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Heriz and Ahar Rugs

Heriz and Ahar rugs are nearly indistinguishable in design. Both in fact are frequently sold as Heriz, a ‘bigger’ name on the market; and only a handful of merchants may be able to tell them apart.

Upon a closer analysis, however, Heriz and Ahar rugs display characteristics of two different carpet design groups.

Both villages are situated in Iran’s northwestern province of East Azerbaijan. Rugs are produced here in village workshops and in rural communities, often, by nomadic tribes.  

Outside of the specific village, the geographic provenance becomes irrelevant; it is the designs that matters.

Both Ahar and Heriz rugs are made in the Iran’s Sarab province; some workshops and definitely rural artisans may produce rugs in both geometric and rectilinear designs.

Pushti (pillow rug) Sarab province in our collection

However, as far as the contemprary productions is concern, Ahar rug medallions appear to be more curvilinear while Heriz ones are more geometric.

Most Heriz rugs follow the ‘Medallion and Corners’ design pattern which is often reffered to as ‘Medallion and Niche’. The pond, or field that sets the background for the central medallion constitutes the so-called double or reversed mihrab.

This concept cannot be appied to Ahar rugs wherein the idea of the niche is lost in the curvilinearity of the field elements.

It seems that the Ahar rugs retained the older patterns present in antique Serapi rugs; while Heriz rugs underwent a change toward more geometric forms.

19th century Serapi rug

Such a change may have been dictated by the market demand for more tribal geometric  patterns as opposed to floral and arabesque designs seen in other traditional Persian carpets.

The end result of this transition is precisely what made the scholars separate the two seemingly identical carpets and categorize them as belonging to different carpet groups.

Heriz rugs with their geometric medallions are viewed as belonging to the cross-star carpet group while Ahar rugs, which retained their traditional curvilinearity, are considered to be part of the star-Ushak carpet group.

The cross-star carpet group is rooted in the early Christian art (see the illustrations below) while the star-Ushak carpet group may be traced back to Asia Minor (Anatolia).

"Crucifix" (c. 1290-1295) (detail) by Giotto, Santa Maria Novella, Florence, Italy.

Star Ushak rug, XVII (17) century, Turkey, Ottoman Empire. Turkish ...
Star Ushak 17th century Turkey
In contrast to other Italian painters of the period who favoured cross-like star motifs in their backdrops (Giotto), Cima da Conegliano preferred the Ushak-star motif backgrounds

In conclusion, 20th century Heriz rugs, in their staple design, represent a sharp departure from the traditions of the region. ‘The designs of old Heriz rugs differ radically from those on new pieces.’ (Oriental Rugs Volume 2 PERSIAN, Erich Ascchenbrenner, Antique Collectors’ Clun , Suffolk 1990, p.49)

Ahar rugs, on the other hand, remain more faithful to patterns found in older pieces e.g. antique Serapi rugs.


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Telman Ibrahimov
Ph.Ds. in Art History Azerbaijan National Academy of Science

The origin of the Karabakh carpets of the South Caucasus have always been distinguished by their artistic and technical properties and ancient symbolism.

One of the most recognizable in this group is the “Gasymushagy” [Qasim Ushak] carpet.

The main design elements of this carpet first appeared in the famous “dragon” carpets of the Safavid era, which allows us to speak about the long-term stability of the traditions of its weaving [Kerimov 1983, p. 221].

Gasymushagy carpets belong to the Jabrail subgroup of the Karabakh group of carpets. The carpets of this subgroup were strongly influenced by the traditions of Tabriz carpet weaving.

This influence was historically due to the fact that the Jebrail region of Karabakh borders (across the Araks River) with South (Iranian) Azerbaijan.

Through Jabrail, the caravan route for centuries connected mountainous and lowland Karabakh with the South Azerbaijan cities of Tabriz, Khoy, Urmia, Ardabil, and others.

