Guide to Caucasian Kuba Rugs & Carpets

Kuba Rugs were considered the best rugs of the Caucasus when they were originally produced. Kuba as a Khanate was primarily populated by the 5 Lezgi peoples and the rugs appear to have been made by Lezgi (largest of the Lezgi Ethno-Linguistic group)and Tabassaran weavers. the Lezgi/Tabassaran weave is a denser than most Caucasian Rugs, symmetrically knotted, ribbed back and tends towards blue selvages. It has been suggested to me that Lezgi sub-group of Lezgi run a supplementary weft several inch into the field at irregular intervals.

Kuba was a Khanate of Persia (a Khanate is equivalent to a state or region in the old Persian system. Kaffel dates the transfer of Kuba to the Czarist Russians to 1806. Kaffel, Caucasian Prayer Rugs page 30.

Kuba region map

Kuba is the language of a subgroup of the Lezgians and Kuba (Quba) is a dialect that is rather distinct from Lezgi. Ethnologue: Azerbaijan.

Kuba is both a city and an area and in previous times it was a Khanate. It is south of Derbend and the area takes in the lowland Azeri speakers.

Kuba also refers to those people who speak Kuba as their milk language.

"While a 16th-century fortress dominates this town, most people go to Quba to see the hundreds of apple orchards. In the spring, the area is fragrant with the scent of apple blossoms. The town is also a center of carpet making -- tour a plant or do some shopping (Azerbaijanis will tell you that Cuba rugs are the best in the region). Along with Sumgait, Quba is generally seen as part of a long day trip from Baku. 100 mi./165 km northwest of Baku. " 

Also spelled: Kuba also Quebah, Cuba, Guba etc....

Examples:

A Kuba Gallery Carpet, Northeast Caucasus

A Kuba Gallery Carpet, Northeast Caucasus

Circa 1890. Oxidized browns, reselvaged, reweaves. Approximately 12 ft. 6 in. by 5 ft. 1 in. (3.81 by 1.55 m.)





Caucasian Medallion Carpet 18th/19th C. 

Caucasian Medallion Carpet 18th/19th C.

With influences of early Indopersian Carpet Design. An early Caucasian carpet with an unusual medallion. This could be part of a long tradition of Tabris/Azerbaijan workshop carpets. The design entered the Indo-Persian repetoire from the pre-Safavid Northwest Persian Turkmen art.

Reweaves and restorations particularly along the edges.



A rare Kuba rug with floral outline borders

A rare Kuba rug with floral outline borders

Northeast Caucasus. Third quarter 19th century. 6ft. x 3ft.4in. 1.83m. x 1.02m.

Slight even wear overall. This represents a very rare type with a particularly beautiful and unusual border.



Kuba Long Rug

Kuba Long Rug

Northeast Caucasus, last quarter 19th Century, repiled areas. Approximately 12 ft. 8 in. by 5 ft. 3 in. (3.86 m. by 1.60 m.)

Warp: Wool, Z4S, ash / light brown mix

Weft: Cotton (white) Z3S or sometimes cotton Z3S alternating with cotton Z3S and wool (dark brown) 2Z; 2 shoots

Pile: Wool, symmetrical knot

Density: 6-7 horizontal, 7-9 vertical

Sides: Cotton, 1 cord of 4 warps, overcast blue

Ends: Upper - knotted warp fringe, the 1 1/4 in. blue kilim

Lower - 1/4 in. blue kilim, then 1 white warp float cable, then warp loops

Colors: Midnight blue, deep cornflower blue, peacock blue, butterscotch, ecru, chamois, chestnut, seal brown





A Kuba Long Rug, Northeast Caucasus, circa 1900

A Kuba Long Rug, Northeast Caucasus, circa 1900

Approximately 13 ft. 10 in. by 6 ft. 7 in. (4.21 m. by 2.01 m.)

