The Afshar pile khorjin-face below was recently offer for sale on the internet by a good friend of ours, Andy Lloyd, from London, England.
Andy is a hard working rug dealer who travels wide and far to find interesting collector pieces and we like and respect him very much.
In describing his khorjin Andy referred to its design as a “dragon/phoenix” one but, as the following will demonstrate, this is not actually what this iconography is all about.
Here is a very old, in fact it is the oldest Persian soumak khorjin we have ever seen in person or published, closely related weaving.
Early Afshar Soumak khorjin; RK Collection; unpublished
There should be no doubt the iconography in these two khorjin is the same and ours is the archetype/prototype for the group to which both belong.
RK has a number of other pictures of similar bags to Andy’s and we could demonstrate the degeneration of the design over at least several weaving generations.
These later bags, like Andy’s, incorporate some other, unrelated designs and this, more than anything, is the reason some collectors refer to them as “dragon/phoenix”.
But, in fact, the origin of this genre of Persian khorjin, pile or soumak, has nothing to do with dragons or phoenix.
When the iconography in our bag is studied carefully it is quite easy to see the roots of the pattern a piece like Andy’s displays.