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-   -   Bag with replaced ends (http://www.turkotek.com/VB37/showthread.php?t=3648)

Patrick Weiler August 27th, 2016 01:09 AM

Bag with replaced ends
On another thread there are pictures of a mish-mash-of-a-mushwani rug with the bottom, beginning end of the rug using a completely different design than the top 7/8ths of the rug. OK, maybe 9/10ths. A while ago I bought a bag face on ebay with a pleasant-appearing design and also with unusual ends. The design looks to be an infinite repeat of rows of large botehs, with the botehs in one row facing one way and in the next row the other way, then back the other way again. At the top it looks like the weaver didn't have enough room to complete the boteh tops, so she left them off. The botehs are not outlined, so the components of them float on the dark brown field - and the interiors of the botehs are the same color as the field, making them difficult to discern from the background.


Once the piece arrived, I noticed that the border is a column of single symmetric knots of blue and yellow, with a few red knots here and there. And the top and bottom border is a row of red and white knots. But something about those red and white knots looked a bit "off".


Because someone added about three rows of knots to either end, but with the warps going horizontal to the weaving instead of vertical. Two rows of dark wool with a single row of symmetric red and white knots between them.
I have seen a lot of bags and rugs with rewoven ends, and have heard of some with symmetric knots where the rest of the rug was asymmetric knots, but I had never come across this curious combination.
Does anyone have any idea as to who made this bag? It doesn't seem to fit into any of the "usual suspects" categories. Perhaps the vague Northwest Persian? It is 16"x14" (40cm x 35cm) with two dark gray-brown wefts and 5h x 10v symmetric knots for 50 kpsi. The selvedge is also anomalous. It has a dark wool overcasting, but it does not cover warps, it covers a column of red pile knots. It seems that this bag was both wider and longer originally. Usually it is condition issues that require repaired ends and selvedges, but the pile is practically unworn, with a plush and meaty handle. It is possible the repairer cut the outer borders off each side and reattached them at the top and bottom, though for what reason it is difficult to tell.
The colors all look natural, with no bleeding, fading or harshness. Any guesses?

Patrick Weiler

Rich Larkin August 27th, 2016 03:50 PM

Hi Patrick,

Wow. Plenty to say/ask about this one.

1. I really like the look of it. If I'd seen it on ebay, you'd have had more competition.

2. Must put up these images for your comparison, though the similarity may be used up once you get past the chestnut brown and a few other colors. There is a little pale to mid green in there, not unlike yours, that doesn't appear very prominently in the images


I have the (partial) runner tagged as "Serab," though that's mostly a placeholder until I find out what it is (about 35-40 years and still loooking). The name works better for mine on account of the plain wide edges than it does for your piece. The design elements between yours and mine don't have too much in common.

3. I might speculate that your piece represents a "post-manufacture" manufactured khorjin, whereby some jobber takes a nice plush hunk out of a larger fragment, sews on some good-looking sides and ends, and pretends it's a bagface. I've seen many, probably you have too. However, the dual columns of blue/yellow dots/knots on either side make that explanation dubious. Certainly, those two lines defined the original edges, or close to them. Another sinister possibility would be that the blue/yellow columns represent later repiling for forgery purposes [e. g., you can see some goofy repiling in process in my runner, above], but that doesn't really hold up, either. Plus, the pile there doesn't look non-original to my eye. So, the original piece was not much wider than 16 inches.

4. I take it the end pieces, turned ninety degrees, have been attached by sewing to the body of the thing; and that what was originally dark brownish weft has been fringed out to look like warp ends. Can you tell what the actual warps look like? Also, can you tell whether the other ends of the (former) wefts in the little end strips, where they attach to the body of the piece, were cut? If your idea is accurate that the end strips were formerly the selvages, cut off for end duty, one might expect one side of the strip to show intact wefts making the turn at the edge.

5. BTW, if those end strips had formerly been selvages next to the blue/yellow stripes, would the original piece have looked weird with two of those dotted lines in different colors side by side? (Or with the two said lines flanking the single red stripe you say lies under the selvage wrapping?) Alternatively, maybe the end strips came from a companion bag, and the one was cannibalized to create this one...a veritable Frankenstein of khorjin faces! Maybe the camp dog ripped up the one, and what else could they do?

