Posted by R. John Howe on 06-27-2005 05:51 AM:

Balouch? Yomut? What?

Dear folks -

Today at the Georgetown Flea market I bought a little bag face.

It is not a remarkable piece but has its points.

It is a smaller sized khorjin face, measuring about 14 inches high and 18 wide.

I liked the center square and the use of white there and in the corners of the field (although I would wish for more definite touches of white in the borders).

The field is drawn in a way around the central square that makes it seem a bit like nicely broad border. There are actual borders beyond that and they have a difference in scale and design that frames but does not compete with the interior elements. The piece seems to me to be generally well composed and drawn.

It has white wool warps, two picks of weft between rows of symmetric knots.

There are three warps wrapped in red to serve as selveges.

There is damage, but it is readily fixable if I so choose.

My initial instinct was to say that it is Balouch and it may be. But I have also wondered if it could be Turkmen. I can't remember seeing a Yomut piece like it but there are a variety of small Yomut bags with different designs.

Anyway, I offer it for your frank comment, especially in relation to who might have woven it.


R. John Howe

Posted by Wendel Swan on 06-27-2005 06:42 AM:

Hi John,

Looks pretty clearly like West Anatolian.


Posted by Amir Aharon on 06-27-2005 09:59 AM:

Hi John,

Thanks for the the unusual bagface. I, personally like the whites
(cotton?). I dearly needed a distraction from the 2-sided asmalyk.

I want to take a guess at Beshir (Ersari) origin, more because of
the field serrated stylized flower and also for the coral red dye,
slate blue and white. The dyes may be synthetic, comparing the
darker back with relatively faded blue and coral on the face.

Northwest Afghanistani Aimaqs (Herat province) also have a
repertoire of using coral red and blues (natural white cotton
too--but so do the Timuri Balutchis). You didn't mention the type
of knot, although I have seen Aimaqs with both Turkish and Persian
knots too. I used to own an Aimaq (still have the image) with
Turkish knots with brown. white and coral colors.

I haven't seen Beshir trappings but many rugs and kellehs.
Surely many Balutchi bags (including Aimaqs) are going around.
This makes the piece even more interesting, but I still tend to
vote for a Beshir Turkmen origin.



Posted by dubreuil on 06-27-2005 12:02 PM:



The general style and composition look like balouch, especially for the particular use of the white. The palette is too light for a balouch item that is generally darker. The knotting seems to be symetrical but ersari are generally assymetrical.
The palette, the "mixed" style, the "turkmenoid/yomutoid" look of the weaving can indicate a "veramin" origin.

to be followed

Amicales salutations à tous


Posted by R. John Howe on 06-27-2005 01:53 PM:

Dear folks -

Now I feel a little better about not immediately being able to attribute this piece. Three responses: all somewhat different.

Wendel, can you say a bit more about why this piece looks West Anatolian to you? (The wool and handle doesn't seem to me quite Turkish. It has a kind of firmness that I associate with Turkmen weaving.)

Amir, there is no cotton. The ivory is all wool. There IS noticeable color difference front to back, but in spite of that I think the dyes may all be natural. I said it rather unobstrusively but the knots are unambiguously symmetrical. That pushes me away from Ersari-Beshiri toward Yomut, if we want to hang on to a Turkmen attribution. There do seem to be Persianate usages of the sort you mention.

Louis, Balouch pieces ARE often darker than this one, but Tom Cole recently put up on this board some Balouch pieces the palettes of which are quite different from those we've come to associate with Balouch weaving.

The Veramin suggestion is interesting, and accommodates what look like Persian design features. I am less familiar with that apparently somewhat disparate group than with some others.

There seems possibly a species of "mitre-ing" of the "leaf" devices around the center square, although that may just be an accidental result of the positioning of the leaf devices and their reflection in the top part of the border. I cannot recall a usage that resembled mitre-ing of a border in a Turkmen piece.

Notice that the weaver was not able to complete one set of these leaves. At first glance, I thought the piece might have been "cut and shut" but that is not the case, the weaving is continuous.

Additional thoughts are invited.


