Fragment of the Main Border of an Old Baluchi Rug , c. 1900

The Baluchi are a tribal group living in southeastern Persia and western Afghanistan. They lived a nomadic life style existing in a harsh desert environment, raising animals as a source of food and building materials. Their old weavings generally used a dark palette with puntiuated undyed ivory designs that popped to the rugs’s surface. This interaction between ivory and the darker field colors created quiet an extraordinary and beautiful effect of a star filled night. This border fragment exists very successfully outside its mother rug. It is wide enough to contain its own story. These large alternating designs relate to fecundity and birthing. They serve as abstract representations of women giving birth. All the weavers here were women and of course, having children was essential to the survival of the extended family unit. This piece fills us with a sense of mystery and wonder, another example of the magic of authentic tribal weaving. Note that at the bottom of the frame and fragment the selvedge is made of goat hair. The wefts in this piece are also spun from goat hair.


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The Antique Rug Fragment as Serious Art

There are passages in all art that can exist independently as a meaningful aesthetic, functioning separately from the complete work they once belonged to. In these frames we see pieces from archaic rugs, fragments from their mother rug, which had over time been destroyed. Occasionally areas of these old surviving pieces can exist on their own, and still express spirituality, decoration, a sense of magic and what it means to live in a timeless culture. The events that have defined all human life are symbolically addressed here: giving birth, raising a family, tending to animals, accepting the inevitability of death and the absolute belief in the existence of an immutable godhead. These fragments express all that we look for in an art object: beauty, honesty and mastery of craft. These humble fragments establish a life of their own, one that takes us directly without distraction to the essence of rug art.