Warp: Wool, Z3S, ivory, ivory / medium-dark brown mix

Weft: Wool, 2Z and cotton, 2Z (2Z2S) loosely plied, 2 shoots, natural white

Pile: Wool, symmetrical knot

Density: 7-8 horizontal, 8-9 vertical

Sides: Cotton, 1 cord of 2 warps overcast white

Ends: Warp fringe

Colors: Madder red, Venetian red, raspberry, china blue, cordovan, ginger, azure, mushroom, camel, sage, light teal green, putty, chestnut, auburn, khaki, black





Hort Oriental Rugs

Hort Oriental Rugs

Woven about 1860 in the Caucasus and is in very good condition. The border is very rare and the wool and colors are wonderful.



Shusha Garga or Kuba Bird Rug

Shusha Garga or Kuba Bird Rug

Second half 19th century

Dimension: 167 X 76 ; 5,5 ft. x 2,5 ft.

Knots: symmetric, pulled slightly to the right

Density: tightly woven, H 36/10cm V36/10cm. 1296/dm²; H 9/pi V 9/pi 81/psi.

Warps: tightly spun tan wool Z2S, warp depression around 45° and ribbed back

Wefts: two shoots tan - beige wool

Selvages: not original

Colors: natural, different shade of blue from light to dark blue, pink, white, medium brown, gold, madder red, olive, dark green

Very nice rug reminiscent of a Caucasian long rug with the same type of birds surrounding diamond-like medallions and the same rendering in the four spandrels. The outer minor border is very common in Kuba rugs. Also note the very well drawn tendril inner border and barber pole main border.

The inner guard border is one most commonly seen on Taimani rugs from Afghanistan, but it is seen in Chajli rugs from the Moghan area from the Caucasus The main border is also extremely unusual, and the only thing comparable to it is the Lesghi bar border seen in some Oriental Caucasian Rugs. The outer guard border is a carnation border that is common among Azeri weavers.









Kuba Blossom Carpet, Northeast Caucasus, 18th Century

Kuba Blossom Carpet, Northeast Caucasus, 18th Century

Rewoven areas in outer borders and a 2 ft. by 3 in. rewoven area in one end of the field, losses to pile. Approximately 17 ft. 9 in. by 7 ft. 9 in. (5.41 m. by 2.36 m.)

Warp: Wool, Z2S, alternate warp strongly, depressed, ivory, ash, ivory, light to dark brown twist

Weft: Wool, Z2S, sometimes Z3S, 2 shoots, terra-cotta

Pile: Wool, symmetrical knot

Density: 9-10 horizontal, 7-10 vertical

Sides: Not original

Ends: Not original

Colors: Saffron, acorn, Venetian red, garnet, cranberry, terra-cotta, denim blue, sage, teal blue, pale azure, caramel, lapis, ivory, forest green, seafoam green, mint, citron green, aqua, seal brown, black





Kuba Blossom Carpet, Northeast Caucasus, 18th Century

Kuba Blossom Carpet, Northeast Caucasus, 18th Century

Rewoven areas, areas of repair, reselvaged. Approximately 14fi. 11 in. by 6fi. 8 in. (4.55 m. by 2.03 m.)

Warp: Wool, Z2S, alternate warp strongly depressed, ivory

Weft: Wool, Z2, 2 shoots, ivory, salmon, medium to dark brown

Pile: Wool, symmetrical knot

Density: 8-9 horizontal, 7-10 vertical

Sides: Overcast not original

Ends: Incomplete

Colors: Medium to deep cinnabar, goldenrod, medium to deep lapis, azure, black walnut, oat, teal blue, aubergine, chamois, fern





Kuba Blossom Carpet, Northeast Caucasus, 18th Century

Kuba Blossom Carpet, Northeast Caucasus, 18th Century

Partial end borders, cut and reduced in length, oxidized browns, other minor repairs throughout, rewoven area upper end, overcast sides. Approximately 9ft. 4 in. by 4fl. 11 in. (2.85 m. by 1.50 m.)

Warp: Wool, Z2S, alternate warp strongly depressed, ivory, ivory/medium to dark brown twist

Weft: Wool, Z2-3, 2 shoots, light salmon, ivory/dark brown mix

Pile: Wool, symmetrical knot

Density: I 0- I I horizontal, 7- 1 0 vertical

Sides: Not original

Ends: Incomplete

Colors: Cadmium red, medium to deep cornflower blue, mushroom, slate black, pale to deep blueberry, pink coral, maize, aqua, teal blue, birch, cashew





Small Blossom Kuba Rug
Small Blossom Kuba Rug

Caucasus, 19th ct., losses to pile.