R. John Howe

Posted by Michael_Wendorf on 06-27-2005 02:33 PM:

West Anatolian


There is no mystery here, I agree with Wendel that this detached bag face is pretty clearly West Anatolian. There are a whole of group of related bags and yastiks. The structure, design including the leaf elements and coloration is all consistent with this attribution.

Regards, Michael

Posted by Chuck Wagner on 06-27-2005 02:40 PM:

Hi John,

The warp selvage is pretty unusual for any Baluchi or Turkoman (or any other, for that matter) bag, I think. It makes me wonder if it's a sampler, a wagireh of some sort. The short "Central Asian" red plain weave kilim ends are typical of recent western Afghan and refugee production, but the symmetric knot is not. I think the border is something that could be seen in Beshiri production, but I am more inclined to side with Wendel on this one; given the border, it "looks" Turkish to me.

Chuck Wagner

Chuck Wagner

Posted by Wendel Swan on 06-27-2005 02:41 PM:

Hi John,

Turkish heybe faces are comparatively uncommon, but this one is pretty obviously just that. See Bruggemann and Bohmer plate 77 for a prayer rug with nearly identical main and secondary borders.

The center of yours is often seen as a border but also sometimes as a separate element. I can’t recall seeing anything just like it, but all of the factors appear in other configurations.

At first, the orange red seems to suggest an eastern Anatolian origin, but many of the West Anatolian rugs use abundant orange and the Eastern versions use blue or brown wefts. The red wefting is typical of some Western Anatolian rugs, notably the late 19th or early 20th Century ones. And they can be relatively firm. This is not early Turkish village weaving.



Posted by Larry D. Saintley on 06-27-2005 06:23 PM:

what is it?


It's an afshar

Posted by A.R.Tuna on 06-27-2005 08:35 PM:

This is a single face from a "heybe" , horse or donkey bag , Yagcibedir Tribe , Northwest Anatolia. I have a similar pair , detached.
The most recent book on Heybe , Published by Ludwig Reichert and Hugo Becker have a similar complete example , reinforced by leather.

Posted by Chuck Wagner on 06-27-2005 10:32 PM:

Türkçe dil desteği ?

Hi John,

Here's an instructive image from a web page that may be very enjoyable. I don't know, because I can't read much Türkçe.

Design elements look familiar ???

Here's the link; ammo for the "it's Turkish" faction:


Chuck Wagner

Posted by Bob Alimi on 06-28-2005 01:39 AM:

Hi John,

Definitely Anatolian. Here's a somewhat similar piece that I own:

When I picked up my piece, I consulted with someone who knows an awful lot about Anatolian weaving, and the response was as follows:

"Western Anatolian, NW in fact; the geographic provenance would commonly be termed "Bergama" (much as Central Anatolian material is called "Konya"). I'm afraid I can't get closer than that though -- _actual_ Bergama? Kozak? Canakkale? The 4-leaf central motif shows up regularly in rug borders from the area and the ribbon motif in the borders of your piece is also a common feature. That very white wool is typical for the NW (central Anatolian white can be just a tad more ivory...) and the red for the kilim parts is the standard color for "Bergama" wefting."



Posted by R. John Howe on 06-28-2005 02:10 PM:

Dear folks -

My thanks to those who contributed here.

It seems to me that one of the strengths of our conversations here is that we are able to entertain a variety of opinions about a given piece, including those we might feel are definitely incorrect.

But the center of gravity of the advice and the examples here do seem to confirm Wendel's early indication of a western Anatolian attribution. Other instances of the design elements in this piece have been presented and the piece Robert Alimi has put up is very similar even in the look of the weave (an aspect about which I had hesitation).

My collection of books on Turkish weaving (I have some) is weaker and I don't think I had consciously encountered the term "heybe" before. Nor had I heard that instances of this format are relatively infrequently encountered in Turkish (all that helps explain the fact that it was confusing to some of us).

I am unembarrassed by my relative ignorance of Turkish weaving, but noticed Michael Wendorf's indication that some of the design elements in my piece also occurred in yastiks, a format to which I have paid at least a little attention.