In addition to the Jabrail subgroup, the Karabakh group of carpets includes the Shusha subgroup covering the mountainous part of Karabakh and the subgroup of Plain Karabakh with a cultural and craft center in the city of Barda [Muradov 2011, p. 30].

It should be noted that the entire system of decoration of the “Gasymushagy” carpet is formed from various plant and flower motifs, which is a characteristic feature of both Tabriz and Karabakh carpets [Абдуллаева 1971, p. 47].

The rich flora of Karabakh influenced the carpet craft of this region, where stylized motives of local plants, flowers, fruits and berries are easily recognizable.

Many experts of oriental carpets, in their classifications, include “Gasymushagy” carpets in the group of so-called “dragon” carpets of Karabakh (in Azerbaijani – “Ajdahaly”)[Maurizio 1996, p. 128]. The common relationship between the “Gasimushagi” carpets and the famous “dragon” carpets of Karabakh is undeniable.

The difference is that dragon carpets have remained an elite product of palace workshops (karkhane) to the end. Whereas, “Gasimushagi” carpets have become widespread in the folk craft of carpet weaving.

Design, symbolism of motives and “artistic ancestors” of the carpet, the emergence and formation of the main motives for the design of “Gasymushagy” carpets fall on the second half of the 18th century – the period of the emergence of independent feudal states in the Caucasian province of the former Safavid Empire.

One of these states was the Karabakh Khanate, which included the Highland and Lowland regions.

The collapse of the Safavid state in the 30s of the 18th century and the formation of independent feudal states on the territory of the Safavid empire changed not only political, but also economic and cultural life in the regions.

The loss of close cultural ties between the Caucasian and Iranian Azerbaijan, as a result of feudal fragmentation, became the reason for the “provincialization” of carpet craft in Karabakh and the emergence of new trends in its development.

At the initial stage, the production of large palace carpets, which were previously made and supplied to the Safavid palaces of Iranian Azerbaijan, sharply decreased.

The number of carpets entering Karabakh along caravan routes from the large carpet markets of Tabriz, Maragha, Ardabil and other cities of Iranian Azerbaijan also decreased.

The severance of trade, economic and cultural ties between Caucasian and Iranian Azerbaijan negatively affected the development of carpet craft not only in Karabakh, but also in other craft centers of Caucasian Azerbaijan

As a result of constant feudal wars that took place between the khanates, internal trade and handicraft ties between Karabakh, Ganja, Kazakh, Arran, Shirvan, Mugan and other regions of the once united Safavid state began to disappear.

Due to the disruption of cultural exchange that fueled the carpet craft traditions, Karabakh weavers had to more and more often modify old carpet designs and create new artistic contexts from old ornamental motifs.

From the end of the 18th century, the old designs of large palace carpets of the Safavid era began to be simplified, acquiring new artistic and technical features. Some of these features formed the basis of new traditions of carpet weaving among the tribes and clans living in Karabakh.

One of these tribes that created their own traditional carpet design was a tribe that called itself – “Gasymushagy”. This tribe historically lived in the mountainous part of Karabakh (modern Lachin region of Karabakh).

The Gasymushagi tribe originated from the Kirkuk Turkmens and considered their ancestor a generic mythical totem (Holy elder), which was called Gasym.

Numerous clans of the tribe called themselves Gasim Ushagy, which meant – Children of Gasym. Hence the name “Gasymushagy” – “Children/Descendants of Gasym” appeared [Ibrahimov 2019, p. 101].

Growing up, the tribe founded new villages, among which were Shamkend, Kurdhadji, Chorman, Shalva, Arikli, Pichenish, etc. Subsequently, all these related villages formed an ethno-territorial area called “Gasymushagy oba” (the area of residence of Gasymushagy [Tribal Land ]).

The ethnic and geographical community of these clans of the same tribe led to the emergence of a common name for the traditional carpets that were woven in the villages of this Tribal Land.

The prototype of the main motive of the “Gasymushagy” carpet was already present in the old “dragon” carpets of Karabakh, woven back in the Safavid era.

