Posted by Windsor_Chorlton on 05-23-2007 01:03 PM:

Kizil Ayak Chuval Face

Hi, all

Another of my late mother-in-law's finds, picked up in England between 1950 and 1970. This was the as-found condition; she liked nothing more than to rescue interesting casualties. The bag would originally have measured about 28 x 50 inches. Knot structure is AsR. Knot count is 7 x 18 per inch (A single knot takes up two warp threads, right?). Seven colours: dusty rose pink, cherry red, mid-blue (toning to green on back), dark blue, brown, black-brown (used sparingly), mustard-yellow (used very sparingly).

I'm grateful to David Reuben of DM Reuben Carpets for the Kizil Ayak attribution. Mr Reuben described the piece as 'very old' -- which of course makes me wonder how old? He also said that he couldn't recall seeing a chuval with this particular gul centre. Does anyone have any thoughts or references?

I very much enjoy the forum's wisdom and wit -- even when I don't understand what the experts are talking about.


Windsor Chorlton

Posted by R. John Howe on 05-23-2007 06:52 PM:

Mr. Chorlton -

If David Reuben has had your piece in his hands and has given you his opinion, you may already have access to better information than most of us here can provide.

The "Kizil Ayak" designation is controversial in some circles in part, nowadays because the term is implicated in the ongoing efforts to break out the Ersari group.

There are apparently some Kizil Ayaks who were/are part of the Middle Amu Darya complex of tribes.

If you have recent issues of Hali, look for an article by Peter Poullada on this effort. He is currently recommending that we jettison "Beshiri" and "Ersari" in favor of "Lebab Turkmen" which means "river Turkmen." My sense is that the Kizil Ayaks fit into that group, but that the rugs they wove are not entirely agreed to so far. Peter and Erik Risman are working together on this effort and with folks from Indiana University.

Kizil Ayak indicators seem to include an asymmetric knot open right, warps that are not depressed and they have a fineness over 100 kpsi (Ersaris vary widely, but are, on average, much coarser, maybe 60 kpsi).

I think I can suggest something about what someone like Reuben is likely saying with an expression like "very old." When talking about Turkmen weavings that is usually applied to items seen to have been woven before 1850.

Looking at the image of your piece, we can say that the outside outline of the major gul is about what Loges indicates, in a drawn example, a Kizil Ayak chuval gul is like. (It is flatter than the Loges drawing. Notice how much wider the side main borders of your piece are than those on the top and bottom. I think this suggests that, as you report, your vertical-horizontal knot ratio is more than 2:1, something that results in guls that are less rounded too.)

The interior instrumentation of the major gul on yours, with its triangles, is different from the quartered center with "x's" in the Loges drawing (The x's usage may echo the fact that the Kizil Ayaks seem mostly to put "tauk naska" major guls on their main carpets.) I haven't seen this center with the triangles used on a chuval said to be Kizil Ayak, but it is frequent in the major guls of chuvals we tend still to call "Afghan Ersari." I have one with such triangles in a stack behind me as I write.

The border on your piece is not frequent, in my experience, and the elem treatment has a "old" feel to it.

I'd say your mother-in-law did quite well.


R. John Howe

Posted by Jack Williams on 05-23-2007 09:58 PM:

Kizil Ayak and Ersari.

Poullada"s article is posted in full on the "MAD Ersari" line currently on this board, along with some small discussion of the problems with Ersari and Kizil Ayak. Reuban must be counted as one of the most knowledgable persons around. Still, there are a lot of unknowns.

My personal thesis is that the population of the Kizil Ayak village area completely changed between 1890 and end of WWI. It is possbile the entire Ersari-related population of Kizil Ayak evacuated to Afganistan. Thus the rugs that were origninally labeled Kizil Ayak as a sub set of Ersari were made by a different group than those inhabiting and weaving that same area and village years later.

