A Rare 19th Century Baluch Rug
Country Of Origin
2nd Half 19th century
106 x 162 cms (41¾ x 64 ins)
Asymmetric knots open to the right
Good pile with a few moth dings - needs restoration on all edges.
This rug is woven in a style that can be attributed to a group of Baluch weavers commonly called "Arab Baluch". Specifically, it is a weave type distinguished by the use of asymmetric knots open to the right, rather than open to left as seen in most knotted Baluch weavings. The design evolved from an early and ubiquitous theme of patterning encountered in art throughout Asia over the centuries - flowers or trees emerging from a vase. In this case it is a tree and thus suggests a “Tree of Life”. The inspiration for such a rug may well have been taken originally from the many vase and tree designs seen on the tiled walls of mosques . The symbolism reflects the importance of 'fertility' in the lives of a people living in a harsh environment; be it fertility of the land or the necessity of their women to bear many healthy - male - children.
Interestingly, some of the flower heads on the branching tree resemble Ashiks, while others bear a resemblance to flowers found in other Baluch weavings from contiguous regions, specifically the so-called Mina Khani floral motifs. The manner in which these 'flowers' are drawn - all different in some way from each other - indicates that it was executed with relative freedom for the weaver - no doubt under the watchful eye of an experienced grandmother or elderly aunt. The most likely physical reference for the weaver of this rug was probably another, older one, of the same design; itself an interpretation of a time honoured design handed down through the ages.
There are four anthropomorphic figures in the trunk of the tree as well as avians and zoomorphic motifs in the surrounding ground. It is worth noting that whatever the strictures of Islam at the time may have been regarding the representation of the human form they had clearly not become entrenched in this remote region where people were probably nominally Moslems but who still practiced and followed many of their ancient tribal traditions.
The 'primary' border, on the red ground framed by two minor borders (on a blue ground) is one more commonly associated with Kurdish weavings, than Baluch, one never used by other Baluch groups from NE Persia.
The rug is in good full pile but it is frayed round the edges but does not detract from the integrity of the “picture”. We leave it to the buyer to decide whether to have it repaired or not and thus keep the price reasonable.
Thanks to Tom Cole for his expert help in preparing this description.
Price on request