In those carpets, the prototype of the main motif of the Gasymushagy carpet – Ag gol (“white sleeve”) was present as one of the mesh design elements.

The prototypes of the “white sleeve” motif in those carpets have an easily recognizable plant-floral content.

In their design, contrasting white and black leaves contribute to the overall lattice structure of the middle carpet field. The diamond-shaped cells of the lattice usually contained images of dragons, which gave the name to these carpets.

The lattice formed from white and black leaves symbolized a “magic protective net” and, in fact, was a talisman. The symbolism of this “magic net” postulated the image of a mystical, impenetrable and enchanted forest, in which the dragon protectors live forever.

The “white sleeve” motif in Gasymushagy carpets is a stylized imitation of the white jagged leaves that we saw in old “dragon” carpets.

The design of old Safavid carpets is known in Azerbaijan under another, old name – “Khatai”. Since the second half of the 18th century, first in the embroiderys and later in the carpets in the local Gasymushagy carpets, the complex old design of the Safavid “dragon” carpets has been fragmented.

The reason for this is that at this time, orders for the creation of large and luxurious carpets to decorate the Safavid palaces ceased to come.

Reducing the size of the carpet and simplifying the design was carried out by the fragmentation of the design of the Safavid carpets. Not the whole carpet was woven, but one or two of its fragments.

The simple limitation of the woven piece with a decorative border gave the new carpet a complete and solid look. Thus, the intricate mesh designs of the Safavid “dragon” carpets gradually turned into medallion designs.

The disintegration of the centralized Safavid state and the transformation of its former Karabakh province into an independent feudal state led to the fact that representatives of the middle class became the customers of carpets.

In the Safavid era, the main customers for carpets were representatives of the palace aristocracy. The change of customers influenced not only the size of the carpets, but also the richness of the decor and the quality of the materials.

At the same time, one should not forget that the technical designs of carpets were now created not by professional palace artists, as before, but by local craftsmen and weavers. All this could not but affect the artistic and technical quality of the carpets.

The early stage of creation and formation of a new design of the “Gasymushagy” carpet is most clearly reflected in the folk embroidery created in “Tribal Land Gasymushagy”.

In the earliest examples of these embroideries, the “Ag gol” (“White Sleeve”) motif known to us, as in the “dragon” carpets of the Safavid period, is still an element of the mesh design. At the same time, already in these embroideries the motif of the Safavid “dragon” is replaced with a flower medallion.

As a result of this “restyling”, the old design of “dragon carpets” acquired a new artistic interpretation – first in folk embroidery, and then in local carpets.

These Karabakh embroideries adorn the expositions of many museums today [Boralevi, Samadova 2017, p. 40]. The central medallion of the “Gasymushagy” carpet, together with the adjoining “Ag gol” (“white sleeve”) motifs, forms the main distinctive motive of the carpet.

The design of the medallion has a floral origin, however, the old weavers called it “Azhdaha” (“Dragon”) and “Agrab” (“Spider”) [Абдуллаева 1971, p. 47]. The motif of the central medallion, which “migrated” from embroidery to carpets, has acquired a more geometrized and stylized form in the form of a large four-petal rosette.

Along with the central medallion and “white sleeves” (“Ag gol”), the design of the carpet also contains small ornamental motifs that fill the space of the central field.

Most of these motives are of a vegetable nature and depict flowers, buds, leaves, bindweed.

There are also geometric, astral, zoomorphic, anthropomorphic motives and tamga (tribal) signs. In the middle field of the carpet, you can often see hook-shaped talismans and images of the mother goddess [Kerimov 1985, p. 14].

As noted above, the “Gasymushagy” or “Ag gol” carpet has several border options. The main (wide) border has two options: in the first, we see stylized and geometrized zoomorphic motifs. The design of the second version consists of repeating motifs “khyrda g ü l” (small, wild flower).

Variants and modifications of the main motive “Ag gol” (“white sleeve”) of the “Gasymushagy” carpet are found in other carpets of the Karabakh group as well as in carpets from neighboring regions of Azerbaijan.