Posted by Gene Williams on 05-23-2007 10:47 PM:

Kizil Ayak and Char Shango

Hi all,

We've been down this road before. But to review, Kizil Ayak means "Red Foot" in Turkish. Apparently the designation originated or at least became popular based around a Northern Afghan Village in the late 1800's. It was mentioned regularly in rug literature afterwards though none of the historical British encyclopedic compilers of tribe and castes ever came acrosss a "Kizil Ayak" military force anywhere. Then, O'Bannon in the mid 70's wrote a book saying the proper designation for these Turkoman carpets was "Char Shango" ("four Corners") and there is a "Char Shango" village in N. Afghanistan. JA was up in arms about this impertinence...why upset the established trade names for some ephimerial new designation? But in the end both terms appear to be descriptive terms (although we do have "Black Feet" American Indians...)

This presents another problem because the first term is Turkish, the second is Dari-Farso-Persian. A Herat dealer in Fall 2006 told me that "Char Shango" and "Kizil Ayak" come from the same area and are really the same carpets...(though he left open the possibility that they are slightly some form or another..he wouldn't specify). Can't say much more than this.


As for the border, I have 3 oldish juwals with that border...(none of which , however, have that sort of indented gul wing...but two of which have the gul center) Will post at some point. Personally, it doesn't seem uncommon or in view of the condition particularly unusual (based on fact that I'm not a collector but somehow wound up with three of three of them by buying at random 35 years ago)...but then I'm just a guy at the bar with an opinion. In the meantime, review the post on Juwals that Jack put up last year.

Posted by Jack Williams on 05-23-2007 11:50 PM:

"B" is for beauty and beholder

Gentlemen, Ladies:

I guess I am having trouble seeing the virtues of this fragment, even if it were in good shape. Usually, whenever Mr. Reuban has endorsed something, I could understand the merits, even If I had a different artistic perspective. Here is his site and his article on MAD chuvals.

I just can't see much in the fragment posted that compares to those in Reubans article. I am also having some trouble seeing what about the guls is particularly...unique. I am open to other opinions and an explanation about the gul center. One thing that makes the world interesting is different judgements on matters of art. And perhaps the age of this fragment gives it some special charisma for people.

Regards, Jack

add edit: here is that link to Poullada's article

Posted by Gene Williams on 05-24-2007 08:26 AM:

Juwal border

Hi Windsor,

Here is a picture of one of those juwals I mentioned I have in trunks with that particular border. I'm no expert on Turkoman rugs so will let others comment. The central part of the gul in this particular one has yellow silk, pretty packed down. The right border has been cut off, probably used for a tied down or something.


Posted by Steve Price on 05-24-2007 08:56 AM:

Hi Jack

Number 4 in Reubens' article is pretty closely related to Windsor's, and I don't think Windsor's piece would be out of place among those Reuben includes. The skirt on his (and on Reubens' number 4) has an almost archaic look to me - compare it to the skirt on the one Gene just posted.

I'm surprised that nobody has had anything to say about the condition of Windsor's juval. I give the conservation efforts mixed reviews. I approve of backing the holes with cloth of more or less the main color of the bag. To me, this is far preferable to repiling: it preserves much of the aesthetics while seeming somehow more candid about things. On the other hand, the sewing of the left side fragment onto the main fragment is pretty primitive, workmanship-wise.


Steve Price

Posted by Windsor Chorlton on 05-24-2007 09:33 AM:

Well-spotted, Steve

It was the resemblances between my piece and number 4 in David Reuben's article that led me to contact him. Apropos a comment by John Howe, Mr Reuben hasn't actually handled the piece. Another chuval that rang bells was a piece illustrated in one of Turkotek's archives; that piece had been used to cover a chair c.1860.

As to what passes for conservation efforts, apart from the pink canvas patch, all the 'repairs' were done in the long ago. The bag face has been backed with fine-weave linen which is still blanket-stitched to one side. Mr Reuben suggested I have the piece cleaned and treated for insect infestation. Last year I did gently wash it, but that didn't remove the larvae that seem to have cemented themselves onto and inside the weave structure.

Thanks to the other respondents. I'm still digesting your comments and references.


Windsor Chorlton

Posted by Sue Zimmerman on 05-24-2007 10:06 AM:

Hi Windsor,
I have no idea what the experts think. I'm not a collector but since you posted this piece I keep drifting off into a review of my financial liquidity situation. Luckily the house needs a new roof or I would be tempted to email Mr. Rubin to see if he could find me something just like it. In other words I think it's very interesting and thank you for posting it. Sue

Posted by Gene Williams on 05-27-2007 05:57 PM:

Juwal border and skirt

Hi all,

I've been left pondering three questions on
Turkoman juwals relating to age based on the above comments which I have to admit have me stumped. I need help in understanding a couple of things.

