Sumak miniature prayer rug (?)

Circa 1880
Khamseh region, Northwest Persia
59 cm x 49
1'11" x 1'7"

An absolutely unique piece, with a directional design and shape that leads me to believe that it’s not a bag face of sorts but it could be a small prayer rug, commissioned in a transportable format. Here the blue niche contains two beautifully drawn Lesghi stars, which is a motif present on a group of bags from the Khamseh region, framed by a yellow border decorated by the characteristic abdal-burun motif. The weaver makes a very creative use of the elements at her disposal in order to emphasise the niche design, yet maintaining the refined balance typical of the weaving culture of the area. Perhaps the closest parallel to this piece can be seen on a pair of prayer mats woven with vegetable fibers in the McCoy Jones collection (see Cootner 1990, plates 111-112, p. 259).

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