In Karabakh carpets, this motif can be seen in the “Chelebi” and “Bakhmanli” carpets. A slightly modified and reduced version of the “Ag gol” motif is available in the designs of the Guba carpets “Alpan”, “Zeykhur”, “Gollu Chichi” and others. The design of the “Ag gol” (“Gasymushagy”) carpet was finally formed in Karabakh by the end of the 19th century [Исаев 1932, p. 127].

By this time, the tendency to schematize and stylize the design of the carpet even more intensifies. One of the main reasons for this was the decrease in the density of knots in carpets of the late 18th – early 19th centuries.

Thick and coarse threads did not allow adequate repetition of small and complex motifs of old Safavid carpets. Having undergone “restyling”, the design of the Karabakh carpet “Ag gol” (“Gasymushagy”) has completely changed.

First, this happened in flat-woven sumakh carpets and only then in pile carpets. The next stage of further simplification of the design of “Gasimushagi” carpets falls on the 19th century.

At the end of the 20s of this century, the historical territories of the Azerbaijani people were divided between Russia and Iran. The territories located north of the Araks River, including Karabakh, became part of the Russian Empire, and the lands south of the river were annexed to Iran.

This historic event led to the final severing of historical and cultural ties that unite the Karabakh and Tabriz carpet traditions.

The economic policy pursued by the Russian Empire in the territories of its colonies also influenced the carpet art. Thus, at the end of the 19th century, the Caucasian branch of the All-Russian Handicraft Committee undertook large-scale measures to increase the production of carpets in the South Caucasus.

The increase in the circulation of carpet products, their commercialization – led to an even greater simplification and standardization of Karabakh carpets, including the “Gasymushagy” carpet.

Commercial popularization and dissemination of carpet craft in Karabakh already in the Soviet era (after 1920) had both positive and negative results.

The positive thing is that the ancient traditional craft of carpet weaving in Karabakh received a new, strong impetus for development.

The negative result was the commercial simplification of designs, reduction in size and reduction in the quality of carpet materials.

All this taken together contributed to the fact that traditional Karabakh carpets turned from unique works of art – into a handicraft consumer goods for citizens with limited financial resources.


The Karabakh carpet “Gasymushagy” with an unusual design has come a long way of development – from large “dragon” carpets of the Safavid era – to small medallion carpets with white paired “sleeves” (“Ag gol”) extending up and down from the central medallion.

The carpet, created in a small ethno-geographical region of Karabakh, called Gasimushagi oba (Tribal Land – the habitat of the Gasimushagi tribe), was created and woven in the context of artistic and technical traditions that unite the carpet crafts of Tabriz and Karabakh.

The Gasymushagy carpet, the traditional design of which was finally formed at the beginning of the 19th century, possessing all the features characteristic of Karabakh carpet weaving, nevertheless, has many parallels in the motives and symbolism of the neighboring carpet weaving centers of Azerbaijan.

These are the parallels. and sometimes a clear kinship is observed in the carpets of Shirvan, Nakhchyvan, Kazakh, Kuba and even neighboring Dagestan.


1. Абдуллаева Н. Ковровое искусство Азербайджана. «Элм». Баку 1971. Стр.42,47.
2. Boralevi Alberto, Samadova Asli . Exibition Curators. Azerbaijan Embroideries from the 16th -18th centuries. The 5th International Symposium on Azerbaijani carpets. “Silk Treasures”. Exibition Catalogue. Baku 2017. P-s. 36-45
3. İbrahimov T. Qarabağın “Qasımuşağı” xalçaları. Научно-публицистический журнал “Azərbaycan xalçaları”.№28/29. 2019
4. Исаев М.Д. Ковровое производство Закавказья. Тифлис. 1932. Стр.125-129
5. Керимов Л. Азербайджанский ковер. Том III. “Гянджлик». Баку.1983. Стр.221-223
6. Kerimov L. Azerbaijan Carpet. “ Jazichy” Baku 1985. Стр.14
7. Maurizio Cohen. The World of Carpets. “Crescent Books” New York 1996. P. 128
8. Muradov V. Azərbaycan xalçaları. Qarabağ qrupu. “Elm”. Bakı 2011. Стр.30-31
9. Gasimushaghi carpets.
10.Azerbaijani carpets from the Museum of Turkish and Islamic collection. Istanbul 2019