That sent me to Brian Morehouse's "Yastik" book. Number 33 on page 42 seems to use a version of the "leaf" motif in my piece as a border.

Morehouse calls this "leaf" motif a "clearly...representative feature" of northwest Anatolian production.

This little piece has pressed my learning in a new direction.

Thanks to you all,

R. John Howe

Posted by Filiberto Boncompagni on 06-28-2005 06:06 PM:

Hi John,

Here is your “leaf” motif:

Plate # 2 from Fritzsche and Zipper “Turkish” - Rug from Avunya, Western Anatolia, circa 1910. The captions said that the field is light orange, although it looks yellow in the photo.



Posted by R. John Howe on 06-28-2005 08:17 PM:

Hi Filiberto -

Yes, that's closer. The device in the border of the Morehouse piece may be related, but is a kind of "stretch." It was just the closest thing I saw on a yastik in the Morehouse book.

Notice on the piece you present here the orientation of the device is all one way. Maybe the weaver wanted that but maybe she didn't know how to make it facing to the right.


R. John Howe

Posted by Lars_Jurell on 06-28-2005 08:42 PM:

Hi John, and all
When I first saw your photos it was clearly a Bergama heybe-face for me. And I can see that many of the readers agree.
And today, when I visited a member of our rug society for helping them with their computer, I say a similar heybe upon their bed!
And for them it is a Bergama heybe, used as a pillow with original back. I had a camera so the rest was easy.

Lars Jurell
Akrep Oriental Rug Society in Gothenburg, Sweden

Posted by R. John Howe on 06-28-2005 09:32 PM:

Hi Mr. Jurell -

Thanks for the image and the further confirmation.

Very close indeed.


R. John Howe

Posted by Patrick Weiler on 06-29-2005 07:44 AM:



The border element in your bag face is typically found in Yagcibedir weavings.
Jozan has an article showing this design at the bottom of the page:

I wish such a flea market existed out here in the western US!

Patrick Weiler

Posted by Ali R.Tuna on 06-29-2005 05:11 PM:

Another Yagcibedir heybe face

John and all,
below is one of a pair of Yagcibedir heybe faces I have. The designs on these heybe faces are all about identical , except for personal execution/interpretation differences.
There is a nice picture of such a heybe on a horseback in the book "HEYBE" from L.Reichert/H.Becker. I will try to scan/post it before the week end.
The Yagcibedir have two types of colouring. The first one is more in the red and blue with some white and a second shade of red. See the heybe from Lars Jurell above.
The other type has an apricot combined with deep blue and magenta reds. Your piece and the one I am posting here are of that second type. The same colour scheme is also seen on the Yagcibedir carpets. The second group is close in colouring to some Beloutch pieces. Overall , the Yagcibedir weavings have strong similarities with Turkmen pieces in colouring.

In that piece , the pinkish red seems to be natural. Note the remnant of the leather lining that I have not removed from the bottom.

Posted by Lars_Jurell on 06-29-2005 09:40 PM:

Hello all again

I think we must explain our "names" of the heybe a little more for the visitors of this thread:

Geographic: West Anatolia ( Turkey )
Bergama-area ( not in the city Bergama ), a common name for weavings from the area.
And some of you say it is a Yagcibedir, which is one of several Turkmen tribes settled in the area since 11-12th century.
And that explain the relationship in colours to Turkmen weavings.

Lars Jurell

Posted by R. John Howe on 06-30-2005 12:37 PM:

Dear folks -

I don't think Wendel will mind my quoting something he has said to me in a message on the side:

"As I said in one of my posts, I think Turkish pile bag faces are pretty rare, even younger ones. I could not have imagined that so many similar to yours would be posted - and owned by participants. That was interesting."


Yes, it was and is. I did not know what the piece was, had no idea that it might be rather rare, and then was surprised at all the close examples that flowed in from several directions.

