Pazyryk rug

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The Pazyryk rug
The Pazyryk rug. Circa 400 BC. Hermitage Museum

The oldest surviving knotted carpet is the Pazyryk rug, excavated miraculously in the frozen tombs of Siberia, dated from the 5th to the 3rd century B.C., now in the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg.

The Pazyryk rug is one of the oldest carpets in the world, dating around 5th c. BC. The Pazyryk rug was found in 1949 in the grave of a Scythian nobleman in the Bolshoy Ulagan dry valley of the Altai Mountains in Kazakhstan. The Pazyrk rug had been frozen in the ice and it was very well preserved. The rug has a ribbon pattern in the middle, and a border which has deer, and warriors riding on horses.[1]

The Pazyryk carpet was made in Ancient Armenia or Persia around 400 BC. When it was found it had been deeply frozen in a block of ice, which is why it is so well-preserved. The carpet can be seen at the Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg, Russia.[2]

This carpet has 3600 symmetrical double knots per dm² (232 per inch²), in modern terminology also called "Turkish Knot".[3][4][5][6][7] The carpet is very similar to modern Turkmen carpets[8][9] and carpets of the early Seljuq period.[8] The numerical values of the carpet also show striking genealogical parallels to the Oghuz-Turkic legend, perhaps based on an older version of the Massageteans.[9] This genealogy is shown in the way the pattern is divided into 24 tribes. On the left and right their are groups of 12 tribes in each. According to Rashid-al-Din Hamadani|Raschid ad-Din, the founder of the Oghuz tribes had six sons, with each having four sons.[9] This scheme was a result of the military administrative reform of the Xiongnu leader Modu Chanyu in 209/206-174 BC. This is mentioned in the “Shiji” (“Historical Records”) of Sima Qian. Historian Sergei Tolstov wrote that this scheme “...was preserved by the Aral foreland Huns, the Kidarites-Hephthalites, and was inherited by their descendants, the tribes of the Oghuz alliance in the 10th – 11th centuries AD and, finally, by the Turkmens of the 19th century AD – beginning of the 20th century AD.”[10]


THE BEAUTY, WOVEN OF MYSTERIES is a 2018 documentary film directed by Emir Valinezhad about The World's Oldest Carpet Story .


References[change | change source]

  1. Carpet Encyclopedia: History of handknotted carpets - Carpet Encyclopedia, accessdate: December 24, 2015
  2. "History of handknotted carpets - Carpet Encyclopedia | Carpet Encyclopedia". Retrieved 2020-02-18.
  3. Sheida Nouri-Zadeh, Turkish Carpet: The Beautiful Picture of Art in History.
  4. Wilfried Menghin, Im Zeichen des goldenen Greifen: Königsgräber der Skythen, Prestel, 2007, p.126
  5. D. T. Potts, A Companion to the Archaeology of the Ancient Near East, Vol. 1, John Wiley & Sons, 2012, p.439: "Further afield, we have also learned much from important find from Siberia, most notably the famous 4th century BC pile carpet from Pazyryk (Rudenko 1970). This carpet is made up of ghiördes (symmetrical, or Turkish) knots with a count of 3,600 per square decimeter or about 6 knots per linear centimeter (15 knots per linear inch)."
  6. Virginia Dulany Hyman, William Chao-chung Hu, Carpets of China and its border regions, Ars Ceramica, 1982, p.10: "The Pazyryk carpet contains motifs which could be found in many variations throughout their historical development within Turkish and Hun art and they all bear a strong resemblance to their proto-types. Many of the elements found on the Pazyryk carpet can be traced through later Turkish rugs."
  7. W. T. Ziemba, Abdulkadir Akatay, Sandra L. Schwartz, Armenian flat weaves: an introduction to the weaving and culture of Anatolia, Scorpion Publications, 1979, p.44: "The following article discusses various theories concerning the age and provenance of the Pazyryk carpet and provide insights into designs and weaving of Turkish carpets and kilims woven much later. See also Rudenko (1970)."
  8. 8.0 8.1 Peter Bausback, Antike Orientteppiche. 1978. p.429
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Museum für Völkerkunde zu Leipzig, Jahrbuch, vol. 39, 1992, p.40-42
  10. С.П. Толстов, Города гузов (историко-этнографические этюды). Советская этнография 3, 1947, 80.