Posted by Steve Price on 09-19-2004 02:16 PM:

Mystery Textile Number 1

Hi People,

Here is Richard's first mystery textile:

Posted by Patrick Weiler on 09-19-2004 02:27 PM:

guess number 1

Eastern Anatolian Chuval.

Patrick Weiler

Posted by Louis Dubreuil on 09-19-2004 02:30 PM:


What is the scale, I do not understand the unities used on the side of the picture (it can be centimeters ?)

Without the scale problem this piece could be the end kilim of an ersari rug ?

Posted by Richard Farber on 09-19-2004 11:44 PM:

Dear Mr. Louis Dubreuil

the scale is in centimeters.

Might I suggest that both you and Patrick Weiler post an image of what you think might be a companion piece to the object you have each suggested . . .


richard farber

Posted by Chuck Wagner on 09-20-2004 09:08 AM:

Hi Richard,

It looks like the back of an Afghan khorjin to me, with the back of a Kurdish bag as a likely second choice.

Chuck Wagner

Chuck Wagner

Posted by Louis Dubreuil on 09-20-2004 01:40 PM:


From the real scale of the weaving it could be something bigger than a bag or a kordjin. It can look like a fragment of a great cover from the Azeri area.

Amicales salutations

Posted by Stephen Louw on 09-20-2004 03:14 PM:

IMO, its a somewhat longer than usual fringe on an Ersari-Beshir main carpet. I have a very similiar example, except the finge on my carpet is only about 10-15cm long.
Thanks for an interesting and fun exercise

Stephen Louw

Posted by Patrick Weiler on 09-20-2004 08:35 PM:


Here is a link to the recent New England Rug Society exhibit, To have and to Hold, showing an Anatolian chuval. These usually have a large flatweave section with stripes, although the mystery weaving shows wide stripes with narrow stripes to each side.

Also, most khorjins and chuvals have a flatweave back and quite often they are striped, so this mystery weaving could be one or the other, too.

Patrick Weiler

Posted by Rob van Wieringen on 09-20-2004 09:33 PM:

My guess is West-Anatolia striped Kilim, 19th. cent. I put a tenner on it...

Posted by Jerry Silverman on 09-20-2004 11:24 PM:

The end of a Yuncu kilim.


Posted by Richard Farber on 09-21-2004 11:31 AM:

dear turkotekees,

some very good guesses . . . i will not say if any are correct.

soon a new and - i hope - amazing clue.


richard farber

Posted by Unregistered on 09-21-2004 04:03 PM:

Hi all,

the kilim end of a Turkoman flat weave, 19th century, Yomut?



Posted by Vincent Keers on 09-21-2004 05:08 PM:


Where did you find my pyjama jacket?
And where is the soumack part?
Did you cut it?

Now this is getting serious.

Best regards,

Posted by R. John Howe on 09-21-2004 07:39 PM:

Dear folks -

This one seems more familiar.

I'm with those who think this is Western Anatolian.

Perhaps the back of one of the grain bags that Stiener and Pinkwart have documented.


R. John Howe

Posted by Filiberto Boncompagni on 09-22-2004 03:18 AM:

Heavy canvas from Italian "sedia a sdraio" (deck chair), early 20th.
Here you can see a modern version:

Nowadays this kind of fabric is plastic coated.


Posted by Ali R.Tuna on 09-22-2004 07:49 AM:

Hi Richard,
I see from the picture that the kilim seems to be made with two warps at one weft pass. The two warps do not seeem to be twisted together but just laid side by side .
From colours ,wool and design the piece seems Western Anatolian . It looks like the back of a Karakecili bag to me . However the above mentioned feature could also indicate an unusually large kilim end of a western anatolian carpet ?
Nice thing about textiles is that the surprise never ends !

Posted by Horst Nitz on 09-22-2004 08:24 AM:


this is what I had in mind, the kilim end of a Turkoman cicim.

Admittedly, it could be anything else, i.e. the bottom panel of a mafrash, back of heybey etc.



