The top quality of all Caucasian rugs are made in the republic of Azerbaijan. They are made from top grade wool, with the knot density over 200,000 per square metre.
These unique pileless rugs made in Azerbaidjan are easily recognisable — they are the only type where wool on the underside is not cut clean to give an impression of a smooth surface, which is usual, but instead bits of wool are left to form a messy pattern. The reasons for that are, as one could expect, traditional - in the old days many dwellings did not have cement floors, and rugs were put directly on top of sand. The numerous strands of wool left uncut on the underside did the job of trapping air, and warming up the room.
These are flat woven carpets. Popular in hot countries, they are cheaper and have also become fashionable among younger people.
Territorially, rugs of Azerbaidjan can be divided into four groups with distinctive techniques and designs:
The Kuba-Shirvan group includes many top quality rugs. Those made in the region of the capital, Baku, are also included within this group. Some of the Kuba rugs, being territorially the closest to the adjoining republic of Daghestan, have had strong influence on the latter. Other villages in the borderline areas between the two republics can be classified as Daghestanian (based on the quality of their rugs), even if territorially they are part of Azerbaidjan.
Rugs from the Shirvan region include the flat woven Kilims known the world over. Generall, Shirvan rugs depict images of people, animals, household objects, etc., more often than rugs from Kuba and Baku.
The Kuba-Shirvan group rugs have traditionally come in small sizes (up to 4 square metres), with density in the 150,000-300,000 knots per square metre range (some particularly fine examples reach 350,000 knots). Design on these rugs is usually very fine, rich and complicated, the colours mainly heavy, and the pile dense, soft and quite short (3-6mm in height).
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