Posted by R. John Howe on 05-19-2005 09:08 AM:

A "Kungrad Kyrgyz" Fragment

Dear folks –

For perhaps the past five years I have been attracted to and searching for an instance of a particular non-Turkmen Central Asian bag face. Recently I encountered and bought a fragment of one.

My fragment is 31 inches long and 15 wide and was likely about two inches wider. This format is variously described in the literature. It is the face of a bag that had a back and an opening on one of its narrow sides. It is similar to the Balouch “balisht,” some versions of the Persian “pushti,” is called a “nampramach” by the Uzbeks, an “ilgiche” by the Lakai.” The Kyrgyz call it a “chavadan” and it was placed (often with valuables) at the bottom of the “juk” facing out. (The “juk” was a place in the tent in which valuable textiles were piled.)

This piece has for me nice color saturation (some dyes may well be synthetics but I do not find them distracting)

and the ikat-derived graphics have very real “punch.”

It exhibits a some strong reds and a very strong yellow and is one of the pieces that I like despite the latter.

The first of these I saw had Tajik attributions. The dealer from whom I bought this one described it as Uzbek. More, the piece is single-wefted, something that used to tempt us to think Kyrghyz.

In fact, the only current similar published piece I know of (I have seen perhaps four or five now “in the wool”) is at the end of George O’Bannon’s “The Kyrgyz Carpet 1,” 2000, in which George primarily provides translation of the work of the Russian scholar K. I. Antipina.

This piece occurs in a short section that George calls “The Kungrad Kygyz.” in which he draws on the work of another Russian rug scholar, Karmysheva. Here is what George says at the beginning of this section:

“…Relying on brief comments in the work of Karmysheva and some of her unpublished materials, it is possible that another distinct group of Krygyz weaving may be identified. The are of the Kungrad Kyrgyz who live in southern Tajikistan…Karmysheva’s notes indicate that this group of Kungrad Kyrgyz moved into Tajikistan from the Charjou area of Turkmenistan. This may be a possible explanation for the presence of Turkmen guls in their pattern repertoire…”

George says that the weavings of the Kungrad Kyrgyz are distinguished from those of the main Kyrgyz group because they have asymmetric knots open to the right rather than to the left. He also says that all of the Kungrad Kyrgyz pile weavings are single-wefted.

George offers one other chavadan in this short section that looks like this.

Notice that the borders on this piece are the same as those on the ends of mine.

So that is what the literature currently says about what my fragment might be.

It is likely a restoration project. Most of these pieces are seen to have been made in the early 20th century, so I will not be moving in on “history” much if I have someone repile in places and put back the missing border on one side. If I do, I’ll show you the results of that work some day.

Frank comments are invited.


R. John Howe

Posted by David R.E. Hunt on 05-19-2005 11:08 PM:

Total Recall

Hi John

Interesting find. Shame it's not in better condition, but still nice. Should I take it that not much study has been undertaken regarding this particular type of bagface? I remembered one from the Middle Amu Darya thread, which you can find below

I'll try to remember from where it's copied

Would it be better to refrain from the repair expenditure and use the proceeds to track down a superior example? I think your fragment does a great job of telling the story in it's present condition. There could be much to learn, I believe, from the relationships which exist between these Turkmen, Kirghiz, and Uzbek weavings.


Posted by R. John Howe on 05-20-2005 06:20 AM:

Hi David -

Thanks for this additional example.

Yes, O'Bannon's treatment based on this Russian author is the only one I know.

About finding a better one, I did --- early --- but it was priced at $3,300, and that discouraged me. A second one I encountered, I think, at Burlingame at an ACOR, had "off" colors and was a mere $2,200. I've actually looked at this one for about six months before buying precisely because I was looking for a better one that I could afford.

One thing that made me buy this fragment is that some of the pieces in this format and design seem to have a different and darker palette. I am more attracted to those that have clearer, lighter reds, even if these are sometimes a bit bright. Both of these other pieces have a darker palette that attracts me less (although I suspect that the piece in George's Kyrgyz book likely has better color than the photo of it there exhibits).

About restoring it: that can, of course, be argued either way.

But as you likely know, the Turkish restorers are doing wonderful things nowadays at affordable prices, and since this is likely a somewhat younger piece, I have fewer qualms about tampering with a serious piece of history should I decide to.