Posted by Ali R.Tuna on 09-22-2004 11:06 AM:

There are enough structural , colour and design differences between your picture of Turkoman cicim and the piece of Mr. Farber.
Especially , the shade of the reds, the alternating blue and green stripes and the wide stripes flanked by narrow stripes is the signature of Western Anatolian nomadic tribes.
As to the question of what it is exactly , it has high design and weave similarities with the back of cuvals but I do not recall a "canonic" design exactly the same.
In old cuvals usually the red space between coloured lines is exactly the same dimension as the coloured stripes themselves. This is not the case with this piece and what makes me doubt.
I am intrugued by the "double warps" in the kilim weave unless it is a digital illusion . Mybe Mr Farber could confirm (or infirm) that observation .

Posted by Unregistered on 09-22-2004 03:27 PM:


I appreciate your argument and am getting all the more curious.



Posted by Steve Price on 09-22-2004 05:17 PM:

Hi Horst

When you post, would you mind overwriting the word "unregistered" in the user name field with "Horst Nitz"? The software will ask you for your password if you do this (unless your computer is set to fill it in automatically), and will send it to you if you've forgotten it.


Steve Price

Posted by Filiberto Boncompagni on 09-23-2004 04:46 AM:

Richard sent another clue:

Posted by Filiberto Boncompagni on 09-23-2004 05:01 AM:

I had to resize the original image, thus loosing a lot of detail. Here is a cropped part of the original.
See the "double warps" noticed by Ali.

Posted by R. John Howe on 09-23-2004 06:54 AM:

Dear folks -

Now it appears that there is pile. If so, my western Anatolian bet is entirely off.

The green throws me too.

Don't have a new one.

R. John Howe

Posted by Rob van Wieringen on 09-23-2004 07:52 AM:

Never knew "Jaff kurdish bag with back" were made in West Anatolia.
I want to hold on my tenner...

Posted by Ali R.Tuna on 09-23-2004 02:06 PM:

A- ha, now we have the knots !
They look strange to me (some overlap)- interesting structure . Now the foundation and the colours might help better guessing.

White wefts ! pretty rare in Western Anatolia and also some offset knotting from what I could guess. Also looks like up to 4 shots of wefts after a row of knots .

Should we adventure further ?

I believe I have seen old CAL carpets with similar features , and colouring and sometimes they have wild features. I do not see cotton warps though. Somewhere in that area (CAL, Dazkiri, Kutahya ) ?


Posted by Horst Nitz on 09-23-2004 04:36 PM:

What a riddle.

Double warps but no apparent jufti knots. Is there a horizontal axis going through the piled section? If so, why do we see the flat-woven back of the thing (upper half) along with the piled front (lower half), looking at the latter from the reverse, judged by what seem to be symmetric knot-collars? Seems all rather free-style, tendency symmetric knotting if I extrapolate. A misshapen salt-bag by Kurds from Khorassan? The green would fit in.



Posted by Vincent Keers on 09-23-2004 08:13 PM:


Bachtiar or Lur.

No Soumack in?
Two warps in the back, one warp in the front.
Should be soumack in.

Best regards.

Posted by Robert Emry on 09-23-2004 10:56 PM:

I agree with Vincent that it the fold area of a bag, with flatweave back above, and section of knotted pile face below. But not necessarily Baktiari or Lurs---Other SW Persian groups also pair the warps in the flatweave backs. I'm guessing it is Qashqai or Khamseh, more likely the latter.
Bob Emry

Posted by Richard Tomlinson on 09-24-2004 04:29 AM:


A slight diversion from guessing what this is;

This piece appears to have double warps on the back and sinlge warps on the front.

1. If the front and back is one long piece, would I be correct in assuming that one of the double warps continues to the front? And if so, what happens to the other one?

I'm trying to get my head around how the loom would have been set up. The warps would be first I assume. How would this work?

