December 23rd, 2011, 10:59 AM   1
James Blanchard
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Tajik Bridal Veil - Unusual Palette

Hi all,

Turkotek has already had a rather interesting discussion of Tajik bridal veils ("ruband"), with some excellent examples (see here: http://www.turkotek.com/mini_salon_00019/ms19_t4.htm).

However, I would be interested in opinions about this one. It has a relatively classic design, and I think that its drawing is quite good. But the palette seems quite different from the usual bright and wide palette used for these weavings. I think it is rather striking, and the quality of embroidery seems very high.

I would appreciate opinions and analogies, and even some speculation about age.

James





December 23rd, 2011, 12:34 PM   2
Steve Price
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Hi James

I've seen no more than 15-20 of these things, including photos, and yours is the first I've seen that didn't have a palette of vivid, intense colors. The main border looks unusual, too - clearly related to the one I think of as typical, but clearly not quite the same either. Here's mine, for comparison,



Beyond that, I've got nothing to contribute in terms of understanding the differences (or, for that matter, the similarities).

Regards

Steve Price
December 24th, 2011, 08:17 AM   3
Chuck Wagner
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Hi James,

If I'm seeing your images accurately, the pallete reminds me of some colors used on this Uzbek embroidered piece:




There is quite a bit of what I'll call a "bronzish-brown" in two different shades. The center row of medallions and the two above the center used the paler version of these colors. The darker version is visible at left in this image:



Details of the embroidery style:



In researching the rooband we own, I reviewed a couple dozen images and several more in books - I have never seen one with a palette similar to yours - typically they are more along the line of what Steve shows.

Regards
Chuck Wagner
December 24th, 2011, 03:35 PM   4
Marla Mallett
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Several of these nearly monochromatic veils, in brand new condition, were being offered by traders in Istanbul when I was last there--in May. They seemed like a predictable response to customers' requests for examples without day-glow colors--pieces which in any case have become rare and pricey when undamaged.

Happy Holidays, everybody!
Marla
December 24th, 2011, 04:58 PM   5
James Blanchard
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Thanks Marla.

I wouldn't characterize this as "monochromatic", and the design and drawing is rather classic. Suffice to say, I am quite confident that this is not anything near a "new" weaving. I won't go into the details, but there is provenance that strongly indicates otherwise based on the family of origin.

I have seen quite a few newer versions, and this is of an altogether different texture and fineness. Moreover, there is obvious corrosion of the black dyed-silk.

By the way, this was sourced from Central Asia, not Istanbul.

Regards,

James
January 2nd, 2012, 08:50 AM   6
Pierre Galafassi
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Hi all,

Another beautiful example (Museum of Oriental art Moscow) with a colorful but not shrieking palette.



I know that these veils are usually attributed to the Tadjik ethnic (this is also the attribution given by the Moscow museum), but is there any evidence for this attribution?

best regards
Pierre
January 2nd, 2012, 09:24 AM  7
Steve Price
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Hi Pierre

I think such things are still in use in Tajik weddings. Not 100% sure, but I've shown mine at the Textile Museum a couple of times and I'm pretty sure I recall confirmation of the wedding veil use from some folks who've been there either as tourists or on government business.

Regards

Steve Price
January 2nd, 2012, 11:45 AM  8
James Blanchard
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Thanks for the reference, Pierre. That is certainly a beautiful example, with a more muted palette than many. There is a consistency to the patterns and drawing in the various examples.

James
January 2nd, 2012, 03:57 PM   9
Chuck Wagner
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Hi,

Here is the text description from the Moscow museum's website:

Quote:
Village of Kalom-Khumb (?), Darvaz, Tajikistan. Second half of the 19th century (before the 1870s)

Cotton, with satin-stitch embroidery (pukhtaduzi) in silk.

75 65 cm. Inv. No. 3098 III

Acquired in 1946 from a private collection. First publication.

A ruband is a ritual veil which was worn by brides who were supposed to cover their face during the wedding feast and also while moving to their husband's house. During the ruibenik (bride-show) the veil was slightly lifted for the girl's in-laws to see her face.