Size: 120 x 100 cm



Kuba Dragon Sumac Rug

Kuba Dragon Sumac Rug

Dimension : 217 X 175 cm

Bold design of eagle medallions between interlocking leaves, very well drawn, well known, and frequently published in many books, with nice compositional details and a well drawn outer white ground "running dog" border. The position of the highly stylized dragons is uncharacteristic. More normally they are found between each leaf system.

Technique: weft float brocading with very fine Z2S wool

Warp: Wool, white, Z3S

The colors are vivid and natural. Madder red and perhaps some aniline, brownish red, pink, light yellow, blue-ish green, light and dark blue, light and dark brown, white

Age: probably last quarter of the nineteenth century. Very good condition.





Kuba Floral & Heraldic Palmette Pattern

Kuba Floral & Heraldic Palmette Pattern

Dimension: 155cm X 110cm , 5ft X 3,6ft

Knot: symmetric slightly open to the right soft wool short clipped

Density: H38/10cm V42/10cm 1596/dm² ; H 9-10/pi V 10-11/pi 98/psi

Warps: fine white wool, finely twisted, Z2S, slightly depressed

Wefts: medium brown wool, 2 shoots

Selvage: flat selvage, 3 cords of 2 warps with interwoven brown ground wefts and overcast with medium blue wool

Colors: natural, white, different shade of light to dark blue, olive, madder red, pink, oxidized black and dark brown, light yellow, medium brown

Ends: warp fringes





This kind of palmette are also found in Sumacs from this area. Notice in this rug the high Persian influence and the use of very unusual main borders. Here a “bird and rosette Chila main border,” an arabesque main border, and a vase design main border.



A Kuba Rug, dated 1857 AD

A Kuba Rug, dated 1857 AD

Origin: East Caucasus. Dated 1273 AH = 1857 AD.

Size: approx. 162 x 118 cm

Notes on Condition: Literature References. Upper end re-woven, re-selvaged; some small restored places, overall in good condition.



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 Z2S Warp depression 60° ribbed back

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

This rug is most likely from Kuba, based on 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.







Kuba Rug with Shield-Like Palmettes

Kuba Rug with Shield-Like Palmettes

Age: dated 1321 = 1899 A.D

Dimension: 395cm x 190; 13ft by 6ft

Knots: symmetric, slightly open to the right, shortly clipped

Density: H 36/10cm X V 32/10cm 1152/dm²; H9/V8 pi 72/psi

Warps: thin tan and light brown wool, Z2S, slightly depressed

Wefts: tan wool, 2 and 3 shoots

Selvedges: flat selvage of two cords of two warps wrapped with interwoven ground wefts and overcast with white cotton

Ends: 1 cm plain weave ends and knotted fringes

Colors: dark blue, azure, very light blue, gold, olive, medium green, madder red, aniline red in two rows of palmettes in the middle part of the rug and in the top outer minor border, black, beige, medium and deep brown, natural orange, and chemical orange in the lower half part

It seems this rug was woven by two different weavers, as the palette of colors differ in the upper and lower half part of the rug. This very nice rug has an all over design of shield-like lotus palmettes reminiscent of 18th century rugs and Karabagh rugs. Each palmette contains a very nice and well-drawn peacock with two eyes and three fingers or a totemic motif and a stylized quadruped. At the bottom of each shield-like palmette (at the right side) there is a small octagonal medallion of the same type as the outer minor border or with a dotted rendering. To obtain this dotted rendering the weaver used twisted wool of two different colors.





Notice four human figures with nice dressings along the right side. The main border is reminiscent of 18th century floral borders of rugs in dragon rug technique and also of the “narcissus” Border from Baluch rugs.

The very nice and exceptionally well drawn “bar and stars” inner minor border (reminiscent of more floral types) and the octagonal motifs of the outer minor border are widely used through the Caucasus and North Persia. The overall polychrome and the use of natural orange are strongly reminiscent of Kurdish weaving from North West Persia.