2. Is there some kind of structural reason for double warps (ie - to strengthen the back, or is it simply a tradition?)

Richard Tomlinson

Posted by Robert Emry on 09-24-2004 08:35 AM:

Richard, and others:
The procedure is not at all complicated. The pile part of the bag is woven just as you would expect--a row of knots , each tied on two adjacent warps, then the normal ground wefts, each going over one warp, under one warp, etc. Then, when the weaving of the flatweave back begins, the weaver simply begins to insert the weft under two warps, over two, under two, etc. I don't know the reason for this. It might be faster. It also tends to make the flatweave thicker and more ribbed--perhaps it is more durable. But it is very common in South Persian bags. If you have a Qashqai or Khamseh bag with the back still attached, have a look at it. It think it is more likely than not that it will have this structure.
Bob Emry

Posted by Steve Price on 09-24-2004 10:21 AM:

Hi People

Here's Richard's third clue on this piece:

Posted by Horst Nitz on 09-24-2004 03:52 PM:

Hi, Vincent, Robert and all

That’s it - Luri / Bachtiari if anything, as is clearly indicated by the chequer-board piled section around the bottom fold. Looking for the obligatory soumak brocading in vain? Are you sniffing the mystery? It’s all moth-eaten, nothing left! Quite crooked of Richard, how he is leading us around by the nose.

Of course, you could always put those extra wefts in again if you insist. A bit tedious perhaps, but when again will you get the opportunity to create your own antique Luri / Bachtiari bag?

Most sincerely,


Posted by Rob van Wieringen on 09-25-2004 07:17 AM:

West-Anatolie bag ( heybe ) , Bergama?

Posted by Richard Farber on 09-25-2004 08:14 AM:

dear Horst Nitz,

you wrote

"Looking for the obligatory soumak brocading in vain? Are you sniffing the mystery? It’s all moth-eaten, nothing left! Quite crooked of Richard, how he is leading us around by the nose."

the original music game is to reveal one note at time . . . in the case of the textilegame that i have initiated -- one part of the textile at a time.

i am not at fault if parts of the mystery textile are in different techniques . . . our long eared dutch friend mentioned soumak a few days ago [perhaps in the next clue it will appear :>}

the textile is worn but not i believe moth eaten. you cannot blame the elephant if his trunk looks different than his tail, his side or his leg.

i suggest that in the meantime you relate to the last clue given.

you aslo wrote

"Of course, you could always put those extra wefts in again if you insist. A bit tedious perhaps, but when again will you get the opportunity to create your own antique Luri / Bachtiari bag?"

i have not tampered with the textile and to the best of my knowledge is has not been tampered with. are you suggested that this is not an antique textile ?

if so your attribution might be istanbul turkey 2004 in the style of the luri

maybe that is the correct answer.


richard farber

Posted by Horst Nitz on 09-25-2004 12:21 PM:

Hallo Richard,

it is as antique as antique can be and you have not tampered with it. I was relating to Vincent's and Robert's post and was making a little bit of fun. Pure desperation. Please, don’t get it wrong or take offence.



Posted by Richard Farber on 09-25-2004 01:09 PM:

lieber horst,

i have taken no offence . . .and am sure that none was meant . . .

hasnt the last clue helped ?????

may i suggest that you try your hand at the other mystery objects ?

thinking about motives that appear in knotted carpets should solve one or two rather quickly.

best regards to you and the others suffering from various stages of desperartion

richard farber

and as i related earlier . . . dont be shy . . . wrong guesses can be more fun than scholarly answers . . .and just think of the turkotekean honor if you are the first to get it right !

Posted by Richard Tomlinson on 09-26-2004 02:44 AM:


If someone guesses correct to any of the mystery textiles, will you immediately tell us? Or perhaps the answer has already been guessed and there is a time set for each textile.

Who is the long eared fellow? There is more than one Dutchman on this salon.

For what it's worth, I think this is a soumac khorjin, with piled strip and flatwoven bag. Kurd? Bakhtiari? Somewhere in NWP perhaps, or just over the border.....

Richard Tomlinson

Posted by Richard Farber on 09-26-2004 04:34 AM:

dear mr tomlinson,

a full answer must have

what the texilte is
where it was made
when it was made

and should have an image [ from a book or catalogue or collection] showing a companion piece

your answer is lacking one element and vague on a second but it is almost there . . .

i will ask filiberto to post the image of the complete textile sunday night our time . . .say in about 10 or 12 hours to allow you all out there to look for images of complete pieces that you think will be similar to this textile.

if anyone wants me to wait longer before posting the complete image PLEASE JUST POST ON THIS THREAD AND I WILL WAIT TO GIVE YOU MORE TIME TO FIND YOUR ANWER. in any case i will be giving more clues to all the first seven mystery textiles midweek . . . and adding some more mystery textiles next weekend [unless by popular demand you want the game terminated early]

as to the other items one is closing in and a second might be on the way the others are far far off.

i will immeadiately respond to a full correct guess [to the best of my ability]

i will not responcd to a guess which has one correct element -- you need to guess three what it is where it was made and when it was made.

regards to all

richard farber

the long eared dutchmen can identify himself . . . . but i can say that this fond nomenclature is meant well.

alright a little clue . . . . a dutchmen of the same first name did not have two long ears at the end of his life.

