Chelaberd (Çələbi) Kazak Rug
Estimated Age: Second half 19th century
Size: 7ft. 6in. by 5ft. (2.28 by 1.52m.)
Source: Rippon Boswell (auction)
Sold for $5,381 on May 28, 2011
Antique Rug Description
While often labeled as an Eagle Kazak or Sunburst Kazak in many Western catalogues due to interpretations of its animated central medallion, this rug is most traditionally known as a Çələbi (Chelaberd, etc.). They are historically associated with the Karabagh region, although the design certainly migrated to other weaving centers. Experts continue to debate the exact location of the original Çələbi village. An Azerbaijani source suggests it is located 10 km east of Berde, some 50 km northeast of Karabagh. If this is accurate, the design likely later migrated to Karabagh proper and other weaving centers.
Many experts propose that the Çələbi design is rooted in the floral, sunburst, and dragon carpets woven in the Karabagh region in the 18th century. The design likely migrated from its original workshop setting to the less refined rural environment. The relatively small sunburst found in the fine workshop designs were transferred to Çələbi rugs and enlarged to be the central medallion. The jagged arched vine shapes also made the transition.
Some Çələbi versions have two sunbursts, while others have one central sunburst with arched vine imagery on each end of the rug. In Azerbaijan, these are referred to as “bigli”, or mustached, Cheleberds. The large arches on the end take on the appearance of a mustache.