Two Yomud "Ashik Gul" Asmalyks
I have two Yomud asmalyks, nominally similar, one of which I think is much better than the other (which is still pretty good, in my opinion).
Here's the first one:
It was published in a Swedish generalist book, entitled Orientalisk Mattor as the illustration of Yomud asmalyks. So, somebody besides me thought it was a worthwhile piece. It was probably made around 1875, maybe a little earlier. The dyes all appear to be natural, and the colors are well balanced and attractive. The drawing is good. One characteristic that suggests that it isn't much older than the date to which I attribute it is the near-perfectg centering of the field. That also makes it somewhat less attractive, in my eyes.
The second piece is probably familiar to many of you, since it's appeared on the web several times. Here it is:
I think it's much better and considerably older. The wool is marvelous, and feels like fur. The main border is beautifully drawn, with excellent color. Note that the uppermost three ashiks in the side borders are each surrounded by points of white. I haven't seen this in any others, and find it interesting.
The eccentricity of the field and of the borders adds interest to the piece, too, as does the presence of two distinct forms of gul in the lattice.
Which is the chicken, which is the egg?
One feature of the first piece is that the top section is taller. The sides are more steeply angled than the second piece. The second piece is flatter on top. Do you know if this is a feature of age? Or is it just an idiosyncrasy of the weaver? Are more steeply angled pieces favored more highly in general, or flatter pieces?
The first piece appears to have white ashiks on a red ground, a "baklava" type design. The second piece appears to have a serrated lattice on a white ground. Does this design represent something? I am familiar with lattice-work windows, from which peering virgins espied their future husbands, although these windows certainly did not exist in yurts! Perhaps the asmalyk is the symbolic representation of carrying the windows, from behind which the future bride was kept, to her new husband's home.
Which did you acquire first?
Did you buy the first one and then found the "better" second one? Or did you already have the second piece when you acquired the first?
As far as I know, the angle made at the top is not related to age. If the motifs have meaning, those meanings are lost in the dustbin of history and are unlikely to be discoverable.
I acquired the younger one (the first one) long before I got the second. I like them both, although the second one is, in my opinion, far better in many respects. But neither really qualifies as a "beginner msitake", in my view.
You say of the second asmalyk that "The wool is marvelous, and feels like fur."
Unfortunately the tactile quality of the wool is not transmittable through the web, but even without experiencing it I prefer the second one: I like its lightness, not only in terms of color but also of elegance.