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See large image of panel
Three hooked diamonds (hooks inwards and outwards) are arranged on the vertical axis on a deeply saturated madder red ground, separated by horizontal bands in dark blue which are adorned with small diamonds filled with x-shapes and dots (or, if you see design elements where I see background, a way of looking justified by the colour changes from blue to teal) hour-glass shapes alternating with these diamonds. At the centre of each of the large hooked diamonds sits a smaller diamond carrying a star, or rather, a snow-flake-like design; in all four inner corners of the large diamonds are placed small diamond devices filled with while or rose which echo the central diamond, reminding me of a compass rose layout. You may notice that at the bottom of the panel where the weaving started, the position of these corner diamonds is still a bit off; further up, they are perfectly placed. Central diamonds are white on brown at top and bottom, rose on brown in the centre. The corners of each segment are adorned with a simple white 'hook-on-a-pole' device, in the lowest segment also with small inward-pointing triangles. The whole simple and effective design is framed by a narrow border of just five knots' width, showing rows of squares in alternating colours and brown outlining with x-shaped insets.
I am not familiar with the morphology and usages of the many bags and trappings from central Asia; according to the dealer from whom I bought this years ago, Seref Özen, this is a Kirghiz cradle panel. It has to be either one of the long sides or the bottom part of it. I don't know how exactly to picture the whole cradle. The wear pattern may thus be caused by probably more than one baby. I think it reasonable to place this in the second half of the 19th century, but I don't know how long they made items like this in the central Asian steppes. I have never seen a similar item over the five or so years I have been looking at rugs, so this is presumably quite rare.
A very limited, deeply saturated palette of all natural dyes: sumptuous madder-red field, the hooked diamonds rendered in saturated indigo and a very dark teal / green-blue. The top diamond uses blue for the diamond frame and outer hooks and teal for the inner hooks, the central diamond reverses this colour scheme; the bottom one uses blue only. Apart from these clours, there is a clearly natural madder-based rose shade, off-white and natural (fleece-coloured) brown, looks like the same lustrous yarn used for the warps.
The panel measures 100 x 35 cm (ca. 39 x 14 inch). The panel has fat brown woolen warps of glossy long staple wool and woolen wefts of the same colour, probably the same material, may be a somewhat thinner yarn. Two weft shots after each row of knots. The weave is firm and regular, now warp depression; the back has a slightly grainy feel. Very meaty and flexible handle, the pile wool might be cork wool, it is sumptuous, very soft and pleasant to the touch (fitting for the functional purpose). The weave is not depressed, knot count is 8.v, 6.5h (ca. 52 kpsi). The bottom end shows a slightly wider red-blue checkerbord type design with white square adornments, with some loss, unravelling and bare places (see images). There is also a small hole in the centre of this border.
There is wear along the central axis, in some areas down to knotheads, and a few bare areas here and there, either through wear or old moth bites (see image); the ends are ragged. Nothing dramatic, most of the pile is dense and deep (ca. 8mm) and, no exaggeration, simply gorgeous to the touch. This is a nice item to hang over the back of a chair, or anywhere where it can be touched and fondled. I am not prone to raving, but I feel a simple and positive aura of this piece. Strange to think that the babies it once held may have died as old people decades ago.