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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

Joel Greifinger August 30th, 2016 04:45 PM


The undepressed knots are symmetric, ruling out an Afshar provenance.
Hi Pat,

In his monograph on Afshar rugs in Kerman, Tanavoli writes, "Afshars dye their wefts red. The range is from light rose to dark brown...The knots on Afshar rugs are usually symmetrical." He also notes that the warps of Afshar rugs can be fully depressed, "semidepressed" or flat. One of the most common descriptions of the degree of depression on pile rugs and bags shown in the book is "almost flat". I don't think that we can rule out Afshar for your bag face on those structural grounds.


There are no offset knots to indicate a Kurdish origin.
Since some groups of Kurdish weavers don't tend to use offset knotting, I don't think we should put them out of the running, either.


Chuck Wagner August 30th, 2016 05:02 PM


I think even with Afshar it gets a bit complex; village Afshar pieces often have asymmetrical knots, open right with red or pink wefts. The pieces made in more rustic settings are almost always symmetrical with far more variation in foundation materials, as noted by Tanavoli.

Funny, when I saw the back it reminded me of the bag I have in another thread:



Joel Greifinger August 30th, 2016 05:36 PM


I think even with Afshar it gets a bit complex


Tanavoli devotes a section of the book to "Afshar Rugs with the Asymmetrical (Persian) Knot". It begins, "The presence of a small percentage of Afshar rugs with the asymmetrical (Persian) knot deserves some discussion." He gives some credence to Edwards's ethnically-based theory that these are produced by Persian speaking villagers although he also cites examples of Turkish-speaking weavers who identify as Afshar using the Persian knot.


village Afshar pieces often have asymmetrical knots, open right
None of the asymmetrically-knotted pieces in Tanavoli's sample were open right. I can't remember seeing any Afshar ASR pieces either. :baffled:


Chuck Wagner August 30th, 2016 06:15 PM


Interesting. I have seen a few with open right knots. This (below) is one I own - unless someone wants to suggest a different attribution. Maybe the asymmetry of village Afshars is variable as well. I have to wonder if the geographic dispersion of the Afshar groups helped complicate the picture:





Rich Larkin August 30th, 2016 06:22 PM

Hi Folks,

There is no doubt about it for me that rugs tagged "Afshar" in the trade exhibit the widest range of weaving characteristics and styles of any other group. Why this is so, I can't say (Edwards's Persian speaker theory, etc.).

I have the greatest respect for Edwards, but it is a fact that there are a few whoppers in his book in terms of fundamental statements about some rugs. He died just short of finishing the book, and his widow pulled it all together, so that could be a factor. Beyond that, I have the sense that he had his strengths and weaknesses developed over many years in Iran in the business; and that his strengths were more towards the workshop-produced material, and less towards the rustic production. So, some of what he said in the interest of a volume that would be comprehensive as regards the Persian Carpet could have been based on second hand dealer lore.

Anyway, getting back to the Afshar, you could put eight or ten rugs or bags on the floor that are generally alleged to be Afshar, and each one wouldn't look like much of close kin to the others. As to Patrick's interesting piece, I don't get the feeling that it is Afshar, though that weave is very much like a certain strain of them. It's mostly the palette that gives me pause. But one thing is undeniable, that it has partially depressed warps. It shows very plainly from the shot of the back, in which every other vertical line of nodes is prominent. It has that "corded" look. I have a khorjin quite like it in that respect, but with light pinkish wefts and a completely different palette (in a well-known Afshar design).

A note about who might have used the "Turkish" (i. e., symmetrical) knot. It isn't absolutely necessary that Turkic ancestry dictates use of that knot. For starters, many Turkoman weavers employed the asymmetrical knot. The Afshars descended from Turkoman stock. In addition, it is likely that large segments of the Iranian population that had not been particularly active as rug weavers in the 19th century took up the craft (possibly reviving an old family or clan tradition at the time) in the production boom of the latter part of the 19th century. It is quite conceivable that some of them affiliated themselves with nearby weavers who happened to be Persian knot users in the process of picking up the skill. This could well have happened at a place like Kerman, where there was reportedly more continuous indigenous pile rug weaving going on through the 19th century than in other parts of Iran at that time. It may be that Edwards's explanation of the distribution of AS and SY Afshar rugs among the villages in the Kerman area represented a simplification of the actual operative dynamic.


