Bordjalou Rugs

Guide to Antique Bordjalou Rugs & Carpets

History / Overview

In about 1179 a young man who would grow up to be Cinggis Qahan (Ghengis Khan) was aided by the son of the Chieftain of the Arulat clan. The young man was Bo'orcu. He became one of Cinggis Qahan's Dorben Kulu'ud (Great Warriors). In the Yuan ch'ao pi-shih, quatrain 205, it is recorded that later in life Cinggis Qahan said "Let Bo'orcu govern the ten thousand of the right hand which take the Altai as pillow." In other words the Qahan gave a proto-tribal unit to a key general. I am certainly no linguist but I translate Borchalu as Bo'orcu Lu or the people of Bo'orcu. The Lu of Bo'orculu as coming from the same root as the Mongol term Ulus which means the land, animals, and people, that a that an IL or tribal group controls. These people became known as the Bo'orculu or people of Bo'orcu. Over the years Bo'orculu becomes Borchalu. So if Ford is correct and I believe he is that the Borchalu are Mongol than they must be descended from the Horde of Bo'orcu.

The Sultanate of Borchali was located in the southeastern part of Georgia and in the eastern part of today's Turkey. At the beginning of the 18th century, Borchali was vassal of the Khanate of Ganja and in 1736 was ceded by Persian Emperor Nadir Shah Afshar to the Georgian Kingdom of Kartli-Kakheti. Borchali was composed of today's Georgian districts of Marneuli, Gardabani and Bolnisi.

Region Map:

region map

There seems a clear dichotomy in the rugs attributed to the Bordjalu area. Bordjalu is a collection point in southern Georgia for the area that runs up the southern ridge of the Caucasus south of Tbilisi. This is the quintessential Type A.

Since Borchalo was divided into three provinces; Marneuli, Gardabani and Bolnisi I suggest that we can construct a probable grouping by seeking to trifurcate the group.

By taking the available rugs and dividing them into groups we end up with three logical groups.

The easiest one is the Karayazy or Gardabani Group since there is a firm body of rugs and pictorial evidence to give us firm anchor rugs, So now we have two groups and two regions.

Type A Bordjalou Rug

Type A looks very close to examples that I feel have a high probability of being Armenian. Take for example Bennett, Ian et al. Oriental Rugs Volume 1 Caucasian. plate 69. The field is related to the Type A Bordjalu. The main border however is Armenian, Compare plate 69 to plate 140 a rug attributed to Erivan. Bolnisi is the southwestern most region of the Borchallo area. It historically has had the greatest concentration of Armenians.

type a Bordjalu rug

If we attribute the Type A Borchally rugs to Borchalo, Borchaly, Borcialu, Borchalo, Bor`calo

Borchalo is an Azeri Turk city in the Republic of Georgia. It is now called Marneuli and was formally called Borchalo or Bor`calo until 1947. GEORGIA : urban population

Read more about Type A (with more examples).

Type B Borjalu Rugs Chobanker Marneuli

There is a second clear cut group in Bordjalu Kazaks. There is a high probability that they are from the Marneuli province (Central Bordjalu region) of the old Bordjalu Khanate.

May may be from Chobanker or Karayazay but at this point I see them as Central Bordjalu region.

map of kazak area

Chobanker Bordjalu Kazaks

This is a little used attribution but it appears to have some merit. In the Bordjalu group there is a distinctive sub-group. Hubel points out a blue-green color with clumsy reciprocal brown and white borders. i think they tend to be more square than standard Bordjalu Kazaks.

Read More about Type B with examples.

Type C: The Karayazy Group

Karayazy became Gardabani in 1947. Sadykhly and Boyuk in Azerbaijan and the villages of Nazarly, Voyovka and Jandar in the Gardabani region of Georgia.

Antique Bordjalou Kazak Rug

This is a very old Bordjalou Kazak from the Caucasus. Please note that is rug is one of a very rare sub-type that has a scattering of single brown knots in the blue field. The rug is well drawn with a bold archaic pattern. This rug has a narrower range of color which leads me to suspect that it is older. The rug also has a corrosive brown which certainly points to an earlier period.

Read more about Type 3 with examples.

More Examples:

Borchelu Village Rug Circa 1930 - 50

Borchelu Village Rug Circa 1930 - 50


Borchalu Rug Circa 1930

Borchalu Rug Circa 1930 W&W Lot 79


Borchalu Rug Circa 1950

Borchalu Rug Circa 1950 W&W Lot 62


Borchalu Persian Rug

Borchalu Persian Rug

This rug has remarkable traditional Borchalu color and design. The rug has very good pile and is in excellent condition.


Borchelu Rugs: Borchelu Carpet Circa 1990

Early 20th Borchelu Carpet

close up

Room Size Persian Borchalu Carpet

Size: 6 foot 7 by 9 foot 9 inch.

This is a very attractive older Borchalu Rug. This rug has excellent traditional Borchalu color and design. The rug has good pile and is in very good condition.

Discovery of the Origins of the Borchalu

In P. R. J. Ford's book Oriental Carpet Design Ford mentioned that the Borchalu were Mongol. That peaked my curiosity. If they are Mongol than I should be able to identify them since Mongols are well documented. Here is what I found:

In about 1179 a young man who would grow up to be Cinggis Qahan (Ghengis Khan) was aided by the son of the Chieftain of the Arulat clan. The young man was Bo'orcu. He became one of Cinggis Qahan's Dorben Kulu'ud (Great Warriors). In the Yuan ch'ao pi-shih, quatrain 205, it is recorded that later in life Cinggis Qahan said "Let Bo'orcu govern the ten thousand of the right hand which take the Altai as pillow." In other words the Qahan gave a proto-tribal unit to a key general. I am certainly no linguist but I translate Borchalu as Bo'orcu Lu or the people of Bo'orcu. The Lu of Bo'orculu as coming from the same root as the Mongol term Ulus which means the land, animals, and people, that a that an IL or tribal group controls. These people became known as the Bo'orculu or people of Bo'orcu. Over the years Bo'orculu becomes Borchalu. So if Ford is correct and I believe he is that the Borchalu are Mongol than they must be descended from the Horde of Bo'orcu.