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Bode Cloudband Oushak

Part of  the permanent collection , ‘Dream and Trauma’,  at the Museum of Islamic Art in Berlin, the iconic Bode cloudband, a 17th century Oushak prayer rug is perhaps the most recognizable rug in the world.

Bode cloudband, a 17th century Oushak

The carpet belonged once to Wilhelm von Bode, a curator at the Friedrich Museum, now called the Bode Museum in Berlin.

It was offered to the museum in 1904, along with several other unique rugs from Bode’s private collection.

The Bode Museom in Berlin

Bode’s cloudband Oushak prayer rug  constitutes a most significant artifact within the musuem’s walls.

Chrispher Alexander, a British-American architect and design theorestist, used the Bode Oushak to illlustrate his highly controversial theory suggesting and defining criteria of the objective beauty in an art work.  

“…the quality of wholeness is not merely a matter of preference or taste for different observers, but instead a definite, tangible, and objective quality, which really does exist to a greater or lesser degree in any given carpet”

In his seminal work, ‘A Foreshadowing of 21st Century Art – The Color and Geometry of Very Early Turkish Carpets’ Alexander proposes that:

‘This notion of beauty, ‘the detailed organisation of matter’ (p8) seems intangible but an analysis of structure can approach it in an objective fashion … ‘

and later:

‘As one empirical way to get past the overlay of preferences to an objective assessment of the quality of a carpet, Alexander proposes a peculiar method: ‘(..) we must construct a question which is so concrete that it shocks the system, and forces more direct, more true, and more accurate response’ (p28). ‘The question asks: “If you had to choose one of these two carpets, as a picture of your own self, then which one of the two carpets would you choose?”‘ (p28). (…) ‘In case you find it hard to ask the question, let me clarify by asking you to choose the one which seems better able to represent your whole being, the essence of yourself, good and bad, all that is human in you‘ (p29). I include a scan of the illustration of the two carpets as image quotation.

According to Alexander, most people faced with this question choose the Berlin prayer rug over the Kazak. ‘This happens essentially because the question focuses awareness on the real oneness of the person, and compares it with the oneness of the carpet. The carpet with greater oneness seems more like “me” because I am comparing it against my own oneness’ (p29). Alexander contends that this feeling of greater depth ‘is an objective judgement—not a subjective preference—and that it arises because indeed, the left-hand carpet has a deeper and more significant structure’ (p30). (-) oturn Art and writing practice and theory—and rug analyses

The Bode Oushak has of course been replicated; it appears in various collections around the world, with some observable differences as to prevent the suspicion of forgery.

Here are some examples of such replicas:

German rug – Parviz Nemati collection
Location unknown -private location
Eastern Eurpean carpet (private collectiom)

The Bode Oushak continues to mezmerize collectors with is mystery and simplicity; it is a Mona Lisa of the textile arts.


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The Pink Mosque

Known as the Pink Mosque, the Nasir al-Mulk Mosque is indisputably a gem of Islamic architecture.  Here, the intricate labyrinth of columns, niches and archways set the stage for the most unusual spectacle of kaleidoscopic play of light.

Every Morning, This Stunning Mosque In Iran Is Illuminated With ...
A rare colour display upon the amazing collection of Persian rugs

The very intricate web of stained-glass windows lights up the otherwise dark and solemn interior of the mosque into a myriad of colours.

