rug
the southern Caucasus
circa 1880
Size: 107 x 76 cm
Karabagh is the most southerly province of the Caucasus.
This small piece belongs to a group that use a distinct colour range of bluish reds or cochineal, a strong golden yellow and a deep indigo blue. In terms of design they have much in common with Persian pieces. Here we have a flower lattice pattern which appears in many old Kurdish rugs. Not so surprising since the population is a real melting pot incorporating Kurds, Turks and Armenians.
What is quite fascinating is the ‘head and shoulders’ type mihrab (most unusual for a Caucasian rug) that is superimposed on the field. It may represent a mosque dome but others see it as reminiscent of tombstones and connected with the ancestor worship of pre-Islamic cultures in Central Asia.