November 30th, 2008, 10:08 AM   #1
Yon Bard
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Dividing the Yomud

In the past few years there has been an increasing tendency to categorize many pieces hitherto known merely as "Yomud" by names such as Karadashli, Igdir, Abdal, etc. Azadi seems to be a primary proponent of this classification, and he writes extensively about it in books such as "Wie Blumen in der WŁste" and "Kultur der Turkmenen." Yet, nowhere can I find clear statements of the criteria by which these categories are distinguished. I would like some of the experts to come forth with such a statement. Please note that I am not interested in the rationalization of these classifications, which seems to be Azadi's main thrust (I can read German!), but simply how to tell one from another, regardless of whether the labels carry any truth.

Regards, Yon
November 30th, 2008, 01:33 PM   #2
Marvin Amstey
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'afternoon Yon,
I don't believe there are any structural characteristics or weave characteristics distinguishing one Yomud from another. From my reading of those two sources and others, I believe that design and "space" - perhaps color - are leading criteria. I emphasize the word "believe", since I do not "know". However, my conclusions are that these are figments of too active imaginations and fall into the category of "Imreli" - ala Thompson. Why not simply enjoy Yomud weavings?
November 30th, 2008, 05:08 PM   #3
Yon Bard
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Marvin, that was more or less my take on the matter, but I don't want to be left behind! There is a somewhat similar situation with "Ersaris," but at least Peter Poulada gave some specific criteria for distinguishing tha chuvals that he attributes to the Ali Eli, and I have been able to identify those pieces easily. I was hoping that something similar would apply to some of the Yomud groups (as it does, indeed, to the Eagle Gul groups).

Regards
December 1st, 2008, 08:57 AM   #4
Steve Price
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Hi Yon

The date attributions in Wie Blumen in der WŁste are just as aggressive as the tribal attributions (who the hell were the "Pseudo-Chodor"?), with an astonishing percentage of the pieces in it attributed to the 17th century. My recollection is that this is more than 10% of the total in the book. Like you, I would be more than slightly interested in knowing what the criteria are and, especially, the bases on which they were established. I've been skeptical about the attributions ever since the book was published, about 15 years ago.

As an aside, the book was the catalog for the Turkmen exhibition at ICOC in Hamburg. The exhibition was the most bizarre happening I've ever witnessed in Rugdom.

Regards

Steve Price
December 6th, 2008, 01:17 PM   #5
Karl StrÝmstad
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Dear All,
Should the result of these statements be that you reject all subdivisions of Yomut weavings? Is the use of different knot types of no significance, or the use of silk in the weft? Would it be of more ineterest if this forum tried to specify criteria which could make a distinction?
Best regards
Karl
December 6th, 2008, 02:14 PM   #6
Steve Price
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Hi Karl

You raise important issues; the technical differences exist.

The first question is, Is this cluster of technical properties a reliable criterion for attributing the rugs that have them to the same tribe/clan? If the answer is yes, as it often is, the immediate second question is, What is the identity of that tribe/clan? This isn't the same question as the first one, and is nearly always impossible to answer. A good example, I think, is the so-called Dokhtor-i-Qazi prayer rugs. They have enough unusual common characteristics to make it extremely likely that they had a common origin. What that origin was is a mystery.

Anyway, the sub-Yomud attributions that Yon mentioned in opening this topic are often rather specific, which suggests that somebody has applied certain criteria to identify the works of individual tribes/clans. He asks what those identifying criteria are, and nobody here seems to know the answers.

It would be a great contribution if someone could provide the criteria for identifying, say Karadashli, Igdir and Abdal weavings. Needless to say, the evidence that "Specific Combination A" is Karadashli, "Specific Combination B" is Igdir, and so forth would be essential if that contribution is to be taken seriously.

