Dagestan - Derbent Rugs

The district of Dagestan adjoins Kuba to the North. Considerable rug production is undertaken in this area, just as in the Kuba area. In contrast to all other Caucasian rugs, the warp lies very diagonally (anything up to 75).This gives to the rugs a tighter, thicker handle. The weft is always woollen, and the ends, which are the same at both sides, have fringes knotted to give a honeycomb effect. The edges may be white or blue, and only one warp thread is overcast with wool. The pile is quite high (7-10mm.).They are firm to the touch, almost board-like. White is a favoured colour for the ground. The design reflects the enormous amount of prayer rugs produced in this area. The Mihrab under the prayer gable is filled with a great variety of geometrical floral patterns. Apart from prayer rugs runners are also woven in a design of diagonal bands in varying colours.

North-west of Dagestan is the district of LESGHISTAN. As the Lesghi are a tribe who inhabit Dagestan together with the Chechis, the rugs they produce are unquestionably similar to Dagestans. The handle of Lesghi rugs is, however, firmer and more granular than Dagestans and clear, strong colour are preferred,among them a magnificent yellow and green. The design is similar to Dagestan, but bolder. A typical one is a row of large, flattened stars in the central field.

The city of Derbend, on the Caspian Sea, and at the same height as Dagestan, produces rugs, the quality of which is far below standard. The warp contains a mixture of 1/3 cotton and often the weft also has white cotton mixed with the wool. The ends, the same at both sides, are striking in their knotted fringes.

Blue woollen threads are passed over two warps to form the edges. The pile is medium high and the handle is loose and flabby. On the average, the colours used are fairly dark. The multiplicity of the design motifs, which are taken from Kuba, Shirvan and Dagestan, allow of no distinguishing features for Derbends.

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