Pazyryk Rug 5th century B.C.
Klasik Hali Reproduction

In 1949, a team of Russian archaeologists led by Sergei I. Rudenko opened an ice tomb in a highland valley in the Altai Mountains in Siberia. There they discovered what was to become the world's most famous pile rug.

Pazyryk - Valley of the Dead in the local Telengit language - lies 1,600 metres above sea level in the Altai Range at the heart of Euroasian landmass. It is the site of fourteen kurgans (barrows), the first of which was excavated in 1929 and further seven more burial mounds were opened in the 1940s by Sergei Rudenko. The kurgans are thought to have been built in the 5th-4th centuries BC.

Today the Pazyryk Rug is preserved and displayed in the State Hermitage Museum and the Institude of Archaeology in St. Petersburg, Russia.

The rug is preserved because the water inside the burial pit had frozen. The carpet emerged from the pit as an ice ball, but once thawed and opened out, it proved to be an almost complete symmetrical knotted pile rug with just a few splits and one corner missing. The Pazyryk carpet s almost square, measuring 1.83 x 2.00 m.(6' 0'' x 6' 7").

Taken from HALI Magazine Nov/Dec 1999 issue 107

Details from Pazyryk Rug
Detail of the central field of the Pazyryk carpet showing the two of the 24 squares containing diagonal crosses overlaid with straight crosses terminating in lotus motifs.
Detail of the broad-antlered spotted deer from the second border of the Pazyryk carpet.