6. On a different tack, you noted how the boteh aren't clearly defined by a drawn line, but rather with larger components arranged to provide the shape of a boteh; and that the fact creates an interesting effect at the top where the tell-tale tilted tops (alliteration intended) of the boteh are missing. Right! I did a quick tour of Boteh Land and realized that the device in general can be viewed in a continuum from sharply defined to very lumpy. Interesting, and the best news about it is, I'm not going to get into it. But I'm sure somebody whose name begins with "J" can and will supply a few examples drawn like yours.

In sum, very interesting piece, and a real good looker, notwithstanding the sketchy approach to the ends. I certainly would call it "NW Persian, possibly Kurdish," speaking of usual suspects. My advice is, love it!

Any possibility of getting a look at the back?


Joel Greifinger August 27th, 2016 05:23 PM

Hi Pat,

I love the floating, deconstructed botehs. :thumbsup:

My guess is that it comes from the Land of Infinite Boteh Design, the Afshar. While I can't recall seeing any identical botehs, here is one that has very similar elements on an Afshar rug:


You mention the column of single symmetric knots. How is the rest of the piece knotted?


Rich Larkin August 27th, 2016 05:40 PM

Hi Joel,

I knew you wouldn't disappoint. However, Patrick's piece doesn't strike me as Afshar, with all the variety that clan brings to the field. When I predicted that the mystery researcher, "J", might come up with examples, I was envisioning Afshars myself; but if they are the progenitors of this type of boteh, I would think it traveled (within that amazing melting pot of designs in NW Iran).

I hope Patrick posts a back shot.


P. S.: I realize my credentials are limping at the moment, but you can tell P's piece is SY all over from the principal image. Look at the green boteh caps, say, the two on the left: the pile shows as subtle blocks there. A sure sign of SY knotting.

Joel Greifinger August 27th, 2016 06:45 PM

Hi Rich,

My preliminary Afshar guess isn't backed by much conviction. :p It could just as likely come from Persian Kurdistan, like this one:



Rich Larkin August 27th, 2016 06:50 PM

There ya go! I would say, deep Persian Kurdistan. Another one of my theories is, the longer and thicker the pile, the farther into Kurdistan; and the higher up in the mountains, too. :wizard:

Speaking of longer and thicker, I'll be out mowing the lawn.

Chuck Wagner August 27th, 2016 11:33 PM

Hi Pat,

I have a couple pieces that can either aid your confidence in attribution, or, make things even more confusing. I think Afshar and Kurdish are both candidates, the latter mainly because of the more coarse rendering of the florals.

I have seen several Afshar bags with a dark field, and the palette of the florals is consistent with Afshar work (see below). I favor an Afshar attribution for your piece. The borders are odd for either group. As an aside, have you checked to see if side borders have been cut off ?

So, with that said, on to the bags faces. The first has dark brown wool warp and weft - like yours. And a symmetrical knot, open to the right with the nodes often tilting slightly to the left - something for Joel to mull over. Symmetrical knots can be made directional with a sideways tug on the knot, and thus have some slight offset viewed from the back. But the offset with asymmetric knots is usually more pronounced - I think enhanced by any warp depression.

What weaving group ? Often, the Kurdish moniker brings with it an expectation of a more coarse look and feel to a piece, especially tribal bags. Yet recall that many of the folks around Bijar are Kurds (there are Afshars as well), but the fine meandering vine borders typical of the region are anything but coarse. Still, this one is a long way from coarse.

I have always called this one an Afshar, because of the palette and the pattern :




The next I also consider Afshar, and has complete botehs. The rendering of the botehs is substantially more detailed, but the palette is consistent with yours (absent the dark field), I think (see second image):



Also, can we see the back of your piece ?

Chuck Wagner

Joel Greifinger August 28th, 2016 12:58 AM


And a symmetrical knot, open to the right with the nodes often tilting slightly to the left - something for Joel to mull over.
Hi Chuck,

Now you have me thoroughly confused (and mulling). :baffled: Luckily, it's a condition with which I am quite accustomed. :confused:

My understanding is that a symmetrical knot cannot be "open" to either right or left. It can, of course, be "pulled" right or left, depending upon the weaver's predilection. Am I misunderstanding something? :felix:


Rich Larkin August 28th, 2016 01:45 AM

Hi Joel,

I believe you are right. All symmetrical knots are open to the sky!


Do you mean they are leaning to the right? That, of course, happens from pulls to one side.


Chuck Wagner August 28th, 2016 02:15 AM


You are the victim of me, typing one thing while thinking another.

I should have used "pulled", it is more accurate, although the following sentence explained what I meant.


