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

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Old September 12th, 2018, 10:23 AM   #1
Paul McGhee
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Default Dovetail Kilim

Can anyone help me locate the probable origin of this bold old kilim?

It is quite finely woven in wool using dovetail weave on warps that look like a mixture of white wool and brown goat-hair. The fringes are finished with two rows of knots but it may once have had more, in a net form. It also had six tassels firmly stitched to the selvage, only one of which remains.

I’ve been poring over Alastair Hull’s great book Kilim, The Complete Guide to find the right combination of such features and have so far failed. It feels mostly like something from Northern Afghanistan but could it be from the Caucuses or Anatolia? It seems from Alastair’s listings that most of the Afghan kilim weavers who created designs a bit like this one would have used slit-weave or interlock rather than dovetail. But perhaps this is not a big deal and weavers in those parts used different techniques for different designs?

I think this particular design would have fallen apart a while ago if they had used slit-weave!

Any thoughts?







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Old September 12th, 2018, 02:44 PM   #2
Joel Greifinger
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Hi Paul,

I think that your sense that this is Afghan is correct. It looks to me like the kilims made by the Hazara in central Afghanistan around Mazar-i-Sharif and Sari-Pul. The palette, with lots of early and fugitive purple and bright orange synthetic dyes is typical. Also, these kilims frequently incorporate dovetail tapestry weave.





In his "The Carpets of Afghanistan", Parsons has a very informative chapter on "The Hazara Kilim". He wrote, "While the wool and weave are high quality, the same cannot be said of the dyestuffs, which are invariably the cheapest on the market and often fugitive. Blue, purple, orange, red, green and black are all used."

I find it interesting that Hazara weavers continued to use the so-called aniline violet dye until the mid-twentieth century, long after it had been replaced elsewhere by later, more stable synthetic alternatives. Perhaps, in this very poor community, the earlier ones were both still available and extremely cheaply.

Joel Greifinger
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Old September 12th, 2018, 02:55 PM   #3
Pierre Galafassi
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Hi Joel,

Did the Hazara have an old carpet-weaving tradition?
Unless I err, I believe that they were one of the poorest communities around.

Regards
Pierre
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Old September 12th, 2018, 03:09 PM   #4
Joel Greifinger
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Quote:
Did the Hazara have an old carpet-weaving tradition?
Hi Pierre,

Not from what I've gleaned from Parsons. They are primarily farmers and are generally too poor to own many domestic animals. Aside from domestic consumption, they produced kilims in small numbers for the market until that production expanded in the mid-1970's. I haven't heard of any earlier carpet-weaving tradition.

The weaving tradition of these Shia Hazara is distinct from the traditions of the Sunni Aimaq Hazara.

Joel

Last edited by Joel Greifinger; September 12th, 2018 at 06:48 PM.
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Old September 12th, 2018, 03:16 PM   #5
Steve Price
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If Khaled Hossaini's The Kite Runner accurately depicts the position of the Hazara in Afghanistan in the late 20th century, they were extremely poor and of very low status.

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Old September 12th, 2018, 03:51 PM   #6
Chuck Wagner
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Hi all,

All you need to know is: Shias, surrounded on all sides by not particularly accommodating or neighborly Sunnis.

The Hazara are a large group, not all are poverty stricken and many are in urban settings. But that's not where the weavings come from, and those folks are poor.

Regards
Chuck
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Old September 12th, 2018, 06:25 PM   #7
Paul McGhee
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Many thanks, Joel et al.

Hazara sounds very plausible and this is definitely a poor person's kilim - but very jolly. Do they do tassels?

I see from Gloria Gonick's book about Silk Road tapestries that Uighurs and folk of Mongol extraction used dovetail weave a lot, so maybe there's a bit of a craft tradition there, as I understand the Hazara were "left behind" by the Mongols.
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