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The typical white ground border with hooked diamonds in various colours alternating with bars ending in smaller diamonds again carrying hooks (or animal heads) points to the Quashqai Sherkarlu tribe as origin of this old tribal piece. This is supported by the beautiful clear dyes, the ivory warps (mixed with some brown-grey) and the brick-red double, triple, quadruple (and more!) weft shots.
Clearly a rug destined to cover the couch of a psychoanalyst!
The deep blue field is filled with a multitude of design elements, including what James Opie calls "animal head trees", stars set in octagons, panels with four 'necks' and animal heads extending up- and downwards and decorated with small rosettes, diamonds with hooks both at the outside and at the inside, a geometric serrated palmette shape carrying an octagon filled with five diamonds, double botehs, smaller checkerboard diamonds and rosettes, tiny diamonds and horizontal S-shapes, and a row of goats alternating with animal head panels with arrow extensions running across the entire width of the centre field.
Interestingly, this rug has no secondary borders. While the selvedges are not original and have been beautifully recreated, a little bit of red flatweave at the end just after the thin three-line-wide barber pole border demonstrates that the rug never had an outer secondary border. Similar rugs in the literature (compare Opie, Tribal rugs, p174 + 175, and Eiland & Eiland, Oriental rugs, a complete guide, p158) usually have identical minor borders flanking the typical white-ground main border. So the absence of a minor inner border confirms the assertion that the rug has just the main border, offset from the field by just a narrow barberpole border of which now 1-2 knots are missing at both sides. A continuous row of small diamonds frames the field's contents.
The selvedges have been carefully reconstructed in red-green, in keeping with the barber pole design, to maintain the structural integrity of this precious piece.
The rug measures 6ft.11in. x 4ft.8in. (213 x 142 cm). An all-wool flat construction with symmetrical knots. Ivory warps, some with grey-brown, brick-red wefts, mostly numbering two or three, but in some places up to five or six. A very dense fabric with a leathery handle. The vertical knot count ranges from 25-29/10cm, horizontal count is roughly 29/10cm, which is roughly 780 knots per square dm, or 49 kpsi.
An excellent all-organic palette featuring very dark indigo of the ground, a sky-blue indigo shade, a saturated madder red, a clear yellow, and two beautiful shades of green: a lighter yellowish moss green, and a darker bluish green. Off-white and dark brown complete the pallette.
Now, after the reconstruction of the selvedges, structurally sound. No cuts, holes, or brittle areas. The ends have been secured. The pile is short but mostly in good shape; in many places all over the rug, some short lines of knots are worn away (see images). Here, the red wefts becomes visible. Due to the lively pattern and the red colour of the foundation, this is not very distracting.
The rug has been carefully hand-washed and is now clean.