Lean, tilt, dip, list, slant, cant, partial offset, lopsided, inclined - choose your poison.

The fact is, that one side of the knot is higher than the other, on the back side. :cheers:


Rich Larkin August 28th, 2016 02:23 AM

Hi Patrick,

I've been thinking about your khorjin. How about this: The original bag had one border (which has disappeared) which was flanked by the blue/yellow bead on the inside, and perhaps the red outline, now selvage-wrapped; and by the red/white bead on the outside, probably with an outline stripe there too. Some part of the old red/white bead was scavenged for the end treatments. It makes sense because those fringed-off ends, formerly wefts, had to com from somewhere.

Whaddya think?


Rich Larkin August 28th, 2016 02:37 AM

Hi Chuck,


The fact is, that one side of the knot is higher than the other, on the back side.
Yeah, I noticed. In fact, I'm obsessing over it!! :deadhorse:

Rich :cheers:

Lloyd Kannenberg August 28th, 2016 03:25 AM

Hello Patrick, Rich, Joel, Chuck and All,

The "open" boteh is not exclusive to the Afshar. Here is a bagface from the North Caucasus:


Nooter's Fig. 34 shows a very similar fragment from the village of Zarat in the Ghyzy region of Azerbaijan. If you look closely, each large "open" boteh encloses a smaller "outlined" boteh. A species of the mother-and-daughter type, I suppose.


Lloyd Kannenberg

Rich Larkin August 28th, 2016 03:49 AM

Very cool, Lloyd. A boteh that isn't fooling around. I don't recall having seen another like this, with the fully formed boteh inside the larger one.


Steve Price August 28th, 2016 12:21 PM


Originally Posted by Rich Larkin (Post 20923)
Very cool, Lloyd. A boteh that isn't fooling around. I don't recall having seen another like this, with the fully formed boteh inside the larger one.


Sure you have, Rich. Do a Google search for "mother and child boteh" and your memory will be refreshed in a few seconds.


Steve Price

Rich Larkin August 28th, 2016 02:05 PM

Hi Steve,

Yes, I've seen many. But the "child" is always poking its head out somehow. Then, you get the very elaborate ones with secondary and tertiary boteh blended in everywhere. And the ones in which the drawing can be said to include boteh within boteh from what is essentially outlining. What strikes me about Lloyd's is that it features two fully formed boteh in different styles, one completely inside the other.



A species of the mother-and-daughter type, I suppose.
...no doubt!


Patrick Weiler August 30th, 2016 03:52 AM

Back at ya
Due to popular demand, here is the back of the brown bag:


This is where a section of the side was reattached to the end:


The curly "warp" ends were formerly weft threads contorted around the warps, giving them a bushy, twisted appearance.
The undepressed knots are symmetric, ruling out an Afshar provenance. There are no offset knots to indicate a Kurdish origin.

Patrick Weiler

Patrick Weiler August 30th, 2016 04:04 AM

South of Azerbaijan

Lovely piece! I thought Azerbaijan was in the southern Caucasus. Your piece looks quite Shirvan from Azerbaijan, like this Baku Shirvan rug I have to look at behind the kitchen table in the morning:


The brown bag doesn't look Caucasian to me, nor SW Persian. It is too "fluffy", thick and austere.

Patrick Weiler

Rich Larkin August 30th, 2016 01:13 PM

Hi Patrick,

The back of your bag isn't quite what I was expecting. In fact, there is partial warp depression on it. This makes me think there is a better chance it is related to the runner I posted. That also has partial warp depression, probably not quite so pronounced as yours. It shows best maybe in the blue rosette outlined in red just to the lower right of center of that image of the back. Running your fingers across the back there (and on yours, too, I'm sure) yields a washboard sensation.

What do you think of my idea that your original piece had a border (probably narrow) that was removed, with the red/white bead having been on the outer side of it? In that regard, I re-pose this question: Are the original wefts in the tacked-on bead strip at the point where that strip joins the end of your piece intact? It looks like that might be so from your latest image.

I really like the piece, even though the tack-on is annoying, aesthetically functional though it is.


Lloyd Kannenberg August 30th, 2016 02:33 PM

Hi Patrick,

You are right, of course, I misspoke. Ghyzy is near Baku on the Apsheron Peninsula. My point was only that the "open" boteh by itself is not a reliable marker for an Afshar attribution. Nevertheless your very attractive bag might very well be an Afshar product.

Lloyd Kannenberg

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