Caucasian Gendge Rugs & Carpets

Both Armenian Rugs and Azeri Rugs have come from Ganja Province. Ganja was a Persian Azeri city under the Persian Shah's control before the Russian occupation. There as a minority but significant Armenian population controlled by the Melik of Ganja. When the Russian Czarist troop solidified control over the city it was renamed Elisavetspol and it quickly became a Russianized city. Since the Armenian Church and Meliks were Christian and were instrumental in defeating the Persians the Armenians gained immensely in stature. Armenians began to move to Ganja from Safavid Persia and Ottoman Turkey. Ganja became a staging area for the war that led to the Russian triumph over the Persians in Erevan/Yerevan/Present Day Armenia in 1828. Today there are few Armenians in the Province of Ganja.

  • Gyandzha, Azerbaijan also spelled Gendge, Gäncä, GÄNJÄ, GANDZHA, GJANDZA, OR GYANDZHA
  • Situated on the main highway and rail line to Georgia. The city, considered the country's literary center, is prettier than most Azerbaijani towns and retains a strong German influence in its architecture. The road from Baku to Ganja is one of the country's most scenic. 180 mi/290 km west of Baku. 
  • Ganja was both a city, a market center, and a Khanate. Under Czarist domination the name was changed to Elisavetpol and then Kirovabad.
  • Gendge produces rug that are in format and construction like a long Kazak.

Examples:

Ganja Rugs: Chajli Long Rug

Ganja Rugs: Chajli Long Rug Sotheby's lot 24


Ganja Rugs: 3 panel Gendje Rug 2nd half 19th c.

Ganja Rugs: 3 panel Gendje Rug 2nd half 19th c.

Very good condition with original sides. Full pile with glossy wool, lustrous colors.


Ganja Rugs: A four medallion Gendge rug ca. 1880

Ganja Rugs: A four medallion Gendge rug ca. 1880

Four octagonal medallions on a red ground field framed by a white ground main border.


Ganja Rugs: A Gendge long rug

Ganja Rugs: A Gendge long rug lot 21

circa 1890 reselvaged, scattered repiling.


A Gendge rug, 2nd half 19th c.

A Gendge rug, 2nd half 19th c.

Title: A Gendge rug, CAUCASUS, 2nd half 19th ct., corroded browns, minor resto.

Size: 345 x 103 cm


A latchhook medallion Gendge rug

A latchhook medallion Gendge rug

Title: Antique Gendge rug, CAUCASUS, 19th ct., losses to pile, resto.

Size: 223 x 125 cm


Antique Diagonal Striped Gendge rug

Antique Diagonal Striped Gendge rug

Antique Diagonal Striped Gendge rug

Size: 4'5"x 7'2".

Age: 1870-1880 circa.

Condition: Good to very good.Thick lustrous pile throughout. There has been some old re-weaves to the main border, inner and outer borders one fringe side only. I have supplied good photo's for your inspection. The work is strong, and acceptable. (No Holes.) Rest of rug in very good to excellent condition. Complete with it's very fine six braided multi-colored original edges. (Slight wool wrapping at edge one side.) Pure early vegetable dyes. Wool warp, and weft. K.P.S.I.: 6x7. A very collectable antique Gendge with great colors, and designs. Has been professionally washed.

Antique Diagonal Striped Gendge rug

Back of Rug

Of all the Caucasian Rugs almost all have two shots of weft between each row of knots but Kazaks and Gendges have 2 to 4 shots. The weft count is often irregular and may be two shots with intermittent 3 or 4 shots. The wefts are generally undyed brown or red. The backs of Gendges are flat or with up to a 30 degree warp depression. Warps are generally three ply twisted undyed wool.

Gendge rugs averages 31 square feet and 57 symmetrical knots per square inch.

Antique Diagonal Striped Gendge rug

Diagonal stripes are common as we can see in Ulrich Schurmann's Caucasian Rugs Plates 46, 49, and 52. The square with hooks motif is traditional to Gendge as well.


