Saturday, 19 May 2012

A group of Kuba Shrub Carpets

A rare Caucasian carpet will be auctioned at  Grogan & Company on 20th May 2012.

1-Grogans 510A
It`s not the first time that Grogan`s have offered such a piece,having successfully sold this example in 2009:

2-Grogan`s 1.09-nr.92

The design can be successfully applied to any size or format.It is a kind of varied drop repeat.The faux-arabesque border is  encountered mainly on yellow-ground models,with one example on blue.A horizontal band of design features two birds adjacent to a stylised tree.Vases with flowers are a constant.Out of a few basic patterns and a battery of strewn motifs the weavers have created a surface with only a semblance of repetition.

Of the smaller formats with this border at least 9 are known,three of which were once with Eberhart Herrmann:

3-ATT 4-46
A rarely published example was in the Figdor Collection:

4-Figdor Catalogue 190

(The faux-arabesque border also occurs on a number of Kuba prayer rugs with lattice design,but this will not be discussed here.)

A number of pieces have a "crabflower border":

5-Brooklyn Museum

At least 5 examples are known with a chichi border:

6-Sotheby`s 27.4.2000-4

Not forgetting the essential Kufi border:

7-Nagels 10.5.1996-63

Then a small group with a border taken from the vase carpets:

8-Christies 15.12.1995-133

And all the rest,of which the most interesting is a rug once with Sari of Karlsruhe:


Finally,the prayer carpets with this design which range from the strictly ornamental to the wild and woolly-

10-Nagel`s 23.6.1993-3074

11-Edelmann 12.12.1981-260(later Bausback)

The design is said to have originated in textiles(Volkmann and Kaffel)or to be a development of the Shield Kazak.
There are three Shield carpets with floral forms,which may or may not be earlier than the geometric type:

12-Christies 1986
This carpet was once in the Wher Collection.The sickle-leaves are still quite recognizable.

Then the notorious Godman piece:

13-Sotheby`s-Hali 89-70
Which finally crystallised out into perhaps the best of all Shield carpets:

This is probably one of the routes taken by the Safavid carpet designs when they travelled north.Another path may have been via the Vase Carpets:

15-Sotheby`s 10.1997-69

And what must be the progenitor of the group,replete with real Arabesque border,the Ballard carpet in the MET,which seems never to have been published in colour:

16-Ballard Vase carpet-MET 22.100.76

It will be interesting to see how the Grogan piece performs tomorrow.It is better than the last one,so can function as an interesting market barometer.

Stop Press:The Grogan`s piece sold for $44,250 on  20th May 2012.A similar rug sold by the Auction House on 12th January 2009 fetched $37,375.

Auction Price Guides from Hali:-63/134;147/103;124/136;70/141;85/136;64/166;97/135;70/141;Vol 4,nr 1,page 88.

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