Rich Larkin August 30th, 2016 06:30 PM

Hi Chuck,

Great pic!! I take it the knots pointing down towards your thumb are pointing towards the bottom of the rug. (There are some suspicious-looking nodes at the base of the pile along the upper line of that trough as well.)

Note that the back reflects slightly depressed warps.


Chuck Wagner August 30th, 2016 06:35 PM


Agree with Rich that the palette, at least, at first glance seems pretty dark for what is usually considered northern Afshar; it seems like a south Persian palette.

There are a lot of dark ground Afshar bags out there, but mostly with blue, and not brown, fields.

But, having re-read the initial post, I am now confused. So:

Pat - what is the nature of the original warp ?

Rich - yes, you are correct, pile goes down and right from the nodes. It's easiest to see with the white knot to the right of, and adjacent to, the red knot.


Rich Larkin August 30th, 2016 06:58 PM

Yes, it's an excellent illustration of the Persian Knot (called "asymmetrical knot by New Age historians). That's a tougher one to get effectively in a photo as compared with the symmetrical version. I need to save the pic for future reference.

Patrick Weiler August 31st, 2016 04:05 AM

Most of the piece has flat warps but there is some warp depression in other areas. The general impression is of undepressed warps as can readily be seen in the blue and yellow border in the close up below. The warps are completely covered by the knots so it is not possible to determine their properties without disassembling the piece.
It looks nothing like any Afshar, Khamseh, Qashqai, Luri or Baluch that I have ever handled. It is thick, "chunky", heavy, and "meaty beaty big and bouncy" as the album of that name by The Who was titled.
It may be another case of an urban rug weaver making a saddlebag, rather than a tribal bag. It has a thick, dense pile - like an unworn Heriz. As noted previously, the condition is practically perfect, which makes it all the more curious that a chunk of the sides was cut off and attached to the top and bottom. The blue/yellow border stripe eliminates the possibility that this was part of a larger rug, and it is way too narrow, even with a wide border, to have been a runner.
Patrick Weiler

Chuck Wagner August 31st, 2016 06:30 AM

Hi Pat, et al.,

While mulling over my incomplete satisfaction with an Afshar attribution for Pat's bag, something came to mind, namely:

Rule #1 For Persian Bag Attribution

..which is..

If it has a dark palette and you don't know where it's from, it's from Varamin.

Varamin Kurd goods, and Bakhtiati-Lor goods both have symmetrical knots, and this particular brown is common in stuff from the Varamin area.

I don't find a good analog for the open botehs, but the rendering is consistent with the often rather simplistic rendereing of designs from Varamin as well.

I have Tanavoli's book on Varamin; I'll scan a couple representative images tomorrow.


Joel Greifinger August 31st, 2016 12:28 PM


It is 16"x14" (40cm x 35cm) with two dark gray-brown wefts


If it has a dark palette and you don't know where it's from, it's from Varamin.
Even if it's double-wefted? :baffled:


Chuck Wagner August 31st, 2016 04:10 PM


I have two bags that I can confidently call Veramin; both are mixed pile and flatweave (weft substitution, extra weft wrapping, etc.) styles. The pile sections on both are double-wefted. I suspect that, particularly with Varamin Kurds and Bakhtiaris, double-wefted would be the rule rather than the exception.


Patrick Weiler August 31st, 2016 08:33 PM

Take a Seat
I was looking for something that looks like my bag face, and it turns out that I was sitting on it all along. Here is a Jaf Kurd bag that has some similar colors, including dark brown pile, nearly identical construction as viewed from the back, and similar thick symmetric knots. I use it as a seat cover for the recliner in my living room.


Here, I have placed the brown bag on top of the Jaf.


They look like they could be cousins. Notice also, on the Jaf, the minor border stripes of blue and red knots at either side of the white border with diamonds. They look similar to the blue and yellow border on the brown bag, but the Jaf has two knots side-by-side and the brown bag only has single knots. In the case of the brown bag, there may have been a red border between the current side border and the now-repurposed top and bottom red and white borders.

Patrick Weiler

Chuck Wagner August 31st, 2016 11:15 PM

Hi Pat,

Here are a few images of another Jaf Kurd bag with similar, but larger, dashed minor borders (yours are from a single knot; each dash on mine is four). The weave has some similarities but the knots are packed down harder on mine. I have to admit that when I first saw the dashed borders I first thought NW Persia/Caucasus. The pile on this one is much shorter and flatter than on yours, even where it's not worn.