John commented that the border of Windsor's juwal is unusual. I posted an example of the border, of which I have three. Here is another with the same border, an old Chodor;..It's off a commercial site from 2 years ago...don't remember which one:

The question I now this border unusual or is it not? If so why?

Second questions concerns Steve's comments on the drawing in the skirt of Windsor's juwal. Steve said the more primitive and less stylized the drawing in the skirt, the more likely is the greater age of the juwal. Is there scholarship to this end? Are there juwals with known age showing increased stylization of the skirt flowers as the age decreases? Or is this a sort of inductive logical reasoning based on learning curve professionalism and assumed commercialization? I can sort of intellectually imagine the possibility that stylized drawing actually predates some more freehand curvilinear drawings...or that they are actually concurrent but woven by different hands...or that some little girl liked the little girl look and snuck it in, or was unprofessional and probaly was spanked...or something.

Final question deals with compression of the drawing. I always thought the older a Turkoman juwal, the less compressed...i.e., the older the Turkoman carpet, the more even the knot count along warp and weft. Is my impression really only based on "urban lore" and mythology alone? Thanks for help in understanding why Windsor's juwal is rated as old and older... I love to learn. ''


PS. On the brown juwal I posted above just for comparison sake (posted because it has a similar border and not because its a deathless example of high art)(photo reposted below)...It is 16 vertical by 8 horizontal kpi = 128 or so kpsi just about exactly 1:2. I thought the warps were slightly depressed; Jack says they aren't at all and I need my eyes checked or I could sign on as a big league umpire. According to visiting Jack, Its asymettric open right.

Posted by Jack Williams on 05-27-2007 09:05 PM:

my bad

I don't usually approve of "dissing" [American slang for "disrespecting"] another's find and I usually will just sideline if I doubt something. Furthermore, this chuval is certainly interesting in a primitive way. But earlier I raised a question about Windsor's find without giving reasons, which would allow a rebuttal. This is not something I think is fair or intellectually honest.

So I'll define and add to my earlier comments. In addition to the questions raised by Gene, which parallel some of my concerns, I have a question about the red color of the field and the misjudgment of space in the design.

I have somewhat studied fading and other color change in fabrics caused by natural forces. But the field RED color of Windsor's chuval shows an apparent mottling both front and back. It may simply be a photo aberration, ... but usually such mottled effect is a result of something else ... a loss of dye from tip to knot, front and back, in some places but not others in a somewhat random pattern. This is not something I can explain away as a natural result.

The offset of the guls after the first row is charming. really accomplished Turkmen weaver would mistake the space needed to fully complete the three guls without having to attenuate the last gul in line, as done here, followed by offsetting the subsequent rows. This design mistake may have contributed to the sense of crowding and chaos with chemches almost ramming chuval guls in places.

Finally, the relative lack of natural brown outlining in favor of what looks to be black could possibly indicate a more recent weaving.

These points (color and botched pattern), the highly packed wefts, and the sense of crudeness, were the reasons I questioned the weaving. I even wonder if the lack of weaving expertise lends an inaccurate sense of age? On the other hand, the chuval is charming in that very lack of prfection, and has some sense of power in its simplicity. I would also guess it has actually been used which lends charisma.

At least now people know what my reservations are and can rebut them

Regards, Jack

PS: Gene's chuval apparently has some symmetric knots on the good selvedge border.