R. John Howe

Posted by Igo Licht on 05-20-2005 01:23 PM:


Another example of the same type. You probably saw it in TM, I brought it once or twice for rug appreciation mornings. I am familar with 3-4 more examples, one a very good one with very light blue at Jim Blackmon's exhibition at SF Acor.
Regards, Igo

Posted by R. John Howe on 05-20-2005 06:32 PM:

Hi Igo -

Thanks for sharing this image.

I do remember your piece.

It is one of those with the lighter, clearer reds that I prefer.

I have not seen the Blackmon piece, but it would likely be a superior example.


R. John Howe

Posted by Filiberto Boncompagni on 05-21-2005 09:03 AM:

Hi John,

I found another one on the web. Different design from yours, but it’s said to be Uzbek as well.



Posted by David R.E. Hunt on 05-21-2005 04:21 PM:

Hi John

I didn't realize that these were either so rare or so expensive.
I took the liberty of adjusting the colors of my above posted image, trying to make the details more discenable, and lightening it considerably in the process.

Would you characterize those pieces which you have seen in the wool as representing or falling into two distinct classes, representing those of brighter dyes vs those of darker, as evident in the above photos? Or both published and in the wool pieces?

Also, what are the structural attribites of your chavadan? We know that it's single wefted, and I'm assuming, based upon your indications, that it could be Kungrad Kyrgyz and hence assymetrical open to the right. Is this correct?


Posted by R. John Howe on 05-21-2005 05:53 PM:

David -

Yes, David my piece has asymmetric knots open to the right and is single wefted.

There is, as I said, very little research (at least in English) on this group.

Yes, O'Bannon in his report on these pieces says that the ones with the lighter palette and Turkmen devices are conjectured to have been made by Kungrad Kyrgyz who came from Turkmenistan and so presumably have been exposed to Turkmen designs and colorations. Apparently the darker palette is the result of influence by the colors traditionally used by other Kyrgyz weavers.

But the relationship is not clean with regard to devices. If you note above the published piece with the same design as mine has the darker palette. So we have pieces with the ikat based design that have both color palettes.

The ikat design piece with the darker palette is owned by Dennis Marquard, the book dealer, and I have been hoping that he might chime in, since he collects non-Turkmen Central Asian pieces, and likely knows things in this area.


R. John Howe

Posted by David R.E. Hunt on 05-21-2005 11:51 PM:

Off On A Tangent...

Hi John

While we are waiting, let's check out some other examples of these ikat derived patterns.

The above ikat sample is from pg.91 of "Between Black Desert and Red" and accompanied by the following caption, courtesy of Pinner and Eiland.

"Ikats of this type, probably woven by Uzbeks in urban centers such ad Bukhara, were the source of similar designs used by the Ersari."

As such are the following.

All three of the above are courtesy of "Between Black Desert and Red".

This silk ikat garment from an exhibition review by Wendel R. Swan, Ikats :Good As Goldman


Posted by R. John Howe on 05-24-2005 01:49 PM:

Maybe "Uzbek" Rather Than "Kungrad Kyghyz"

Dear folks -

Dennis Marquard, who owns the piece I have discussed above that George O'Bannon published, contacted me off board with some additional information about both this piece and his own feelings about its attribution.

Since he is an active rug book dealer, he feels that he should not post directly here since this might be seen as infringing on the non-commercial mode we intend and that he respects.

But he is willing to respond to my query to him about the issues here “around the corner,” so to speak, via email messages and phone calls with me.

He has given me permission to post two images he has provided me, to quote what he said to me in an email and to summarize some additional indications he made to me about all of this in a phone conversation tonight.

First, Dennis in fact owns two pieces similar to my fragment.

Here is his own image of the piece that O'Bannon published as Plate 67 in “Kyrgyz I.”

The first thing to note is how bad the photo is of this piece in “Kyrgyz I”

My indication above that this is a piece with the darker more typical “Kyrgyz” palette is incorrect. This piece, too, has the lighter, clear reds that appear on the piece Igo Licht owns, and my own fragment. This palette is also used on the piece with a different design that Filiberot put up and may be that used on the one with the ikat-based design that Dave Hunt posted.

Dennis further indicated that he owns a second piece with this ikat-derived design that is better.

Here it might be best to let him speak for himself. He has given me permission to quote the following email to me in which he raises some other issues as well:

“Hi John:

“Here are 2 photos of pieces from my collection.

