A LITTLE PAGE ON
Carpets from the Caucasus
Gone are the days of Persian rug merchants riding into town on camels, pausing below the fortress for a hot sulphury bath before cramming their dark shops with dusty rugs... However, Tbilisi is still an excellent place to buy carpets, and although the choice is obviously not comparable to places like Istanbul or Tabriz, the dedicated buyer or collector may find some amazing pieces!
There are about 5 or 6 carpet shops in Tbilisi, and having gone to all of them, I feel justified in recommending the "Caucasian Carpets Gallery" at the end of Erekle II St., just next to the church of Sioni. The shop is owned by Manana Arkania, and is run by Patima; both are very friendly and speak good English, and their shop offers the best variety and value for money.
They have carpets and flatweaves (old and new) from all over the wider Caucasus region, and also sell saddlebags, covers, embroideries, cases for cushions, &c. Manana also sells on commission, and she is constantly buying new pieces, so turnover can be quite brisk. If the carpet bug has sunk its teeth into you, this is a place worth returning to as regularly as possible! You never know. The shop assistants also make excellent Turkish coffee, and it would be worth the while of any carpet-lover to go and see what they have to offer.
Manana Arkania shows off a magnificent kilim from Daghestan. Her shop is at the lower end of Erekle II St (see map) and is open pretty much every day of the year.
The following kilims, for example, were all on sale in 2012. (All prices include repair work and V.A.T., but do not include shipping, and are indicated to give readers a rough idea of what the shop typically charges.)
1.| kilim (flatweave) | 280cm x 190cm | USD 350
2.| kilim (flatweave) | 340cm x 180cm | USD 550
3.| kilim (flatweave) | 343cm x 210cm | USD 750
4.| kilim (flatweave) | 205cm x 136cm | USD 450
5. | tomara (embroidered flatweave bag) | 110cm x 92cm | USD 250
6.| kilim (flatweave) | 357cm x 165cm | USD 450
7.| kilim (flatweave) | 180cm x 122cm | USD 250
8.| kilim (flatweave) | 335cm x 150cm | USD 350
9.| kilim (flatweave) | 296cm x 165cm | USD 350
10.| kilim (flatweave) | circa 225cm x 150cm | USD 450
Some more pictures of kilims, carpets, saddlebags, &c.
(all bought from Manana and Patima's shop over the years)
Random carpets from Anatolia, Central Asia, the Caucasus, &c., scanned from books and catalogues:
An Azerbaijani chul (akin to a saddle-cloth) from Karabagh.
The caption reads: '1.22 x 1.55m - Since the owner was an individual of status, the emphasised motif in the lower right hand corner may be a tamgha, a symbol of tribal identity, ownership, and authority.'
Top row: Left: Caps from Yerevan; Centre: "Old lambrequin from Shusha"; Right: Head-bands from Georgia.
Centre row: Left and centre: Tablecloths from Shusha; Right: Shirt from Daghestan.
Bottom row: Left: Fragment of a silk jejim from Sheki; Right: idem from Shemakha.
The following pictures of beautiful saddlebags, mafrash-panels, &c., were all copied from GÜGEL, Ernst, & WÜHR, Rudolf, Zweck und Zier: Antike Taschen aus dem Kaukasus und Nordwest-Persien ["Ancient Bags from the Caucasus and Northwestern Iran"], Traunstein: Städtische Galerie, 2010 [87 pp.; the catalogue of an exhibition featuring 80 bags from 3 private collections in Bavaria]. (Please click for larger images.)
Unless stated otherwise or obviously not the case, all the text and images on this website are © A.J.T. Bainbridge 2006-2015
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