Small antique Khorassan Baluch rug with endless repeat diamond and flower design, around 1900, perhaps as late as 1930?
A nice rustic little rug with a tightly controlled very harmonious design. An endless repeat of two design elements: serrated diamonds with a stylized white flower inside forming one central row, flanked by two rows of a symmetrical dotted box motives surrounded by simple outlined angular 'leaves'. The continuation of the endless repeat is indicated in a portion of the serrated diamond motive visible along the side edges of the field.
There are numerous variants of all-over repeat patterns in Baluch rugs, and I am not sure as to the design origins of this one. I haven't found a similar example. The fact that the two motives alternate in a grid, as well as the flower motive, could indicate that this is a derivative of the Mina Khani pattern. However, here, the two motives are not arranged on interlocking diagonal grids but rather, on a straight grid.
The wide main border (flanked by very simple striped and zigzag secondary borders) shows a chain of elongated hexagonal cartouches that look as if they were strung on a continuous central cord. Each cartouche is filled with a diamond motive that has triangular corner extensions. Pointed triangle outlines echoing the outline 'leaves' in the field act as symmetrical filler motives in the main border.
The rug measures 4ft.6in x 2ft.6in (139cm x 80-82cm). The structure is all wool. The piece is slightly crrooked and one inch narrower at the top, which might indicate a nomadic origin. It lies more or less flat on the floor, with only very skight buckling near the selvages. The weave is tight and regular, no warp depression, asymmertical knots open to the left, 7 knots/inch horizontal x 8 knots per inch vertical (ca. 56 kpsi). Warps consists of strands of light-brown and off-white z-spun wool s-plied together. Wefts are two shots of single strand medium brown wool. The pile is dense and relatively short. Two-cord selvedges wrapped in dark brown goat hair, apparently original. The striped kilim ends are complete at the bottom (about two inches) but have seen some loss at the top, less than an inch remains, the top end has an open fringe, the bottom side warp loops. The handle is flexible but firm, and while it cannot be called meaty, it is also not leathery.
The palette is quite muted and does not have many colours: the ground is dark blue, the pattern with black or rather dark-grey outlining is rendered in two shades of rusty orange (both probably madder-based): a lighter one reminding of dried orange skin, a slightly darker one which a more a medium, reddish brown that shows a subtle abrash. Apart from that there is a sparing use of off-white in the borders and in the six flowers prominently displayed inside the central row of serrated diamonds. The colours seem all natural, though I am not sure about the black (but who can be?).
The condition is very good. The pile is short but shows little wear. It is just slightly lower in the centre. No corrosion, no holes, slits, tears or stains. I can see no repairs. The kilim ends should perhaps be secured to prevent unravelling.The rug is reasonably clean (though not washed recently) and has no unpleasant odour.