Posted by R. John Howe on 05-10-2005 11:26 AM:

Harold Keshishian at TM, Saffs 5 and 6

Dear folks –

The next saf that Harold presented is one the designs of which resonate with both Ottoman and seeming European influences. Its attribution suggests why that might be.

Harold said that is was made in the Banja Luka area in northern Bosnia, near the Austrian border. Here is the link to a local map:

Harold said that it a “collage” and utilizes lots of “appliqué.” He said that the flowers in its field a made much like American “penny rugs,” with layers of fabric imposed on upon another produce a seeming three dimensional effect.

As it happens I own such a “penny rug” and the following photos of it illustrate Harold’s point.

Here is the basic penny rug image.

Here is a close up that lets you see how these felt circles were sewn on in layers to produce the design.

Here is an image that shows what the back of this penny rug looks like. The “pennies” are sewn onto this backing.

The applique work in this saf is clearly more complicated and more sophisticated than that which appears on my modest New England penny rug, but the basic applique technique is the same.

Harold was asked whether the entire piece was done in this appliqué mode or whether there were parts that were embroidered. He said that the collage was complicated and that folks needed to look at the piece themselves to see its actual technical characteristics. I didn’t get a chance to do that but perhaps someone else will have some more specific notion.

Saf 6 that Harold presented was another East Turkestan piece.

It has ten places on it.

A little closer look, albeit slightly out of focus.

Many East Turkestan pieces are full of unattractive synthetic dyes, but these colors were attractive.


R. John Howe