“The one on the left is shown in O'Bannon's The Kyrgyz Carpet as pl 67, page 107 1'4" x 2' 9". I have attached a better photo.
“The example on the right is slightly smaller 1' 2" x 2' 5" and is the best I have seen. The pile has highly saturated colors and is lush and velvety- to -the -touch. One selvedge is intact and complete. This piece was made without a side border. The pile on the piece to the right is more coarsely knotted than the published example and I believe it to be older. In the sunshine, the green colors pop.

“I disagreed with George about the Kyrgyz attribution of both plates 67 and 30.


There are several things to note here.

First, Dennis’ second piece, the one he feels is better was made without side borders.

But more important is his last sentence (just for those curious Plate 30 in “Kyrgyz I” is of a saddle cover that Dennis now owns. George gave it a Kyrgyz attribution. Dennis feels that it was likely woven in East Turkestan) in which Dennis indicates that he disagreed with O’Bannon about some of his Kyrgyz attributions and particularly about his placement of Plate 67 in a specialized Kyrgyz category. Dennis, and apparently some others, feel that Plate 67 (and I think by extension all of the piece in this thread with this design and coloration) seems more likely to have been woven by Uzbeks.

(They retain this attribution despite noting that Plate 67 is single-wefted, something, as I said above, that used to press us toward Kyrgyz attributions. It does less so nowadays because some single-wefted pieces have been encountered now that are clearly Uzbek on the basis of other indicators.)

There is some considerable feeling among some rug scholars and collectors of non-Turkman Central Asian materials that George O’Bannon was too accepting of Russian scholarship and that what we need to strive for is the knowledge that apparently still resides in rug and textile literature written in the languages that the Uzbeks and Kyrgyz and their fellow non-Turkmen tribal groups spoke before Russian and the Russian scholars began to dominate this literature.

Dennis reminded me that there have been some Hali items on Kyrghyz pile weaving and on O’Bannon’s translations of Antipina and Beresneva in particular, so this morning I dug them out.

First, there is an article in Hali, 123, p. 70 by Seyfullah Turkkan, a collector of Kirghiz pile pieces. Turkkan cites the two O’Bannon Kyrghyz volumes and acknowledges that Antipina and Beresneva, writing in the Soviet era, considered their work to be a “’Party Mission’ in which they had to weigh every word carefully in deference to the Party’s sensitivity to ethnic matter. But he seems to accept O’Bannon’s attribution of such ikat-based chavadans at “Kungrad Kyrghyz” since he provides one on page 78 and retains this label. (Turkkan traveled this area and says interestingly that he has never seen a Kyrghyz rug being carried and offered for sale by a Kyrghyz person. They are always in his experience carried and offered by Uzbeks or memobers of some other ethnic group. Odd.)

The second piece is a longer review of these two O’Bannon translations by Andy Hale. It is in Hali, 119, beginning on page 63. Hale reads Russian and has traveled in Central Asian and studied its textiles for years. He and Kate Fitz Gibbon are the authors of the widely acclaimed book “Ikat” which is to my mind one of the two best textile books published during the last 15 years, of which I know.

Hale is very critical of the “colonialist” framework and interpretations the Soviet scholars apply to their work, but he is also critical of O’Bannon’s attributions to the “Kungrad Kyrgyz.”

Here is what he says about the latter:

“…O’Bannon’s third essay is a complete mystery to me. This is the discussion of a group of bag-faces woven by an ostensible “Kyrghyz Kungrad” group is said to be based on his discussions with Belkis Karmusheva, and the attributions supported by her writings. I discussed this group with Karmusheva myself in 1996 and reviewed the material in her archives. In her talks with me and in her writings it was very clear that the group under discussion was Uzbek and not Kirghiz…”

So Hale is among those who think that O’Bannon was mistaken about his “Kungrad Kungraz” attributions and thinks these pieces were woven by Uzbeks. Dennis agrees.

As is clear to those you read what I write, I am a consumer of such research, not a participant in it, but one thing that make me uneasy about some of the attributions and shifts in attribution is that not many indicators are offered.

I think folks like Andy Hale and Dennis who handle lots of non-Turkmen Central Asian rugs and textiles think that in a number of ways (handle might be important) the pieces O’Bannon has attributed to the “Kungrad Kyrghyz” seem to them to resemble more closely what is usually described as “Uzbek.”

My thanks to Dennis Marquard for his useful indications, contributions and permissions here.


