INTRODUCTION, A UNIQUE AUCTION OF 69 IMPORTANT ANTIQUE AZERBAIJANI-CAUCASIAN RUGS FROM THE DR. HORST K. ULMKE COLLECTION. The original collection of Wilhelm Ulmke, followed by his son Walter and supplemented by his grandson Dr. Horst Karl Ulmke (1923-1999). Ulmke was fortunate in the late decades of the 20thC to be able to purchase fine rugs of the Azerbaijan region that surfaced on the market due the social and economic upheaval that led to the collapse of the Soviet Union. The collection in its entirety was documented fastidiously in the book ‘Azerbaijan-Caucasian Rugs’* by some of the most highly regarded specialists in the area. *AZERBAIJANI-CAUCASIAN RUGS By Siawosh U. Azadi, Latif Kerimov and Werner Zollinger, ISBN 10: 3-925 813-10-1 Published by Ulmke Collection, Hamburg, 2001 Ulmke and his wife maintained international properties including one in the Bay of Plenty, hence a proportion of collection came to be housed in New Zealand. The rugs have been meticulously conserved and stored. They represent the best examples of a fascinating textile making history, a unique offering of incomparable quality, the like of which will not be seen in New Zealand again. "It has always been one of my top priorities to own carpets in mint condition" - Dr. Horst Ulmke These carpets from the Azerbaijan districts of Kuba, Shirvan, Karabakh, Gyanja and Kazak are made with hand spun wools, naturally dyed with combinations of madder, cochineal, euphorbia, indigo and walnut husks, giving the wonderful polychrome colours that firstly attract the attention. Some show the attractive feature abrash - the colour variation within one shade. Their history derives from nomadic tribal groups settling into rural villages and urban centres but maintaining their cultural signatures in the ornamentation of their rugs. They are decorated with complex and marvellous göels (medallions) that represent lakes surrounded by trees, animals, birds, figures, flowers, vines, leaves, feathers and clouds as well as compositions and patterns whose meanings are lost in time. ‘In my forty-two years in the auction industry and short period working with a rug dealership I have not seen and know I will not see again such a marvellous collection’. – Ross Millar, Cordy’s Auctions.