Regards

Steve Price
December 12th, 2008, 01:37 AM   #7
John Paterson
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Dear All,
I find this a very interesting topic I have asked several so called experts when they have posted a piece what are the identifying characteristics of Karagaschli or Igdir etc. My emails have always gone unanswered.
It is relatively easy to distinguish between the broad categories of turkoman weavings i.e. tekke, yomut, chodor etc but when you come to the yomut there is so much diversification in their weavings. Eagle group was mentioned I have attached images from two main carpets both are knotted AsL one has cotton and wool wefts the other wool wefts. Do these fall into the eagle group category?





To me a lot of this namimg of pieces without any basis is dealers trying to setup new categories of pieces like eagle group(which has some basis) in the minds of collectors so they can command a premium price.

For me, one should buy if the piece appeals artistically to that person and not on whether it is Karagaschli, Igdir etc. What's wrong with just the classification Yomut.
December 13th, 2008, 09:07 AM   #8
Steve Price
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Hi John

I'm sure there's at least a germ of truth in your belief that subdividing weaving groups can enhance the market values of pieces by attributing them to less common groups. There's also probably a certain amount of ego aggrandizement associated with being expert enough to be able to recognize the works of various subgroups.

The "Eagle group" attributions were described in reasonable detail by the Rautenstengels about 20 years ago, and that seems to me to be specific enough to be credible. Notice that the identity of the weavers (the name of their subtribe or clan) wasn't known and still isn't. I'm open to the possibility that other subgroups are valid as well. There's no doubt that those tribes/subtribes existed. Like Yon, I'd sure like to know what the diagnostic characteristics are for most of them and, especially, how the association of the specific tribal group was arrived at.

Regards

Steve Price
December 14th, 2008, 11:35 AM   #9
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Yomud subgroups

John, which one of your examples has cotton? Do you have pictures of the entire pieces?

The Eagle Gul Group I rugs have wool and silk wefts, the Group III rugs have wool and cotton wefts; both have open-left knots. However, there exist modern production open-left main carpets with dyrnak guls similar to yours and with cotton in the wefts.

Steve, to answer your question of how these attributions are made, here is Azadi's reasoning in making the Karadashli attribution (this is my understanding of what he says in "Wie Blumen..."):
1. There is a class of "Yomud" rugs with hexagonal guls. All of these are old, therefore they must have been made by a group that stopped existing (or at least weaving) in the early 19th century.
2. On the other hand, the same gul appears in chuvals of many diffrent tribes, as well as secondary motifs in main carpets of, e.g., the Salor. This suggests that the original "owners" of this gul (i.e., those who used it in their main carpets) were, at one time, influential and highly esteemed.
3. Historical sources indicate that the Karadashli (then known as the Yazir) were an important tribe in the 11-13th centuries, but were overrun by the Tekke in the late 18th and early 19th century.
4. Ergo, the Karadashli are most likely the weavers of those carpets.

Do you buy this chain of arguments?

Regards, Yon
December 14th, 2008, 03:22 PM   #10
Steve Price
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Hi Yon

The argument is much too weak and based on too many questionable premises for me to give it much credence.

1. The hexagonal gul appearing on a group of old Yomud main carpets (whatever "old" means) isn't very good evidence that the weaver's subtribe was exterminated or gave up weaving. A plausible alternative is that they just stopped using that gul on main carpets.
2. The notion that the guls on main carpets were tribe-specific emblems, as far as I know, has little or no evidence to support it.
3. Even if we accept the notion that those main carpets were woven by some now defunct tribe or subtribe, the fact that the Karadashli (= Yazir) were wiped out around 1800 is pretty weak evidence on which to base identifying them as the source.

How do you see it?

Regards

Steve
December 15th, 2008, 10:38 PM   #11
Yon Bard
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Karadashli

Steve,

it seems that I have succeded! The only point of my story was to demonstrate how tenuous was the Karadashli attribution. I suspect the other attributions are not much better. But I am still interested in the classification criteria. Perhaps I'll write a letter to HALI.

Regards, Yon
December 17th, 2008, 09:44 AM   #12
John Paterson
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Hi All,
The first gul I posted was from a rare eagle gul piece identified by a mortal that knows more than me.