And this flow of examples has continued. Ralph Kaffel wrote me on the side as well to report the following further instances:

"...I think that you got more than enough from the TurkoTek people, but here are some more references-

"What I think is the probable mate to your bagface was offered on E-Bay by Cevat Kanig on 9/13/02. (ed. I wonder if it might not be the same piece since Cevat King is local here.)

"A complete saddle bag with similar central reserves was offered Skinner 5/14/05, attributed to Sindirgli/Yagcibedir (w.Anat).

"A related bag - Skinner 9/11/93 #79

"A complete bag very similar to yours in Hali 139, page 110

"A related Melaz bag in Hali 37, p.74 Renate Halpern Gallery"

My thanks to Ralph for these additional indications which work to reinforce even further Wendel's observation above.


R. John Howe

Posted by R. John Howe on 07-01-2005 03:26 AM:

Dear folks -

Here are two of the pieces Ralph Kaffel referenced.

First, the one from Hali 139.

Notice the use of leather that seems frequent in such pieces. Notice also the longish connecting section something that seems characteristic of heybes, but distinctive from most khorjins. Seems to me this increased center section length might make them easier to carry and to use with a pack animal.

And second the one from Hali 37.

I think this latter piece is a superior example. Its actual color does not come through in this scan.

I also think this thread exhibits a lot of the potential strengths of Turkotek being realized.

Thanks to all,

R. John Howe

Posted by David R.E. Hunt on 07-01-2005 06:53 AM:

It's Not Just For Pack Animals Anymore...

Hi John

Found this on page 64 of Landreau and Yohe's "Flowers of the Yayla"

and accompanied by the following.

"The weavers in the village weave those items which they find usefull in their lives - heavy floor coverings, kilims to cover bedding or items to be transported, grain and flour sacks, large bags (cuval) for carrying or storing goods, saddlebags (heybe) to sling over the shoulders, carry on the saddle or the back of a motorcycle. These are woven with the typical designs of the Toros. But while the designs are undoubtably old, if not ancient, the dyes are the most vivid colors from the chemists vials, brilliant with lots of bright orange and intense pink."

I will admit that one of the Yagcibedir weavings I've seen did strike me as tighter woven and reminding more of Turkmen work than much other Turkish weaving, but then I believe I have seen coarser Yagcibedir work as well.


Posted by Ali R.Tuna on 07-01-2005 02:43 PM:

Heybe and horse

Hi John & All,

John, thanks for posting the picture of the total heybe from Yagcibedir , type 1, that was published in Hali .
That is also plate 1 in the book "heybe" I have mentioned in previous posts . The picture below is from the same book , showing the actual utilization on a horse . This was taken in 1983 . The piece looks close to the one Lars Jurell has posted.

The leather protection is also visible and its comparison with the clearly older example John is showing above is interesting.

As to the second Heybe face , it is a Heybe from Milas area about 300 km south from Bergama. (Milas is a town south of Izmir , Smyrna, ), coming from a different context of weavers , although the composition is similar. The compositions are probably more defined by the format than the region . Milas heybes are thought to be rarer than Yagcibedir

Ali R.Tuna

Posted by Lars_Jurell on 07-01-2005 05:40 PM:

John, and all
Your photo with a man putting his head in the slit of the heybe´s "bridge" is probably not what the slit is ment for.

The long size of the bridge is most common in West Anatolia compared to rest of Turkey.
And most of the long-bridges heybes don´t have the slit in centre of the bridge. One side is more narrow than the other, but not allways. That will make it easy for the man/woman to carry it on one shoulder, just using one half of the bridge on the shoulder.
Same is when they hang the heybe on a hook.
And as many heybes with a slit are with leather, imagine how hard and difficult it must be to put it over the head!
I don´t have any photos here ( sending this from my office ), but take a look in all books and you will find different size in wide on most of the heybes with a slit.
Lars Jurell
Akrep, Gothenburg Sweden

Posted by David R.E. Hunt on 07-01-2005 10:27 PM:

Varied Structure = Varied Use

Hi Lars

I do admit that this heybe/sweater fashion statement does look a bit awkward, but I wouldn't dismiss the possibility of some form of customary use. Different uses could account for the variations demonstrated. Maybe someone will come up with some first hand information


Posted by R. John Howe on 07-03-2005 03:11 PM:

Dear folks -

There are two features in the images we have of this format that I want to ask further about.

