Antique Kaitag Embroideries from the Caucuses

Learn about of Rare and Beautiful Antique Kaitag Embroideries

View Our Entire Collection of Antique Caucasian Rugs

Antique Kaitag Embroideries– Textile designs made up of sinuous, curving forms are usually attributable to the influence of other media painting, sculpture and metalwork. Weavers of antique rugs tend to design forms that lend themselves to the vertical-horizontal structure and technique of warp and weft, unless they are motivated to copy or adapt a design from another art form.

Among antique textiles, embroideries lend themselves most readily to curvilinear design since the fine-scale needlework technique is independent of the rectilinear structure of weaving. Suzanis and Kashmir shawls with their circles, scallops, and botehs illustrate this quite well. They depend ultimately on the design repertory of Islamic minor arts and architectural ornament.

Antique Kaitag Embroideries from the Caucasus by Nazmiyal
Antique Kaitag Embroideries

Among antique Caucasian Rugs, Kaitag embroideries are unique. Kaitags from the Caucasus are a special case in point because they reflect another textile technique independent of weaving, that of felt applique.

Typical Kaitag designs like the one shown here have lounges filled with evaluated cross forms, or linked chains of small vaulted fleur-de-lis. They are immediately comparable to Uzbek and other Central Asian nomadic felts, whose curvilinear designs are made up by cutting out appliqus and sewing them onto a ground in a different color.

While felt is a form of textile, it is carded, mashed, and pressed, and the appliqu process is completed with sewing.

Antique Kaitag Embroiderie from the Caucasus by Nazmiyal
Antique Kaitag Embroiderie

So felt production actually stands apart from weaving proper. It is therefore rather interesting that Kaitag embroiderers seem to have been attracted particularly by the designs of felt appliqu. The immediate models they depended on were almost certainly local Dagestan felts from the eastern Caucasus.

These were closely related to the Central Asian felts and were probably introduced into the Caucasus by felt-producing nomadic tribes from beyond Iran. What is so striking about antique Kaitag embroideries is their boldness.

Despite the use of some fine detail in edges or outlines, they tend to preserve a large scale and a strong graphic contrast that are the antithesis of the fine technique of embroidery. To use so many little stitches to make up such a big design is simply mind-boggling.

Kaitag embroideries exemplify so well how far an artist is willing to go in adapting his or her technique to a model or inspiration from another medium.