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Harold and Melissa Keshishian
Collection Of Caucasian Rugs at the Textile Museum

Excerpts taken from "Rug Notes"

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Even after more than twenty five years Harold Keshishian still packs them in when he speaks at the Textile Museum. In the years since Harold helped start the popular Saturday morning programs at the Textile Museum he has been a very popular speaker. Saturday November 22, 1997 was no exception not only was it standing room only, but late attendees were turned away because the room could hold no more people.

Genje Prayer Rug

Central Caucasus, late nineteenth - early twentieth, Wool 4 ft. 11 in. by 3 ft. 3. in. Collected by Mr. Keshishian in Istanbul.

Warp: wool, 3 strand Z spun S plied ivory and tan.

Weft wool red, blue and light green, 2 shoots.

Pile: wool Knot: symmetrical V9, H8, 72/square inch

Edges: 2 cord double selvage of two cord each in red and reddish orange wool.

Ends: lower incomplete, Upper 1/4 in. red wool wefted plain weave remains.

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Harold was assisted by his wife Melissa McGee Keshishian and myself (Barry O'Connell) but it was very much his show. He gave a rather personal view of how and why he collected the various pieces. Harold has rather eclectic taste and pieces were added to the collection on a wide range of criteria. One of the rugs was even a counterfeit that Harold bought knowing full well what it was. Interestingly even after Harold pointed out it was a latter copy some people still insisted that it was real.

Akstafa Rug

Eastern Caucasus, nineteenth century, Wool and cotton, 9 ft. 2 in. by 4 ft. 1. in.

Warp: wool, 3 strand Z spun S plied ivory and some tan.

Weft wool (ivory, and some light blue), and some cotton, 2-4 shoots.

Pile: wool Knot: symmetrical V9, H8-9, 72-81/square inch

Edges: not original.

Ends: not original.

HKx111.jpg (40702 bytes) With Harold and Melissa Keshishian whose collection now exceeds 700 rugs and carpets we saw old favorites from the pages of many books and shows as well as the pages of Oriental Rug Review and Hali. We also saw many unpublished treasures as well. Harold Keshishian was one of the first recipients of the prestigious Joseph V. McMullan Award and is on the Board of the Near Eastern Art Research Center and is a Trustee of the Textile Museum. Harold has two books to his credit "Rugs of the Caucasus" in 1968 and "Treasures of the Caucasus" in 1993. Melissa for years conducted the seminar on carpet restoration held annually at the TM. The Keshishians live on a farm in Poolesville Maryland. After the talk a light lunch was served.

Alpan Kuba Fragment

Eastern Caucasus, nineteenth century, Wool and cotton, 9 ft. 2 in. by 4 ft. 1. in.

Warp: wool, 3 strand Z spun S plied ivory alternate warps very slightly depressed.

Weft wool ivory, 2 shoots.

Pile: wool Knot: symmetrical V12, H8, 96/square inch

Edges: not original.

Ends: incomplete.