Antique Turkmen Asmalyk, Yomut Tribes, Trans-Caspian Steppes, ...

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Asmalyks were made in pairs as part of the bride's dowry and hung on the flanks of the wedding camel during the wedding procession. Once presented to the bridegroom as part of her dowry, he would hang them up in their wedding yurt for the rest of their married lives. Symbolically, they represented power and fertility.
This beautiful Asmalyk was made during the mid 19th century with a field design of 'ashiks' not seen after 1880. The natural colours are superb and incorporate a magnificent early turquoise colour. It is complete with hanging cords and bar one tiny repair in the upper right cord, it is in excellent condition.
Size: 69cm wide x 47cm high (2' 3" wide x 1' 6" high).

Antique Bijov Rug, Shirvan Region, Eastern Caucasus. ...

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I love the indigo-blue ground in this small, square nineteenth century Bijov rug from the eastern Caucasus incorporating a stunning array of natural colours throughout.
Looking closely at the design, there are 'birds-heads lozenges, floral motifs and zoomorphic bird-like creatures. The main ivory border with its continuous vine symbolising the eternal cycle of life, is a popular border in this part of the eastern Caucasus.
The pile, which was originally cropped short to give a beautifully defined pattern to the symbols, is evenly-low all over. This is a great, collectible rug.
Size: 1.68m x 1.39m (5' 6" x 4' 7").

Antique Karaja Rug, Karaja, North-West Persia.

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With lustrous, full thick pile and the depiction of four horses, this amazing rug has a deep indigo-blue ground with inscription and dated 1303 in the Islamic calendar, 1885 in the Solar calendar.
All vegetable colours throughout, take a look at one of the close-up photos to see the inner, minor, madder-red border containing colourful stylised chickens all the way round. Charming indeed! The main blue border depicts double-headed sunbirds - guardians of the gates of Paradise. This is an example of a very rare type from the Karaja region of north-western Persia.
Size: 1.60m x 1.24m (5' 3" x 4' 1").

Antique Turkmen Main Carpet, Teke Tribes, Akhal ...

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In its heyday, this was the most magnificent Teke Turkmen main carpet but very sadly, it has now seen rather better days! Nevertheless, it is a hugely important and collectable carpet. Why? Because it contains the very rare 'Salor' minor gul.
Made circa 1800-1850, and apart from the wear and restoration, the carpet is astonishingly complete. It retains its striped knotted-pile 'elems' or skirts at both ends and the selvedges are also original.
The madder-red ground is phenomenal and like its near-neighbour, the Salor Turkmen, this glowing red ground gives us an idea of the early age here.
In perfect condition, this carpet would easily sell in the five figure bracket but because of its condition, I have priced it very fairly and affordable,for the person who wants an early example of a rare type.
Size: 3.20m x 1.83m (10' 6" x 7' 0").

Antique Baluch Sofreh, Djamshidi Tribe, Khorassan, North-East ...

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Knotted-pile dining sofrehs of the Baluch Djamshidi tribe are rare and particularly collectable are the nineteenth century examples which can fetch high sums. This beautiful example, which is priced at a fraction of the earlier pieces, was made during the early 20th century. Maybe not as collectable as earlier pieces, nevertheless, this was made in the same way and has great appeal. The powerful red nectar-blossom border frames the natural camel-hair field which depicts four cockerels symbolising the harbinger of the day, dispeller of the night. The skirts are beautifully decorated exactly like the earlier sofrehs.
These sofrehs were used on special occasions and were laid-out in the tent with bowls of food, bread and chai placed upon them. The tribes and their guests would sit cross-legged around the sofreh and eat.
I love this rug!
Size: 1.40m x 0.82m (4' 7" x 2' 8").

Book 'Tribal Rugs - Treasures of the ...

