Shirvan Fragment, NE Caucasus. 1885

This charming corner fragment of 19th century Northeastern Caucasian weaving was woven in an area known as Shirvan. As you can see from this example, Shirvan rugs were fine with crisp articulate design drawing. Here we encounter a simple glimpse of domestic village life. Yet the weaver has created an image that is endearing, funny, and artistically fascinating. She has an absolute command of the use of vegetable dye color as well as the mastery of the weaving craft. She has woven a picture of an ordinary chicken digging for grubs and we are enthralled.


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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.