Posted by Sue Zimmerman on 05-28-2007 12:34 PM:

Gene and Jack,

I agree with Steve that this fragment would not be out of place with those illustrated in the article except I think, too, that it would outclasses them, content wise.
In my ways of viewing aspects of weavings, though, which I've often been scolded for, for both having no perceived ability to convey such things into words, and that even if I could do that, any of the as yet left untested tests for my ideas are not worth the time to attempt because the results could only result in finding but worthless imaginings inconsequential to rug studies and, as such are unworthy of testing. This all has not escaped my notice. If that is logic I have no use for logic. Not that I think it is. I don't. Whatever.
Anyway, Gene, here's a test for you to help you see differences in borders, and every other motif area, for that matter. Graph them all out. There is something about getting one's hands, eyes, and mind coordinated to this task that adds clarity and understanding unavailable elsewise. If you prefer to not partake of the illogicality of such an endeavor's worthiness, and not try it, it's OK with me.
Jack, I don't understand you thoughts that this fragment is primitive and crudely woven or that the odd spacing necessarily point to weaver incompetence. That's OK with me though, too. I'd rather have it than the whole stack in the article if I were a collector, although I think it's a mistake that it was washed. A few cycles of freezing and thawing would have taken care of the moth problem harmlessly. Sue

Posted by Windsor Chorlton on 05-28-2007 02:45 PM:

Jack, Gene, Sue & All. Hi

I'd drafted a response to the later postings and then gone on-line to find that Sue had added another. Forgive me, Sue, if the following doesn't address your comments.

Jack, we're familiar with 'dissing' on this side of the Atlantic and we have skins thick enough to take it. Over here we have a talented comic who, in one of her guises, plays a surly, disaffected teenager whose response to any criticism or adverse comment is a shrugging 'Am I bovvered?'

Jack, am I bovvered? (There should be a smily here but I can't be bovvered).

Unfortunately, I can't bring scholarship or experience to this discussion. Here are my limited responses to the questions you've raised.

You seem to be questioning the description of the chuval as 'very old', but then, speaking of the same piece, you use the terms 'primitive' and 'crude simplicity' which, in the field of tribal weaving, I take to imply age.

On colour, I laboriously constructed a paragraph about the red field. only to conclude that I wasn't qualified to make any assertions -- except that with the piece in front of me, that 'mottling' looks like the cumulative effects of camel piss and camp fires, UV and sandstorm.

Black is used only in the top four inches (Why?) -- in the borders and as the inner outline of the top half of the guls. Everywhere else, brown is used. The blue is so dark in places that it may appear black on your monitor.

I confess that I hadn't really taken in the crowding of the guls, but is the pattern really that botched, the last gul so attenuated? If they are, what does that connote? Incompetence? A blithe attitude? Fraud? In a flimsy bid for enlightenment, I looked again at the chuval that I thought showed some similarities with mine -- Figure 4 in David Reuben's article(address given somewhere above.) That, too, lacks symmetry, with uneven spacing between chemches and major guls. Note too how the guls change from top to bottom, becoming progressively more compressed. Accident or design or necessity imposed by weaving technique?

As to the lurking issue of age, remember that this bag face was acquired in roughly this condition in, say, 1965, when there couldn't have been much of a market for Turkman pieces, and therefore little incentive for a dealer to knock the hell out of an undistinguised younger chuval and pass it off as 'very old'. (If someone did, I'm sure the ploy failed; I bet my mother-in-law
paid less for it than the price of a bottle of supermarket plonk.)

Gene, thanks for posting those images; your chuval does have similar border motifs. As for the other questions you raise, I hope that there are people out there with answers, because I, too, having read Turkotek's Attribition Guides and other useful sources, have been left wondering about the sometimes contradictory information re compressed guls and archaic vs non-archaic elem designs.


Windsor Chorlton

PS David Reuben said this this piece was 'very nice'. Now, in English English (American English, too, I suspect), that can be a polite way of saying it's 'ho-hum', 'of minor interest', or 'downright boring'. On the other hand, it can mean 'very nice.' Sue seems to think it's VERY nice, and who am I to disagree?

Posted by Jack Williams on 05-28-2007 05:03 PM:

No need to graph the print of a rubber stamp


In addition to thinking of myself as an artist, philosopher, scholar, raconteur, and bon vivant, I am actually an engineer... and my professional opinion is these three borders, including the guard borders, are so similar that they might be said to be of the same design. (Also see Chodor chuval on Jourdan, p. 252

Your more intuitive approach may whisper to you that they are different…but if the question were simply; "is the border design of Windsor’s chuval rare?", the answer appears to be “if it is, so is the border on several other examples shown here” though perhaps "rare" should be defined and attempts made to determine frequency. No graphing is needed because artis not an issue.

