Asiatic cheetahs are becoming increasingly rare in Asia. This cheetah was photographed in Iran in 2006 where the Government is working to save this endangered specie.
detail of the The Widener Mughal Animal Carpet
This carpet was designed circa 1695 by the Hindi artist Miskin. As we can see in the above detail Asiatic cheetahs were visible at the Mughal court in the 17th century
Asiatic cheetahs are seen in this 2005 photo taken by
camera traps in Dareh Anjir, in an isolated area of Iran.
Asiatic cheetahs went extinct throughout much of the
Middle East about 100 years ago, though they occurred in
Saudi Arabia until the 1950s. They vanished in India in
1947; spotty records claim they ranged in Central Asia as
far as Kazakhstan from the 1960s through 1980s.
The Islamic Republic of Iran is fighting a difficult battle to preserve the specie by preserving the habitat. The Asiatic Cheetah was thought to be extinct in southern Iran but recently they have been spotted again.
The only clearly Turkmen designs represented on this very old asmalyk are the four ashiks serving as terminal heads for the zoomorphic 'animal trees'. Given the idea that some Turkmen weavings were reserved for special occasions or even possibly served as integral parts of Turkmen cult worship, it's interesting to speculate for which purpose this very unique asmaldyk might have once been used.
Major Rug Sites