Full-pile tent bands
Some time ago the following full-pile tent band fragment surfaced on eBay.
It's dimensions are 21 x 12.5 inches. Here are two more detail shots.
Full-pile tent bands are extremely rare, and I was somewhat surprised to see one with such mechanical drawing as in the eBay piece. However, maybe full-pile tentbands become less rare as we progress in time?
Given the mechanical drawing I'd think this tent band is probably not very old. Would anyone have a guess as to the tribal attribution?
For comparison, I am posting images of published full-pile tent bands. The first one is the famous Thompson tent band, attributed to the Yomud. It is symmetrically knotted and 14 inch wide.
Interestingly, in 1993, Thompson writes that only 5 full-pile tent bands are known. All of them are symmetrically knotted and have stylistic details that suggest a Yomud origin. One then wonders what Thompson thought of Cassin’s tent band, which was published in 1988. It’s asymmetrically knotted open right and 12 inch wide.
A similar full-pile tent band is published in “Wie Blumen in der Wüste”, and attributed to the Pseudo-Chodor tribe. It is asymmetric open right and 13.7 inch wide.
Another full-pile Yomud tent band can be found in “Turkmen” by Mackie and Thompson. It’s width is 11 inch.
The last full-pile tent band I found is from Barry O’Connell’s website, and attributed to the Chodor.
Does anyone have images of any other examples?
The Cassin band and the "Pseudo-Chodor" (whatever that means) in "Wie Blumen in der Wuste" are the same piece, and the difference in reported widths must be an error in one or the other source. What looks like a pretty significant difference in color reflects photographic and/or printing issues.
I don't have an image of it but Walter Denny had a short full-pile tent band fragment on a coffee table at his home a few years ago when I visited with a NYC Hajji group.
I think all full-pile Turkmen tent bands have symmetric knots tied on alternate raised warps. The pile areas of the mixed technique Turkmen tent bands have this same structure.
This is also the structure used to make the quite different Uzbek "julkhyrs" (bearskin) and it is the structure used in the pile areas of a horsecover (think yellow and orange) I have from the Siirt area of Turkey.
R. John Howe
The full pile tentband that formerly belonged to Jack Cassin, later exhibited at the Hamburg ICOC (catalog of that bizarre exhibition was published as "Wie Blumen in der Wuste") is knotted asymmetrically, open right, according to Cassin's description in Tentband/Tentbag and Rautenstengel's description in "Wie Blumen...". I think it's probably really asymmetric open right.
There is another intact, full pile band in an Edelmann catalog from 1979 or 1980. When I saw it at the auction house it was in pristine condition and about 10-12 inches wide. I can not lay my hands on the catalog. If some one has the image, it would look good (better) along side the ones shown here.
Hi Steve -
It would be interesting to see an asymmetric knot tied on alternate raised warps. You can see why weavers would tend to use symmetric knots. The fact that the distance between the warps on which the knots are being tied is greater than usual would tend to make the entire assemblage more unstable, if assymetric knots are employed.
On the other hand, most (all?) of the pieces in the recently opened TM exhibition of classical Persian carpets are from Khorasan. There the jufti knot, tied over four warps, is the traditional one. But the jufti knot used in these very old Khorasan carpets is asymmetric open left. I'd guess the distance involved in using jufti knots is at least as great as those when one ties on alternative raised warps.
So perhaps choice of knot is not as related to the set of warps employed in that way I have thought.
R. John Howe
I don't have the 1980 Edelman catalog, but in the November 1979 catalog there's a complete Yomud tent band on a page of its own. Unfortunately, Edelman's color reproduction leaves something to be desired. It's so crummy I can't tell if this is pile on a flatweave ground or all pile. And the description doesn't help at all.
"Yomud Tent Band, Turkestan, Late 19th Century
The ivory ground containing a great variety of ascending geometric shapes including ram's horns, diamond latchhook medallions, trees, leaves and flowers in colors of rust, blue, brown and ivory, within a zigzag border and two minor borders.
Approximately 43 feet (13.11 m.) x 1 foot 3 inchs (.38 m.)"
The estimate was for between $8 - $12,000.
Note: I adjusted the brightness and contrast - still not terrific, but better than it was. Steve Price
I don't know if this is the piece you remember or whether there was another in the 1980 auction. But I thought I'd post it anyhow.
Tent band gurus:
I know we don't get much into the specific financial details of our hobby, but do these tent bands command $8,000 to $12,000 these days?
