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Pair of saddle bags

Pair of saddle bags

  • Place of origin:

    Caucasus (made)
    Iran (made)

  • Date:

    1800-1880 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown (designed and made by)

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Physical description

Saddlebag; countered soumak with the reverse of the bag in knotted pile

WARP: white cotton; Z3S; 13 threads per inch (48 per dm).

WEFT: front of each panel: foundation weft of blue wool; Z2S; sometimes one shoot sometimes 2 shoots, usually after every row of soumak;
pattern weft: wool; 10 colours: red, light red, orange, dark green, green, dark blue, light blue, dark brown, black, white;
sequence: over 2 warp threads and back under one; 13 rows of soumak per inch (54 per dm).
Back of each panel: white wool; Z2S; 2 shoots after each row of knots; 6 knots per inch (23 per dm).

PILE: wool; 8 colours: dark red, red, light red, orange, dark green, light green, blue, black; symmetrical knot tied around 2 threads; 39 knots per sq. inch (621 per sq. dm).

SIDE FINISH: soumak panels: 3 cords oversewn with?; folded to form the bag and oversewn in place.

END FINISH: plain weave turned and stitched into place.

DESIGN: 1. Soumak panels: field: blue ground filled with three complete stepped crosses and five partial ones.
Inner border: reciprocal red/green trefoil. Middle border: red ground with geometric meander with triangles.
Outer border: red ground with pseudo-kufic design in white. The fastening edge has seven blocks of plain weave (red, blue and green) separated by slits for fastening.

2. Reverse, piled panels: field: red ground with a pair of red and a pair of light red blossoms on green stems in one panel and blue stems in the other. Border: reciprocal horn in green/dark red outlined in red.

3. Plain weave centre: bands: the central band is brown and is flanked by red, dark brown, orange/yellow, blue and green bands.

Place of Origin

Caucasus (made)
Iran (made)


1800-1880 (made)


Unknown (designed and made by)


Length: 144 cm maximum, Length: 58 cm minimum

Object history note

Purchased for the Museum by Robert Murdoch Smith, from Sidney Churchill in Tehran, this was acquired as a batch of fourteen carpets and carpet fragments and ten specimens of qalamkari printed cotton. Murdoch Smith wrote: "Among the articles are a number of carpets and pieces of carpets of the 17th century and earlier date (some as early as the end of the 15th century or beginning of the 16th century) which will, I think, form a valuable addition to the Museum collection. Some of the best specimens - small pieces, not whole carpets - were got from the rufuqir or darners of worn and torn carpets in the Teheran bazaar."

Descriptive line

Middle East, Carpet, Bag. Pair of joined saddle bags, wool knotted pile and soumak flatweave, NW Iran or Caucasus, 1800-1880


Wool; Cotton


Arms & Armour; Animals and Wildlife; Transport; Equestrian equipment


Middle East Section

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