Chajli Long Rug

Chajli Long Rug

This is the more common of the two types of rugs woven in Chaily or Chajli as it is commonly called in the trade. These rugs are usually attributed as Shirvan but according to a post (on a rug discussion site) by the late George Washington O'Bannon Chaily is in Gendja. Bennett, Ian et al. Oriental Rugs Volume 1 Caucasian suggests a possible Moghan attribution in discussion of plates 207 - 209. Ulrich Schurmann's Caucasian Rugs is the conventional wisdom and he says Shirvan see plate 76. I think O'Bannon was correct especially in that it coincides with Wright, Richard. Wertime, John. Caucasian Carpets and Covers page 127.

This is a very good example of a classic Caucasian design. Chajli medallions fall into two groups. Some have more octagonal medallions but most have what my friend Jorge Oliverios refers to as "square with clipped corners". This rug falls into that later group. This rug has 3 medallions which is the most common design. As with most they alternate in color. One area where this rug differs with most is that the three medallions abut instead of leaving a row of minor field medallions between each major medallion.

This rug has a blue field which is to be expected. There are a few with red fields and any other color is rare. However it seems to me two white field Chajli have passed through Sotheby's in the last few years.

Chajli Long Rug

Chajli Long Rug, Chaily, Gendge. (present day Azerbaijan)

Size: 4 foot 4 inch by 8 foot 6 inch.

Structure: Symmetrical knot. 7 knots per horizontal inch and 7 knots per vertical inch. 49 per square inch (759.5 per square decimeter)

Colors: Royal blue, brick red, ivory, saddle brown, onyx, salmon, blue topaz.

Yarn Spin: Z.

Warp: 2 ply tan wool.

Weft: 2 shots brown wool.

Pile: 2 wool singles.

Ends: Post-hitch wharf bindings with .5 inch warp fringe.

Selvages: 2 cord interlacing saddle brown, sienna, brick red wool.

Handle: Light, soft, pliable, durable.

Further Notes: Very good condition.

Chajli Long Rug

This rug is not as finely knotted as most Chajli which avenge 100 KPSI Oriental Rug Lexicon page 46. However it makes up for it with outstanding color. This rug appears to have two numbers in the field 331 and 321. It could be a date but it is virtually meaningless. If we reverse them and add a zero we would something like 1820 or 1911. Neither seem appropriate to this rug.


Diagonal boteh surmey ground Gendge long rug

Diagonal boteh surmey ground Gendge long rug

Gendge. Around 1900. 298 x 112cm. Diagonal boteh example on surmey-blue ground.

Notes: Compare this main border to Bennett, Ian et al. Oriental Rugs Volume 1 Caucasian. plate 157, Bennett suggests that the plate 157 border is rare.


Gendge Long Rug with diagonal stripes

Gendge Long Rug with diagonal stripes

Gendge Long Rug with diagonal stripes. last quarter 19th century.

Dimension: 232cm X 191cm ; cut and reduced in length

Knots: good wool, symmetric, no depression

Density: hor 26/10cm ver 26/10cm 676/dm²

Colors: attractive natural and bright colors, white, gold yellow, emerald green, brick red, light and deep blue, light and medium brown, corroded dark brown

Warps: light brown wool Z2S

Wefts: 4 shoots, light brown wool

Selvedges: not original

Handle: floppy

Design & comments: contrasting polychromatic stripes, each stripe containing small S motifs. which is perhaps the most famous ornament associated with the Gendge rugs, but not , of course, exclusive to them. Look also to the small birds like motifs. Nice main border with stylized cross motifs and minor borders with khotchak motifs.

Gendge Long Rug with diagonal stripes

Note: To further a long term research project I am collecting data. When a piece such as this may be of interest to others I have decided to share my notes prior to culmination of the project. As such the attributions are my own and may be different that the catalogue attribution. Any additions, information, or corrections, would be appreciated.


Ganja Rugs: Gendge Rug

Ganja Rugs: Gendge Rug

Gendge "NOMADIC" Rug

Dimensions: 100 cm X 102 cm

Pile: thick wool, symmetric knot

Density: coarsely woven , H 28/10cm V 26/10cm

Handle: floppy

Warp: Z3S thin white or tan wool , no depression, flat back

Wefts: Z2S thin white wool, two and three shoots

Colors: natural, light and marine blue, brick red and pinks in different shades, oxidized brown and black, white, light olive, gold.

Selvedges and ends not original.

Ganja Rugs: Gendge Rug

Comments: Typical tribal rug, with a coarse shaggy weave and loose drawing. Floral lattice design of different type of flowers and small Caucasian motives on a white ground with an unusual main border.

