Antique Caucasian Shirvan Akstafa Rug, circa 1875
A breath-taking, awe-inspiring Caucasian Shirvan Akstafa rug with highly expressive and decorative design in strong, saturated colors. Woven in 19th century in the highest reaches of the Caucasian mountains, this extraordinarily beautiful and uniquely symbolic shirvan has layers upon layers of symbolic and visual depth. It features a stacked medallions design against a field embellished all-over with tribal symbols, framed by individually styled inner and outer borders and guard strips.
Bursting with the creative energy of nature-dwelling, star-gazing, sheep herding weaver tribes of the Caucasus mountains of the late 19th century, this rug is nothing short of a physical and spiritual landscape of their world. Among many of its fascinating aspects is this Shirvan Akstafa’s notable use of animal and human figures, which is a very sought-after feature in Caucasian rugs. These figures are elemental to the expressive richness of the design. We see them in more stylized form within the medallions and in more whimsical fashion all over the field itself. The most remarkable animal forms are the six impressively drawn peacocks at both ends and the middle of the field catching the eye with their splendid coverts. Rather like fairy tale animals that would not be found in the Caucasian mountains, they are associated with an otherworldly splendor, nobility and abundance. Their strategic and focal placement inside the field represents a higher order of dreams, desires and prayers.