The atmosphere of this magic place changes along with the movements of the sun.  The subtle colour reflections upon the mosaic walls in the evening explode into a dazzling spectacle of colours the very following morning

File:Nasir al- mulk mosque, Shiraz.jpg - Wikimedia Commons
Occasionally, all carpets are removed to be aired in the mosque’s courtyard

Located in Shiraz in the Fars province of Iran’s south west, the Pink Mosque, or Nasir al-Mulk Mosque was constructed between 1876 and 1888, during the Qajar dynasty.

Enjoy some of the Iran’s  finest entrancing music complementing the magic show within the walls of the Pink Mosque   click here

Thank you for reading (and listening)


Additional readings:
Nasir al-Mulk Mosque

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The Qashqai

The Qashqai are a Turkic speaking ethnic group from the south west of Iran. They are divided into several tribes scattered over neighboring territories in the Zagros Mountains

Each autumn, the Qashqai leave the mountains and embark on an ardous journey to the plains of the Persian Gulf; each tribe pursues their separate ancestral route.

 They return to their mountain camps in the following spring.

Their lives are dictated by the cycles of nature, as well as by the challenges of modernity. 

Their hard life is frequently echoed in their songs, often sad and melancholic.

Enjoy ‘Bashgarayli’ sang by Afsane Jangiru, a Qashqai artist

Everybody leaves the mountains, no one stays behind
Many come and go
This worls is like an inn and
No one will remember me’

Photos by Mohhamed Eskandary


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The Shahsavan Nomads

Recognized for their exquisite textiles, the Shahsavan have for centuries lived the life of hardship and economic penury. Over the recent years, ‘the price of their product, especially sheep wool and dairy produce, have risen very slowly while the price of purchased commodities has increased sharply.’  

Shahsavan Mafrash | MasterArt
Shahsavan mafrash

Some Shahsavan took up farming and sedentary lives; others however continue to foster their pastoral traditions.

The short documentary by Arlene Dallalfar and Fereydoun Safizadeh offers a rare glimpse into their life of struggle against modernity and economic changes.


Additional recommended reading: Shahsavan Nomads

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Tableau Rugs

Pictorial or the so-called tableau rugs have been produced in Iran for ages.  Images of noblemen, shahs, hunting scenes, etc. are still replicated from the most ancient Safavid designs.

There is a special genre within these rugs, rugs that illustrate poetry, and often times poetry by the 12th century Sufi mystic, mathematician and astronomer Omar Khayyam.

Persia Reference: Omar Khayyam - The Poet of Uncertainty (BBC)

Omar Khayaam (1048-1131)

Khayyam’s poetry is profoundly philosophical, but also sensual, time and again glorifying wine drinking, song and female company.

His seminal compilation of poems named collectively The Rubáiyát is viewed as the greatest literary achievement in Persian language.

‘Oscar Wilde described the Rubáiyát as a “masterpiece of art”, placing it alongside Shakespeare’s sonnets as one of his greatest literary loves (Credit: Alamy)’

The Rubaiyat: History's most luxurious book of poetry? - BBC Culture

It is suggested that Khayyam’s attitude toward life, his pessimism and religious scepticism, are contrasted in his verse by the exaltation of ‘earthly’ pleasures, and serve as an antidote to his existential sorrow.

Omar Khayyam | Imaginary friend, Sufi poetry, Rubaiyat of omar khayyam

Small-format carpets depicting scenes of wine drinking orgies involving music, dance and even nudity can be found sporadically in various collection around the world.

The tradition of producing such rugs survived many dynasties – the Safavids, the Kajards, but found itself at a crossroads in 1979 with the foundation of the Islamic Republic.

It is prohibited (haram) in Islam to depict animate objects (humans and animals). This rule is strongly observed within the Sunni communities in the Middle East and around the world.

It is not the same under the Iranian Shia regime of the ayatollahs.
In fact, portraits  of revered Shia martyr, Ali can be frequently seen in Iranian households.

One thing however is to show an image of the prophet’s son-in-law; it is another thing altogether to show wine drinking parties and female nudity.
Alcohol consumption is strictly prohibited in Iran, and women are required to wear headscarves; some choose to wear chadors – black robes concealing them in full.

