Carpet thumbnail 1
Carpet thumbnail 2
Not currently on display at the V&A


1850-1875 (made)
Place of origin

The designer of this carpet used a slightly irregular lattice to form a network of spaces and placed a bold, serrated border within each. He avoided too much repetition by filling each space with a different motif.

Object details
Object type
Materials and techniques
Hand knotted woollen pile, on woollen warp and weft; symmetrical knot; 154 knots per sq. in (2,295 per sq. dm)
Brief description
Middle East, Carpet. Carpet, wool knotted pile on wool and cotton foundation, Shirvan or Kuba, Azerbaijan, 1850-1875
Physical description
Carpet, hand-knotted, Caucasian; 19th century

WARP: brown and white wool plied together, except some threads on left; Z3S; 22 threads per inch (90 per dm).

WEFT: white cotton; Z3S; 2 shoots after each row of knots; 14 knots per inch (51 per dm).

PILE: wool; 8 colours: red, dark yellow, yellow, dark green, blue, light blue, dark brown, white; symmetrical knot tied around 2 threads; 154 knots per sq. inch (2295 per sq. dm). Note: lower right 92" (24 cm) vertical line of warp reduction of approximately 3/4" (2 cm) in width; although this has been backed, it may not have been damaged but rather worn from where warp threads have been added.

SIDE FINISH: one cord overcast with white cotton.

END FINISH: incomplete but both ends have 2" (1 cm) plain weave with white cotton and then a fringe: lower 3" (7.5 cm). Upper: 2" (5.5 cm) of 4 threads tied to form a lattice with at least 3 bands of offset knots.

DESIGN: field: red ground with a narrow, angular light blue and yellow lattice forming a small diamond with dark brown cross at the centre and framing 10 and two half bands of five blue stepped diamonds, extending top and bottom into arrowheads, outlined in white and containing a variety of floral sprigs with some rosettes and florets towards the lower end.

Main border: dark green ground with white rosettes, each with checkerboard diamond centre, mostly in ground colour or blue and yellow and each lying between white pseudo-Kufic brackets which on both long sides bear an S-motif in the hooked triangular terminals. On the upper and lower border this is reduced to a small triangle.

Inner and outer borders: dark brown ground with a line of stepped flowers in all other colours divided by intrusive triangles in light blue or dark brown.

Innermost and outermost borders: light blue ground with "twisted ribbon" zigzag pattern in red and either white or yellow.

Catalogue Date: 4.4.95
  • Top edge width: 1145mm
  • Bottom edge width: 1140mm
  • Proper right length: 1520mm
  • Proper left length: 1460mm
  • Weight including roller weight: 10kg
Object history
Bought from the collection of Gaston de Saint-Maurice (1831-1905) in 1884. Saint-Maurice displayed his extensive art collection at the 1878 Paris exhibition, in a gallery entitled L'Egypte des Khalifes. This was part of an official sequence of displays celebrating the history of Egypt, presented by the Egyptian state at this international event. Saint-Maurice held a position at the Khedival court, and had lived in Cairo in 1868-1878. Following the exhibition, Saint-Maurice offered his collection for sale to the South Kensington Museum (today the V&A).
Mentioned and illustrated in "Caucasian Rugs in the V & A", by M. Franses and R. Pinner (intro. by Donald King). Hali 1980, Vol. 3, No. 2, p. 95, 107, 108, 113, 144

Referred to in "Azerbaijani Carpets in the V & A" by Latif Kerimov. Published International Symposium, Baku, 1983, p. 47, pl. 39

c.f. Bennett (1981) illus. 304, "The Kufic border is associated with rugs from the north-east. NB main border detail"

Schurmann (1964) illus. 135, "Derbend, Dagestan, early (perhaps woven in the 18th c.)"

Kerimov (1983) and Franses and Pinner (1980) Hali, Vol. 3, No. 2. both attribute to Kuba.
Subjects depicted
The designer of this carpet used a slightly irregular lattice to form a network of spaces and placed a bold, serrated border within each. He avoided too much repetition by filling each space with a different motif.
Accession number

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Record createdAugust 1, 2002
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