Baluch Rug, NE Persia, 19th Century, 3’ 2” x 4’ 11”
Small format Baluch rugs bearing the attributes of main carpets are extremely rare. If one is fascinated by the design pool of Timuri main carpets, perhaps the most coveted type among devoted Baluch collectors, this example is extremely satisfying.
Made by the so-called Timuri tribe of NE Persia, obviously this group is not to be considered truly Baluch. As we know, the real Baluch tribes are located in SE Persia and SW Pakistan and are rarely associated with pile weaving. The tribes of NE Persia, on the other hand, are prolific weavers of pile rugs, bags and trappings.
The Timuri (or Taimuri, as Jerry Anderson referred to them, based upon their lineage to Tamur or Tamerlane) are thought to be a Turkic group who occupy areas of NE Persia. Often, the design pool of their pile weavings incorporate elements associated with or seen in Turkmen weavings. It is commonly thought they are simply “copy artists”, unduly influenced by the neighboring Turkmen tribes. In some cases, this assumption may be true. But on other occasions, the execution of some ornaments suggests a familiarity with the design beyond merely copying those of another tribe.
The field pattern seen here exhibits all the characteristics of a truly old and wonderful weaving. The suggestion of a tree element within the hexagonal medallion is something I have not seen executed in this manner elsewhere. Attached to the “limbs” of the tree, we see six elements that are a distinct segment of the Turkmen design pool, more often seen in the same manner on trees in the small Tekke Turkmen “kaps” or used in the borders of those same weavings.
The secondary/tertiary elements floating on the indigo blue field are randomly scattered with no symmetry, another feature usually associated with older rugs of the type. The botehs, too, have that classic drawing, with spikes protruding from the body of the ornament, with two of the capped with a rams horn devices.
The border is drawn in the= manner one encounters in classic rugs of the Saryk. It is done so well, it is difficult to assume it has been merely copied from another rug, suggesting a shared history and/or contiguity of habitation. Even the secondary border on the white ground, the classic Turkic “sarkhalkha” border is extremely well done, finer than normally encountered in other Baluch rugs.
The condition is not without some wear as one would expect in a truly old rug, especially a Baluch with the soft lustrous wool that typifies these weavings. But there are no holes or repairs. The kilim ends are intact as well, an unusual feature on old Baluch rugs. The colors are all derived from natural dyes.
Clearly related to the blue ground main carpets of the Tamuri, this is a rare and extremely significant example of Baluch weaving from Khorassan.
For further information on this piece, you may contact Thomas Cole