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History of the Pazaryk Rug
The oldest complete area rug was discovered by Russian Professor Sergei Rudenko in 1949 during the excavation of burial mounds in Southern Siberia, close to the border with Mongolia. The burial mounds were located in the Altai Mountains in the Pazeryk Valley.
Before the Pazaryk Rug Was Discovered
Before the rug was discovered in 1949, it had been preserved since the 5th century BC. Just how the rug remained in tact is very interesting.
The rug had been preserved in the permafrost since the 5th century BC. Soon after the rug had been placed in the burial mound of a Sythian chieftain, grave robbers raided the tomb. Fortunately the robbers ignored the rug, and in their pursuit actually helped to protect the rug from decay
Through the opening, which the robbers left behind, water poured into the mound and froze, thus protecting the rug from decay.
Called the Pazyryk rug, it is 180 X 198 (5'11 X 6'6) has a velvety woollen pile, finely knotted (An Average of between 200 to 270 symmetrical knots to the square inch.)
The rugs' central field is a deep madder red colour and it has five borders. The primary, or widest, border contains horsemen. Each horse has an embroidered saddlecloth of which the design resembles the actual Pazaryk rug. The secondary inner border contains rows of deer.
The central field depicts repeating quatrefoils, which can be found in the stonework at the entrances to some Assyrian Palaces.
The design suggests an Achaemenid Persian origin. (A Persian Dynasty, which reigned from 559 BC TO 330 BC)
The Pazaryk Rug Today
There is some dispute as to the exact origin of the piece.
Did the Pastoral Nomads who owned this valuable fine rug make it themselves or acquire it by means of trade?
It is now kept in the Hermitage Museum of Leningrad.
Although there have been fragments of older and finer examples of hand knotted rugs discovered, these pieces were too tattered to be successfully identified.
The Pazaryk Rug has been reproduced in a 100% Worsted Wool Machine made Wilton rug.
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