Shikli Kazak Rugs

Guide to Shikli Kazak Rugs & Carpets

Also called Sheki and Nukha, Shikli is a city in Azerbaijan near the Armenia and Georgian borders, close to Lambalo and Shulaver.

All throughout, silkworm-breeding is common here. Silk production is primarily concentrated in the city of Sheki, which is an ancient silk-processing city. The Sheki silk-producing factory operates strictly on local resources, which are brought from the various regions of Azerbaijan. This factory produces anywhere from 28 to 30 thousand sq. meters of silk textiles.

Scenic surroundings and a spectacular gorge setting are among the main attractions of this city. Originally sited lower down the hill, Saki was moved to its present location after a devastating flood. Long famed as a silk center, it’s the site of a huge factory that was once the Soviet Union’s largest silk plant. Saki also has a khan’s summer palace (with a fresco, 80 ft/24 m long), a reconstructed Persian caravansary and a fortress. Northwest of Saki is Zakatala, which has the ruins of an old fortress. Zakatala is mainly of historic interest — the fortress was used after the 1905 Revolution as a prison for the mutinous crew of the battleship Potemkin and is located 235 mi./380 km. northwest of Baku.


Shikhly Kazak Rug, c.1910
Shikhly Kazak Rug c. 1910
Origin: Southwest Caucasus, about 1910

Size: 8ft.1in. x 5ft. (2.46m. x 1.52m.)

Description: Overall uneven wear. The late Azerbaijani writer Lyatif Kerimov attributed the rare rugs of this distinctive design to the district of Shikhly and its eponymous capital in the Kazak area, an attribution subsequently followed by other writers.

Kazak Shikli Rug
Kazak Shikli Rug
Dimensions: 160cm X 111cm; this rug has been torn in the middle, and when I see that the central medallion is diamond-shaped in place of hexagonal-shaped, I think that there are 30 cm. missing.

Age: First quarter 20th century

Knots: Symmetric, very short pile

Density: Tightly woven, H 32/10cm V 52/10cm, 1664/dm²

Warps: White and beige finely twisted wool, Z2S, no depression, flat back, floppy handle

Wefts: Finely twisted wool, Z2S

Selvedges: Flat selvedges of two cords of two warps wrapped with medium blue and medium red brown wool making alternated bands of colors.

Colors: Aniline red, other colors are natural: tan, dark and medium brown, brownish red, white, marine blue, azure blue

Ends: Most damage, 1.5 cm. plain weave

Condition: Torn and mostly bad repairing

Comments: This is a typical tightly woven Shikli-Kazak with the most common design consisting of a central white and (normally) hexagonal stepped pointing medallion containing small geometrical motifs at either end of the field, three large cypress-like serrated pointing palmettes containing a tree-like motif ornament, and four two-sided corner pieces. Most rugs of the central medallion type have a dark marine blue field that is sometimes decorated with small Caucasian motifs. They usually have a white main border with a stylized floral meandering of the type found in this rug, and the blue or red minor borders with the crosses and bars motif are also typical. As in this rug, selvedges with blue and red colored bands are also common.

Shikli Kazak, Southwest Caucasus, Around 1900

Shikli Kazak, Southwest Caucasus, Around 1900
Size: 230 x 130cm.

Shikli Kazak Rug Last Quarter 19th C. 

Shikli Kazak Rug Last Quarter 19th C.

Southwest Caucasus, last quarter 19th century, (areas of wear, selvage damage), 7 ft. 8 in. x 4 ft. 2 in.