Conditions: many traces of wear

Another rug like this one is published in the auction catalog of Rippon Boswell 22/11/97 plate 3 and is attributed to the region of Moghan.

Look also to "Caucasian -Ian Bennett - plate 148-149-150" which are labeled Gendge rugs.

Picture and information courtesy of Belgium Collector Daniel DSD.

Note: I left this page as it was written. By the time this rug was woven there was little "nomadic" activity in the Caucasus. We could debate the incidence of trans-shumantic activity on the Swiss model but suffice it to say this is more likely a village rug.


Gendge rug Circa 1900

Gendge rug Circa 1900

Gendge rug, West Caucasus about 1900, 3ft.9in. x 3ft.6in. 1.14m. x 1. 07m. Evenly low overall, brown corroded.

Gendge rug Circa 1900


Gendge Rug Late 19th century

Gendge Rug Late 19th century

Genje rug, Central Transcaucasia late 19th century, 5 ft. 8 in. x 4 ft. 6 in. 1.73m. x 1.37m. £1800-2000

Condition: Slight even wear overall.

A good example of the so-called 'Kazak-Genje' group; c.f. Bennett, Oriental Rugs vol. 1 Caucasian, no. 145 for a similar rug with two rows of medallions.

Gendge Rug Late 19th century


Gendge Star Lattice Rug

Gendge Star Lattice Rug

Unusual Star Lattice rug from the Caucasus. This Caucasian rug appears to significantly predate 1900. Please note the border details which become increasingly simplified during the commercial boom of the the late 19th century. This rug may well pre-date the commercial phase (1870 - 1910) entirely.

The rug is rectangular the picture is crooked.

Gendge Rug Caucasus, 19th Century. 4 foot 1 inch by 5 foot 1 inch.

Structure: Symmetrical pulled right. 5 knots per horizontal inch and 7 knots per vertical inch. 35 per square inch (542 per square decimeter).

Yarn Spin: Z.

Warp: 2 ply wool brown and white barberpoled.

Weft: 2 shots 2 ply wool.

Pile: 2 Wool singles.

Ends: reduced with warp fringe.

Selvages: Not original.

Further Notes: This rug is worn to the knot collars and on to the foundation in places but is in good structural conditions with only minor repairs. With a professional washing and a little reweaving this piece would improve drastically but is still usable now.

Gendge Star Lattice Rug

Despite the wear it is hard to ignore a yellow field Star Lattice.


Gendje Rug 2nd half 19th century

Gendje Rug 2nd half 19th century

Title: A GENDJE RUG

Origin: Central Caucasus, Gendje Region, 2nd half 19th century

Size: approx. 178x 141 cm

Notes on Condition: Lustrous wool and glowing colors. Both ends re-knotted.


Gendje Runner 2nd half 19th century

Gendje Runner 2nd half 19th century

Title: A GENDJE RUG

Origin: Central Caucasus, Gendje Region, 2nd half 19th century

Size: approx. 178x 141 cm

Notes on Condition: Lustrous wool and glowing colors. Both ends re-knotted.


Late 19th C. Genje Long Rug

Late 19th C. Genje Long Rug

Genje long rug, South Caucasus late 19th century, 9ft.11in. x 3ft. 10in. 3.02m. x 1.17m. Slight even wear overall, heavier in small areas.


Late 19th-early 20th C. Genje Long Rug

Late 19th-early 20th C. Genje Long Rug

Genje rug, South west Caucasus, late 19th-early 20th century, 6ft. 9in. x 3ft.9in. 2.05m. x 1.14m

Overall uneven wear, outer guard stripe missing both ends.


Star lattice Gendje long rug

Star lattice Gendje long rug

Title: A GENDJE RUG

Origin: Central Caucasus, Elisabethpol, ca. 1900

Size: approx. 263 x 109 cm

Notes on Condition: Good condition with original end- and side finishes, some expertly executed restorations.


Striped Gendge with Azeri Border

Striped Gendge with Azeri Border

Gendge. 19. c. 123 x 94cm. typical multicolored striped example.


Striped Gendge with unusual border

Striped Gendge with unusual border

Gendge. 19. c. 253 x 103cm. typical multicolored striped example.


