Learn More About Seychour Rugs from the Caucasus
Antique Caucasian Seychour rugs represent the hearts and souls of the people who created them. In a harsh terrain that lies between the Caucasian Mountains and the Caspian Sea lives a people that has carved out an existence and produced some of the most beautiful tribal antique carpets in the world. The area is currently known as modern day Azerbaijan. Kuba (Quba) is one of the largest cities and is famous for its carpets that are produced by the small tribes that surround it.
Who Are the Seychour People?
The people in the tribal villages came to the land as immigrants who were often displaced from their traditional lands. They include people of Jewish descent, Christians, Buddhists, Muslims, Germans, Russians and Norseman. At one time there were over 300 tribes in the area that spoke over 150 different languages. The Seychour people are Tabasarans of Russian descent who speak a dialect related to Lezgi. They are loyal to their cultural traditions and to their traditional art forms.
The Kuba region has been a center of the art of carpet weaving since the mid-18th century. The tribes surrounding the city include the Chi Chi, Konaghend, Karakashly, Alpan-Kuba, Perpedil and Seychour. Each one of these tribes produces rugs that are unique in their design, colors and weaving technique. The carpets produced by the Seychour are some of the most beautiful and prized in the world.
The Kuba School
The Seychour weavers take their inspiration from nature and the landscape surrounding them. They often use bold geometric patterns and materials that are locally available. In general, antique carpets of the Kuba region use wool as both the warp and weft, but occasionally one will find cotton rugs as well. They typically use the symmetrical, or Ghiordes rug knot. Sometimes Kuba rugs are incorporated into Shirvan rugs, but Kubas can be differentiated from Shirvans by their ribbed structure and a higher knot count. Tribal rugs throughout the region differ from village to village in design and style, but many of them learned their techniques from the Kuba school, which unifies them as a group that is based on structural elements of the weaving.
Caucasian Seychour rugs are also known as Seichur, Zeychoura and Zeikhour. They are made in the small village of Yukhari-Zeykhur in northeastern Caucasus. The rustic rugs produced by this village are known for their intricate designs and saturated colors. Seychour was first mentioned as a weaving center in accounts by Le Chavelier Gamba and Don Juan Halen in the early part of the 19th century. However, at that time, there were a few Europeans who had visited the region and seen the works of art. It was not until the 1870’s when the Trans-Caucasian railroad allowed the rest of the world do see these fine works of art.
Unique Designs Of Antique Caucasian Seychour Rugs
Seychour rugs are considered a sub-type of Kuba region rugs. The designs may vary, but there are certain characteristics that distinguish Seychour rugs from those produced in other parts of Kuba. The warps are typically beige, ivory, or gray and are made of natural undyed wool. The knots and weft are brightly dyed wool with colors that were produced using plants found around the local area.
There are different types of rugs produced in Seychour. They include plush pile rugs and some pieces worked in Soumak, which is a type of stitch that is wrapped around the warp and created a flat weave rug similar to kilims. These are less common than hand knotted pile rugs.
Distinctive Motifs and Style of Seychour Rugs
The symbols and motifs used by the various tribes are one way to distinguish the village in which the rug was produced. Seychour rugs are famous for several motifs including the Seychour rose, or cabbage rose as some call it. The Gol Farang, or carpet of roses, is a Caucasian version of designs that were influenced by European designs. This design consists of a field filled with cabbage roses and a complex border. They are often in vivid colors and were made to compliment European Victorian homes.
Another common design is known as the Seychour cross, or St. Andrew’s cross. The Seychour cross is a repeating X pattern across the rug. The cross is thought to have been influenced by Russian embroidery patterns that were seen in the works of the early 19th century.
Another distinguishing characteristic of Seychour rugs is the use of what is known as the “running dog” border. It is sometimes simply called the Seychour border. The number and types of borders vary in Seychour rugs. They can have one border, two borders or none at all. They often use the running dog border surrounded by an inner border of plain red to separate it from the field.
Seychour rugs commonly have a yellow, ivory or green field. The running dog border is accompanied by a clear red inner guard border. Green is a special color because it requires a complex dye process that involves first dyeing the wool blue using indigo and then over-dying it with a yellow to produce the green. Another way to distinguish a Seychour rug is to look at the selvege. Often, Seychour rugs have four cords and a reinforced edge.
Seychour rugs are valued for their highly detailed depictions of florals and other motifs, as well as their gorgeous saturated colors. The cabbage rose and the Seychour cross are the two main designs that distinguish rugs from this tribe. They are of exquisite quality antique Caucasian rugs and are highly collectible rugs.