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Guide to Sauj Bulagh Mahabad Rugs, Azarbayjan-e-Gharbi

When I first wrote this I focused on the geographic constarints of this rug group. When we say Sauj Bulaq rugs we are refering to a Kurdish group currently in the Sauj Bulaq Mahabad area. They were there one hunderd years ago but even 200 years ago we would only be guessing.


But a guess as a guess is not a bad thing. Take a look at the Alberto Levi "Proto" Kurdish Rug to the right.It is widely recognised as being among the earliest examples of this type and a beautiful one as well. The iconography strikes a cord with earlier examples from the Caucasus. What is known is that Kurds lived in the Caucasus and then moved south and southwest when the Christian Russians

I do not particularly like the attribution Northwest Persian for rugs and carpets. However it is what it is and until we dig much deeper we are stuck with it. In its basic form Northwest Persia is Azarbayjan-e-Gharbi (West Azarbayjan) for that is geographically the most northwestern province of Iran. That is certainly not to say that all Northwest Persian rugs are from Azarbayjan-e-Gharbi but sorting out as much as we can about this province is a start.

We call the rugs of modern day Mahabad Sauj Bulaq which can be called a variety of names including: Sauj Bulaq, Sauj Bulagh, Sautschbulag, Sautchbulag, "Proto" Kurdish in the Marketplace as well as "Sawj Bulaq".

Sauj Bulaq is now Mahabad

"The third area in Iranian Kurdistan well known to rug scholars is Sauj Bulaq, now Mahabad. The nineteenth-century rugs attributed to Sauj Bulaq were probably woven in nearby tribal areas. Over the years the weaving traditions in the region have changed, causing confusion regarding the proper description of these rugs as to structure and design. Those of the nineteenth century were noted for their lustrous wool and deep colours, and fields full of every type of Kurdish device within an overall design derived from classical carpets." Kurdish Carpets and Kelims By EagletonSauj Bulak Kilim

Persian Rugs: Guide to Sauj Bulagh Mahabad Rugs, Azarbayjan-e-Gharbi

The Meyer-Muller Sauj Bulagh Rug Azarbayjan-e-Gharbi Province C 1800 Lot 36

Sauj Bulaq Kilims

The Marla Mallett Sauj Bulaq Kurdish Kilim Early 20th C

The Marla Mallett Sauj Bulaq Kilim Early 20th C

The Mallett Sauj Bulaq dovetailed tapestry Kilim Early 20th C

Sauj Bulaq Pile Rugs

The Reyn Staffel Sauj Bulagh Rug Azarbayjan-e-Gharbi Province

Sauj Bulagh Rug

The Langauer Sauj Bulagh Tree Rug

TECHNICAL ANALYSIS - The Meyer-Muller Sauj Bulagh Rug

Warp: wool, Z2S, natural ivory and brown

Weft: wool, Z2S, red, 2 shoots

Pile: wool, symmetric knot

Density: 6 horizontal, 9 vertical

Sides: 10 warps wrapped in red wool

Ends: incomplete, warp fringe

Colors: red, apricot, light blue, dark blue, light blue-green, teal, aubergine, light green, ivory, walnut, charcoal

Notes: Typically a Sauj Bulagh rug has a flat back (rigid warps and two or sinuous intertwining wefts), symmetrical knots, ivory warps and red, pink, or coral wefts

Corrosive brown dye can be a good thing

One interesting point about these rugs is the sculpted effect caused by a corrosive brown frequently used as a ground color. As the brown wears away it can give the rug a 3 dimensional look.

The Reyn Staffel Sauj Bulagh Rug Azarbayjan-e-Gharbi Province

Other Resources on the Internet

A resource that is worthy of note is Turkotek's "KURDISH NORTH WEST PERSIAN RUGS?". The "salon" was put together by Daniel Deschuyteneer who did a nice job despite rather poor images to work with. There are a number of participants of note James Allen, Sophia Gates, R. John Howe, Marla Mallett, Ambassador Bill Eagleton, Marvin Amstey, Steve Price, and Pat Weiler in no particular order. One person who fits prominently in the discourse is Michael Wendorf. I admire some of his thoughts and good knowledge on the subject. I do however stop short of endorsing all of his comments. If one can seperate the wheat from the chaff and knows the subject or can double check what they read then this can be a good read. While many of the participants excel in a number of areas pay special attention to Ambassador Bill Eagleton, Marvin Amstey, and Marla Mallett in this discussion.

http://www.spongobongo.com

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