Pazyryk: The first surviving pile rugThe oldest known hand knotted rug which is nearly completely preserved, and can, therefore, be fully evaluated in every technical and design aspect is the “Pazyryk carpet”, dated to the 5th century BC. It was discovered in the late 1940s by the Russian archeologist Sergei Rudenko and his team. The carpet was part of the grave gifts preserved frozen in ice in the Scythian burial mounds of the Pazyrak area in the Altai Mountains of Siberia. The provenience of the Pazyryk carpet is under debate, as many carpet weaving countries claim to be its country of origin. Wherever it was produced, its fine weaving in symmetric knots and elaborate pictorial design hint at an advanced state of the art of carpet weaving at the time of its production. The design of the carpet already shows the basic arrangement of what was to become the standard oriental carpet design: A field with repeating patterns, framed by a main border in elaborate design, and several secondary borders.
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