Guide to Antique Shirvan Rugs & Carpets

Shirvan is a former Khanate in the Caucasus. It is populated by primarily Azeri Turks. But there was a significant population of Armenians in the area west of Shemakha. Shirvan along with Kuba and Derbent are the primary Azeri weaving area. Shirvans are not as fine as Kubas but are better made than Derbends. Gennerally Shirvans are short pile rugs with a flat or near flat back.

Rug Structure:
Typical Shirvan Structure

Shirvan two cord white cotton selvage sometimes blue. Wool in very old examples, cotton in newer. Normally the same material and color as the wefts.

Ends: Upper – fringe. Lower loops. Loops often woven into band See Mallett

Flat back

Warps are flat or mildly depressed. 2 ply warps often barber-poled the lighter ply may be cotton.

Notes: Stone mentions averages of 113 kpsi and average size of 28 square feet. Oriental Rug Lexicon. He also mentions Akstafas as a type of Shirvan that averages 107 kpsi and average size of 34 square feet. Oriental Rug Lexicon

Similar styles:


Shirvan Rug Blue Field "Shrub" with Structure
Shirvan Rug Blue Field "Shrub" with Structure
Origin: East Caucasus, last quarter 19th century

Size: 4 ft. 2 in. by 3 ft. 4 in. (1.27 m. by 1.02 m.)

Warp: Wool, Z4S, ivory, brown, ivory / brown mix

Weft: Cotton, Z2S, natural white

Pile: Wool, symmetrical knot

Density: 8-9 horizontal, 10-12 vertical

Sides: Cotton, 1 cord of 2 warps, overcast white (some original)

Ends: Warp fringe

Colors: Light to deep cornflower blue, ochre, madder red, scarlet, cinnamon, medium to deep teal, deep indigo, bisque, moss, aubergine, deep cordovan, black

Condition: Oxidized browns, two corners reworked

Shirvan Rug Blue Field "Shrub" with Structure

Antique Shirvan Caucasian Rug with Structure
Antique Shirvan Caucasian Rug with Structure
The color in this piece is the key. But it is also a fairly unusual design that lacks the general run of Kustar rugs. It is all there but the reweaves and repairs are extensive. This rug is definitely a candidate for floor use in a better home.

Origin: Caucasus, 2nd half 19th century

Size: 3 foot 6 inch by 7 foot 1 inch

Structure: Symmetrical. 8 knots per horizontal inch and 12 knots per vertical inch. 135 per square inch (2092 per square decimeter).

Yarn Spin: Z.

Warp: Wool, white.

Weft: 2 ply wool white.

Pile: 2 Wool singles.

Ends: 3/8 inch plain weave with warp fringe.

Selvages: 2 cord white.

Further Notes: Extensive repair and reweave with a stain on back.

Antique Shirvan Caucasian Rug w/ structure

Shirvan rug, c.1900
Shirvan rug C. 1900
Origin: East Caucasus, circa 1900

Description: Note the ivory field with rows of stylized animals overall within the gold polychrome snowflake border.

Size: 4ft. 7in. x 3ft. 9in. (140cm. x 114cm.)

Shirvan Rug Blue Field "Shrub" w / Structure dated 1815
Shirvan Rug Blue Field "Shrub" w / Structure dated 1815
Origin: East Caucasus, dated 1230 (1815).

Warp: Wool, Z3S, ivory brown mixed.

Weft: One wool and one cotton Z2S, two shoots natural white.

Pile: Wool, some camel hair symmetrical knots.

Density: 11 H by 11 - 17 V

Sides: Cotton 1 cord of 2 sets of warps, white overcast.

Ends: Upper – ¾ inch white cotton kilim, then knotted warp fringe.

Size: 4 ft. 5 in. by 3 ft. 7 in. (1.35 by 1.09 m)

Colors: Peacock blue, medium-deep red light-dark ochre, navy, ivory, camel, sage green, and black.

Notes on Condition: Oxidized browns.

Shirvan Rug Hexagon Columns, Kurdamir District
Shirvan Rug Hexagon Columns, Kurdamir District
Pile: Short and very soft wool, symmetric knot.

Density: Tightly woven, H 36/10 cm X V 44/10 cm , 1584/dm²

Warps: Z2S, thin white wool

Wefts: Z2S, thin dark brown wool, two shoots.

Back: Slightly ridged

Selvedges: Flat selvedges of 3 cords of two warps wrapped in figure eight with beige wool.

Ends: Missing, probably only fringes.

Colors: Natural, deep blue ground with light blue in the motives, different shades from light to dark oxidized brown, oxidized black, different shades of olive green, pink, red, and white.

Condition: Many traces of wear.

Comments: One vertical row of three stepped edged conjoined hexagons containing a cruciform motif and flanked by parts of hexagons on a edge blue ground. Main border with a type of Kufic motif.

Shirvan Kelim, Azeri Type
Shirvan Kelim, Azeri Type
Date: Around 1900

Size: 248 x 145cm.

Late 19th C. Flower Shirvan Rug
Late 19th c. Flower Shirvan Rug
This rug is a popular style made in Shirvan in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It has a flower blossom border commonly seen in Shirvan and Kuba rugs.

Late 19th c. Flower Shirvan Rug

Shirvan rug, Lezgi Star
A Shirvan rug Lezgi Star Lesghier-Sternen
Origin: Caucasus, ca. 1880

Size: 146 x 104 cm.

