Dagestan Rugs

Guide to Antique Dagestan Rugs & Carpets

Background / History

Dagestan is now the southern edge of Russia abutting Azerbaijan. It is not a significant producer of rugs today. But that was not always the case. After the coming of Genghis Khan the Mongol empire was split between the sons and their descendents. Dagestan was in the Il-Khanid land while everything to the north went to the Golden Horde. The Il-Khanids became increasingly Persian and the Greater Caucasus were part of the Greater Persian Empire.

Derbend was in the lowlands and was primarily Lezgi and Azeri while to the west was old Dagestan which has a variety of Northern Caucasian peoples. The region was Persian from the 13th to the 19th century and the rugs of the region should be seen in that light.

Dagestan was the scene of a long bitter war when the Russians invaded and the Persians lacked the ability to resist. The people of Daghestan rose up and fought the Russians for more than thirty five years. There is not a Daghestan people as such but a wide range of ethnic groups that wove rugs. We do know that the war resulted in many of the inhabitants moving to modern day Turkey and Iran.

Prior to the coming of the Russians Daghestan was only the Mountainous area of what is now Daghestan and the flat area near the sea was Derbent. When the Russians set up their administrative districts they combined the two and called it Daghestan.

Rugs

The problem is that Daghestan rugs can look like Shirvan rugs or even Marsali rugs. The key to identification is that the Daghestan rugs have a deeply ribbed back. On a Kuba rug look for warp depression of about 45 to 70 degrees and Daghestan rugs to be over 70 degrees. I place Daghestan Rugs in the Lesghi Group.

Examples

A good Daghestan rug

Northeast Caucasus second half 19th century, 6ft. x 4ft. 1.83m. x 1.22m.

Very slight even wear. A finely woven rug with soft colouring including a beautiful pale blue. White ground rugs without the prayer arch are comparatively rare and, like all white ground weavings, are associated with weddings.


Daghestan Prayer Rug

 Daghestan prayer rug

Evenly lower overall, brown corroded in places, slight damage and losses both ends, some reweaving.


Arta Stal Daghestan Lezghi Rug

Arta Stal Daghestan Lezghi Rug

Origin: Derbend long rug, Southeast Caucasus

Measurements: 9ft. 4in. by 5ft. 1in. (2.84 by 1.55m.)

Description: circa 1900, original end finishes, oxidized browns

This is a magnificent example of the rugs that the Lezghis of Arta Stal traditionally weave.


Daghestan rug, Circa 1900

Daghestan Rug, Circa 1900

Daghestan rug from Northeast Caucasus, about 1900-20

5ft.4in. x 3ft.8in.


Dagestan Rug, 2nd Half 19th Century

Dagestan Rug, 2nd Half 19th Century

Origin: Northeast Caucasus, Dagestan, 2nd half 19th century

Size: 224 x 102 cm

Notes on Condition: Heavily corroded browns. Selvages restored, both ends expertly rewoven.


Southern Daghestan Kelim Lesghi or Tabassaran

Southern Daghestan Kelim Lesghi or Tabassaran

Origin: Kelim Daghestan, East Caucasus, end of 19th century

Size: 547 x 154 cm.

Description: Beautiful old Kelim with filigraner design.


Daghestan Rug (Lezghi) 19th C.

Daghestan rug (Lezghi) 19th C. Nagel Lot 24

Origin: Caucasus, 19th century

Size: 140 x 94 cm.

Condition: Corroded browns, slight losses to pile.


An unusual Derbend long rug

An unusual Derbend long rug

Origin: East Caucasus, apparently dated 1919CE

Size: 9ft.5in. x 4ft.9in. (2.87m. x 1.45m.)

Description: Note the stylized Armenian script in the white cartouches and the Turkic script elsewhere. The date, repeated four times in the center, is entirely commensurate with the rug's appearance.


Derbend rug, about 1920-30

Derbend rug about 1920-30

Origin: Northeast Caucasus, about 1920-30

Size: 4ft. x 2ft.10in.

Condition: Slight overall wear, slight losses on both ends.


Derbent Carpet, 1st Half 19th Century

Derbent Carpet 1st half 19th century

Origin: 1st half 19th century, Northern Caucasus, Dagestan Region

Size: 349 x 203 cm.


Derbent Carpet, Dagestan Region

Derbent Carpet Dagestan Region from Rippon Boswell

Origin: Northeast Caucasus, Dagestan Region, late 19th century

Size: 309 x 169 cm.