Posted by Richard Tomlinson on 09-26-2004 05:25 AM:

Hi Richard

Let's try this;

What is it?

Bakhtiari khorjin bag - flatweave back, piled strip, soumac front.

How old is it? Where was it made?

Late 19C, somewhere in Persia near Shalamzar or thereabouts

Similar piece

This is a Bakhtiari khojin I have. It has a striped back, but the stripes are narrower and there are no double warps.

That is my final attempt at this.

Richard Tomlinson

Posted by richard_farber on 09-27-2004 02:35 AM:

here is the image of the object. if it is not detailed enough I can make a 'larger' one. as you can see I did not fabricate anything but just played the textile a note at a time.

I would happy now for the khordjin collectors and experts in shahsavan and related tribes to make their exact attributions.

in the meantime most honorable mention - with a chorus of laudation - to Vincent for being the first to realize that this was a soumak bag and to Richard Tomlinson for his well formulated attribution.

other mystery items await. don't be shy. there are six to be solved. new ones will be up next weekend at the latest so please keep track of the game.


richard farber

Posted by Richard Tomlinson on 09-27-2004 03:44 AM:

hi richard

my 'formulated attribution' was merely a summary of all the good work done by knowledgable collectors.

you have not stated an exact attribution, and it may well be one of those pieces that cannot be pinned down.

i doubt it is shahsavan. i can't recall seeing a shahsavan bag with piled strip. this is something more commonly associated with lori and bakhtiari pieces.

i am sure those who have more knowledge will be able to make a more accurate assessment.

this was a fun excercise. i look forward to your new pieces !!

best regards
richard tomlinson

Posted by Horst Nitz on 09-27-2004 07:21 AM:


Plate 7 in Tribal Rugs by Jenny Housego shows a close relative of this "mystery" bag. It is attributed Shasavan of Moghan. I would agree with Richard that the piled section around the bottom fold - especially as it is of the chequer-bord variant - is typically Luri. But perhaps the bag is not. The Luri are related to the Kurds and the Shasavan lived in close proximity with them and shared pastures. As did the Bachtiari, by the way. At some point I ventured for a Kurdish origin. The Kurds are known to be skillfull and quick on the uptake of influences.



Posted by Tim Adam on 09-27-2004 07:56 AM:

Hi Richard,

Thanks for doing this game. Unfortunately, I have really too little experience to sensibly participate in it. However, I'd be very interested to learn, and think it would be quite valuable if you could summarize what clues regarding attribution could have been picked up from the various images.


Posted by Richard Tomlinson on 09-27-2004 10:05 AM:

hi richard

could you tell us if the weft wrapping is countered or plain (uncountered)?

richard tomlinson

Posted by Horst Nitz on 09-27-2004 05:28 PM:

Good Evening

The more often I look at this bag and think about it - the more Kurdish it appears to me.

Moghan is a distinct possibility, but I would not exclude Karabagh or Khorasan.



Posted by Richard Farber on 09-28-2004 01:20 AM:

dear all,

thank you for participating in the attribution game for this object.

according to my local experts [my expertise, what there is of it, is more in the areas of the other objects]

khordjin [bag]

probobly kurds living in proximity to the shahsavan [possibly luri]
north west persia

third quarter of 19th century

i thought it was shahsavan myself.

for those of you that can find related pieces that thread is open and waiting for images.

good luck with the other puzzles in the meantime.


richard farber

as to other suggesting in the last posting i will try to answer in the next two or three days

Posted by Horst Nitz on 10-07-2004 10:44 AM:

Greetings to Everybody

Besides its role in the game mystery textile # 1 has turned out to be quite mysterious in its own right. Since its apparent unveiling I have had a look into the literature. This does not result in another attribution than the one already given by Richard Farber: Kurdish, Shasevan, Luri is the definition of the mysterious triangle.

