Here are a few photos of salt bags with possibly similar designs:
The first bag is from Parviz Tanavoli's book Bread and Salt, plate 133. It has symmetric knots and is described as Kurds of Khorasan in Varamin, mid 19th century. It has a "bugs bunny" and larva lattice, but no shrubs. No mention of whether it is single-wefted.
The next salt bag, also from Bread and Salt, plate 107, is said to be from the Afshars of Kerman late 19th century. Note the lattice with "ducks" similar to the chanteh and some shrubs in the neck similar to the chanteh shrubs. No structural information available.
This final saltbag is not from the Tanavoli book, but was identified as Shahsavan. it is quite similar to the previous bag, so the identity of the makers of both bags could be in question.
So, is it possible that any of these three bags is related at all to the chanteh?
How unusual is single wefting in kurdish rugs or bags?
is this "just" a Hamadan bag? Or is it truly kurdish, and, like pornography, I can't describe it but I know it when I see it?
Not Well Executed
One thing in common with these bags and the chanteh is that the fields are
not well articulated. The first salt bag does quite a good job, but still the
design peters out at the right side due to not enough room. The larvae turn into
There is no way to tell if this was woven from the top down, but unless it was woven as one of a pair (in which one would be woven upside down and the other right side up) the top would be a likely spot to start, since the weaver could balance the design in the neck and let the rest of the field fend for itself.
Could the suggestion that small bags were woven for/or by children be true for salt bags, too?
Opie noted that he never saw anyone actually carrying a small chanteh, but the saltbag was carried when feeding the sheep. It was "out in the public" so to speak, and may have had more care taken with the weaving and design.
Both of the other bags also have well-articulated necks, but when the weaver got to the field, she had to fit whatever amount of the design she could into it. And it appears that they all started the field from the left side of the bags.
It is a bit like tiling a floor. You have to start somewhere and if the room is not exactly square, you either measure exactly and cut a partial tile for each end row, or you start with a full row at one end and hope for the best at the end.
Patrick, hoping for the best, Weiler
Could one not conclude from the border design of the first salt bag that it
was woven from top to bottom?
Yes, that is what it looks like to me. The weaver started at the top left. By the time the weaver got to the top right, the last flower had to be squished a bit. When she got to the neck part of the field design, she made the field narrow enough to fit a full flower on either side in the border. The same with the field. Once she started on the left, she ran out of room on the right and had to shorten the design a bit.
But the top left corner would have been the lower right corner on the loom.
I do not own any pile salt bags, so I cannot check to see which way they are woven. If you could dig into your storage box and drag out your salt bags, please let us know!
Why a Duck?
It is tempting to translate gibberish into words and random scattered design
elements into mystical religious symbols.
I do not know if the weaver of the chanteh was intentionally transforming the lattice into ducks.
This Baluch rug also has what looks like ducks, some two-headed, in a couple of the panels at the top. These "creatures" only show up in these two top panels:
We know that weavers are capable of drawing rather more realistic images in their weavings, as these pictures of a flock of walking ducks readily shows.
OK, maybe they are pigeons. Just as tribal weavers will weave a scorpion into their rugs to keep the scorpions away, the weaver of this Heriz obviously had a pigeon poop problem......