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Armenian rug from Van ca. 1900, 258 x 153 cm, East of Anatolia (Armenian highland)

As far as I am aware, there are no comparative examples of this very rare rug in publications, and initially its provenance was puzzling. A dense repeat of small rosettes in subdued colours covers the whole of the dark brown field. The four white Armenian letters at the upper end of the field provided the decisive clue: "I Van". According to information provided by the Armenian specialists I consulted including Ashkhunj Poghosyan and Madenadaran epigraphist Arsen Harutyunyan, the inscription translates as "from Van" and proves that the rug was woven in the city of Van in eastern Anatolia. Until 1915, it had a largely Armenian population and was a centre of carpet weaving.

Armenian Van Rug circa 1900