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Old June 4th, 2017, 09:58 AM   #1
Gerry Gorman
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Default Flat weave bags

Hi all, an old antique dealer friend of mine had these pair of flat weave bags ( I think for clothes) stored (not very well) away for quite some time and I spotted them and thought the vibrancy of colour and tightness of weave made them attractive. He pretty much gave them to me and now I'd be interested in finding out a little more about them if possible and hopefully allow me to decide if it might be worth spending a little time and money to have them repaired and cleaned. My knowledge of Kilims and flat weaves is very limited, more limited than my knowledge of pile rugs, if that is possible. With a small bit of research, some pointers lead towards Anatolian but then I noticed they might be more Shahsavan in motif and with that dark olive green which is lovely. Approximate dimensions are 90 cms in length by 58 in height. Any idea of age would also be great to know.






















I look forward to your comments and opinions.

Gerry
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Old June 4th, 2017, 12:32 PM   #2
Chuck Wagner
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Gerry

I am a little confused by the images, and can't tell whether the striped pieces are a separate bag, or if one of them is the back of the piece shown in the first image.

Regardless, I think the first bag with the red and white diamond/cross motifs at center, is a Bakhtiari piece. The size is typical of grain sacks but I don't see any closure methods and it makes me wonder if this has been cut down from a larger piece. The weaving style is one more often used on larger pieces intended for use as rugs.

Regards
Chuck Wagner
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Old June 4th, 2017, 03:20 PM   #3
Joel Greifinger
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Hi Gerry,

I think that the fronts were woven as the side panels of a Shahsavan mafrash and the plainweave backs were sewn on later. Here is a complete mafrash with a similar design:



Joel Greifinger
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Old June 4th, 2017, 04:01 PM   #4
Gerry Gorman
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Thanks Joel and Chuck, I had thought of Mafrash as a use but I felt the dimensions were not right and more for a sack or Yasik. Chuck the second image is a picture of the first image's reverse and the following three images are close ups of teh first image and the last two are front and back of the second bag. I hope this makes sense. Any idea on age? Gerry
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Old June 6th, 2017, 09:12 AM   #5
Gerry Gorman
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Apologies to all for being somewhat tardy in posting these extra images. I hope they help to clarify some of your hypotheses. Last image is the interior/reverse of the front panel.













Thank you all for your continued interest.

Gerry
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Old June 4th, 2017, 05:14 PM   #6
Marla Mallett
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The interlocked tapestry technique seen here has only been used in South Persia. The pieces look like mafrash side panels to me.

Marla
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Old June 4th, 2017, 07:19 PM   #7
Joel Greifinger
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Quote:
The interlocked tapestry technique seen here has only been used in South Persia.
Hi Marla,

I couldn't make out that the tapestry was interlocked. Thanks for getting me to use the magnifying glass on my monitor.

Could another possibility be Varamin? Both dovetailed and interlocked tapestry weaves show up from groups, including Shahsavan, from that area on occasion, no?

Joel
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Old June 4th, 2017, 09:10 PM   #8
Rich Larkin
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Hi Gerry,

Here is a piece that seems to be a cousin to your bags. The palettes are very similar. Mine includes a dark green that isn't especially obvious in the image.




What is left of the back is original (i. e., not attached from another venue), and it makes the possibility of your backs being original more plausible (though that would seem to make the mafrash attribution problematical...see comment below). If your backs were stitched on, you should be able to detect that, either by eye or by feel. The joint would feel thickened relative to the rest of the piece.

I noted that the palettes on the fronts and backs of yours, respectively, didn't seem closely related; but one might say the same of my piece. You may agree that on mine, the red stripes on the back look more the shade of wine than the red on the front side. In fact, looking at mine closely, there is a very subtle change in the color of the yarn that begins just to the left of the black (brown?)/white beaded line. The color difference is consistent on either side of that line of demarcation. Whether it was intentional, or coincidental that a different skein of wool was utilized at that juncture, I can't say.

I imagine my item could be a remnant part of a mafrash. If so, what remains would be an end piece, and the striped kilim part would originally have been longer, serving as the bottom and having the same length as the sides. On that other hand, if your pair were formerly mafrash parts, the backs seem problematical. The orientation of the warps on the striped backs of your bags is ninety degrees different from the orientation of mine. I don't know whether warps along the bottom of a mafrash are supposed to run the length of the "box," or from side to side (as would be the case with yours), or either way. Maybe somebody knows.

As to age, I would think both pieces were from sometime in the mid-20th century. Can't be more definite than that.

Rich

P. S.: Marla, it is very useful to have the information that the interlocked weft technique is typically found in South Persian work. I had been calling my fragment "Kurdish," which I guess is my default position for something funkily tribal without an obvious (to me!) identity.
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Old June 4th, 2017, 09:35 PM   #9
Jim Miller
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Rich, your bag looks like an Uzbek piece. They use double interlock weave, which I think is characteristic of that area.

In my simple minded view - and Marle, please correct me if I botched it up - the single interlock weave, that Marla pointed out in Gerry's mafrash panel, single wefts interlock at the junctions of two colors. So there is no slit opening.

In the double interlock weave each weft interlock with two wefts of opposing colors. This leaves a distinct ridge on the back where the colors meet, whereas single interlock weave is smooth on both the front and back.
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Old June 4th, 2017, 09:45 PM   #10
Joel Greifinger
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Hi Rich,

I think that Jim is correct that your bag is Uzbek Tatari probably from northern Afghanistan woven in their characteristic double interlocked tapestry weave. Here's another of the type:





Here's a 'single' khorjin:



I think Gerry's mafrash panels are from elsewhere.

