The extraordinarily bold design with the use of fully saturated colours together with the relatively large size and durabily, make this group extremely collectable.
Produced from as early as the late 16th century through to the 18th century, this group of carpets, formerly thought to have been made in Kuba in the Northern Caucasus, are now believed to have been produced in Karabagh, on the Persian border. For a discussion on the origin of this group see Ellis, C.G.: Early Caucasian Rugs, Washington D.C., 1976, pp.10-11). The whole group always been subdivided into a number of known design types some of which contain a variety of details which are inter-related but do nevertheless differ considerably in detail.
For a details summary of the various design types see Franses,M.: Kirchheim,E.H (ed.) Orient Stars, Stuttgart, London, 1993, pp.101-114 and Yetkin, Serare.: Volume II, Early Caucasian Carpets in Turkey, London, 1978, pp.41-43.
The carpet offered here depicts the Sunburst Blossom or so-called Transitional design. The red ground of this example on a vertical axis with the central sunburst medallion enclosed within large bold cusped leaves and flanked at each end by stylised hooked palmettes, likewise enclosed within almost linking ivory similar cusped leaves, surrounded at each side by vericale rows of similar smaller motifs is similar to that in the Kirchheim collection (Franses,M.: op.cit. p.135 pl.69.) More remarkably, it is almost identical to the pair of carpets in the Ulu Cami (Great Mosque), at Divrigi, Turkey, (Yetkin, Serare.: op.cit Vol I, pls.25 and 26). Only with the exception of the border design which, as usual, is narrow with a simple polychrome motif.
The fact that a relatively large number of these still exist today is largely as a result of their relative durability. As the majority appear to have been found in Turkey and on other well known trading routes, this has lead to the belief they were made not only for the local nobility but also for the export trade.