Note: To be able to discern the details of these borders, I had to play with contrast and light…so colors in these blowups are not true and some details are somewhat fuzzy due to photo limits.
Border, Windsor's chuval

Border, Gene's chuval

Border, Chodor chuval

Windsor, I can readily understand how years of accumulated filth affects the color, wool, and condition of an artifact, and that may explain the color abnormality I think I see. We had an entire line devoted to the effects of certain natural fluids on colors, and even had a rug, Marty’s famous “dog pound” rug, that featured a color originally blue that had turned greenish (imagine that set of circumstances, to make green out of blue you have to add yellow…).

In the Turkmen world, as I understand it "rustic" does not correlate with age. If one asked a Turkmen to rate the three chuvals above artistically, "rustic" might not be a catagory that he/she would value much, unlike the trend in western art.

I mean no disrespect by my comments about your chuval and others with more experience may see it differently. If we all saw art the same way, a few rugs would be priced at a ridiculous level and the rest would be free for the picking.

Regards, Jack

ad edit: Wearing a Turkmen hat is quite different wearing a Baluch turban. One is used to "cruise timber," the other to view the impression of a forest.

Posted by Sue Zimmerman on 05-28-2007 06:45 PM:

There is nothing mystical about charting out designs. It does make you look more closely though so you can see more. Slows you down. I thought it might help. If you don't want to, don't. I don't care. Sue

Posted by Richard Larkin on 05-28-2007 08:29 PM:


Everybody's weighing in, so I might as well take my whack. I agree with Steve about the skirt motif, and think it is the best thing about the piece. The drawing is "whacky" (to coin a word), and it is hard to know why such things happen. Apparently, some weavers just wove "clunky." It doesn't mean they were bad persons. The phenomenon doesn't necessarily drive a reduced age estimate. I noted on another thread that in the 13th century, weavers were apparently doing a sloppy job on the ever popular eight pointed star. Anyway, the gols and the chemches are, as Jack suggested, crammed in there. All in all, however, I think the piece is interesting and charming. I wouldn't think it is super old, but I have no difficulty putting it comfortably into the 19th century. I do not think it is quite up to the standard of the pieces in the Reuben article, but most pieces aren't.

Rich Larkin

Posted by Gene Williams on 05-28-2007 11:02 PM:



I agree the skirt "Ent" -like flowers are the best feature of Windsor's juwal. I was just wondering how the Ents influenced speculation about the age of the piece. I'll let others interpret David Ruben's "very nice" comment my humble opinion, very nice can range from well.."very nice" to ..."oh my gosh." (and I'm to understand he didn't actully handle the piece; Windsor, did David say anything more about it rather than just "very nice"?? and did he say "very old"..if so did you ask why?)

I rather like "primitive" drawn carpets. And you don't often see Turkomen departing from the martial diciplined regimentation of their designs (are you sure its not a Baluch trying to weave a Turkoman carpet? ''). I'll post a Farah province version of a classic Seistan Baluch prayer carpet...posted an example of "naive" carpet drawing:

Windsor's juwal does have its charm...the off-set guls are fun in a way; one can create an imagined story around their imperfections..pillaging, sacks, slaves being trained, extreme sorrow...oh the sordid history of the thing, a sword slash down the left side ... but I have to admit that the "squashed" aspect of the guls and the cramped space (There is serious close quarter combat going on on that "champs de bataille"), the "dead spider" tenticles emerging from the bottom border.. sort of hurts my eye (that is only an 2 pence or 2 cents or maybe a farthing .. and it definitely will buy you neither a cup of coffee nor a cuppa tea).

Finally, this border definitely crops up in many juwals besides Windsor's and mine. So that should put paid to the "X"'s being indicator of rareness or age. Check out Jourdan..and here is a Kizil Ayak just sold on e-bay:

But if age is important ( and Windsor, permit me to disagree; in my limited experience, somewhat contrary to what you mentioned above, Turkotekees generally have been pretty cautious about age attribution and about its overall importance to a rug's pedigree), and if individuality of drawing vs repetition is an indicator of age (a big "if"), then maybe the piece could actually be dated by comparing the border details? The border X's do look to be tending toward regimentation in some of these examples including Windsor's, or do my eyes deceive the Chordor with the above posted Kizil Ayak.