I am accustomed to seeing long pile on Kurdish rugs, but not so used to it on bags (maybe a personal problem), which is another reason I have been leaning toward Afshar. Still, similarities in borders and palette are clear (note brown medallion outlines and details on mine). And, the brown wefts are a consideration, but not unknown on rustic Afshar work. You could buy me a beer or two and then I'll could easily sway toward Kurd again. :cheers:




Also, for Joel, a Varamin Kurd bag for his perusal:



Joel Greifinger September 1st, 2016 01:03 AM


I suspect that, particularly with Varamin Kurds and Bakhtiaris, double-wefted would be the rule rather than the exception.

My assumption was based on Tanavoli's statement that the pile weavings of all the Varamin weaving groups were typically single-wefted. In addition to his own field work, I think that he might have based this on a survey of 113 Varamin weavings that Michael Craycraft had published in Oriental Rug Review in which 83% of the pile pieces were single-wefted. My own small sample of a few Varamin pieces are single-wefted, too.


Chuck Wagner September 1st, 2016 03:42 PM

Hi Joel,

I saw that in his Varamin book. He does reference Craycraft in his comments about pile rugs. In the section on storage bags he explicitly notes Kurd bags as single wefted, a tradition brought in from the western Kurd construction (without an external reference, so presumably from personal observation).

This comment confused me. My comment was based mainly on my own experience; I have about a dozen Kurdish pieces, including the Varamin piece. All are double wefted. The two Bakhtiari-Lor Varamin bags aren't really comparable in my opinion, because the symmetrical knots at the bottom are tied into the plainweave base fabric. However, if Craycraft and Tanavoli included such examples in their statistics, that would explain a lot.

Here are a few of mine; note that the knots on the third example are barely packed together at all:







Joel Greifinger September 1st, 2016 07:01 PM


In the section on storage bags he explicitly notes Kurd bags as single wefted, a tradition brought in from the western Kurd construction (without an external reference, so presumably from personal observation).

This comment confused me. My comment was based mainly on my own experience; I have about a dozen Kurdish pieces, including the Varamin piece. All are double wefted.
Hi Chuck,

When Tanavoli wrote, "Single-wefting was probably introduced to Varamin by the western Kurds", I interpreted it to refer specifically to its origin in Kurdish groups in the area near Kermanshah (Kolya'i and others) that typically weave single-wefted rugs. Two of the Kurdish clans in Varamin originated in Kermanshah.

Other than the single-wefted but also quite distinctive Senneh rugs, other Kurdish pile weaving tends to be double-wefted.


Chuck Wagner September 2nd, 2016 02:33 AM

Hi Joel,

OK, thank you for clarifying. I guess I haven't knowingly handled any pieces from that area. Sorry I cluttered up the thread. Please post am image or two if you have one handy.


Patrick Weiler September 2nd, 2016 04:18 PM

Boteh Quota?

I really like your little chanteh. I will rummage around through the bunker to see if I can find one like it.
Meanwhile, speaking of the skeletal boteh form, here is one from a runner of likely NW Persian origin. Rugs like these were probably as ubiquitous as the American Sarouk from the 20's to the 50's.


But instead of resting quietly in the little-used living room, they were on the front lines of wear and tear; the corridors, entryways and halls, trodden upon daily, wasting away to threads and discarded as they outlived their usefulness.
The basic design is similar to the brown bag, with a "vase" at the bottom from which springs a "tree", with globes or buds rising along the sides to the crest at the top with a lazy, drooping tip.
This runner also has side borders with the now-familiar single two-color dashed column minor border on either side of the main border, of symmetric knots with no warp depression. This minor border transitions along the top and bottom to the double-dashed lines seen here - no there are no offset knots. As I conjectured earlier, this bag may have derived from the workshop weavers "day job" of making rugs and runners. I have seen small pillow-sized Bijar pieces made by the families who weave the larger rugs, made for personal use. A local rug cleaning business owner visited Iran a decade ago and acquired one of these pillow faces. It would not be unlikely for professional rug weavers to make pillows or bags for use at home, which would be a reasonable explanation for the remarkably good condition of the small brown bag.

Patrick Weiler

Egbert Vennema September 2nd, 2016 07:11 PM

Bag with replaced ends.
Hi guys ,to me it looks a little like a piece from the Kelardasht region. Best, Egbert. :cheers:

Rich Larkin September 2nd, 2016 11:05 PM

Hi Joel,

Are you suggesting that Kurdish-appearing rugs with single wefts are probably Kolyai?