Azeri Gendge Rug

Azeri Gendge Rug

This is a magnificent example of the classic stripped Gendge rug. Compare the main border to the main border in Schurmann, Ulrich. Caucasian Rugs plates 46 and 49. As well as Bennett, Ian et al. Oriental Rugs Volume 1 Caucasian, palates 151, 155, and 170. In comparing images I did not see any stripped Gendge rug in Schurmann or Bennett that I liked as well.

Azeri Gendge Rug

The main border to the right is a classic Azeri border. It is common with Azeri Turks as well as offshoot such as the Shahsavan. Compare this border to a Persian Varamin Area Shahsevan Ru-korsi.

Azeri Gendge Rug

Gendge rugs and Kazak rugs are closely related. One important attribution is the wefts.First of all Gendge and Kazak rugs commonly have red wefts. They also have variation in the number of shots of wefts. Here we can see places where they used two shots and others where theyused 4. Most Caucasian rugs have two shots of tan white or brown wefts. When you see red, more than two or variation in the number thing Gendge and Kazak rugs.Also this has the classical flat back we expect in Gendge rugs.

Azeri Gendge Rug

Antique Gendge Rugs are noted for the frequent use of stripes.

Azeri Gendge Rug

Gendge rugs can be as good as the best Caucasian rugs or as bad as the worst. This rug has meticulous detail and magnificent color. One of the best I have seen.

Azeri Gendge Rug

Description: Here is an exceptional Museum quality Genje weaving that will make a spectacular addition when presented in your home. I have seen only a handful of rugs this nice on all of ebay in the last couple of years. In any New York shop a Genji rug like this one, around 120 years old and in pristine condition with original length pile would start somewhere over 10,000 dollars. This rug is the epitome of the true collector's rug. All vegetable dyes, very individualized design, excellent condition are all hallmarks of the collectable piece.

The town of Gendje was called Elizabethpol under the Russian Tsars and is now known a Kirovabad, the principal town in Russian Azerbaijan. It is centrally located between the weaving sites of Kazak, Shirvan and Karabagh resulting in a weaving style which shows considerable influence from these surrounding regions. This rug is conservatively dated to circa 1880. There is no one particular style that typifies the Gendje production. Perhaps the single most evident characteristic from a design standpoint is the absence of the large medallion format which typifies the Kazak aesthetic.

Here we see scattered multi-colored “flowers” scattered diagonally throughout the field, presenting a lovely visual image. Gendje rugs tend to be rather bold from a color perspective, employing mainly primary colors, as evident here in this rug.

The deep blue and brown ground is exceptionally saturated with lovely yellow, blue, eggplant, green, and red “snow-flakes” floating on the darkness of the field. The dark brown color is natural wool and is not dyed. It is worn down a tiny bit more than the surrounding colored ornaments but isn't low anywhere.

The dyes seen here are of exceptional quality and all derived from natural dyestuffs and painstakingly prepared in time honored fashion with professional skill. This polychromatic appearance is absolutely breathtaking to behold, lovely shades of beautiful primary colors in addition to a wonderful forest green.

Structurally Genje rugs differ very little from Kazak rugs. They are made with wool wefts (as this piece is) and are knotted in a similar fashion as Kazaks, not very fine for the most part but quite fine in this exceptional example. The condition of this rug is excellent, with original ends and selvedges. It measures 39 X 84 inches (3"3" X 7'). There are no repairs. The rug was kept as a heirloom for most of its life in old Soviet Georgia, where it was acquired. There is nothing in the rug world more exquisite to the feet than walking on a mint condition Caucasian rug. The wool is so soft and springy the effect is therapeutic. Bid with confidence, this is a great rug of considerable merit for collectors and inestimable value to the decorator crowd. A lovely and perfect example of Caucasian weaving at its finest.


Gendge Long Rug

Gendge Long Rug

This is a excellent example of the classic stripped Gendge rug. Compare the main border to the main border in Ulrich Schurmann, Caucasian Rugs plates 47.

Gendge Long Rug

Compare the guard borders to Ulrich Schurmann, Caucasian Rugs plates 52.and the main border to plate 47.

Gendge Long Rug

Here we can see places where they used two shots and others where they used 3. Most Caucasian rugs have two shots of tan white or brown wefts. This has variation in the tension of the wefts with most senuous and ocasionally a rigid weft.The vaiation in weft tension cause the somewhat uneven look to the back.

