Joel Greifinger May 13th, 2014 11:01 PM

That only comes with lightning
Hi all,

There is a field design in one prominent type of star-in-octagon bag that only seems to be accompanied by the 'lightning' border. Or, at least, I've never seen examples with other borders. ;) It is the design on the earliest of attributed Baluch bags, the pair of bag faces that entered the V&A collection in 1876. I began with it in the mini-salon, and here it is again:

With variations in color and some variation in the drawing of the inner field, this design is the basis for some of the most outstanding Baluch bags:

I think we'll just have to imagine the 'lightning' border around this one:

Clearly connected to this design group are some bags that share both the 'lightning' border and the 'feel' of this inner/outer field configuration but that have replaced the rectangular medallions containing stars that separate the octagons in the outer field with khaf guls. This one from the Boucher collection also appeared in the mini-salon:

In the last one, the representation of the "bird" or "animal" facing the "tree" has been reduced to a pair of beady "eyes":

Perched owls in the Baluchi night? :thumbsup:
Or just design degeneration? ::flush:


Patrick Weiler May 14th, 2014 09:05 PM

Cat got your bag?
So we now know that those animals facing the trees are cats.
And the last piece you posted has the Cheshire Cat version, but with only the eyes left instead of the smile.
Patrick Weiler

Dinie Gootjes May 14th, 2014 11:40 PM

Should come with fireworks
Hi Joel,

Pure eye candy. I love that, and a lot less fattening than the sugary stuff. They even have a pronounced, slimming effect on the wallet :thumbsup:.

It seems that what sets this group apart from the 'regular' bags with star-in-octagon design in the outer field, is the combination of the lightning border, the presence of the squares (or khaf guls), and the numerous filler devices that fill up the outer field, and even get into the inner field. Also often the inner field is not placed in a lined box, there is just a change in background colour.
The interesting question, as least for me, is where do we move from the one group to the other. Is it all design degeneration, or do we at a certain point just have another design? I will try to take my examples from the Salon and discussions.

It there a different border here, or is this the origin of the lightning border?

Here is another, one step more simplified than the one without border you show in your post. The border again is different, but here too I could make a lightning border out of it if I had to:

Rich's bag face has all the elements of the group, but the inner field is in a box and practically without thingamajiggies. But all four corners of the box are protected by guard dogs, which should count for something...

Then this one we can easily see as a simplified member of the clan.

But what about this one?

And this one??? :laughing_1:


Patrick Weiler May 15th, 2014 02:09 AM

Blind leading the blind?

I think you need to have your glasses checked. That last piece is just slightly NOT like the others.
Although I like it a lot!

Patrick Weiler

Dinie Gootjes May 15th, 2014 04:29 AM


My glasses are fine, and my eyes too, but why did yours not see me Rolling On Floor Laughing :laughing_1:?
Those Baluch with the field all filled in with everything plus the kitchen sink, reminded me of the SW Persians with the same horror vacui. That's all. :cheers:


Patrick Weiler May 16th, 2014 06:11 AM

Now that you mention it,
Oh, the ROTFL Smilie!
I may be afflicted with Smilie Insensitivity Syndrome.
And that lightning border is something I haven't paid any attention to until this thread. Joel, you mention it is on the earliest Baluch bags. That probably explains why I don't have any pieces with it.
Patrick Weiler

Patrick Weiler May 27th, 2014 06:25 AM

What came first, the thunder or the lightning?
Could this be a precursor to the Baluch Lightning border:

As seen on John Taylor's post, showing "E.Herrmann`s Yomut main from ATT4"

Patrick Weiler

Frank Martin Diehr May 31st, 2014 09:26 PM

One of mine ...
Again, here's one of mine, of the type used to start this thread, for comparison.
It is not quite as blueish as it appears, and in full pile (probably not the oldest of the lot).


Joel Greifinger June 1st, 2014 11:32 PM

Can you frieze lightning?
Hi Frank,

Looking back through TBP, I noticed that a bag on p. 64 has a variety of the star/khaf outer field like the one I posted from the Boucher collection in the initial post of this thread. This one has what you termed a "Greek frieze" border that looks like a Classical relative of the lightning. :laughing_2:

Have you come across other bags with this "Greek frieze" border?


Chuck Wagner June 2nd, 2014 06:21 AM

Hi Joel,

Don't have a bag with this border, but I do have a couple rugs. Ex:

Chuck Wagner

Frank Martin Diehr June 4th, 2014 11:28 PM

Hi Joel,

yes, that one from TBP is a good one. That border really is rare, I h've not, unfortunately, got a piece with that border. I recall having seen aother good piece with that border published somewhere, but can't pin it down.

n.b.: Which brings me to a general request: Could everyone, when posting a piece that is taken from literature or the web, please quote where it was found? That really saves a lot of head scratching and thumbing through old Nagel catalogues of the 80s.

Best regards,


p.s. All the pieces I ever posted are indeed mine.

Joel Greifinger August 15th, 2014 07:40 PM

George Walter Vincent Smith Museum
In her essay on early New England rug collectors in Through the Collector's Eye (1991), Julia Bailey refers to George Walter Vincent Smith as "the senior New England collector." Smith devoted most of his adult life to "acquiring an eclectic assortment of Italian paintings, American paintings and drawings, European and Far Eastern textiles and furniture, Oriental arms and armor, cloisonné, ceramics, lacquerware, metalwork, ivories, and carpets." Included in the 146 rugs that he assembled and then contributed to the city of Springfield, Massachusetts (in exchange for the city's commitment to suitably house them in a museum) were Anatolian village rugs and yastiks and tribal, especially Turkmen, rugs, bags and trappings. Most of these were acquired by Smith between 1892 and !898 with the last ones coming in 1905. At the time, most of the pieces were new, though some had several decades of wear.

The George Walter Vincent Smith Art Museum in Springfield has recently renovated a space for displaying artifacts from Islamic cultures in Smith's collection. One of the pieces currently on view is a 'Baluch' star-in-octagon bag face in the design I was highlighting in starting this thread. And, given our knowledge of its provenance, this makes it among the earliest documented 'Baluch' pieces. It is in luscious, full pile and, interestingly, has colors that seem very close to those on the 1876 V&A bag.

Here's the best I could do with my iPhone camera :p

Here's the V&A again, for comparison.

Also currently on display is a terrific Shahsavan soumak bag and some excellent Turkmen rugs, bags and trappings. Well worth a visit if you're anywhere close by.