R. John Howe

Posted by Patrick Weiler on 05-25-2005 02:34 AM:


Here are a couple of photos of a napramach that is not single wefted:

It is obviously younger than your piece, with most likely chrome dyes. It is 3'4" long and 1'3" wide, with approximately 9x9 asymmetric knots open left.
It comfortably covers a bench in the entry way. There is some moth damage here and there.
You can see the several-inch long flatweave along the bottom, with the ends of the fringe obviously the ends of the original warps. The top is folded over and sewn down. If this was a bag, the back must have been separate and sewn onto this piece.
Are any of these known to have the back extant?
The diamonds which intrude into the field are made of small stepped diamond motifs which are similar to the barbell-like features in the white bands of your piece. The step-like design would seem more likely derived from kilim designs rather than ikat designs. The ikat does not have the type of vertical design limitation that kilims have.
In fact, most of the designs in your piece seem more kilim-derived than ikat-derived.

Patrick Weiler

Posted by R. John Howe on 05-25-2005 02:42 PM:

Hi Pat -

I see what you mean but there are also areas with fairly long vertical color changes of the sorts that kilim weavers would tend to avoid for fear of weakening the integrity of the fabric.

I was mostly quoting what the literature tends to say. Turkkan says explicitly in one of his captions that these are taken from "ikats" O'Bannon is more general indicating that these designs come from "textiles."

Aside: If you'll remind me of your surface mail address I'll send you a rug book.


R. John Howe

Posted by David R.E. Hunt on 05-26-2005 02:34 AM:

Hi Patrick, John

Find below a photo of a North Afghani flatweave I own, a product of the Maimani, if memory serves.

Let's compare this to a velvet ikat coat from Khalter's "Arts and Crafts of Turkestan", and the design there of,

this velvet ikat panel from Hazara Gallery,

and this ikat coat from Shiv Sikri tribal Arts.

And let's not forget the weaving that got us here.

As we look over these five fabrics, what strikes first is the similarities of color. Is this a reflection of the dyes available in this area, or some form of regional style or preference? Mr Marquard noted above a particular green, which has drawn my attention at times and which is especially prominent in the second ikat coat.

Notice that at times the ikat patterns are blocky and flatweave like, and others fluid. I have a feeling this is more reflective of the techniques used to plan the design than limitations of the medium, said limitations being of more practical matters such as intensity of labor.

I encountered a similar enigma while attempting to devine the influences upon the Turkmen gul format in my recent salon, and resolved these inconsistencies by compromise. This Kirgyz bagface design is, I would suggest, an expression of a regional style which incorporates design influence from both flatweave and ikat, with ikat design itself being a reflection of flatweave patterns, and proceeding from both geographic isolation and said isolation of an extended time frame.


Posted by Filiberto Boncompagni on 05-26-2005 06:26 AM:

Since he is an active rug book dealer, he feels that he should not post directly here since this might be seen as infringing on the non-commercial mode we intend and that he respects.

While thanking sincerely Mr. Marquand for his sensibility, I must stress that Turkotek non-commercial policy doesn’t prevent rug dealers from posting on our boards, as long they do not use them for promoting their activities.

Mr. Marquand is not even a rug dealer and he is welcomed to post directly and discuss his pieces - provided they are not for sale, of course. But this applies to everyone, dealer or not.

Best regards,


Posted by David R.E. Hunt on 05-26-2005 05:30 PM:


Hi John, Patrick

Find below an ikat panel from The Alberto Levi Gallery.

Is this pattern more a reflection of the techniques used to plan the design than limitations of the medium?


Posted by Patrick Weiler on 05-27-2005 01:12 AM:


Thanks to David Hunt and his Maimana kilim, I went exploring my attic and dungeon for flat weaves with designs akin to those in your pile weave.

Here is a common Uzbek Tartari bag face I dredged up from the depths of my collection:

You may notice that some of the design features are similar to your piece and quite similar to the Dennis Marquand and Igo Licht pieces.
Perhaps these cruciform stepped designs were adapted from a flatweave such as this one to become the more simplified knotted version in your pile piece.

Pat Weiler

Posted by Matthew J. Miller on 05-27-2005 04:51 AM:


[ Turkkan says explicitly in one of his captions that these are taken from "ikats" O'Bannon is more general indicating that these designs come from "textiles."]

Where is the evidence to support this type of definitive claim? I have personally never read anything that would constitute hard evidence on the subject, but would love to if someone could point me in the right direction.