Gendge Long Rug

Gendge rugs are noted for the frequent use of stripes. Note the striped leaves on the flowers on the blue stripe. This is part of a small strpped leaf group that includes Ulrich Schurmann, Caucasian Rugs plates 49.

Gendge Long Rug

Description: Here is an exceptional Museum quality Genje weaving that will make a spectacular addition when presented in your home. I have seen only a handful of rugs this nice on all of ebay in the last couple of years. In any New York shop a Genji rug like this one, around 120 years old and in pristine condition with original length pile would start somewhere over 10,000 dollars. This rug is the epitome of the true collector's rug. All vegetable dyes, very individualized design, excellent condition are all hallmarks of the collectable piece.

The town of Gendje was called Elizabethpol under the Russian Tsars and is now known a Kirovabad, the principal town in Russian Azerbaijan. It is centrally located between the weaving sites of Kazak, Shirvan and Karabagh resulting in a weaving style which shows considerable influence from these surrounding regions. This rug is conservatively dated to circa 1880. There is no one particular style that typifies the Gendje production. Perhaps the single most evident characteristic from a design standpoint is the absence of the large medallion format which typifies the Kazak aesthetic.

Gendge rugs can be as good as the best Caucasian rugs or as bad as the worst. This rug has meticulous detail and magnificent color. One of the best I have seen.

Gendge Long Rug

Here we see scattered multi-colored “flowers” scattered diagonally throughout the field, presenting a lovely visual image. Gendje rugs tend to be rather bold from a color perspective, employing mainly primary colors, as evident here in this rug.

The deep blue and brown ground is exceptionally saturated with lovely yellow, blue, eggplant, green, and red “snow-flakes” floating on the darkness of the field. The dark brown color is natural wool and is not dyed. It is worn down a tiny bit more than the surrounding colored ornaments but isn't low anywhere.

The dyes seen here are of exceptional quality and all derived from natural dyestuffs and painstakingly prepared in time honored fashion with professional skill. This polychromatic appearance is absolutely breathtaking to behold, lovely shades of beautiful primary colors in addition to a wonderful forest green.

Structurally Genje rugs differ very little from Kazak rugs. They are made with wool wefts (as this piece is) and are knotted in a similar fashion as Kazaks, not very fine for the most part but quite fine in this exceptional example. The condition of this rug is excellent, with original ends and selvedges. It measures 39 X 84 inches (3"3" X 7'). There are no repairs. The rug was kept as a heirloom for most of its life in old Soviet Georgia, where it was acquired. There is nothing in the rug world more exquisite to the feet than walking on a mint condition Caucasian rug. The wool is so soft and springy the effect is therapeutic. Bid with confidence, this is a great rug of considerable merit for collectors and inestimable value to the decorator crowd. A lovely and perfect example of Caucasian weaving at its finest.


The Shehady Gendge Rug

The Shehady Gendge Rug

Type: Gendge.

Size: 3'10"x6'4".

Age: 1870-1880 circa.

Condition: Very good to excellent. Soft velvety wools, with 3/8" thick pile throughout. Exceptions of oxidized browns that are not worn. Complete with the original double braided edges that have had wool wrapped. Here is a antique Caucasian rug that has alot of character, and a very warm feeling. Early colors of all vegetable dyes. Wool warp, and weft. K.P.S.I.:5x6. Very collectable.Has been professionally washed.

The Shehady Gendge Rug

Back of Rug

Of all the Caucasian rugs almost all have two shots of weft between each row of knots but Kazaks and Gendges have 2 to 4 shots. The weft count is often irregular and may be two shots with intermittent 3 or 4 shots. The wefts are generally undyed brown or red. The backs of Gendges are flat or with up to a 30 degree warp depression. Warps are generally three ply twisted undyed wool.

Gendge rugs averages 31 square feet and 57 symmetrical knots per square inch.

Gendge or Ganja is a difficult area in that it was a substantial rug production area but there is not a great deal of solid evidence for attribution. Ulrich Schurmann suggests that most Gendge rugs are woven by Armenians. Caucasian Rugs page 41. This rug has type of colors, design that I equate with an Armenian attribution. When I see a bold powerful design with happy colors and a relatively coarse construction I think Armenian.

