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Old January 24th, 2018, 05:48 PM   #9
Pierre Galafassi
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Hi Andy,

Although I have bravely completed the reading (it took me only 5 months), I must confess that I agree with your post:
While the dye - and C14 analysis parts are highly interesting, appear to me to be solid and surely do open new perspectives, Rageth’s wandering in design interpretation is less satisfactory. I especially did regret that he was not much more interested in the history of Central Asian people’s migrations.

I failed to notice his hypothesis of a direct descent of the Salor tribe from the Sogdians, already mentioned by Martin (could you please indicate in what chapter this strange claim was made) but it seems obvious to me too that it is an extremely unlikely origin:
As stated by various 19th century visitors
The Salor themselves claimed a descent from the Oghuz (a strong Turkic confederation which actively contributed to the (very lively) history of successive Turkik Khanates East of Transsoxiana).
Other Turkmen tribes fully agreed with this Salor claim. (As lineage was a very serious matter for the Turkic tribes, it is highly unlikely that they would err on this point).
Physically the 19th century Salor showed more clearly a Turko-Mongol origin than most other Turkmen tribes. ( The Turkmen hobby of capturing Persians, to be sold mainly on the Bokhara and Khiva slave markets, but occasionally to keep Persian concubines for themselves, had, according to O’Donovan and others, contributed to change the racial characteristics of many Turkmen, though much less so, apparently, among the elitist Salor tribe.

The Turkic Salor had clearly nomadic and warlike traditions and had therefore very little in common with the Indo-European Sogdians, which were the most successful merchants of their time and were enjoying prevalently a settled, urban lifestyle. The Sogdians’ constant policy was to accept the political rule of stronger military powers (China, Persia, Gökturk khanate etc..) and to care instead only for their own business along the Silk Road.

I am less critical than you about the hypothesis that Sogdian design may have influenced (indirectly of course) the design of Salor- (and other Turkmen-) rugs:
An influence of Sogdian/Sassanian Persian textile design on later Timurid rugs (as seen in dozens of miniatures) appears quite credible to me. And these Timurid rugs really could have been an inspiration for, later still, Turkmen main carpets.

The Turkmen nomads have lived during 800 years directly at the borders of these successive urban civilizations, their ancestors had even been for a while the overlords of the Sogdians, later -around 1000 AD-, one center of Oghuz power was situated in the area of the lower Syr darya and Amu darya rivers. Offsprings of these Oghuz had destroyed and created several Central Asian great empires and meddled in all possible ways in the region’s history. IMHO commercial and some artistic influences would seem quite likely too.

But I am certainly not competent in this matter of design filiation.
Perhaps our friend Martin Andersen could share with us his much more valuable and professional opinion about this interesting question.

Best regards
Pierre
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