Kazak Fragment, Southwestern Caucasus: 1885

Without equivocation, this is a fascinating and beautiful piece of Kazak weaving. The weaver plays with positive and negative space and creates a visual puzzle of interlocking forms. The viewer returns again and again to navigate and understand its complexity. What they will ultimately encounter is a compressed space with the drawing of juxtaposed stylized dragon images configured in layers that appear to move back and forth on the rug’s surface. The results are absolutely intriguing.

This fragment is framed on two sides by alternating green and red trefoil turret like forms. Each “turret” carries a small dot in its center. The palette of this piece is exquisite; its colors derived from plants and are perfectly married. This fragment is one of those art objects that sustain repeated viewing, as one strips away the piece’s secrets one layer at a time.

Kazak rugs were woven in the western mountains of the Trans Caucasus.


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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.