At the beginning of the twentieth century, the names Tcherkess, Kutais, Tiflis, Georgian, Armenian, and Kazak were applied to the various Caucasian weaves found in the region west of Karabagh and south of the Greater Caucasus. Nowadays all but the name Kazak have largely disappeared except among the doyens of the trade who rightly assert that neither does the modern classification of the Kazaks comprises a group that is homogeneous on a basis of design or structure, nor is it likely that they were all made by the same tribe or group.
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The confusion that surrounds Kazak rugs is largely due to the strange phenomenon of the existence of the name in southwestern Caucasia. The word 'khazaki' itself is problematic as there are two distinct groups of people who bear the name, and neither of them seems to have anything to do with knotted rugs or with the southern Caucasus. The word means 'adventurer', 'freebooter', or 'rider of the steppes' in the Turkic languages and it was adopted into Russian at the time of the Tartar invasions. It is only fair to say that not everyone agrees even with that statement and some suggest that the Russian word had a quite separate origin. To those who have no emotional involvement in the issue that seems unlikely given the evidence.
Kazak rugs have a strong folk influence on their design. They house big, bold, dominating geometric patterns on a subtle color backdrop, giving them an edge that differentiates them from other rugs.
The body frame of the carpet has scattered geometric figures all over. These include folk-inspired detached shapes, squares, diamonds, and medallions—sometimes these designs incorporate animals, trees, and floral motifs.
The colors used are vibrant via the rug’s denser dyes. Each rug uses about five to seven different colors to create its elaborate effect. The rugs use bright colors like red, blue, green, and ivory. The heavy amount of color draws the observer’s eyes toward the Kazak’s emblazoned geometric patterns.
Weaving and Production
Kazak class is that both warps to which a knot is tied lie on an even plane. This, however, cannot be considered a constant feature because in some of his subdivisions a depressed warp is a common occurrence. Structurally the Kazaks do display several common features: they are knotted with the symmetrical (Turkish) knot; the warp and weft are almost always wool, the former generally undyed and the latter dyed, and the pile is wool; on the line of the warp threads the knots are longer than they are wide, and the weft crosses two or more times between each row of knots without apparent order.
Photo: Kazak Rug Weaving, 2021 Gaziantep