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rug no longer available Baluch "tree of life" rug, Khorassan, around 1900

Antique all-wool Khorassan Baluch rug, around 1900


"Tree of life" design with stylized serrated leaves on barber-pole type branches, some diagonally striped, others composed of little boxes or compartments with a central dot. Starting form an indicated root base, the wider central stem has little triangular attachments (buds?) all the way up, with double dots in the compartments. Note the charming irregularities in leaf size especially of the smaller horizontal leaves flanking the quartered vertical leaves Simple and attractive main border composed of stepped diamonds on an abrashed ground that progresses from dark brown to maroon to a lighter brown, flanked by several simple guard borders.

Click on image to view in larger size.

Baluch with 'tree-of-life' pattern

The white outer stepped band of the main border connects the diamonds like a continuous reciprocal zig-zag line. (Aside: If you choose to believe Jerry Anderson, the so-called "tree-of-life" in Baluch rugs is not a tree but rather, a representation of the rays of the sun, a central part of the Zoroastrian tradition. Google "Talking 'Baluch' with Jerry Anderson" to locate the reference.)


The rug measures 4ft.9in x 2ft.8in (150cm x 86cm). No warp depression, asymmetrical knots open to the left, 7 knots/inch horizonzal x 9 knots per inch vertical (ca. 63 kpsi). Warps are two strands of off-white wool z-spun s-plied. Two weft shots of singe strand z-spun dark brown wool. Short pile, asymmetric knots open to the left. The pile is short, the weaving tight and strong but very pliable, handles like leather. Themedium brown shows some corrosion. Both wide striped end kilims intact though somewhat corroded, with weft loss in one area of the bottom kilim. The typical four-cord selvages look original, wrapped in dark brown goat hair and brown wool, with some re-wrapping with slightly lighter brown wool at a few places.


Very nice all natural colors, would come out still nicer after a wash. On a camel ground (from the feel of it, it is probably white wool died with walnut, not camel hair) which has a pleasing slight abrash, the leaves are rendered in two reds - a brick red and a darker maroon red - very dark abrashed indigo, and a beautiful blueish dark green. Apart from the off white there are several browns: dark brown for outlining and in the borders, a reddish ligher brown, and a medium brown (a bit corroded, while the dark brown is uncorroded - maybe the dark brown is undyed wool from brown sheep?).


The pile is quite good with some light to medium wear, which is heavier in the centre of the field and at the top right. The off-white warps show slightly a two places (see images). Slight corner loss at top and bottom left. While the rug is not outright dirty a wash would improve it. No stains, stiff areas, or odour (it's just somewhat dusty). Apart from the re-wrapping of selvages with slightly lighter brown wool at a few places, I cannot spot any repairs.

More images

Baluch tree of life rug, top half

Baluch tree of life rug, bottom half

Baluch tree of life rug, centre of field

Baluch tree of life rug, bottom-left corner

Baluch tree of life rug, details

Baluch tree of life rug, small holes

Baluch tree of life rug, pile fold

Baluch tree of life rug, back side

Last update: 23 March 2006 | Impressum—Imprint