Borchalu Rug. Iran mid 19th century

Size: 6 foot 7 by 9 foot 9 inch.

Structure: Symmetrical knot. 7 knots per horizontal inch and 8 knots per vertical inch. 56 per square inch (868 per square decimeter)

Yarn Spin: Z.

Warp: 2 ply corded white cotton.

Weft: 1 shot blue cotton.

Pile: 2 wool singles.

Ends: Post-hitch wharf binding with 1 inch warp fringe.

Selvages: Single cord overcasting blue wool.

Handle: Heavy, soft wool, durable, dense.

Further Notes: Very good condition, slightly worn pile.


Borchalu Rug circa 1920-30

Borchalu Persian rug

Borchalu Persian rug, Hamadan, north west Persia about 1920-30, 4ft.11in. x 3ft.7in. 1.50m. x 1.09m.


Borchalu Armenian Kazak Rug

Borchalu

Type: Borchalu (Bordjalou)

Origin: Armenia

Circa: 1860-90

Length: inches / 253 cms

Width: inches / 117 cms


Borjalou rug Kazak Region, late 19th century

A BORJALOU

Title: A Borjalou

Origin: Southwest Caucasus, Kazak – Region, ca. 1830 – 1850

Size: approx. 279 x 151 cm


New Persian Borchelu Carpet

Persian Borchalu Carpet

close up

Borchalu Rug. Persia, 20th century. 7 foot 4 inches by 10 foot 6 inch.

Structure: Asymmetrical knot open left. 8 knots per horizontal inch and 8 knots per vertical inch. 64 per square inch (992 per square decimeter) Deeply depressed back.

Yarn Spin: Z.

Warp: Cotton, white.

Weft: Cotton 1 shot, white.

Pile: 2 Wool singles.

Ends: Warp fringe.

Selvages: overcast with blue wool.

Further Notes: New Condition.

Great Wool, Great Color, Very Durable. This rug should look magnificent for many years to come.


Bordjalou Kazak Rug, last quarter 19th C.

Bordjalou Kazak Rug, last quarter 19th C.

Origin: Southwest Caucasus, last quarter 19th century

Size: 7ft. 6in. x 4ft.

Condition: Rewoven ends, areas of repiling.


Bordjalou Kazak Rug, Last Quarter 19th C.

Bordjalou Kazak Rug, Last Quarter 19th C.

Origin: Southwest Caucasus, last quarter 19th century

Size: 5ft. 8in. x 3ft.

Condition: Rewoven end, other small repairs.


A Bordjalou Kazak Rug circa 1875 

A Bordjalou Kazak Rug circa 1875

Measurements: Approximately 211 by 151cm., 6ft. 11in. by 4ft. 11in.

Description: Circa 1875


Bordjalou Kazak Long Rug second half 19th C.

Bordjalou Kazak Long Rug second half 19th C.

Bordjalou Kazak Long Rug, Southwest Caucasus, second half 19th century, 9 ft. x 4 ft.


Bordjalou prayer rug late 19th c 

Bordjalou prayer rug late 19th c

A Bordjalou prayer rug, CAUCASUS, late 19th ct., losses to pile, repiled areas.

Size: 192 x 118 cm.

Of all the Chinese Rugs among the most popular are those of Walter Nichols.  Walter Nichols arrived in China shortly after World War One. He started as a wool grader and soon mastered the mechanized spinning of the Chinese wool. That was the basis of the Nichols rug. Chinese wool tends to be a little thin for carpet weaving but Nichols was able to spin a fairly thick strand that was ideal for carpe weaving. By 1924 Nichols opened a modern brick factory office complex at 104 Taku Road in Tientsin N. China and began producing Nichols Chinese Rugs.

Nichols used the thicker yarn to advantage making a sturdy rug on a two level foundation with a closed back. Today Nichols Chinese Rugs are increasing sought after and are now in demand with Interior Decorators, particularly those in the South.

Nichols Chinese Carpet
Nichols Chinese Carpet



Bordjalou Diamond Kazak Prayer Rug

Bordjalou Diamond Kazak Prayer Rug

Second half 19th century, two diamond medallions, re-entry motif and other geometric motifs in navy blue, ivory, gold, and blue-green on the red field, multicolored serrated leaf border, areas of repiling, rewoven ends. 4 ft. 8 in. by 3 ft. 9 in.



Bordjalou Long Kazak Rug 

Bordjalou Long Kazak Rug

Third quarter 19th century. Oxidized browns, original polychrome selvages, original kilim and macrame end finishes one end. Approximately 10ft. 8in. by 3ft. 7in. (3.25 by 1.09m.)



A Kazak rug, Southwest Caucasus, Circa 1870
A Kazak rug, Southwest Caucasus, Circa 1870

Approximately 7 ft. 9 in. by 5 ft. 2 in. (2.36 by 1.52m.)

Warp: wool, Z2S, ivory

Weft: wool, Z2S,2 - 4 shoots, ivory, brown

Pile: wool, symmetric knot

Density: 6-7 H, 7-10 V

Sides: 3 cords of two warps overcast in red blue, auburn, yellow, ivoery, teal, aubergine, salmon, green

Ends: warp fringe

Colors: cinabar, ivory, medium to deep lapis, medium to deep teal green, ochre, aubergine, willow, seal brown, pecan, black