Posted by R. John Howe on 05-27-2005 08:32 AM:

Hi Matthew -

I assume the "hard evidence" would be producing an image of an ikat that had similar design devices in it.

I took a look through the "Ikat" volume on the Goldman Collection before I put up my initial post and didn't see anything that seemed particularly close.

I do remember when I saw the Goldman pieces in exhibition that it seemed to me that only a rather narrow range of ikat designs had been visibly transferred to pile rugs of which I knew.

There are a couple of other ikat books (e.g. Vok's) but I don't have them.

I wouldn't insist on this point, just know that the design on the fragment I own and those similar to it are frequently described as derived from ikat designs.

Of course if you've read "Ikat," you've seen that there was a lot of back and forth design influence. It seems not to have been a one-way street, as one might expect between modes that are basically not particularly "restrictive."


R. John Howe

Posted by David R.E. Hunt on 05-27-2005 01:54 PM:

Prevailing Fashion

Hi Mat, Pat, and John

The following from Jahannes Kalter's "Arts and Crafts of Turkestan".

"Better represented in western collections is ikat, an outstanding product of Turkestan textile handicrafts. This was put to a variety of uses in Turkestan households as table cloths, niche curtains, tapestries, bedclothes, covers and cushion covers.

It's exremely varied patterns range from simple stripes to zigzag patterns through curved lines, to hooks, "cloudband" and circular ornamentation, classic Islamic motifs such as combinations of stars and crosses, reminescent of Seljuk tiling, realistic and abstract human figures and trees of life,"and

"The importance of ikat in urban culture has been described by D. Dupaigne as follows: Ikat fabrics are luxuries given as gifts of honour at weddings and other important occasions. The wealth of a landlord or merchant is indicated by the richness or newness of his garb. The patterns change anually with the fashion".

While I will be the first to admit that any of these designs might be the consequence of manifold borrowings between designs and textiles, it is my understanding that the representation of ikat patterns in carpets is a given. Granted, the border on John's piece may be a mimic of this triangle border pattern of the Maimama, but the yellow "bat wing" device in the center and it's flanking chevrons or "flying V " seem rather more at ikat than kelim. The existence of such a large, well defined class of carpets with kindered designs speaks volumes, as does fact that so many of our rug scholars are compelled to comment on this subject.


Posted by Igo Licht on 05-27-2005 04:19 PM:

More examples

I would like to bring two more examples of this class of weavings. The first one is another Uzbek napramach, very similar to the John's fragment and Dennis' piece. It appeared on a Web site two years ago. It is interesting how all this pieces follow the same design structure and colour patterns.

Another example is quite different, I found it few days ago in NY show. It uses some of the elements found on the other napramach, but in much less rigorous way, with quite disorganized lattice and East Turkestan gols. It is also not a single weft weaving.

Best Regards,
Igo Licht

Posted by R. John Howe on 05-29-2005 12:38 AM:

Hi Igo -

Thanks for these additional images and comments.

One small difference I've noted in the design of my piece compared to most of the others most like it is that the white areas, toward the end on mine, do not move entirely to the sides but stop a little short.

Here's mine again.

Here's yours.

When you showed me the image of this most recent (and admittedly different) piece last night, I thought initially that the arrangement of the lattice on it

(despite the fact that it is rotated 90 degrees from that on mine) might help explain this shortfall in the white areas on mine.

Looking at it again on my monitor today, I am less sure.

Still, an interesting and unusual piece.

Looking at a quite different aspect of it, you mentioned last night that the design seems to deteriorate or is incompletely rendered in some areas as it approaches the sides and corners.

This is something we see often in Jaff Kurd bags with diamond designs. Not sure why this is.

We have conjectured sometimes with the Jaff Kurds that the use of offset knotting to achieve the sharp angles of the diamonds may be one source of this tendency, but I don't think we have established that at all, since there are Jaff Kurd pieces with the diamond design that are complete to the sides of the field.


R. John Howe

Posted by David R.E. Hunt on 05-29-2005 10:11 PM:


Hi Igo, John, and All

Find below a scan of a ikat design Ersari Torba from the Weidersperg collection in "Betweeen Black Desert, Ect.".


Posted by R. John Howe on 05-30-2005 12:59 AM:

David -

Yes, this last piece lets me see again what I thought I saw in Igo's second piece, last night.

It seems to me if this design is used so that the white legs run out, as they do in this Wiedersperg piece that you present, then we may have an explanation for why sometimes these white ground areas do not move entirely to the sides.

