A Comparison of Kazak and ShirvanCaucasian Rugs.

A Comparison of Kazak and ShirvanCaucasian Rugs.
By for the most popular of Caucasian rugs are the Kazaks from the southwest and the Shirvans from the northeast of the region. They could not be more different in design style or physical construction.
Taking the latter first, although many villages in theKazak area weave various designs, they tend to agree closely on structure. The warps are always natural wool and the wefts are also wool, but dyed red, or less frequently blue or left natural. As in all Caucasian rugs, the Turkish (symmetrical) knot is employed. The pile is clipped very long, the highest of any Caucasian, reaching ½” (12mm) or more. The sides are wrapped with the weft yarn and narrow wool plain weaves finish the ends. The long pile precludes finely detailed designs, but the rugs are boldly colored with large areas of primarily hues of red, blue, ivory, green, yellow and brown-black aubergine appears only in details on older pieces,. Designs may be strongly geometric central medallions, repeating smaller devices, and in smaller rugs, a prayer (directional) niche. There is no shading or mixing of colors, no overlapping of the motives. The rugs are direct and powerful with an average of seven colors. There is nothing Persiante about them.
At the other end of the Caucasus, along the west coast of the Caspian Sea is the active rug weaving Shirvan area. While the Kazak district is criss-crossed by mountains, the Shirvan area is flat and easily traversed. This has allowed Persian carpets to more easily influence the local weavers. Shirvan rugs have wool warps, but cotton wefts, the Turkish knot, but shorter pile and finer texture than Kazaks.
This allows more detailed and complex patterns with more colors. Tonalities may be primary or more muted. The area is extremely prolific and both medallion and overall patterns are woven. Runners and long rug (about 4’x8’) are common, and prayer rugs are the specialty of the certain villages. Some of these are extremely fine for rustic pieces and the best fetch prices far into the five figures. Kazak rugs, in comparison, tend to square (6’x7’) formats. But the best Kazaks, if rare types or in the most striking colors, are well into the six figures.
Not every Kazak or Shirvan reaches these rarefied collecting levels but there is a good supply of either type for the furnishing market. The rugs are compatible and stylistically congruent. If the colors are good, Kazaks and Shirvans work together.