A nice complete tentband done with pile on a flatwoven background would probably be in that range at the major auction houses. The full pile ones sell for very much more - I think there are less than 10 complete full pile tentbands in captivity.
On the other hand, the format of sequential compartments makes fragments that are often very attractive and interesting, and there are enough of them around to be within reach for collectors of more modest means.
Thanks for the info, Steve.
I found one more full-pile tentband. Enjoy.
For a much larger image, see
(I'll post more info about it later.)
that looks alot like one published in tsareva's 84 publication i believe... others in there as well.
The tentband I just posted appeared in "Seltene Orientteppiche VIII" by Eberhart
Herrmann (plate 105). It's attributed to the Yomut, symmetrically knotted, and
11 inch wide. I can add more structural info if someone is interested.
This band seems to be similar to the one published by Mackie and Thompson, but with an even more refined drawing. Actually, I think it is one of the most beautiful items ever created by Turkmens.
Unfortunately, Herrmann does not have anything enlightening to say about this band. But he cites a few further references. Maybe someone who has access to them could check them out and report back.
That (the last one you posted) is a very striking and elegant piece. The floral motifs in the field and borders are much more natural looking (for want of a better term) than what I'm accustomed to seeing in Turkmen pile weaves.
Jerry, That's not it. I remember that it covered two pages and was labelled as full-pile. I also remember that it sold for $12,000 then. Sorry that I can't be more specific.
The floral motifs in the field can also be found on some main carpets. Take a look at plate 67 in Mackie & Thompson. The same design appears in the elems. But due to the color contrast it looks even better on the tent band.
No. 67 too is an extraordinary piece, so that one wonders whether this main carpet and the tentband were used in the same tent at some point in time. A highly speculative idea, of course.
We received from Ralph Kaffel the following text and images:
The first two images are of the Edelmann full-pile tent band cited by
It was sold on October 24, 1981, lot # 198, and is now in our collection.
The third image is of a full-pile tent band sold at Sotheby's London on
October 15, 1985, lot # 750.
Hali 30, page 3 "Letters" section lists the then-known full pile tent
The scans were too big, so they have been resized but each one had a detail cropped out.
Many thanks Ralph,
The comments on structure of full pile tent bands have drifted a bit in the wrong direction. All this is a bit hard to find in publications, since they frequently omit structural information. Let's get back on course.
Turkmen full pile tent bands are woven with a structure like a long thin carpets, not like the usual mixed technique tent bands. Thus:
1. They do not employ knots over alternate warps, but over adjacent warps.
2. They have symmetric and asymmetric knots, just like carpets
3. They are not usually single wefted but more likely double wefted, eliminating problems with offsetting successive rows of knots.
4. Bands using carpet structure have half the number of warps as the normal mixed technique bands, and thus are far weaker. This is probably one reason why they were not normally made in great numbers to hold together the roof struts of the trellis tent.
There are many Kyrgyz and Uzbek full pile tent bands, similarly made with the same structure as their carpets.
Full pile bands are much easier for an ordinary weaver to make, as they do not require mastering a new bag of tricks. Marla Mallett suggests convincingly (at least to me) on her website(Woven Structure Updates- Part 8) that mixed technique bands may have been made in quantity by specialist weavers, while ordinary weavers may have made a once-in-a-lifetime full pile band using the carpet weaving tools that they were so familiar with. Marla speculates that the rarity of full pile bands is due to the lack of appropriate narrow ground looms for the the ordinary weaver.
Thanks to Ralph for reminding me about the band I noted. Oct., 1981: the years just run into each other. I had suggested 1979 or 1980. I guess that's an age thing.
You wrote, "Bands using carpet structure have half the number of warps as the normal mixed technique bands, and thus are far weaker."
Would this not imply that full-pile tent bands were never intended to hold together the roof struts of the trellis tent, but rather made for decorative purposes only? Only the very wealthy Turkmens could afford such extravagance, which is maybe why so few full-pile bands have survived.
I agree with your comment about full pile tent bands being decorative and used for special occasions, and I would also extend it to mixed technique bands as well.
Among the Turkmen, Peter Andrews reports that bands were specially made for the new white tent given to the bride and groom as their first home. (Perhaps a year after their wedding.) After an initial period of use, these special bands were packed away and used thereafter only in the summer, for special guests, or on important occasions.
This use reduced smoke damage from daily exposure to cooking fires in the confined environment of the nomadic trellis tent. Tent bands were treasured family possessions, passed on for three or more generations. For ordinary use, flatwoven bands were available.