The ruiband is a rare article which has long ago become the exclusive property of museums. Rubands fell out of use as early as the turn of the 20th century and were to be found only in rich Tajik families where they were passed on as family relics from mothers to daughters. The ritual function of the ruiband determined its artistic symbolism. Its form, its colouring, ornamental patterns and their arrangement were strictly canonized.

This ruiband is the only example of this kind in the collection of the Museum. It is an almost square veil of white home-woven cotton fabric which has gone yellowish with age. A small rectangular net for the eyes is made of white silk and framed with a row of crimson stars-sitora. The central square consists of two sections and has a wide border around it. The top section presents an archaic motif of two heraldi-cally opposed stylized red birds-peacocks or cocks-on either side of the Tree of Life. The bottom section is decorated with large red stars-sitora. The border is composed of three bands. The outer band is adorned with alternating dark-blue, yellow and pale-blue triangles-the tumor (amulet) pattern- and geometrically stylized two-headed birds (tovus, or khurus). The overall pattern of this band is called "the peacock (cock) and the amulet" (tovus va tumor). The ruband is trimmed on the edge with a narrow tape of black silk.

The presence of red, orange, crimson and blue accounted for the traditional name given to the decor of ruibands-guli otash, or guli alou (fiery flower). The red colour was associated by many peoples (including the Tajiks) with powers of Good and was believed to be a protection from evil, while birds were regarded as symbols of fertility.
Also, as described above for the Moscow museum piece - possibly, an indicator of some degree of age, a closeup of a ruband we own, showing the handspun groundcloth:



...and the whole thing:




This is from the Russian Museum of Ethnography website:
Quote:
The ruband veil was a part of the wedding attire of the highland Tadjik women of Kara-Tegin and Darvaz. It should cover the bride's face from the moment of her transporting to her future husband's home and during all the later ceremonies therein. The first acquaintance of the bridegroom's relatives with the newly married spouse took place during the rubinon ceremony (meaning "looking at the bride's face"), when they came one by one raising her veil, looking at her, and giving her presents. Covering of the bride's face was linked with the ancient custom of avoidance, which aim was to protect the girl from the evil eye and other malign forces during the wedding, a moment of great importance for the survival of her lineage. The bright, embroidered ornamentation of veils also had protective functions. From times immemorial roosters, abundant floral patterns, and red colors were associated with natural energy and the life-giving power of the sun and fire. It was believed that these decorative motifs averted a danger and brought good luck, prosperity and childbearing. Rubands were made by especially skilled embroiders and were rather high valued. A family had usually only one ruband successfully used at weddings by several generations of brides in this family as well as their neighbors. In late 19th-early 20th centuries, they became rare because of disappearance of home weaving and complexity of embroidery work, and were only preserved as relics in some families. In wedding ceremonies they were replaced by kerchiefs and shawls.
...which is a description for this mid-19th century ruband (a link, not uploaded.. HINT):


So, I think we can says with some certainty that these pieces originate in the Darvaz region of eastern Tajikistan.
Regards
Chuck Wagner

Last edited by Chuck Wagner; January 3rd, 2012 at 07:42 PM.
January 3rd, 2012, 06:02 AM   10
Pierre Galafassi
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Hi Chuck,
Many thanks for your extensive research.
That seems to settle the question, which was only motivated by the doubts of a member of the Afghan Tadjik community.
Best regards
Pierre
January 3rd, 2012, 07:46 PM  11
Joel Greifinger
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Hi all,

Here's another:



Joel Greifinger
January 5th, 2012, 06:45 AM   12
Martin Andersen
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Hi All

Really beautiful pieces in this tread. And fascinating to see the classical bird and plant motif being transformed within this apparently rather strict lokal tradition.
Of course Dagestan is geographically far from Tajikistan but the birds remind me of these embroideries from a turkotek salon http://www.turkotek.com/salon_00116/s116t8.htm

best Martin