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Virtual Show and Tell Just what the title says it is.

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Old June 12th, 2016, 11:50 PM   #1
David Katz
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Default An Ersari (Ali Eli?) chuval with personality

Hello Folks,

I just acquired this rather large chuval (3 feet 4 inches x 5 feet 7 inches (101.6 x 170.2 cm) which looks to me to be an Ersari/Ali Eli piece from around 1900. There is considerable use of silk, but only in the lower half or so of the chuval, which can be seen as a kind of highlighting in the two "floral" borders and also filling some of the double ram's horn motifs. I'm also struck by the beautiful (to me) banding on the sides. Would love to see what others think about this piece.

Thanks,
David Katz















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Old June 13th, 2016, 06:56 AM   #2
Kay Dee
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Beautiful piece!
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Old June 13th, 2016, 02:17 PM   #3
Rich Larkin
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Hi David,

Very interesting! If I've seen those bands along the edge on a piece like this (i. e., Ersari juval) before, I've forgotten it.

I take it the (very pretty) gold (or amber?) silk is the one color in which that material is used. Right? Is it also used in any of the opposing gul quarters, where I see a similar color appears?

Rich
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Old June 13th, 2016, 02:24 PM   #4
David Katz
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Hello Rich,

Yes, the shiny amber/gold is the silk, and I did not see any in the gul quarters with the light brown wool.

I too have never seen the stripes or banding on the sides of other juvals; has anyone else?

David
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Old June 13th, 2016, 03:57 PM   #5
Chuck Wagner
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Hi David,

Congratulations are in order. It is not easy to find earlier Ali Eli pieces. I would judge that yours is early 1900's. I have a later (and equally enormous) complete Ali Eli piece; I would guess WW-II-ish in age; images are below. Note also the black & white image from Mackie & Thompson which was taken in an Ali Eli dwelling.

I think the stripes on the side, and the brocade on the reverse, are distinctive. Note the the Russian tradecloth patchwork on the seam. As I recall, Dave Hunt owns (or owned) a similar chuval.

Regards
Chuck Wagner






















Last edited by Chuck Wagner; June 13th, 2016 at 05:33 PM.
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Old June 13th, 2016, 07:42 PM   #6
David Katz
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Thanks Chuck,

If this banding is truly unique to the Ali Eli, it makes one wonder why other tribes did not take advantage of the lateral reaches of their chuvals as an opportunity for this or other kinds of embellishments. Maybe there were rules about not writing in the margins?

Best,

David
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Old June 14th, 2016, 03:30 AM   #7
Rich Larkin
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Good find on the Mackie and Thompson illustration, Chuck! It features a less emphatic version of the infiltrating horizontal stripes from the edges. Your piece does, too.

David, I was referring to the color in the quarters in, for example, the gul in the upper right corner. It also appears in the kotshanak design of the main border, also in the upper right corner. Nevertheless, I see the silk is essentially a different color. I wasn't sure how close those colors were to one another, considering the much greater reflective quality of the silk as compared with the wool.

Rich
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Old June 14th, 2016, 04:38 AM   #8
David Katz
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Rich,

There is indeed a light brown wool in the main guls and the kotshanak border that has a similar tone to the silk, especially in full sunlight as in my photos. However, one of the double ram's horn motifs in the kotshanak border, shown in my fourth image, actually has both. If you look carefully, you can see that the silk does not fill the upper ram's horns; in fact, the point at which this transition between silk (below) and light brown wool (above) corresponds to a discontinuity in the weaving as a whole. Look, for example, at the vertical brown lines one either side of the border. I will post a higher magnification image of this area.

Best,

David
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Old June 14th, 2016, 04:53 AM   #9
David Katz
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Rich,

Here is the enlarged image, in which I've indicated the transition from silk to wool (dotted line) as well as the vertical discontinuity (arrow).



David
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Old June 14th, 2016, 01:44 PM   #10
Rich Larkin
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Hi David,

That is an odd little set of weaving circumstances. Shifts to the right or left are not uncommon in weavings of this ilk. We usually attribute it to some felt need on the part of the weaver to adjust in order to get the overall layout of the design right, or something like that. What's odd is that she (or her aunt, etc.,...) went to the wool at that point. Certainly, whoever was on the loom at that juncture was aware they were in the middle of the silk part. Go figure.

Were they running out of the silk? You mention that it is confined to the lower part of the piece. I take it the "two 'floral' borders" you mention are the ones made up of back to back small boteh-like devices in a meander (called, I believe, the badam border, among other esoteric names). Apparently, the silk also appears in those areas. How far above the kotshanak with the material shift does silk appear elsewhere in the bag? I'm striving to spot it in some of your images, but it is elusive.

