This Sauj Bulagh rug was woven by Kurds during the early 19th century in Northwest Persia. Also known as Sauj Bulaq or even proto-kurdish these are very rare and collectible rugs that were woven around the city now known as Mahabad. They feature lustrous wool, saturated tones, and designs that often blend traditional Kurdish motifs with those from the classical Safavid era.
This example features two columns of various palmettes and is derived from the classical "Afshan" and "harshang" designs. One moment near the bottom of the composition the classic Afshan "arms" appear. In this case, they are reminiscent of confronting dragons with the small palmette between them a flaming pearl. The asymmetric patterning is both improvisational and well-balanced honoring the classic origins of the design as well as the independent nature of the Kurdish weavers. A wonderful array of tones including red, blue, green, purple, brown, and ivory
sit atop a rare and desirable apricot ground. The exceptional green ranges from jade to emerald and the wonderful purple fades from deep grape to a chalky lavender. It is framed by a meandering main border that includes purple "S"s and delicate white blossoms that really sparkle. The main border is flanked by reciprocal "running-dog" sawtoothed borders that provide movement and are characteristic of this type.
In very good condition for its significant age. Professional restoration has been completed overseas including replacing old lower quality repairs, reweaving parts of the end borders, and replacing the selvedges. With a dense meaty pile that is symmetrically knotted with red wefts and a flat back.
Provenance: Private Collection of M. Wendorf - San Francisco, California
Similar Examples Orient Stars - Heinrich Kirchheim (plate 16) Antique Rugs of Kurdistan - James Burns (plate 40) Alte und Antike Orientalische Knudfkunst - Franz Bausback (page 19)
Condition: Very good, professional restoration completed overseas including replacing old lower-quality repairs, reweaving parts of the end borders (as pictured in last image), and replacing the selvedges.