Beautiful Antique Caucasian Baku Rugs
Baku rugs are a gorgeous class that takes its name from the city of Baku in the Caucasus Mountains. They often feature more tribal florals and bold, geometric rug patterns, making them perfect for today’s interior designs. These magnificent and quite rare antique rugs bring elements of nature to the interior, creating a comfortable, cozy space in the home. They have a soft texture and fit perfectly into traditional and contemporary designs. Baku and its Caucasian rugs have a unique history that makes them both a global treasure.
Baku is an ancient city that dates back to at least the 5th century A.D. Now, it is a thriving, modern city that is the capital of Azerbaijan. Its name means, “city where the wind blows,” due to its frequently gusty winds. The name of the city is thought to have been derived from the Persian word bad-kube, but this word did not enter the Persian language until at least the 15th century, so the name of this city is as fascinating as its beautiful rugs with a unique design.
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Conflict and Conquest
As far back as the 16th century, Baku was known for its numerous oil fields that were used to make oil to burn in homes for light and heat. This commodity made it a center for trade and travel from the 16th through the 18th centuries. It also made it the target for conquest. Throughout the 16th and 17th centuries, Baku changed rule between Persian, Mongolian, and Ottoman Empire many times. Their area rugs show the influences of all of these cultures.
Baku rugs are created with the Ghiordes knot, which is a technique characteristically used in Ottoman carpets, but you will find Persian and Mongolian motifs throughout the designs. This rich history of conquest influenced the artwork and styles of the local area. Baku rugs are a reflection of this rich artistic history and global influences.
Baku Oil and an Opportunity for Village Weavers
In 1722, when the Safavid Dynasty fell, Baku asked for protection from the Russian Empire. In 1861, the Russians built a port and customs house. This was an important development in the history of Baku rugs because it gave them expanded market access. Before this time, Baku and Caucasian rugs were seldom seen outside of the area.
In the 1870s, the Trans-Caucasian railroad provided another distribution route for Caucasian rugs throughout the region. Now, these tribal rugs gained access to a market throughout Europe that fell in love with them. The oldest rugs that have the characteristic stepped octagon design began to appear around this time.
Many of the early rugs show a distinctive Mongolian, Ottoman, and Persian influence, and the establishment of Baku as a trading center brought in a wealth of fresh ideas that became integrated into the existing design repertoire. What emerged was the beautiful, characteristic Baku rug style that you see in antique rugs today.
Baku rugs are often classed among Shirvan rugs. Many of them were woven in the smaller villages surrounding Baku and retained their rustic, tribal quality. By the mid-eighteen hundreds, Baku was home to a paraffin factory, kerosene factory, and other factories that depended on the rich oil fields of the area. This oil boom helped to boost the wealth of the cities and provided a stable and growing market for the rugs woven by the villages around it, both locally and for export.
Baku Rugs Add a Unique Character
The most distinguishing characteristic of Baku rugs is a motif made of stepped octagons surrounded by a field of carnations, botehs, or other tribal motifs. These octagons are found as a single, large rug motif that takes up much of the field, or it can be found in multiples of smaller versions. They can have a traditional medallion rug design or an all-over rug pattern. In Baku rugs, you often find a center medallion that is hexagonal or octagonal with an angular form, instead of the curved and circular medallions found in Persian rugs. These shapes are typically enclosed in a series of interconnected rectangles with tribal symbols throughout the background.
The rug weavers in Baku use the Turkish, or Ghiordes, knot, which makes them durable and long-lasting. The rug knot densities range between 100 and 130 knots per square inch, which is between 3,600 and 4,600 knots per square foot of carpet. They usually have a natural wool rug warp, but some newer ones can have cotton warps. The knots are secured by two rows of two or three-ply ivory or brown wool. Sometimes, you will find cotton between each row of knots. They are known for their softness, beautiful colors, and durable construction.
The color palette of Baku rugs can include softer palettes, such as blues, yellows, ivories, and creams. They can also contain traditional colors, including reds, blues, and rich browns. Baku rugs are known for their balance and symmetry. The oil industry allowed those in the rural areas surrounding the city to take advantage of the economic boom that came with the discovery of oil.
Oriental rugs from Baku have a unique style that has been influenced by the many travelers and conquests throughout the city’s rich history. This is a beautiful and fascinating group of carpets, and Nazmiyal Rugs is proud to bring you some fine examples from our collection. Caucasian rugs have an appeal to modern interior designers because they give the room a tribal feel and add vibrancy through their rich colors. Feel free to look around, and if you find one that is perfect for your space, our friendly and knowledgeable staff will be happy to help.
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