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Tribal Rugs

'Tribal Rugs - Treasures of the Black Tent' was first published in 1997, followed by a second edition in 2010 and proving so poular, an up-dated third edition was published in 2017. This third edition is now nearing its end and, as I write, there are around 100 copies left.
My lifelong love of tribal rugs started in my early 20s in 1972 when I spent a year living with two nomadic tribes in southern Iran whilst carrying out survey work for two archaeological expeditions. After this amazing experience, I went on to work in Kerman until 1977, when it was time to leave with the Iranian Revolution in sight! After several years working in the London finance sector, I threw in the towel and opened Samarkand Galleries in Stow-on-the-Wold in the beautiful Cotswolds, where I still am today, although now working from home on-line.
With my love of tribal rugs, and regularly acquiring great examples, I spent approximately 10 years in my spare time, writing this book, dedicated to the pre-1900 carpets, rugs, kilims and weavings of the Persian, Transcaucasian, Afghan and Turkmen tribes.
The book is available from me and on-line at 50 plus postage.

Book 'Scissor Bags & Sheep Scissors' by ...

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Scissor Bags

This beautiful new publication, 'Scissor Bags & Sheep Scissors' by Peter Umney-Gray, arrived on my desk last week. For those interested not only in scissor bags but in the utilitarian weavings of the nomads of Transcaucasia, Persia and Central Asia, then this well-researched publication is a must.
Scissor bags, as the name implies, were used for the transportation of sheep shearing scissors, a container as important as the tool bag.
As Peter Umney-Gray states in his introduction, one of the challenges has been to obtain enough examples to present a reasonable reflection of the tradition. As utilitarian objects, scissor bags were made, used, discarded and replaced in a continuous cycle. They normally had a relatively short lifespan due to the nature of the scissors with their sharp points, which eventually destroyed their integrity. Therefore today, few of these beautifully-made nineteenth century items have survived and finding them, presents a huge challenge.
This book can be purchased direct from Peter at at 55.00 GBP plus postage or get in touch with me and I can point you in the right direction.

Antique Vanity-Bag, Qoraba'i Tribes of Bardsir Region, ...

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Often referred to as 'Afshar', these beautiful 'chantehs' (vanity-bags) with the paired botehs, according to Parviz Tanavoli, are the work of the Qoraba'i nomads, neighbours of the Afshar in the region of Bardsir in southern Persia. This charming little bag, made around 1910-1920, is in complete condition with original madder-red plain-weave back, braided hanging cord and tassels around the sides and botton, albeit with some missing. These tassels can be replaced so please ask if this is required.
The botehs, I believe, are fertility symbols, where the ivory one represents the male and the dark-red boteh, the female. Also note the stylised birds in the centre of each boteh and what appears to be a winged creature within each boteh.
A very collectable little bag, recently found in southern Iran.
31cm x 50cm (12" x 20").

Antique Bakhtiari Carpet, The Chahar Mahal, Western ...

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What I love about this stunning carpet is the fantastic, mid-blue main border which powerfully frames the madder-red ground. The border contains a continuous vine-leaf pattern, symbolising the eternal cycle of life.
The carpet was made during the last quarter of the nineteenth century and is in good overall condition.
Size: 3.00m x 2.22m (10' 0" x 7' 3").

Antique Timuri Tribal Carpet, Borderlands of North-Eastern ...

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This handsome carpet was made by Timuri tribes in the borderlands of east Persia and west Afghanistan during the last quarter of the 19th century.
It is in excellent pile all over and makes a very decorative antique floor carpet.
Size: 2.64m x 1.63m (8' 8" x 5' 4").

Antique Timuri Rug, Sangtschuli Sub-Tribe, Borderlands of ...

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In near-mint condition, this fabulous Timuri rug has the highest quality soft, shiny wool with highlights of green silk throughout and complete kilim skirts at each end. The central 'tree-of-life' has branches protruding from it and surrounded by a multitude of symbols - stunning and subtle in its drawing. The madder-red main border depicts a continuous vine - symbolically representing the eternal cycle of life. Made circa 1880 -1900 by Sangtschuli tribes on the eastern Persian/western Afghanistan border, it really needs to be seen and handled to fully appreciate the high quality of the work involved. This is Timuri weaving at its best!
Size: 2.44m x 1.27m (8' 0" x 4' 2").

Antique Large Kilim, Pirot, Southern Serbia.

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A magnificent large, nearly square, decorative kilim made and dated 1913 in the Pirot area of southern Serbia.
The colours are beautiful, as are the nicely spaced large diamond lozenges, surrounded by a powerful midnight-blue main border. The date, 1913, can be seen woven into the top right-hand corner of the main border.
Size: 4.00m x 3.90m (13' 2" x 12' 9").