Notes on Condition: Minor foot wear, sides original, lower end restored.


Daghestan Rug, North East Caucasus

Daghestan Rug, North East Caucasus d. 1845 Lot 27

Country of Origin: North Caucasus, Daghestan

Size: 5ft.2in. x 3ft.3in. (157cm. x 99cm.)

Description: Note the soft, sandy yellow field with an overall design of angular linked flowerheads and palmettes issuing angular leaves, in an ivory polychrome crab-rosette border between diagonal stripes and checkerboard minor stripes, areas of wear and corrosion, localized repiling in the black, and minute cobbled repairs.


Daghestan rug, North East Caucasus, c.1890

Daghestan rug, North East Caucasus, c. 1890 Lot 32

Country of Origin: North Caucasus, Daghestan, circa 1890

Size: 6ft. 5in. by 4ft. 8in. (196 by 142cm.)


Antique Lesghi "Lesghi Star" Rug Fragment

Antique Lesghi "Lesghi Star" Rug Fragment

Schurmann attributes these rugs to Daghestan, which is an area of the North Caucasus. In Caucasian rugs, color is the critical factor. This rug has the right color.

This rug has excellent drawing and is well spaced. If it had its outer borders, it would rival or beat Plate 132 in Schurmann's Caucasian Rugs. In any serious discussion of Caucasian Rugs, Schurmann is the definitive source. There are later books, but Schurmann defined the category and his definitions are still used today.

Due to the depressed warps and the drawing I attribute this rug to the early period.

Size: 3 ft. by 5 ft. 6 in.

Structure: Symmetrical. 8 knots per horizontal inch and 8 knots per vertical inch. 64 per square inch (992 per square decimeter). Depressed warps.

Yarn Spin: Z.

Warp: 3 ply wool light brown

Weft: 2 ply wool white.

Pile: 2 Wool singles.

Ends: Reduced with warp fringe.

Selvages: Not original.

Further Notes: Some old repairs and reweaves.

The Auction Fragment


Shirvan Prayer Rug or Akstafa, Mid 19th C.

Shirvan prayer rug or Akstafa mid 19th C. Nagel Lot 23

Origin: Caucasus, 19th century

Size: 140 x 94 cm.

Condition: Corroded browns, slight losses to pile.


Floral Lattice Design Kuba Runner

Floral Lattice Design Kuba Runner

Age: circa 1945

Dimensions: 313cm x 120cm, torn and cut in the middle

Knots: Symmetric, open to the right, 3-4mm

Density: H 30/10cm V34/10cm 1020/dm²

Warps: Tightly spun tan wool

Weft: White cotton, 2 shoots

Selvedges: Flat, two cords of two warps wrapped in figure eight with light blue wool

Ends: Missing

Colors: Mixture of natural and chemical dyes; oxidized black, blue marine with abrash, light blue, aniline red, crude chemical orange and pink, aubergine, white, camel (perhaps natural camel hair), medium brown, saffron, chemical light green

Comments: I think that this rug is from Kuba on base of the design, the flat blue selvedges, the structure, and especially the warp depression around 60°.

A Daghestan origin can't be ruled out, but usually these rugs have a warp depression over 70° and are more tightly woven.

Floral Lattice Design Kuba Runner

Floral Lattice Design Kuba Runner


Two Arta Stal Lezghi Rugs

Red Arta Stal Lezghi Rug

Blue Arta Stal Lezghi Rug

Red Structure: Symmetrical. 7 knots per horizontal inch and 11 knots per vertical inch. 77 per square inch (1194 per square decimeter). Depressed.

Blue Structure: Symmetrical. 8 knots per horizontal inch and 9 knots per vertical inch. 72 per square inch (1116 per square decimeter). Depressed.

Yarn Spin: Z.

Warp: Ivory wool

Weft: 2 shots ivory wool

Pile: 2 Wool singles.

Ends: Warp fringe or 1/4-inch weft faced plainweave skirt with warp fringe.

Selvages: 1 cord red wool.

Arta Stal Lezghi Rug


Daghestan Prayer Rug, East Caucasus d. 1834

Daghestan Prayer rug, East Caucasus d. 1834 Lot 5

Country of Origin: North Caucasus, Daghestan, dated AH 1251/1834 AD

Size: 5ft. 4 in. by 3ft. 11 in. (161 by 118 cm.)