Anyway here is the main characteristics of Igdyr pieces based on information from V.G. Moshkova

Chuvals.
Nearly all are a standard size 1.5-1.7m x 0.75-0.95m

Torbas
Shallow. No deeper than 0.45m and no longer than 0.7-1.1m

Rugs
Darker coloration than Yomut - Usually Brownish-red Tones infrequent red ground. Main Border often white ground
Warp: Usually mixture of wool and goat hair combined. Wool alone very rare.
Weft: Camelhair yarn , most often twisted with white cotton thread. Double wefted.
Pile: Two threads not twisted
Pile Height 3-5mm
Knot Densoty: 2200-3000 exceptional up to 5000
Knots: Small pieces - asymmetrical: Floor pieces - symmetrical

John
December 18th, 2008, 08:37 AM   #13
Steve Price
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Hi John

Something in Moshkova's list of characteristics for Igdir work caught my eye. Specifically,
Knots: Small pieces - asymmetrical: Floor pieces - symmetrical

If, as is almost universally believed, weavers clung to their techniques even when motifs, colors and layouts changed, the notion that the kind of knot depended on the size of what they were weaving doesn't seem right. Moshkova's book is largely based on her own field work, and it's reasonable to believe that the Igdir weavings that she handled really were woven by Igdir people. Were there Igdir subgroups - some nomadic, who wove smaller pieces on portable looms, others sedentary, who wove larger pieces? If so, and if the two subgroups had different origins, one might use symmetric knots and the other might use asymmetric knots. I suppose there are other possible explanations, but I can't think of any right now.

Regards

Steve Price
December 18th, 2008, 06:51 PM   #14
Marvin Amstey
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So now its clear what an Igdyr piece is
Give it up;just enjoy the art!
December 19th, 2008, 01:29 PM   #15
Karl StrÝmstad
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Dear All,
Why give it up? Is not one of the joys of collecting to research the pieces you buy?
In my opinion the suggested subdivision of the Yomuts makes this type of rugs especially interesting. I cannot claim to be an expert and be able to identify these subdivisions, but the excitement of trying adds a little bit extra to the hunting for new pieces. And I would like to add that this hunting is mainly at small auctions with less expertise than mine.
Best regards
Karl
December 19th, 2008, 07:03 PM   #16
Marvin_Amstey
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Here is an image of a so-called Igdyr chanteh.



The image is taken from the book, Vanishing Jewels, an exhibit of part of our collection. In discussing this piece with Geo. O'Bannon who edited the catalogue, neither of us could agree on anything but "Yomud". He chose the word Igdyr based on commentary from Ms. Jamilayazeva of the Ashkhabad museum. This was based solely on the purple-brown ground color. I find that reason a bit weak for choosing a tribal origin since practically anyone could aquire or make that color.
December 20th, 2008, 06:20 AM   #17
Steve Price
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Hi Marvin

The late George O'Bannon attributed that piece as "Igdyr (?)", so he clearly didn't completely buy Ms. Jamilayazeva's reasoning.

Let's go back to Moshkova for a moment. She has a lot to say about Igdyr, and evidently spent some time talking to Igdyr weavers. I'm puzzled by her statement about Igdyr using different knot types for different size pieces, but she seems credible otherwise and there are possible sensible explanations for the puzzling part.

She does mention the purple-brown ground color. Other groups could have used it, too, but apparently the Igdyr used it a lot. I also notice a green in the Vanishing Jewels piece and in a piece attributed to Igdyr in her book. This is a very unusual color in Turkmen weavings.

Here's a photo of a piece that hangs on the wall directly behind my computer monitor, and a scan that shows the colors much more accurately.





The palette seems very close to that in Moshkova's book and to yours in Vanishing Jewels. I attribute my torba to Igdyr(?). It has red wefts, and differs from your piece and Moshkova's in that respect. They give the the ivory sections a red cast when viewed from certain angles; there are no color runs in this piece. Maybe I should modify my attribution to Igdyr (??), or more aggressively, Pseudo-Igdyr (?).

Regards

Steve Price
December 20th, 2008, 10:44 AM   #18
Marvin Amstey
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The "??" seems to be the most accurate part of the name. Have a great holiday season.