Tuesday, 5 August 2008

An Unusual Baluchi Seh Mihraba Rug

Seh Mihraba prayer rug
Baluch, Afganistan, 135 cm x 87 cm, old (first half of 20th century)

Warp: W, Z2S ivory
Weft: W, Z2, dark brown
Pile: W, Z2
Knots: as1
Density: 60 x 40, ca. 2400 knots per sq dm (about 150 kpsi)
Height of pile: 3 mm
Handle: like velvet, somewhat grainy
Upper end: ca. 7 cm kilim, the cut warp ends are knotted together
Lower end: ca. 8 cm kilim
Sides: ca. 0.5 cm wide W Shirasi in dark brown, additional threads
Colors: ca. 7: dark red, red, dark blue, dark beige, brown, dark green, pink.

Seh Mihraba literally means three mihrabs, or prayer niches. While the asymmetrical composition and overall design of this Afghan Baluchi prayer rug is very typical for rugs from the Shindand market area south of Herat, the very dark colors and especially the extensive usage of dark green on this rug are not.

The dark blue central area with its spandrel features a red tree-of-life pattern. It is flanked by two dark green columns and four boxes each at the top and the bottom. While the top boxes contain stepped rhombi composed of pink, green, red and blue rectangles, those at the bottom display remarkable red hexagrams (Najmat Dawuud).

The border system consists of several stripes. The central field is surrounded by pink on blue diamonds. The main border with bird heads design is flanked by two reciprocal spiral vine stripes in dark blue on dark red.

The rug has obviously been manufactured using different wool quality and colors when approaching the lower two thirds, as seen in explicit abrash. A few moth damages. See the story about the rug here.

The shiny wool especially in the bottom part precludes taking more realistic photographs of the very dark rug.

Comments are very much welcome.


Barry O'Connell said...

Very nice rug. I especially like the range of color. Much better than I usually see. I enjoy your blog. I added a ink on www.SpongoBongo.com
Best wishes,
Barry O'Connell

Muller said...

Thanks Barry, it's a great honor for me to be linked at spongobongo. As you might have noticed, I am only a layman in carpets. But I try hard!
I am right now in Esfahan. I had a postgraduate course in Microbiology at Khorasgan University here and have now started exploring the city once again, and the hinterland. Yesterday and today I was in Nain. Beautiful old city, Sassanid castles (or better what remained). My hosts had taken me last week to Natanz. Lovely village in the mountains (Kuh-e Karkas). This time I also went to the Dashte Kavir, Daryacheh Namak, sand dunes up to 100 meters high, the sand sea, camels. Just wonderful.
Have a Happy New Year 2009!