I have often wondered whether the oft-repeated assertion that rugs produced in the greater Hamadan weaving area are single-wefted was completely accurate. With several hundred villages (according to Edwards) in on the action, it seems implausible that all of them would hold to that policy. The basic maxim seems to have much of the self-fulfilling prophecy about it.

In a different vein relative to the general 'Hamadan' output, I've read that a significant number of the contributing villages had substantial to majority Kurdish populations. Typically, when encountering what appears to be a Hamadan region rug that is a bit wilder and woolier than the norm, I chalk it up to the Kurds. Perhaps that is not a sound approach.

Chuck, I have to say, I like that selection of pieces from your collection. My kinda rugs! I'm a sucker for those ones with the Kurdish shrubs all over the field.


Patrick Weiler September 3rd, 2016 01:55 AM

Here is a chanteh which is probably Kurdish. There are even some offset knots.


It reminds me somewhat of the one you posted:


The dark grey weft in yours looks similar to the weft in the brown bag.
This one, with a red two-shot weft, is 8" x 17" (20cm x 43cm) with symmetric knots and no warp depression.


The colors are not like my brown bag, but the construction is similar.

Egbert, Kelardasht are often single wefted and can be either symmetric or asymmetric knotted. I have a couple of their bags around here somewhere. I will put on a headlamp and climbing shoes and head down to the bunker to see if I can find them.

Patrick Weiler

Rich Larkin September 3rd, 2016 02:38 AM


That yellow and red chanteh is an absolute hummer!! :thumbsup:


Rich Larkin September 3rd, 2016 02:53 AM

Hi Folks,

Not to go too far afield of the subject of the thread, but on the side issue of open boteh vs. closed, or sharply outlined versions, I'd like to point out that there is a spectrum of styles in that regard. Here are two sort of in the middle.
At least one of them, if not both, must be Kurdish.




Chuck Wagner September 3rd, 2016 05:18 AM

Hi Rich,

The boteh rendering on your second piece shouts Kurdish to me, yet the borders make me wonder - not a typical Kurdish design (to my limited experience) Afshar maybe, or something Azerbaijani ? Do you have any specific info on that quite attractive piece ?

Hi Pat,

I really like that yellow chanteh; it's the sort of work I would expect after the person who wove mine had another 5-10 years of weaving experience. I see what you mean, I think, in particular the meanders in the border. Here's a few more images of mine, for completeness. It's in rough shape, and as suggested above, has the appearance of something borne out of a rustic and unsophisticated weaving setting. I suspect either quite young fingers, or quite old.




Regarding the array of bags from a few posts above, the beat-up one has some additional charm when observed more closely; here the back, and the pile bottom. The pile at the bottom of the front is clipped short, but was left long around the bottom and on the back:




Rich Larkin September 3rd, 2016 05:30 AM

Very interesting pieces, Chuck, each one cool in its own way. Quite a riot of color along the bottom of the second one when you really look at it.


Joel Greifinger September 3rd, 2016 03:57 PM


The boteh rendering on your second piece shouts Kurdish to me, yet the borders make me wonder - not a typical Kurdish design (to my limited experience) Afshar maybe, or something Azerbaijani ?
Hi Chuck,

The particular meander border on Rich's bag below puts in a more than occasional appearance on Kurdish pieces:


On this 'Kurd Bijar' rug, the weaver starts out with that border, but then has an evident change of heart:



Patrick Weiler September 3rd, 2016 06:44 PM

Kelardasht bag

You suggested Kelardasht as a possible source for the brown bag.
Here is a rug ascribed to Kelardasht, from Spongobongo:


Here is a complete storage/transport bag that most likely originated in the Kelardasht region of Mazandaran province, with the same gul motif, minor white-ground border and the same major border as the rug except minus the arrow motifs between the flowers:


Notice the "handles" sewn near the opening at the right.
Here is the inside of the bag, with more handles sewn on.


This tells me that the bag was "convertible" and could be used with the face out when stored in the tent, or turned inside-out when used to transport goods, so as not to damage the pile perhaps. Most of these Kelardasht bags have had the pile face cut out of the bag and the handles removed, to be sold as decorative mats. I think it is rather unusual to find one complete like this one.