There seem to be two principal sources of information on tribal bags concerning the area concerned. One is Jenny Housego’s classic (1982) Tribal Rugs; the other is Rare Oriental Woven Bags by Heinz Hegenbart (1982). As one could expect, neither book comes forward with a companion piece to mystery textile # 1. It seems possible to draw some conclusions though.

As the distinguished audience of this forum is aware of, the Shasavan are no ethnically homogenous tribe. From the beginning on they were a political confederation made up by Kurdish and Turkish tribes. Among the latter some who claim lineage with the Oghuzes. No wonder, much assimilation and adaptation has gone on in the last 300 + years in the summer tranquillity of Karabagh, Karadagh, Mt.Savalan, or on the winter pastures of Moghan and by the banks of the Araxes river.

Although some artefacts may lean distinctly more to one side rather than the other, Kurdish or Shasavan are no mutually exclusive attributions under this perspective. But where does the Luri come in?

Both authors suggest, and James Opie joins the chorus, that the Luri and the Kurds are “ethnically linked” – and no more is said. The majority of the Luri people live in Luristan proper in the west of Iran. There are some settling further south near the Quashgai and some are living in Diaspora in the Varamin area near Teheran, not far from Kurdish (Shasavan) factions around Ghazvin who apparently got stuck there or could not keep up pace with their mates who made it all the way to Khorassan. There is supposed to be at least one other group that has settled in the area after having travelled to Fars and back. All of them presumably not only picking flowers on their way but also technical ideas and alternative design ideas. Quite a creative melting pot it most have been there at some time. Mystery textile # 1 seems well suited to represent this scenario.

I am trying not to get into a discussion of technical details, as this would fill another page – and I am bit in a hurry. Only two points left: Richard Farbers attribution is not as vague as it may seem. Mystery textile # 1 not either Kurdish or Shasavan or Luri – it is all three of it.

I wonder whether the piled sections in Luri and Bachtiari bags are solely decorative or have some function of which the knowledge has passed away with time. Somewhere I remember to have read the opinion that piles sections were a sort of reinforcement for base and corners. Maybe. An alternative comes to my mind. In cross-country skiing you sometimes put furs or plush under the soles to get better grip whilst climbing. Many individual hairs hook themselves into the snow underneath an give you grip. The Luri and Bachtiari live and migrate (or used to) in and through some very rugged mountain terrain. Some plush or pile along the base may prevent the bags effectively from dangling all over the donkeys ass and cause it trip.

A field experiment is called for.



Posted by Richard Tomlinson on 10-07-2004 11:00 AM:

hi horst

interesting comments. i agree that the bag in question appears to share characteristics of all 3 groups.

as yet, noone has come forward make a clear case for just one of the 3 groups, and i doubt anyone would be brave enough to do so.

re: piled section, i have heard/read that the piled part of a khorjin (the bottom) is the part that would bounce or rub on the donkey's side
(or arse if you prefer :-)

i guess the continual rubbing would eventually wear out a thinly woven bag (ie kilim) but a piled section would last longer.

also, it might be more comfortable for the donkey !!! (though donkeys are pretty thick ..............skinned. )

richard tomlinson

Posted by Richard Farber on 10-07-2004 11:18 AM:

thanks to mr nitz and mr tomlinson,

i believe that we might all agree that this fragmentary bag was made before the commercial expansion in carpets and woven objects that has been so well documented by helfgott in 'ties that bind' published by the smithsonian.

perhaps mid 19th but in any case most probobly before the 1880's . . . if this is so that is was not made according to a 'pattern' for a middleman asking for as many bags, carpets,or whatever that you can produce. so we find an idiosyncric one off design integrating whatever elements had caught the fancy of the kurdish or shahsevan or luri women doing the work . . .

i do hope we agree that it has been a fun puzzle

might i suggest that there are still half of the 'mystery objects' that have not been solved.

two further knotted puzzles with be offered tomorrow and these will be the final ones for this minisalon


richard farber