This remarkable rug takes as its design a lattice of diagonally spaced ascending palmettes, supported on linked stems. Designs with that much in common can be found in eighteenth and early nineteenth century weavings in both the Caucasus and north west Persia. A larger rug in the Textile Museum, dated to the late 18th century, has such a design on a green ground (Charles Grant Ellis, Early Caucasian Rugs, Washington D.C., 1976, pl.35, pp.100-1). A group of late eighteenth century rugs have such a design, but with very different palmettes, on a red or ivory ground (Ulrich Schurmann, Caucasian Rugs, Braunschweig, 1965, pls.6 and 94, pp.32, 66-7 and 256-7). And a large carpet in the Orient Stars Collection also has a design that shares many elements (E. Heinrich Kirchheim et al., Orient Stars, a Carpet Collection, Stuttgart and London, 1993, no.67, p.133). The other side of the present day political border similarly structured designs are woven by the Sauj Bulaq (James D. Burns, Antique Rugs of Kurdistan, London, 2002, and another example from the Meyer-Müller Collection sold in our New York Rooms, 22 January 1991, lot 60).
The design of the present rug combines solid shapes and serrated and hooked elements, all structurally linked, but in a way that avoids any area of open ground, creating a pattern of even density throughout. The same linking of solid, albeit flaring, palmettes with hooked tendrils is seen on a rug in the protestant Church at Sepsiszentgyërgy in Hungary (Serare Yetkin, Early Caucasian Carpets in Turkey, London, 1978, pl.187, p.59). And a similar horror vacui is found on a group of early nineteenth century Caucasian rugs which combine hooked tendrils and solid panels (Kirchheim, op. cit., no.68, p.134 amongst others). While however there are many points that can be compared to Caucasian rugs of the late 18th and early 19th century, this rug appears to be unique among the published examples. It is also interesting to compare it with the later Europeanised version of a very similar design, produced in Karabagh some decades later (Ausstellung Kaukasische Teppiche, Frankfurt-am-Main, 1962, no.27).