Rich
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Old June 14th, 2016, 02:52 PM   #11
David Katz
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Hi Rich,

There is no silk in the kotashank border above the transition point indicated in the annotated image. There is, however, some silk highlighting that extends a little higher up in the badem borders, and then stops. I wonder if the weaver's original intention was to use silk throughout, and then, as you suggest, the supply ran out. I'll also point out that the motifs inside of the kotashank elements are different in the upper and lower halves of the chuval; stars in the upper half and circles in the lower. Might this strengthen the hypothesis that we're looking at the work of more than one weaver?

Best,

David
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Old June 14th, 2016, 06:12 PM   #12
Rich Larkin
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David,

Quote:
I'll also point out that the motifs inside of the kotashank elements are different in the upper and lower halves of the chuval; stars in the upper half and circles in the lower. Might this strengthen the hypothesis that we're looking at the work of more than one weaver?
Sounds very plausible to me. Anybody who has been chasing after this kind of material for any appreciable time knows there are endless opportunities for asking the question, "What was she doing here?" I wonder whether your piece reflects a little intra-family one-upmanship? The sister takes over the weaving and decides to show everybody how her sister wasn't doing it right. And by the way, let's not use up all that silk on her juval.

I shouldn't be so cynical. As the French used to say, "Honi soit qui mal y pense."

Rich
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Old June 14th, 2016, 11:39 PM   #13
David Katz
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Rich,

On the other hand, perhaps one of the sisters was thinking "Honi soie que mal on voit!" Anyways, I think you're onto an exciting plot for an Ersari soap opera...

Another interesting feature of this juval is the different wrappings of the selvages (see below): the white is cotton, the gray appears to be wool, and the dark brown is definitely a coarse animal hair, e.g., goat.



For Chuck I've got some images of another Ersari juval that is obviously much more recent than the Ali Eli and yet has embroidery on the back that is similar to the juval you posted. Interestingly, in both yours and mine, the front of the embroidery is facing the inside of the bag:







David
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Old June 15th, 2016, 12:09 PM   #14
Rich Larkin
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Hi David,

On my screen, the red in most of your initial images is on the tomato side. In your last two detail shots, it is more to the liver persuasion. Then, a couple are in the middle. Which best represent the true color of the piece in your estimation?

Rich
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Old June 15th, 2016, 01:28 PM   #15
David Katz
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Rich,

Are you referring to the 3 photos of the 1930s/40s-ish juval? The last, showing the detail of the embroidery on the back, is very true to the actual colors. There is a "bad" tomato red dye that was used for details throughout (you can see where it ran on the back of the bag); the ground color is more on the liver end of the spectrum.

David
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Old June 15th, 2016, 10:25 PM   #16
Rich Larkin
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David,

I was referring to most of the images in frame #1 (tomato red), the second last in frame #1 showing the horizontal stripes in a vertical position (middle shade), and frames 9 and 13 (top shot) for the liver tone. I like all of them; I'm just wondering what the effect is in real life.

Rich
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Old June 15th, 2016, 11:48 PM   #17
David R E Hunt
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Hi Guys

Not to divert from the present line of inquiry, find links to the fore mentioned chuvals here and here

Dave

Last edited by David R E Hunt; June 15th, 2016 at 11:58 PM.
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Old June 16th, 2016, 12:11 AM   #18
David Katz
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Thank you Dave; beautiful piece. It looks like the sides might have been reduced; do you know if this juval had the stripes we've been discussing?

Thanks,

David
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Old June 16th, 2016, 12:59 AM   #19
David Katz
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich Larkin View Post
David,

I was referring to most of the images in frame #1 (tomato red), the second last in frame #1 showing the horizontal stripes in a vertical position (middle shade), and frames 9 and 13 (top shot) for the liver tone. I like all of them; I'm just wondering what the effect is in real life.

Rich
Hi Rich,

There is no tomato red in the Ali Eli juval; it must be a monitor issue. The ground color is the cinnamon brown typical of many older Turkmen pieces (some of the close-up images were taken with artificial lighting, which may have produced some distortion).

Best,

David
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Old June 16th, 2016, 03:56 AM   #20
Rich Larkin
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Hi Dave,

Of course, like rugs, tomatoes do not constitute a monolithic block of color.

I was referring mostly to the central field in those opening images. That color seems more intense and saturated than, say, the strips along the outside of the outer borders, next to the horizontal stripes. Anyway, there seems to me to be a significant difference between the color in those images and the shade manifest in frames 9 and 13. I mentioned it because I consider there to be a recognizable palette typical of certain older Ersari rugs that features a liver-colored madder. I wondered whether your bag partook of it.

Rich
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