Between the Black Sea to the west and the Caspian to the east lie several Soviet States, the most important of which are Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan and the Russian Federated Socialist Republic (which includes the State of Daghestan). These States make up the area in which most Caucasian carpets were made. They are populated by many different peoples and tribes and there are two main religions, Christianity and Islam. Until the nineteenth century the Caucasus was part of Persia who ceded it to Imperial Russia. Because of this vast commingling of peoples who also wandered into Turkey and Persia, Caucasian carpets have been a source of confusion, even to experts.
However, if we take some long-established classifications, we will be able to differentiate some of the most well-known and characteristic Caucasian carpets.
Of the nineteen or twenty names which have at some time been chosen to describe these pieces, we have selected eleven of the most widely used:
Baku, Derbend, Karabagh, Shirvan, Chi-Chi Erivan, Kazak, Soumak, Daghestan, Kabistan, Kuba. It can be safely stated that a Caucasian carpet by any other name will turn out to be a particular variant of one of the above to which a trade name has been attached. It need only be added that the word Armenian is often used, somewhat misleadingly, in older books as a synonym for Caucasian.