Posted by Windsor Chorlton on 05-29-2007 01:10 PM:


The answers to the three questions addressed to me are: No,Yes (see my initial post), and No. I like the Kizil Ayak from Ebay -- though even after our discussion I still can't recognize what particular elements define it as from that group.


Windsor Chorlton

Posted by Steve Price on 05-29-2007 01:16 PM:

Hi Windsor

What are the three questions to which your answers are "no, yes, no"? I've devoted a few minutes to trying to find them, but nothing jumps out at me.


Steve Price

Posted by Jack Williams on 05-29-2007 02:38 PM:



I think this was regarding D. M. Reuben’s endorsement, comments, or contribution, to wit:
(1) "...I'm to understand he didn't actually handle the piece...;"
(2) "...did David say anything more about it rather than just 'very nice' [??]...did he say "very old...;"
(3) "...if so did you ask why?..."
This is probably because Mr. Reuben's comments may affect how one looks at this least the mention of his name in conjunction with the chuval affected my initial assessment.

Gene, the essence of Turkmen weaving is regimentation, though individual creativity was apparently more tolerated in personal items such as bags. We 21st C enthusiasts are the ones searching for individuality in Turkmen items and bidding up the price of any articles that are "outside the mold" (that phrase has a different meaning in New Orleans).

Having come late to the class in Turkmen Weaving Appreciation 101, I am slowly coming to grips with the idea that two items can be vitrually identical but one will be regarded as being far superior and this will be backed up in the market place. For instance (these are not the best possible illustration, but you can get the point):

Regards, Jack


Posted by Steve Price on 05-29-2007 02:55 PM:

Hi Jack

That occurred to me, but doesn't work. First, because it's four questions, not three. But more importantly, because the answers to them already existed, and weren't "no, yes, no".

Here they are again (all regarding David Reuben):

(1) "...I'm to understand he didn't actually handle the piece...;"
The answer, somewhere in this thread, is "yes, that is correct"

(2) "...did David say anything more about it rather than just 'very nice' [??]...;"
In the first post, it is reported that he says more than that. So the answer is, indeed, "yes".

(3) "...did he say "very old"..if so did you ask why?...
To the first part of this pair, according to the first post he said he thinks it is "very old" (so the answer is "yes"). I didn't find anything in this thread that appears to answer the second part.

Anyway, I guess I'm not the only one who doesn't know which three questions had the answers, "no, yes, no".


Steve Price

Posted by Gene Williams on 05-29-2007 03:29 PM:

Kizil Ayak

Windsor and all,

Darned if I know why that e-bay juwal was labled Kizil Ayak; I have a vertually identical juwal with perhaps a deeper shade of red in the field...I never knew what it was..always assumed it was Ersari...but I guess it has to be Kizil Ayak too. Anyone who can clarify this identification would have my appreciation. (And I did reread John's helpful comment on fineness of weave and asymmetric open right identifying KA.)

And Steve and Jack, do you notice how loquacious they are across the Atlantic. Now a cowboy would have responded, "Nope," "yep," "nope," followed by maybe a stream of smokeless tobacco or a "could be."


Posted by Windsor Chorlton on 05-29-2007 03:32 PM:

Hi all

Sorry to waste your time. Jack got it nearly right. To clarify. David Reuben didn't handle the piece. He said that the piece was very old (and, that he hadn't seen these particular gul centres). I didn't ask him to expand on the dating judgement.


Windsor Chorlton

Posted by Richard Larkin on 05-29-2007 04:14 PM:


Somebody stop me if I don't belong here. I'm all for Turkoman scholarship, and sorting out Middle Amu Darya from the rest of it, etc. But does anybody think that determining whether each or all of these recent postings are [pick one] Kizil Ayak, Ersari, Middle Amu Darya, Char Shango, or all of the above, resolves all the important questions of provenance they raise?

Rich Larkin

Posted by Jack Williams on 05-29-2007 04:51 PM:

the dialectic and the consensus


Thanks, I was pretty sure that was the sequence. If I may share this...there are some very knowledgeable people that frequent this forum. I am not one of the Turkmen rug specialists, my attention has long been occupied by Baluch group.