And yet …

Here is a small Tabriz in our collection illustrating a poem by Omar Khayyam:

‘It’s us and the musician and this ruined corner.
My soul, heart, place, and painful clothes of wine.
No hope and mercy and fear of punishment
Free from soil and wind and fire and water’

You may contact us if interested in purchasing this unique work of art

See the original 1960s Persian print:

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Rugs from Morocco

Far from the markets of the Middle East and Central Asia; in the world unknown to the merchants of silk and opulent Oriental carpets, thrives a world of textile culture of a different kind.

The various Berber tribes of the Moroccan Atlas have for millennia produced rugs of extraordinary aesthetic quality and spiritual depth.

Beni Ourain Rugs | Beni Ourain | Vintage Moroccan Beni Ourain Rug
Beni Ourain 20th century

Undisturbed by modernity, the Berbers create masterpieces in wool that show both sublime colour sensitivity and nearly ascetic restraint in their minimalistic patterns sketched against typically plain backgrounds.

Their indisputable artistry was already noticed in the late 19th century when, lured by the irresistible charm of Orientalism, many westerners travelled to north Africa. They were astounded by the richness of colour and the complexity of design: the fabric of Morocco.

It was however the Swiss-French architect and interior designer Charles-Édouard Jeanneret who introduced the Berber tribal rugs to the world.

Better known as Le Corbusier, Jeanneret incorporated these rugs into his ultra-modern designs where the warmth of the material and the whimsicality of the primitive patterns contrasted the austerity of his interiors.

The importance of his novel approach which broaches two seemingly irreconcilable aesthetics had an undeniable impact on the visual arts of the period. It is no coincidence that the works of the early 20th century western art appear so strongly to reflect ideas rooted in ancient cosmology of the African tribes.   

Bujaad Berber Rugs


Berber Rugs (various tribes)

to be continued …

Recommended readings:

Symbols in Moroccan Berber Rugs

Prestigious Vintage Berber Moroccan Rugs


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Pin en Annemarie Schwarzenbach
“The Tower of Kavus”

Lesser known but as iconic as the Minaret of of Jam, remote and inaccessible, “the tower of Kavus” sketches against the infinite
sky at the border of Iran and Turkmenistan.

The town of Gonbad-e Qabus, formerly, Gorgan/Hyrcania was once a significant marketplace for the goods brough here by the many Turkoman tribes from the steppes north of the border.

In time, however, the inhabitant of Gonbad-e Qabus, created their own staple design often referred to by rug merchants as ‘the Persian Bohara.’

‘The design of this north-Persian rug derives from Turkoman ornament. Rows of stylized ‘Salor’ güls alternate with large cross-shaped ornaments distantly related to Turkoman chuval güls.’ (-) Erich Aschenbrenner ‘Oriental Rugs – Persian Volume 2 p. 253-54

Disregarded by the Turkoman rugs collectors as not genuine, Gonbad-e Qabus rugs have never enjoyed any commercial popularity.

Structurally and in overall appearance, they are related to Beluch rugs, but then again they are not genuine enough to attract the Beluch studies scholars.

Here is a rare and interesting Gonbad-e Qabus rug in our collection.

Gonbad-e Qabus runner/The so-called Persian Bohara 210x110cm

You may request more photos if interested in purchasing this unique mid- to second-half of the 20th century north-Persian artifact, the so-called Persian Bohara.


Recommended reading : The Gunbad-i Qabus: the superlative beauty of a tomb tower

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Afghan War Rugs

The Modern Art of Central Asia

August 21 – October 16,

Organized and curated by Enrico Mascelloni and Annemarie Sawkins, Ph.D.

Afghan war rugs are fascinating on many levels, and although not much is known about their origins, the circumstances of their production, or even the identity of the artists, they offer an opportunity to learn about a largely unfamiliar world ... read the entire article

AFGHAN WAR RUGS in our collection

1980s Soviet invasion
21st Century US invasion
1980s Soviet invasion
21st Century US invasion
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