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I search for anomalies. Particularly anomalies that tell me if a rug is Armenian without necessarily having an inscription. I own four Armenian Shirvan Prayer rugs. 

How can I tell it’s Armenian? There are at least five reasons—but ONE main reason. The repeated “X” pattern in the field:

It’s ULTRA rare. I have only seen this pattern twice on a rug in the 20 years I have been studying rugs. The only other one is on an 1877 Genje Armenian-inscribed rug I own. The ‘X’ pattern has Christian significance. In the Greek language, the letter chi (χ) is the first letter in the word Christ (Χριστός) pronounced khristós, meaning the 'Anointed One'. It’s thought that Constantine had seen the Greek letter in a vision, which led him to adopt the Christian faith. While some associate the “X” symbol with the cross, scholars say that the symbol is more identical to the pagan symbol for the sun. Today, the “X” symbol is often used as a symbol for the name Christ. As a graphical device or Christogram, it replaces the word Christ in Christmas, which therefore becomes Xmas.

Armenian Shirvan Prayer rug 1879