A Shahsavan sumak in silk, No. 61500 141x112cm

Sumak is a weaving technique in which colourful yarns of wool, or in this case, silk, are wrapped around the weft to form a pattern eventually. The ends of the yarn are left loose on the back before moving to the next colour. Rows of such yarns are then tightened and locked in place by wefts row after row.

The Shahsavan tribes often employ the Sumak weaving technique. They weave their Sumak rugs in traditional patterns that they generate spontaneously from memory as they weave their rugs. The result is the creation of unique and irreplaceable flatweaves that reflect the subconscious of the weaver and the collective memory of the tribe.
Many of the motifs and stylized animals have symbolic meanings. One such symbol is notable in this rug's field, in the nave medallion at the centre: the three-legged donkey, mentioned in Zoroastrian sources as a mythical creature associated with Tishtrya, the divinity in charge of rainfall and fertility, whose task is to cleanse waters:

"The three-legged donkey sits in the warkaš sea. All the water that rains on dead bodies, menstrual discharge, and other excretions, when it comes to the three-legged donkey, it makes it all clean and pure by looking at it."
“Mēnōy ī xrad” chapter 62, verse 26

The abundance of such motifs in this rug has made it a piece that one could admire for ages without becoming tired of looking. The silk material makes it soft and pleasing to handle and touch.