A Study of a Silk Azerbaijan Textile – an Antique Kaitag Embroidery
The Karabagh blossom carpets influenced more domestic scale silk embroidery (on cotton grounds) from the same or adjacent area in the Caucasus. Executed in the seam stitch and the running stitch on a blue cotton ground, the surface effect is that of a diagonal twill.
It has been debated as to the direction of influence: carpet to embroidery textile, or the reverse. Certainly the repertoire of textile design is greater, but the materials are more precious, but the overall size, public character and greater commercial value of the antique rugs makes their influence probably greater. Although Karabagh, the red here is madder.
The central lozenge with a smaller lozenge focus and four palmettes appears on 19th century Kuba rugs. The S’s, in and out of hexagons, are also a common 19th century border design feature.
Interestingly, Abrash appears both horizontally and vertically, often in the same motif but at opposite sides of the antique textile, this implies that too embroideries were at work at the same time. Since this is a domestic textile rather than a collective workshop carpet, this anomaly can be laid to spontaneous creation. Often, on these pieces, the basic design is drawn out in ink on the cotton ground, to be followed by artisans. The direction of color is not specified.
The black-brown has not corroded, unlike in other carpets and a dye avoiding the use of iron pyrite, probably walnut husky alone, is indicated. In general the colors here mellowed nicely and the dye lots of silk yarns have become attractively evident.
The palette is broad, with at least two blues, an aqua green, two red, pale yellow, brown and ivory, as well as other soft, almost pastel tones. The condition is excellent and the piece was probably a cover or wall decoration for most of its life. Likely it was stored away much of the time.
This commemorative antique silk embroidery textile celebrates the region’s unique artistic traditions, domestic art form and symbolic heritage. The sophisticated medallion composition is filled with familiar duality symbols and angular ornaments rendered in distinctive Caspian blues, clear white, muted olive green and vivid red. The central lozenge medallion is filled with burdock motifs, S-hook cartouches and botanical flourishes that are framed by ornamental compartments and a grand octagonal gul lined with protective latch hooks. Dramatic brackets, scrolling lightning bolts and arborescent figures set on contrasting backgrounds fill the remaining space while providing an effective segue to the understated leaf and S-hook borders. This definitive antique displays exceptional artistry and symbolic details created by a filamentous network of luxurious silk fibers colored with classical hues that have acquired a distinctive aged appearance.