But I've been paying considerable attention to Turkmen items, especially chuvals, in the last year or so...and find to my horror that they are proliferating in my home like kudzu.

(note: Kudzu is a vine imported into the American South from Japan about 70 years control it supposedly grows up to 12 inches a day. Also...I’ve heard some ignorant people in the former CSA say that Turkmen rugs have all the individuality of Kudzu leaves...I immediately correct them illustrating just how unique each leaf on a Kudzu vine really is by extensively graphing and drawing the relevant details.)

In my humble opinion, your chuval is getting a fair amount of attention...and the first step in analysis is to get peoples attention. Thereafter, board dialectic may lead to consensus which might actually generate insights and answers to questions about a specific item.

If an item of yours is questioned, it is because it is interesting, or an enigma, or provokes some dialectic opinions. That is good...but it is also humbling. Regardless of what is said here, the chuval is still yours and your opinion is what is important. Questioning your rug could lead you into a deeper personal interest and academic commitment...and lots of pleasure researching it in depth.

In my opinion, it is also humbling when you post rug that you think is terrific, and five or six people say, "nice rug," and that's it.

Regards, Jack

Add: Rich, no it doesn't. The Kizil Ayak, the "Leban Turkmen" (which is a phrase coined by Arminius Vambery in the 1860s), why this chuval - and Gene's - has a border that seems to be more associated with the Yomut or Chodor, the relationship of Chub Bash to...etc., are worthy of being pursued. But, if the details of this rug remain unsettled, is it the vehicle to launch that discussion...rather than...say...James' ersari-yomud aka Baluch (just kidding)?

Posted by Richard Larkin on 05-29-2007 05:00 PM:

Well, you are funny, Jack. Crazy, but funny. But move those Kudzu leaves to the "boteh" thread.

Rich Larkin

Posted by Jack Williams on 05-29-2007 10:29 PM:

Alians on the Amu

I was trying to cheer Windsor up a bit.

But...lets see..We have testimony that an acknowledged expert in the field, D.M.Reuben, has attributed the subject chuval to "Kizil Ayak," with the statement it is "nice" and "very old."

Whatever the last two terms mean, the first one is hard data. This is good because I'm not sure exactly what the characteristics of Kizil Ayak are anymore, nor am I sure exactly who the "Kizil Ayak" are, if they are associated with the Ersari, if the village for which they are named has been repopulated with Tekke kin after emmigration of the Ersari kin, etc.

The weavings of the Kizil Ayak, or "Kerki", were described early in rug literature in some detail. Then the continuity of the population was questioned. Then, beginning with O'Bannon (with whom I understand John Howe had considerable contact), the relationship of the Kizil Ayak to Ersari was questioned.

What I think I might do is gather the published information I have scattered about. If it seems comprehensive, perhaps I'll post it here...because of the known attribution of Windsor's rug. If anyone else has hard data on what characteristics are now thought to be evidence of Kizil Ayak, I would enjoy hearing it, references would be especially agreeable.

What I like about Windsor's chuval: I actually like the chaos... reminds me of the battle of Salamis with Greek triremes ramming hulking Persian vessels (if one of those sharp points on the bow of a chemche-trireme actually touches the hull of one of those bloated chuval guls, the "pop" will be heard at a distance...I think that's what happened to the gul in the upper right). And I actually like the derranged drawing...very Baluch-like.

I really like "the ents" (as Gene has aptly nick-named them) in the elem. I would have called them "tripids" after the horror plant-creatures in a 1950s sci-fi film, "Day of the Tripids." Perhaps these alian looking creatures could be evidence that extra-terrestials visited Central Asia...if so, include this asmaylyk in the case file evidence. It is taken from Jourdan and could be an example of a weaving representation of a possible alian invasion in the desert long ago. (see: p.220, Yomud asmalyak, 1st Q, 19th C.)

Regards, Jack

Posted by Gene Williams on 05-29-2007 11:37 PM:

the 6th


Six guls on all those Kudzu Turkomans. That was the clue. And you got it!! Your 6th word is the key; Its taken a year for you to get to the bottom of the riddle...congrats.