This view of the weave, from the back, shows a dark weft and thick symmetric knots similar to the brown bag, but with a more depressed warp and distinctively ribbed appearance.
Granted, the brown bag is more "sophisticated", although the reason could be that it was more of a village piece and the Kelardasht bag here was more likely a rural or nomadic piece. Mazandaran Province is settled by Persians and not Kurds. I think placing the brown bag in Mazandaran Province would be a stretch, but I am still looking!
Patrick Weiler

Patrick Weiler September 3rd, 2016 11:52 PM

Bagged it!

A little more digging turned up this little piece which, from the front, looks a lot more like your little bag. I located it in a drawer, in the drawering room.
The skeletal field motifs look as though they are almost a wagireh or sampler of tiny motifs found in various Kurdish weavings.


It is 10" x 10" (25cm x 25cm) with 9h x 10v symmetric knots for 90kpsi.
It also happens to be single wefted. Here is yours to compare:


And the back:


With some dark blue and some red, single wefts, compared to yours with dark, double wefts, they likely weren't made by the same tribal group, although both may be Kurdish. Neither seem closely related to the infamous Brown Bag. But hey, it's always nice to view some interesting, old tribal weavings and toss around questionable attributions, right?
Patrick Weiler

Rich Larkin September 4th, 2016 02:22 PM

Hi Patrick,


With some dark blue and some red, single wefts, compared to yours with dark, double wefts, they likely weren't made by the same tribal group, although both may be Kurdish.
You can make an analogy to the far more common 'Jaff' type of storage bag, with the diamond grid pattern. They come in a variety of weaving styles, not to mention palettes. Clearly, a good many discrete groups wove them, presumably Kurdish (excepting the odd outlying copy...which have never struck me as Kurdish when I've found them). It seems the general similarity between your square and Chuck's is too great to be coincidental, given the oddness of the format. Perhaps the weaving of such pieces was customary among the Kurds, though not nearly as frequent as the storage bags, nor as likely to make it to the market.

I might speculate that the squares were practice pieces for young weavers for the specific purpose of training them on some typical Kurdish design elements. Your observation that they have the character of a wagireh in that regard is an astute one. But the weaving itself from the standpoint of a fabric seems very competent in both pieces. Anyway, that square canvas with the undyed field for the display of essentially one decorative item (or one repeating field pattern in your piece) certainly looks like common practice. I wonder whether any more can be found.

It's always great to get an insight into what the rural Kurdish weavers were thinking! :bravo:


P. S.

A little more digging turned up this little piece....
Migawd!! There really is a bunker!

Egbert Vennema September 4th, 2016 04:07 PM

bag with replaced ends..
Hi guys, in my humble opinion, there is an area in the Northern part of Mazandaran province where there are Kurds living ...... it s called Kumanji. Best, Egbert

Patrick Weiler September 4th, 2016 05:33 PM


We discussed rugs from the area of northern Mazandaran in post 48, mentioning that Mazandaran is mostly Persian. The Kelardasht rugs are thought to be Kurdish, often using a cotton foundation and single wefting.
Here is what Spongobongo says:
"Kalardasht is in Mazanderan province near Roodbarak. The area has an enclave of Northern Kurds. Northern Kurdish is also called Kurmanji, KurmancÓ, KirmancÓ, KermancÓ, Kurdi, or KurdÓ."
Wikipedia says: "The population is overwhelmingly Mazandarani, with a minority of Azerbaijanis, Georgians, Armenians, Circassians, Turkmen and others."
I assume that "others" includes some Kurds. Burns only mentions Kurmanji as the language and tribal designation, not the region in Mazandaran, and shows no weavings from there in his Kurdish book. Gleaning from the few rugs that show up as Kurmanji, Kelardasht and Mazandaran on an internet search, it does not appear to have supported a substantial rug weaving industry.
Which does mean that something like the little brown bag could easily have been woven there, hiding out surreptitiously amongst the cotton-single-wefted crowd like a wolf in sheeps clothing.
Still searching for a definitive attribution,
Patrick Weiler

Rich Larkin September 4th, 2016 06:58 PM

Hi Patrick,


Gleaning from the few rugs that show up as Kurmanji, Kelardasht and Mazandaran on an internet search, it does not appear to have supported a substantial rug weaving industry.
That observation begs the larger question we may be asking here, i. e., whether the collective information out there is reliable.


Which does mean that something like the little brown bag could easily have been woven there, hiding out surreptitiously amongst the cotton-single-wefted crowd like a wolf in sheeps clothing.


Still searching for a definitive attribution....
BTW, good luck looking. I take it as given there are many wolves in sheeps' clothing lurking in NW Iran. More power to them, too!!


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