It seems likely that the weaver envisioned something like the usage in the Wiedersperg piece in which the white areas are interrupted by a hexagonal lozenge.


R. John Howe

Posted by Andy Hale on 06-01-2005 06:11 PM:


My (somewhat random) thoughts on the thread:

In my review of the the O'Bannon book on the Kirgiz, I point out that the Kungrad are Uzbek. So these rugs are of the Kungrad tribe of Uzbeks. I have a number of these, collected in Afghanistan from Kungrad people. I confirmed this viewing pieces in ex Soviet museums as well as talking with researchers like Karmusheva in Moscow. (By the way, I speak fair Persian but very little Russian-my wife does the translating of written material).
Lakai are also Uzbek, of the Kattaghan tribe. Wrote an article about them (and Kungrad) for Hali some years back. It is also viewable on the web.
Kungrad seem to like an apricot orange in both embroideries and weavings.
These are to go on the base of the "chuk". (Chuk is the big pile of blankets and bedding in the tent-these days in the house, mostly). Only the front is visible so the backs are usually pretty rough, sometimes out of recycled materials. Not suprising they get chopped off!
If you look in the Goldman ikat book, there are two pile pieces of very clear ikat inspired design-a donkey bag and small carpet. The designs on both are arranged in misaligned panels, ikat style.
Most Soviet period researchers-especially Stalin period-are pretty bad. Karmusheva was an exception. She was Tatar-not Russian and able to speak the local languages. She worked at at very difficult time but was no commie. On the other hand, she saw herself as an ethnohistorian, studying textiles was just a means to an end. We will, enshallah, be dealing with her work in an upcoming book.
I always liked Uzbek rugs, they weren't popular when I was buying them. Nice to see the interest these days.

Posted by R._John_Howe on 06-02-2005 12:01 PM:

Designs Sourced in Ikats

Hi Andy –

I don’t think we’ve met (I did meet Kate at a recent TM Rug Convention at which she spoke), but it’s good to have more knowledgeable people in our conversations here.

Check your credentials. The word here in DC, among some who know you, is that you read Russian.

Here are scans of the two images in “Ikat” to which you referred.

I think your point here is that these are two pile pieces clearly demonstrating that ikat designs were sometimes transferred to pile pieces.

One issue being debated here, though, is whether we can demonstrate that the designs on the piece with which I began this thread (and on its fellows) likely came from textiles.

Some think kilim sources are more likely and some are unconvinced that we know at all. What do you think? How would you describe these designs and devices?


R. John Howe

Posted by Chuck Wagner on 06-02-2005 01:09 PM:

Hi John,

Here's another example, from Jourdan ( "Turkoman"), showing an Ersari group pile saddle blanket. He attributes it to the turn of the century, from the upper reaches of the Amu Darya. It would be tough to argue that this design isn't derived from ikat patterns; indeed, Jourdan also shows a velvet ikat coat to make just that point:


Chuck Wagner

Posted by R._John_Howe on 06-02-2005 10:30 PM:

Hi Chuck -

I have a very similar Beshiri saddle cover to my right on the wall as I type. Winey red and strong yellow. These same botehs with appendages (jewelry I've begun to think).

Next to it I have this piece.

Again most of the same elements but with a ghostly white central branching spine.

But we're talking now about a more general question than the one initially posed.

Pat Weiler said that he thought that the stepped usages in the piece with which I began this thread indicated that it's devices are sourced in kilims.

I noted that there are some indications that some see most of the designs in this piece has sourced in ikats.

Then Matthew Miller questioned in the ikat claims entirely saying there seemed no evidence offered.

David has put up a variety of ikat designs and Andy has made a broader reference, as you do, but the specific issue is still what evidence do we see that the designs in this piece and its fellows

are sourced in ikats. For that we seem to have assertions in the literature rather than specific ikat images containing similar design features.


R. John Howe

Posted by Chuck Wagner on 06-03-2005 12:39 AM:

Hi John,

Well, we might as well toss in the strongly Turkic zili brocade as another possible element of the overall equation we are discussing. Not evidence, but intriguing..


Chuck Wagner

Posted by David R.E. Hunt on 06-03-2005 01:05 AM:


Hi John

For me it is a combination of factors, and most specially the colors, which bear most resemblance to the ikat and hence convince me of the origin of this deign.

