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A Brief History of the Paxryk Carpet

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Article supplied by PIR International.
Visit their site ( to view carpets. 

When and where carpets were first knotted is unknown, but it is generally

believed that nomadic tribes in central Asia were some of the first rug

weavers in areas know today as Turkey and Iran (Persia). The climate was very

cold and the mountain ranges in these areas are perfect for raising sheep, the

source of carpet wool. We know very little of early weavings as the materials

used were all perishable, and only a few rug fragments woven before the 15th

century have survived.


Fortunately, while archeological excavations were ongoing in a valley of the

Altai mountain range in lower Siberia during 1947-49, a Russian archeologist,

S. J. Rudenko, made an exciting discovery. He found an extremely

well-preserved rug in a burial tomb that belonged to the prince of Altai who

lived in the 5th century B.C.


This rug, today called the Pazryk carpet, survived in good condition on a

lucky combination of circumstances. It appears that shortly after the prince's

grave-mound was completed, it was plundered by robbers who tunneled into the

mound and removed all the precious objects. They had no interest in the Pazryk

carpet and left it behind. Later, a torrent of water rushed into the opening

the robbers made into the grave-mound and filled the chamber. The huge volume

of water turned to ice, freezing the Pazryk carpet until it was discovered

2,500 years later.

Incredibly, the rug was well preserved. The design, dyes, and construction

were all of the highest quality, indicating that the weaver was knowledgeable

and experienced, and that rug weaving was at quite an accomplished level in

the 5th century B.C.


The Pazryk carpet measures 6‚ x 6‚6‰ and is exhibited in the Hermitage

Museum in St. Petersburg. The design has a large geometric center field area

composed of squares and is framed by two main borders. In one border are deer,

in the other, warriors are featured on horseback.


There are several other famous carpets woven between the 16th and 18th

centuries that have survived. Most of these are now in museums throughout

Europe. Many of the oversized pieces were commissioned for the palaces of

royalty. These carpets are truly breathtaking when one considers their

exquisite detail and the thousands of hours devoted to their weaving.

Article supplied by PIR International.
Visit their site
( to view carpets.

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