Joel

Last edited by Joel Greifinger; June 4th, 2017 at 10:35 PM.
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Old June 4th, 2017, 10:17 PM   #11
Marla Mallett
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Hi Joel, Rich, and all,

Single-interlocked tapestry is such a disagreeable technique that very few weavers around the world have used it regularly. Double-interlocked tapestry, as in distinctive Bakhtiari kilims, has popped up in many, many places (including Central Asia), as have several kinds of dovetailing. But I can't imagine that any weaver who once gave single-interlocking a try would voluntarily use it when there are so many other options. The only examples I have encountered have been South Persian kilims--supposedly Afshar, but I wouldn’t guarantee that specific provenance. They have been VERY few.

Marla

Last edited by Marla Mallett; June 5th, 2017 at 12:11 AM.
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Old June 5th, 2017, 01:35 AM   #12
Rich Larkin
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Hi Joel,

Quote:
I think that Jim is correct that your bag is Uzbek Tatari probably from northern Afghanistan woven in their characteristic double interlocked tapestry weave.
Quote:
I think Gerry's mafrash panels are from elsewhere.
I daresay I think you are right, and your comment and Jim Miller's prompts me to recall (dimly) past discussion in the same vein. Still, the apparently superficial resemblance between my fragment and Gerry's pair seems almost uncanny.

BTW, my piece does have the double-interlock technique.

Rich
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Old June 6th, 2017, 04:41 PM   #13
Marla Mallett
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Thanks Gerry for these pics. NOW we have some answers. The back side of the tapestry weave shows DOUBLE-INTERLOCKING. So for me, all bets are off as to a provenance. Since the back panels seem clearly in these pics to be integral, these bags must have simply formed a large saddlebag originally. The TWO back sections are too large to have together formed the bottom of one mafrash. I've had saddlebags with these kinds of dimensions, however, from several places. Such are the hazards of forming opinions from inadequate photos.

Thus to attribute Gerry's piece(s) we need to look for a place where Double-Interlocked Tapestry was traditionally used. Groups such as the Shahsevan or Azeris who used slit-tapestry exclusively are very unlikely sources. Color and pattern are not enough.

On this thread, only Chuck's kilim features SINGLE INTERLOCKED TAPESTRY, and so we can assume it is from one of the more mysterious S. Persian groups. (Unless his kilim backside shows interlocked ridges also.)

My apologies for inaccurate too-quick pronouncements.

Marla

Last edited by Marla Mallett; June 6th, 2017 at 09:42 PM.
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Old June 6th, 2017, 06:53 PM   #14
Filiberto Boncompagni2
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We could call them UFOs. Unidentified Flat-woven Objects...
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Old June 6th, 2017, 07:06 PM   #15
Joel Greifinger
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Hi Marla, Gerry and all,

As Marla suggests, one possibility is that this was originally a large double khorjin, perhaps a cousin to this smaller double-interlocked Bakhtiari bag:



Another still might be that these are mafrash side panels. Since mafrash were often woven in pairs, both could have been repurposed by cutting off one side panel (presumably for sale) and folding over and sewing the plainweave bottoms of the remains. This would account for the lack of any remnant closure systems.

Of course, there are other plausible explanations before we need succumb to Filiberto's UFO designation.

Joel
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Old June 6th, 2017, 08:14 PM   #16
Rich Larkin
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Quote:
Of course, there are other plausible explanations before we need succumb to Filiberto's UFO designation.
All us Uzbek Tartaris would be glad to take 'em in.
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Old June 6th, 2017, 08:58 PM   #17
Joel Greifinger
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Quote:
Still, the apparently superficial resemblance between my fragment and Gerry's pair seems almost uncanny.
Perhaps because variants on these hooked diamond or kirkbudak or 'animal-head' motifs are ubiquitous across weaving groups in that part of the world.

Quote:
All us Uzbek Tartaris would be glad to take 'em in.
BTW Rich - is the feel and texture of the wool on the face of your Uzbek Tatari bag very soft?

Joel

Last edited by Joel Greifinger; June 6th, 2017 at 09:15 PM.
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Old June 6th, 2017, 09:34 PM   #18
Rich Larkin
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Hi Joel,

The uncanny part of the resemblance, I thought, was the way both items (i. e., Gerry's pair and my one frag) had a relatively warm palette on the face around a field of vaguely similar devices, and the backs shifted to stripes in a cool palette we didn't think even belonged with Gerry's bags.

My piece features a wool that is on the harder side, I would say. Part of that, as I noted upon dragging it out into the light, is it desperately needs a wash. (There is one stain, clearly acquired on the trek, that may have critters moving on it at the nano level. That, or some sort of unsettling fuzzy growth.) It wouldn't be described as "blanket-like."

Rich
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Old June 6th, 2017, 11:03 PM   #19
Joel Greifinger
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Quote:
The uncanny part of the resemblance, I thought, was the way both items (i. e., Gerry's pair and my one frag) had a relatively warm palette on the face around a field of vaguely similar devices, and the backs shifted to stripes in a cool palette we didn't think even belonged with Gerry's bags.
Hi Rich,

Sorry, I misunderstood. I thought you were referring to the design.

In addition to being double-interlocked, another thing that Gerry's piece has in common with your Uzbek Tartari piece:



and mine:



are those rows of little rosettes at the edge of the field:



Joel
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Old June 6th, 2017, 11:29 PM   #20
Rich Larkin
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Yup.

Quote:
"...those rows of little rosettes at the edge of the field.":
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