Antique Rugs > Antique Rugs > The Oldest Carpet in the World – The Pazyryk Rug

The Oldest Carpet in the World – The Pazyryk Rug

Here we present the captivating story of the Pazyryk rug. In 1949, a Russian archeologist Sergei Rudenko made a groundbreaking discovery, especially in the context of the history of weaving. Searching through Siberia, precisely the part called Pazyryk Valley, he excavated a tomb of a Scythian Prince with all the treasures that had been buried within for over 2500 years.


Many important findings findings helped us understand the life of the nomadic tribes of Pazyryk. Among them we can find cloth saddles and decorative or devotional figurines. Also, there is a rug that tells us a lot about the traditions of the peoples. It had lasted all this time frozen in ice. In addition, thanks to it we can admire the rug in a remarkable condition. It is the oldest known pile rug. Thanks to its singularity it continues to intrigue historians and weavers alike.

Design And Origins of The Pazyryk Rug

The Pazyryk rug is now at St. Petersburg Hermitage Museum. On their website we can find the  description of the piece. In terms of decoration the rug is rich and varied. In the central field we can see 24 cross-shaped figures. Each of them consists of four lotus buds. On the border there are griffinsand twenty-four fallow deer. However, the widest border contains representations of workhorses and men. The characterization of the design seems to be accurate. Yet it does not mention the ambiguity concerning the origin of the carpet. The Pazyryk tribes were hunters who domesticated horses. However, their main trade was war. According to historical sources, the Pazyryk peoples were fearless. Their women were just as proficient in martial arts as men. It is highly unlikely that these warriors are the makers of the famed Pazyryk rug.

The True Origins of The Pazyryk Rug

The sophistication and the color scheme of the rug state a developed and settled civilization. The Pazyryk Valley lied close to major trade routes going from China to Central Asia and back. Present day scientists suspect that the Pazyryk rug could have been a Scythian loot. It might have benn stolen from the traders of Persian or Armenian origin. A textile expert, Ulrich Schurmann, believes that the carpet comes from Armenia. Yet, the heirs of the Persian weaving empire believe it to be the artifact of the Achaemenid period. Thus, they claim it as their own. Perhaps, we will never know the truth. However, we can always admire the beauty of the Pazyryk Rug.

Pazryk carpet