Wright and Wertime refer back to A. S. Piralov's Kratkii ocherk kustarnykh promyslov Kavkasa for the estimate that in 1913 there were 30,000 weavers in 222 villages in the Ganja area. But then they suggest that there are only 8 patterns woven in the Gendge area based on N. Abdullaeva's Kovrovoe iskusstvo Azerbaidzhana Baku 1971. Caucasian Carpets and Covers. page 127. I love Caucasian Carpets and Covers but sometimes such as on this area I am troubled by the reliance on Russian language sources for hard to believe assertions such as this. If there were 30,000 weavers in 222 villages which I find very plausible I find it implausible that they confine their production to 8 patterns. I also feel more comfortable with the 1913 source rather than the 1971 source. Ian Bennett identifies more than 8 patterns in Oriental Rugs Volume 1 Caucasian. Ulrich Schurmann's Caucasian Rugs shows ten types of Gendge, do we throw two out?

I have to wonder if the source seriously meant only 8 patterns total or the commercial production was confined to 8 primary patterns for their commercial production. In the Caucasus we must separate the time into the Persian period, the Czarist period, and the Communist periods and when we are given assertions such as 8 patterns we need to know when and in what context.

The Shehady Gendge Rug

So as I look at this rug and try to weigh the evidence I have to suggest that this is a Gendge. Structurally this rug fits better in Gendge that anywhere else that comes to mind. However it does not appear to be one of the 8 commercial Gendge patterns to which Wright and Wertime allude. The Azeris are said to have produced most of the commercial rugs from Gendge. As I mentioned earlier this rug has a look that makes me suspect that it was woven by Armenians. So when I look at all the available data I feel this is an Armenian rug woven in Gendge. I also suggest that this rug was woven for indigenous use and not for the export trade.

One thought that strikes me is that this is not a Kustar rug. The Kustar movement was an effort by the Russian Government to stimulate weaving by teaching weavers to weave rather predictable commercial pieces. This rug show a definite spark of creativity and artistic expression.


Gendge rug 19th C.

Gendge rug 19th C.

Title: A Gendje rug, CAUCASUS, 19th ct., corroded browns, resto.

Size: 255 x 95 cm


A Gendje rug, circa 1890

A Gendje rug, circa 1890

A Gendje rug, Central Caucasus, circa 1890

Measurements: 175 by 135cm., 5ft. 9in. by 4ft. 5in.


Saddle Rugs

Saddle Rugs

Saddle covers were a prominent product of Senneh weaving, and the Herati pattern, seen here in the bottom corners, was a common motif. The leather bound slits in the black field are for the saddle's cantle and pommel. Paintings of horses with saddle covers appear in Persian miniatures as early as the 14th century. This particular cover has a date on it of 1295 AH (1878 AD), and an inscription that has been tentatively translated as "Allah is the Prophet." Completely woven in pile, this cover would have provided a comfortable cushion for the rider.

Cotton warp and weft, wool pile

89 x 102 cm

Saddle Rugs

Saddle Cover Iran, Senneh, Late 19th Century

Saddle Rugs

Kerman Saddle Cover

Saddle Rugs

Kerman Saddle Rug

Saddle Rugs

Yomut saddle cover19th C.

Saddle Rugs

Antique Yomut Saddle Rug

Saddle Rugs

Meshed Baluch Saddle Rug

Saddle Rugs

Fighting Camels in the style of Mohammadi

Elephants, Rhinoceroses, and Camels

Saddle Cover Eastern Altai, Pazyryk Burial Mound 1

Felt, leather, horsehair

5th century BC

L 119 cm, w 60 cm

Saddle Rugs

This cover of thin red felt trimmed along the edges with strips of leather is decorated with applique designs in coloured felt. On the sides of the cover are two identical compositions: a winged griffin, standing on the ibex he has overwhelmed, holds in his beak one of the victim's horns; the ibex's forefeet are bent under him, while his hind legs, together with the hindquarters, also twisted around, turn upwards; the head faces backward.

According to the traditions of ancient Altai art, the animals' bodies are emphasized by applique designs in the form of a dot, triangle and drop.

On either side the saddle cover has three pendants of yellow felt trimmed with red horsehair and lined with leather. The outer side of each pendant shows an applique design in coloured felt of a moufflon between two horned tiger's heads. The cover is highly decorative.