The Cocoon Bijov Shirvan Rug

The Cocoon Bijov Shirvan Rug





Long Rug, Talish/Kuba Area, third quarter 19th ct.

Long Rug, Talish/Kuba Area, third quarter 19th ct.

Small repairs.

Size 320 x 115 cm

Description: A tree-like rod motif with birds runs through the slender interior. Among the filling motifs, the small equestrian figures are remarkable.



A Cuba Rug dated 1871

A Cuba Rug dated 1871

Caucasus, dated 1871. Minor repairs.

Size: 258 x 118 cm

Description: magnificently in the preservation of the fleshy thick pile and the color composition. The beautiful pattern colors of the barrails in the inner panel are particularly prominent on the deep blue background. An unusual variant of the crabs pattern is shown on the ivory of the main border.

Condition: brown age corroded, small rep. Spots.



Kufic Border Kuba Rug c. 1880

Kufic Border Kuba Rug c. 1880

Slight losses to pile.

Size: 151 x 119 cm

Description: Kufi main border in an unusual color. Uniformly thin, small pile defects. Narrow-side outer border incomplete.



A Kufic Border Kuba Rug dated 1872

A Kufic Border Kuba Rug dated 1872

Caucasus, dated 1872. Corroded browns.

Size: 163 x 111 cm

Description: a rug with colors arranged diagonally. Kufic' border. North-Eastern Transcaucasia, mid 19th century.



Zeijwa-Kuba Rug, Caucasus, late 19th ct.

Zeijwa-Kuba Rug, Caucasus, late 19th ct.

Losses to pile, thin, repiled areas.

Size: 140 x 110 cm

Description: a large, bright white Zeijwa Medallion in brown-ground infield, flanked by green-ground polygons.



Kuba Shaher (Town) Rug, Northeast Caucasus, early 20th century

Kuba Shaher (Town) Rug, Northeast Caucasus, early 20th century

4 ft. 11 in. x 3 ft. 10 in. (1.50m. x 1.14m)

Condition: Evenly low overall, slight damage both ends. Rugs of this type were woven in Kuba town itself.





Kuba Sphinx Rug

Kuba Sphinx Rug

Caucasian Rug, Caucasus. 19th century.

Size: 2 foot 4 inch by 3 foot 1 inch.

This is a wonderful old Caucasian with an Egyptian theme. With the find of the Rosetta Stone in 1799, fascination with Egypt raged all through the 19th and into the 20th century.

Structure: Symmetrical knot. 10 knots per horizontal inch and 12 knots per vertical inch. 120 per square inch (1860 per square decimeter)

Yarn Spin: Z

Warp: 2 ply wool

Weft: 2 shots brown wool

Pile: 2 wool singles

Ends: 1/4 inch obliquely wrapped fringe on plain weave

Selvages: 3 cord interlaced blue wool

Handle: Light, soft, pliable

Further Notes: Even low pile, rebuilt on both ends, some repairs in the field.





Karabakh Pattern Kuba Rug

Karabakh Pattern Kuba Rug

Northeast Caucasus early 20th century.

6ft.7in. x 4ft. 5in. 2.01m. x 1.35m.

Overall even wear.

Although the design is one associated with Karabakh, the structure of this rug indicates a Kuba origin.






Kuba Long Rug mid-19th century


Kuba Long Rug mid-19th century

MEASUREMENTS

Approximately 7ft. 7in. by 4ft. 6in. (2.31 by 1.37m.)

DESCRIPTION

DATE OF OBJECT

Mid-19th century

PUBLISHED CONDITION NOTE

Oxidized charcoals, partial end guard borders, selvages missing, foldwear, holes.






Lesghi Kuba Sumac 



Lesghi Kuba Sumac

East Caucasus. End of 19th c. 290 x 244cm. Lozenge design. Condition C/D. (moth damage).




Caucasion Rug, Kuba Region

Caucasion Rug, Kuba Region

302 by 208cm., 9ft. 11in. by 6ft. 10in.

Circa 1900