Granted there are similarities to the kelim designs, but it seems that this resemblance is more at kelims in general as opposed to the kelims indigenous to this region of the world. Neither the drawing or the colors of the kelims depicted are a really close match to our Kungrad piece, and while I personally feel that the designs are probably of a diverse, confabulatory origin, the pallette of these weavings says to me ikat. Remembering Kalter's assertion that

"The importance of ikat in urban culture has been described by D. Dupaigne as follows: Ikat fabrics are luxuries given as gifts of honour at weddings and other important occasions. The wealth of a landlord or merchant is indicated by the richness or newness of his garb. The patterns change anually with the fashion ",

we might have to search for some time to find the precise ikat analog for this Kungrad bag face design.

Besides, it's not uncommon to see just a small portion of a design enlarged in scale and utilized as a new carpet pattern, and altered somewhat during the course of this retrofitting.

All this said, watch someone come up with a perfect match to this pattern in a kelim


Posted by R. John Howe on 06-03-2005 09:07 AM:

Dave -

You said in part: " someone come up with a perfect match to this pattern in a kelim"


While I want to acknowledge the strength of Pat's "stepped" features observation, I don't think we are going to find a close match in a kilim.

The reason, I think, is that there are too many quite long vertical color changes in the design devices in this weaving.

That would tend to be avoided by kilim weavers precisely because it would produce a structurally unsound fabric (long vertical slits).


R. John Howe

Posted by Andy Hale on 06-11-2005 07:44 PM:

Ikat inspired

I feel these pieces to be ikat inspired in their designs rather than direct copies of ikat designs. Almost all the "design DNA" can be seen on the ikat posted by David Hunt on page 1. Another suggestion of ikat inspiration is the way they key the colors on some of the elements to create a blurry effect similar to that seen in ikat.
Of course, "proving" design origins absolutely is very difficult since both ikat and carpets both draw on a common Central Asian design pool and aesthetic.
By the way, I don't think the saddle covers are Beshire. I would guess North Afghanistan, socalled "Ersari" or in some cases Kizil Ayak Turkmen. My piece in the Goldman book is probably Kizil Ayak from around Kunduz based on the end kilim treatment of diamonds and weave.

Posted by R. John Howe on 06-16-2005 10:00 AM:

Dear folks -

Just one last thought before this thread goes into our archive.

The point that Andy makes about design elements being "inspired" by a give tradition, in this case ikat designs, is a nice distinction to keep in mind. It seems likely that we are often looking for comparisons that are too precise.

David Hunt often sees similarities in designs more broadly than I do, but Andy argues that the images David supplied on page 1 in this thread contain most of the relevant ikat vocabulary from which the designs on this particular piece were likely drawn.

Looking again, I can see that a bit in at least one of the pieces on page 1 (which I have inserted again below for convenience).

The little "bar bell" devices on my piece (and the others with the same design) do seem very close to those that occur in the interior of the gul in this piece David has provided. It even appears to have the stepped usage that suggested a "kilim" source to Pat Weiler.

Now Pat might still hold that, since the piece David supplied above is a pile one, his notion that these stepped feature is likely drawn from a kilim tradition is unimpaired. But David also supplies another image of an ikat that has similar steps in its devices.

So such "stepping" does occur in ikat as well as kilim usage.

There are in addition some long vertical "baton" usages in this ikat that seems similar to the vertical elements in the crosses in my piece. These long vertical color changes pushed me away from the kilim argument. And here they are, explicitly, in an ikat.

Now my analysis here may be a little ponderous (even a shade obvious) for some tastes, but I think it useful to make explicit how Andy's suggestion is, in fact, demonstrated by the examples David has provided.


R. John Howe

Posted by David R.E. Hunt on 06-20-2005 01:44 PM:

Pinner and Eiland

Hi John

"One may occasionally even find a rug in an ikat-derived design with a structure suggesting an Uzbek or Kazak origin."

Thus do Pinner and Eiland conclude their discussion of Ersari Ikat -Inspired Designs from "between the Black Desert and the Red" and beginning on page 88.


Posted by David R.E. Hunt on 06-22-2005 12:50 AM:

Please Pass The Crow...

Hi John, Patrick

As stated earlier

"watch someone come up with a perfect match to this pattern in a kelim "

it looks as if I might have to eat my words.

I found this interesting weaving, Uzbek production consisting of wide bands sew together and seemingly of weft float and flatweave.

Granted this is still not a perfect match. Maybe this says as much about the limitations of warp and weft in relation to symmetry as as anything else?