Antique Kaitag Embroidery Silk Azerbaijan Textile

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 Caucasas. Executed in the seam stitch and the running stitch on a blue cotton ground, the surface effect is that of a diagonal twill. The pattern is very bold and large scale, almost a section of a larger carpet close to our antique 18th century Karabagh Rug 47245.

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.

Cochineal, so common in 19th Century Karabagh rugs and antique embroideries alike, was not employed until about 1800.

Antique Kaitag Embroidery Silk Azerbaijan Textile Nazmiyal
Antique Kaitag Embroidery Silk Azerbaijan Textile (#47367) Detail

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.

Antique Azerbaijan Silk Kaitag Embroidery Textile Central Lozenge
Antique Azerbaijan Silk Kaitag Embroidery Textile Detail

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.

Antique Azerbaijan Silk Kaitag Embroidery Textile 47367 by Nazmiyal
Antique Azerbaijan Silk Kaitag Embroidery Textile 47367

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.