Posted by Chuck Wagner on 05-29-2007 11:44 PM:



My personal favorite from those days was The Attack of the 50 Foot Woman...


Chuck Wagner

Posted by Jack Williams on 05-30-2007 01:59 AM:

Triffids meet 50 ft. Woman

Chuck...thanks for the 'triffid" correction, my memory was faulty.

I well remember the 50 ft. woman and perfectly understand your preference. Odd how a strikingly beautiful girl's clothes seem to tatter when she suddenly grows to be 50 ft tall. Also, not so odd is the effect that has on a young teenage boy.

For those who do not understand the importance of the above references, I include three pictures.

(1) below Two ads for Day of the Triffids, one in German because it shows a picture of a "triffid." Also included is a picture of the "Ent-triffid" from the subject chuval.

(2) below An ad for Attack of the 50 ft. Woman. This ad will help explain Chuck's preference.

(3) below A comparison of the German ad for Day..., and a construct showing the combo of (a) ad; (b) chuval "ent-triffid," and (c) "50 ft. woman." thus tying all the topics into the theme.

Rugs are an evergreen hobby, always something of interest. And I promise to give some serious thoughts about Windsor's chuval from here on.


Posted by Windsor Chorlton on 05-30-2007 05:51 AM:


That's cheered me up a lot. That German poster is going up on my wall.



Posted by Steve Price on 05-30-2007 06:05 AM:

Hi Jack

Use lots of smilies when you point out Turkmen motifs that look like movie aliens. There are people out there who will take it seriously. This is the internet, and every moron with a computer or cell phone has access and uses it.


Steve Price

Posted by Filiberto Boncompagni on 05-30-2007 06:15 AM:

Hi Steve,

Are you thinking about another Jack?

Posted by Steve Price on 05-30-2007 06:49 AM:

Posted by Sue Zimmerman on 05-30-2007 08:26 AM:


In case anyone in the US deep south is wondering how to afford more/better rugs, Japanese Kudzu powder is sold as a cooking ingredient in health food stores for around $25 a pound. Kudzu flowers and roots are used in Chinese medicine for alcohol cessation so it seems there are no unsellable byproducts. Sue

Posted by Sue Zimmerman on 05-30-2007 10:17 AM:

Hi Winston,

Apparently, if your chuval were to lap dance for the originator of the word pistiche it may surprisingly age it 25 years. No one would probably be surprised at that. Yawn. Sue

Posted by Steve Price on 05-30-2007 10:39 AM:

Hi Sue

I've seen the thread to which you refer, a conversation between a guru and his worshipful student. The student explains his objections to C-14 rug dating. The method isn't scientific, true science (in his world) consists of universal truths like those of elementary trigonometry. The guru explains that C-14 dating of rugs is unreliable because it gives only relative dates and requires calibration standard rugs. I suspect that he's confused C-14 dating with thermoluminescence dating of things like terracotta, which is usually calibrated by C-14 analysis of organic inclusions in objects from the same location.

The absurd notion that the guru could date Windsor's piece to the nearest quarter century if he had the opportunity to handle it is actually less ridiculous than their understanding of science. Still, pretty ridiculous.

I recall somebody saying something in this thread about morons with computers. Wish I could remember it.


Steve Price

Posted by Jack Williams on 05-30-2007 10:26 PM:

" nice!"

Good Evening my friends.

I know I said I would henceforth be serious about Kizil Ayak attributions. But reading back through the discussion points about Windsor’s chuval, I note some confusion about the meaning of the term “…nice.” Of interest is the discovery that ”nice” is apparently frequently used as a polite, rather ambiguous statement on both sides of the Atlantic. [For example: Golf-Buddy - “Jack, I want to introduce you to my sister's good friend.” Jack - “Oh…? What is she like?” G.B - “She is….very nice.” Jack - “Uh….”]

But, being from the U.S. deep South, I was reminded of a very old joke about two southern belles engaged in conversation that may be germane to deciphering Mr. Reuben’s comment. To fully appreciate this joke, it would help if one had some familiarity with Southern-Lady mores and folkways. But…anyway…here is that joke in cartoon fashion. In the meantime, I am trying to gather and assimilate some Kizil Ayak information

Regards, Jack