Condition: Corroded browns, small repiled areas.

Antique Shirvan Caucasian Runner
Antique Shirvan Caucasian Runner
Origin: Moghan Caucasian rug, 19th century.

Size: 3 foot 5 inch by 7 foot 5 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: 3 ply tan wool.

Weft: 2 shots tan wool.

Pile: 2 wool singles.

Ends: Half-hitch binding and .5 inch fringe with plain weave.

Selvages: 2 cord plain interlaced beige wool.

Handle: Supple.

Further Notes: Antique, well appreciated, very good condition, worn pile. This rug has historic repairs.

This is a very attractive Caucasian runner. This is a collectors piece but could be used in a lower traffic floor area.

Antique Shirvan Caucasian Runner

Shirvan Rug, 19th C.
Shirvan rug 19th C.
Origin: Caucasus, 19th century

Size: 319 x 120 cm.

Condition: Losses to pile, minor restorations.

Shirvan Runner, circa 1890
A Shirvan Runner circa 1890
Origin: East Caucasus, circa 1890

Size: 8ft. 4in. by 3ft. 3in. (2.54 by 0.99m.)

Description: Oxidized charcoals, small reweaves

A Shirvan Runner circa 1890

Shirvan in a Konagkend Style
Shirvan in a Konagkend Style
Type: Shirvan

Size: 4ft.5in. x 6ft.8in.

Age: circa 1880-1890

Condition: Very good to excellent. Thick lustrous pile throughout. Exceptions of slight oxidized browns (not worn). The royal blue cruciform medallion on a red field gives this very special antique rug a bold and dramatic look. Beautiful vegetable dyes with an excellent early synthetic red field color (no bleeding). Wool warp and cotton weft.

K.P.S.I.: 10 x 12

Shirvan in a Konagkend Style

Shirvan in a Konagkend Style

Back of Shirvan rug in a Konagkend Style

Small 19th Century Bidjov Rug
Small 19th century Bidjov Rug
Size: 120 x 84cm.

Description: An unusually small Bidjov rug with the characteristic achaischen design.

Lesghi Star Shirvan Rug
Lesghi Star Shirvan rug
Here is a very finely woven Shirvan rug, 19th century, measuring 4ft. 3in. X 5ft 7in. The knotting is over 100 knots per square inch. Proper Shirvan rugs are distinguished by their fine designs and graphic colorful imagery. This weaving typifies what many are looking for in the best Caucasian weavings available. The saturated indigo blue ground color provides a wonderful contrast for the Lesghi Star central devices, which are thought to be associated with Turkoman gulls, and the blue-blue/green and red coloring of the large medallion centers serves to "lift" the medallions up from the background.

This is in a very substantial and robust weaving capable of handling all kinds of traffic. The pile is of medium length, no low places at all. This is a rare chance to own an antique Shirvan rug, one of the world's most collectable types, with a nice pile. The feel of this rug underneath ones feet is simply heavenly.

The white ground color in the border is very dramatic and striking while the proportion of the border to the field helps to contribute to a an overall aesthetically pleasing composition, one that is very easy on the eyes. The lack of tertiary elements in the field contributes to the free and open space that is immediately evident in the rug. There certainly was no effort to fill space just for the sake of filling it, resulting in a dramatic weaving of considerable decorative quality.

The most outstanding feature of the rug has to be its wonderful vegetable dyes and their incredible range of hues. There is primary red, aubergine, green, yellow, many shades of blue and red. This rug would make a great point from which to decorate a whole room, a true centerpiece with the size and visual impact to make a great lasting impression!

Lesghi Star Shirvan rug

Lesghi Star Shirvan rug

The Oliveira Stylized Lotus Palmette Shirvan Rug
The Oliveira Stylized Lotus Palmette Shirvan Rug
Size: 105 x 65 cm

Region: West Asia > Caucasus > Northeast Caucasus > Shirvan

Date/Period: 19th century: last quarter

Materials: Soft wool, natural and artificial dyes (a red and an orange)

Structure: Knots: 48 (v) x 55 (h) = 2,640 / dm2

Condition: Fair, with low even pile. The ivory ground is a bit dirty. A few rows of knots missing at both ends.

Full Description: A lovely Shirvan rug with diagonal rows of colorful ‘stylized lotus palmettes' over an ivory ground. The ‘stylized lotus palmettes' design is ubiquitous in the Caucasus but is particularly associated with Shirvan, Kuba, and Daghestan. The current piece is a village derivation from ancient Caucasian rugs with splendid large shrubs or even from the large ‘blossom' carpets. This collectable rug has a clear village feeling, although it is superb in its simplicity.

The Oliveira Stylized Lotus Palmette Shirvan Rug

Shirvan Rug 

Shirvan Rug

Approximately 5ft. by 3ft. 5in. (1.52 by 1.04m.)

Marasali Shirvan Prayer Rug

Marasali Shirvan Prayer Rug

Approximately 5ft. 1in. by 3ft. 11in. (1.55 by 1.19m.). Original end finishes, partially oxidized browns.

Shirvan Prayer Rug w/hands late 19th c. 
Shirvan Prayer Rug w/hands late 19th c.

ca. 181 x 101 cm. Good overall condition, ends slightly reduced.

Animal Border Shirvan

Animal Border Shirvan