First, is the seeming frequent use of leather. We have instances of woven backs so sometimes the pieces were originally made in that way. But do we know whether heybes are sometimes made originally with leather backs or is the presence of a leather back indicated that this is a "constructed" piece: that the faces have been preserved primarily for decoration of the front but the heybe is now basically a set of leather bags?

Secondly, Lars questions whether the use of the slit in the connecting piece on heybes were usually for insertion of the head, that these bags were usually carried either over the shoulder or across an animal. If I understand correctly Lars suggest that sometimes only one of the two connecting sections occurs (and this seems to be the case in the one on the horse above.

Here are two additional images of flatwoven heybes from a Japanese site.

Both of these pieces are estimated to have good age. I offer them to demonstrate that there do often seem to be both two center connecting sections and there is almost always a slit between them. And the slits almost always exhibit visible wear.

What is the function of the slit and why did the weavers persist usually in making two connecting panels if one would actually serve, perhaps even serve more conveniently the over the shoulder and across the animal uses?


R. John Howe

Posted by Ali R.Tuna on 07-04-2005 03:32 PM:

Dear John & all,
Several answers on these questions can be found in the already mentioned book on Heybe, by Pazyrik Society, Germany . The Authors are Doris Pinkwart and Elisabeth Steiner , who have contributed to a lot of field reearch into the Bergama area weavings (see their reference book on the Bergama Cuvals), and also Manfred Bieber , expert resercher in natural dyes. The book presents collections from the Becker and Reichert collections , Germany.
But , shortly to John's questions :

1) "do we know whether heybes are sometimes made originally with leather backs or is the presence of a leather back indicated that this is a "constructed" piece[B]" : Pinkwart and Steiner mention the existence of several Heybes made with leather originally and publish two in their book. This seems to be specially intended for the use on the Horse. Actually , I think that ,the oldest Heybe (in hand) , dating from the 17th c. , which belongs to the goods left from the Turkish Army at the siege of Vienna is made of leather.
Several heybes were made early 20th century in Bergama area for selling purposes to the travellers into Anatolia , by the local Yoruk population. So , the leather is linked to harder use conditions, and probably also , to some requirements for water tightness. The heybe's were woven and then reinforced with leather . They even had some additional leather flaps for better protection.

2) The function of the slit : Most - if not all- heybes woven with a slit in the middle were intended for use on the carriage animals, the slit helping to pass it over the saddle, and have each of the bags on one side of the animal. In the horse picture above , the second strap is also present but it is hidden by the rollled cover on the horse.
There are bags intended for personal use , for shepherds or day travelers by foot. They are made as a single bag with just a shoulder strap. Pinkwart and Steiner make well the differentiation between these two sorts, as I also recall the same distinction within the popular use of the terms in the past in Turkey.
In the Yohe book , the wearing of the Heybe by the host villager family head was just intended for the photograph and display and should not be mixed as a way to carry the heybe.
The peasants take some animal heybe to the market but generally it is carried over the shoulder. (Again more pictures are given in the book).

Posted by R. John Howe on 07-04-2005 03:39 PM:

Thanks, Ali -

It seems a book worth having.

I own the Pinkwart, Steiner volume on "Bergama Cuvallari" and it is the only good documentation of that format of which I know.

This is an after-the-fact edit but it would likely to useful to note that one of the things we should likely have checked early in our examination of this piece is whether the wefts were unplied or not.

This was not a consideration until Wendel suggested that it was likely a Turkish piece from the Bergama area. Unplied wefts are often seen to be one hallmark of weavings from Western Turkey (and I knew that). So our next move should have been to check the wefts on this heybe.

I finally did a couple of days ago triggered by the conversation in another thread and although the weave is fine enough on this heybe that it's hard to tell even with magnification, it does appear that the wefts in this bag face are unplied singles. That further confirms its western Turkey attribution.


R. John Howe