The “S” meander border may hold the key to
unlocking some iconographic Turkoman relationships through the ages.
Pinner mentions the “S” meanders use on the Marby rug, a 15th century
weaving prominently portraying four clear bird forms: each with two
crests, in his synopsis on the “S” meander border in Turkoman Studies 1. I
have always thought the Marby rug was woven as homage to earlier Turkoman
carpets. It must be admitted that the “S” meander border seen on the Marby
rug is quite different from that seen on my Tekke torba and the Tekke Bird
asmalyk gracing the cover of Hermann’s first catalog, VON LOTTO BIS TEKKE.
My Tekke torba’s “S” meander border is nearly identical to the one found
on Hermann’s Bird Asmalyk. If the Marby rug is 15th century and Hermann’s
and my Tekke weaving’s are late 17th to mid 18th century, as I think they
are, what form did the ”S” meander border take during the 16th century?
Below is a picture of a Salor main carpet fragment I believe is
from the 16th century.
background color of its minor “S” meander border is apricot. The positive
ground “S” forms in blue are easy to see but note that the background of
each repeating unit is composed of two opposing segments of a “running
dog” border. Pinner mentions that the Yomud used a variant of the ”S”
meander border in some weavings.
Below is an example of a Yomud
asmalyk utilizing such a variant.
written an article about this asmalyk, see http://www.a-bey.com/index.php?a=8
. I date this Yomud
asmalyk to the mid 18th century and believe that its iconography is
fundamental to understanding the unfolding of this specific genre over the
subsequent 100 or so years. Most folks call similar Yomud asmalyks jewelry
pieces, for the wedding silver so often portrayed along their superior
For many years I have been saying that the main gull
quarters of old Tekke torbas portray sacred bird forms in their negative
spaces. Below is a close-up of my Tekke torba with “S”meander border.
Look in the lower right hand quarter of the main gull.
Suppress your natural tendency to only see colored ‘objects’ and notice
that the white ground image forms a bird with two crests and/or two feet,
an elongated body with a quartered “HEART” box, and a big fancy tail. The
Marby rug’s birds have central triangles representing their hearts, I
suppose, while later Tekke bird forms have quartered boxes serving the
same visual purpose. I feel that there is a direct line of descent between
the Marby rug and all later Tekke and Salor weavings. The Marby rug is an
Oguz weaving, in my opinion, and I also suspect that the Marby rug is late
14th century and not a 15th century weaving.