October 24th, 2012, 07:49 PM  1 
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Default Symmetrical Baluch w/Tekke border motif

Hi all,

Baluch weavers often adopted and adapted Turkmen motifs, most commonly Salor and Tekke guls in their field designs. I recently came across a symmetrically-knotted Baluch that makes use of a common border device from Tekke main carpets, the so-called 'shelpe gul'. (For some previous discussion of this gul on Turkotek, see
http://www.turkotek.com/misc_00080/tertiary.htm). When I looked around, I found only a small number of other Baluch rugs, all symmetrically-knotted, that feature it. In the examples I've found, it seems to be most often used elsewhere than in the border. Here's mine:





Here the motif appears in the hand panels of a prayer rug:



Here in the field of a rug that DeWitt Mallary used as an illustration in his HALI (#162) article on Bahluli rugs:



And, here it is on a rug featured on the excellent website devoted to Baluch weaving, http://baluch.ch



As with all such searches, when you begin to look, there are many more out there. Have you seen any? Any thoughts about why this motif is concentrated among (or perhaps exclusive to) symmetrically-woven Baluch rugs?

Joel Greifinger
 

Last edited by Joel Greifinger; October 25th, 2012 at 08:51 AM.


  

October 25th, 2012, 04:35 PM   2
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Hi Joel,

I would like to have something profound to say about that motif, but I am slayed by the beauty of the colors in the first two examples you posted. That first one's yours? Congratulations! That I am utterly unperturbed by the condition issues is symptomatic of my late-stage Baluch disease, but I think I need to write a song called "Baluchi Blues." Greens are pretty nice too.



Paul

  

October 26th, 2012, 08:19 AM  3
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Hallo All,
I agree - colours of Joel's one are really beautifull

Here is mine 'wanna-be-a-turkmen' rug



I'll try to take better picture

regards
m


  


October 26th, 2012, 09:18 AM    4
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Default I just dropped in to see what condition my condition was in

Hi Paul and Marek,

Quote:
I am utterly unperturbed by the condition issues
Condition issues??
Oh, do you mean the substantial patches of exposed foundation, pile generally worn to the knot heads, unattached selvedges and torn bottom kilim?

Nonetheless, as you mention, the colors are really out there. That picture was taken in overcast conditions. This is one Baluch that doesn't require direct sunlight to fully appreciate.

In terms of the motif, I have rarely come across the term 'shelpe gul' in any English-language sources. It may come from Klaus Troost's Muster in Teppichen der Turkmenen und deren Nachbarvölker (Rug Designs of the Turkmen and Their Neighbors) which George O'Bannon references in this quote from a Turkotek posting back in 1999:
My experience is greatest with Central Asian weavings, and I am convinced that an indepth study of woven patterns and names for them could illuminate specific groups of weavings. In Turkmen rugs we can immediately spot a Tekke main carpet by the shelpe gol for the main border; ovadan on white for Yomud; naldag for Saryk, etc.

Unfortunately, I don't have access to the Troost book (which, in the same posting, O'Bannon calls "a must").

Joel



October 28th, 2012, 03:27 AM    5
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Default Where are the Turko(-Mongol) weavings of Khorasan?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joel Greifinger View Post
Baluch weavers often adopted and adapted Turkmen motifs...
Hi Joel-

That proposition may well be true. However, it is possible that many/most/all old (19th c., and before) rugs we call 'Baluch' were products of the many Turkic/Turko-Mongol groups inhabiting Khorasan, some since medieval times. Consider, for example, the: Afshar, Aimaq, Bahlul, Bayat, Hazarah, Jamshidi, Karai, Firoz Kohi, Taimani, Timuri. Where are their rugs?

Thus, Turkic iconography on old 'Baluch' rugs may be no more unexpected, or of lesser cultural/historical significance, than such on some (for example) old Shasavan, Veramin, or Fars Province weavings.

The above idea is not mine. It has been advocated by Michael Craycraft for decades. My experience and observations have slowly brought me over to his point of view.

Henry
 


October 29th, 2012, 01:56 PM    6
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Hi Henry,

Can you mention some accessible sources in which Michael Craycraft asserts these views? I have his 1983 publication, Belouch Prayer Rugs, done with Adsaskand, Inc.

Certainly, the idea leaps out on its own simply on account of the mélange of ethnic groups in the region taken together with the variety of rug and weave types under the Baluch/Belouch rubric. One wonders, however, how these kinds of rugs came to be labeled as they have been in the west since, say, the late nineteenth century to 1900. A careful reading of Mumford and Hawley indicates they thought the rugs originated in Baluchistan, so they must have been passing on dealer lore even at that early date. I'm vaguely aware that Masson, for example, saw rugs among the Baluch before 1850.

Rich Larkin


  
October 29th, 2012, 04:43 PM    7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich Larkin View Post

Can you mention some accessible sources in which Michael Craycraft asserts these views? I have his 1983 publication, Belouch Prayer Rugs, done with Adsaskand, Inc.

Certainly, the idea leaps out on its own simply on account of the mélange of ethnic groups in the region taken together with the variety of rug and weave types under the Baluch/Belouch rubric. (snip)
Hi Rich,

"Baluch Prayer Rugs' was published in 1983- just shy of 30 years ago. With regard to attributions, it is highly confusing. One reason for that is that Craycraft was just on the verge of his insight/idea that most (and perhaps all) of the pieces in the book were not woven by speakers of the Baluchi language (personal communication). He was not the only one who was wrestling with contradictory/innacurate information. In "Rugs of the Wandering Baluchi," (1976), Black and Loveless consider 'Baluchi' rugs to all be from Baluchistan (a province of the modern day state of Pakistan). Clearly their sources of information were at odds with those of Jones and Boucher who proposed a large area within the modern day states of Iran and Afghanistan as being the birthplace of such weavings ("Baluchi Rugs," Hajji Baba Society, 1974).

Craycraft's "Belouch and Karai rugs of Torbat-i-Heydarieh," Adraskand Galleries, 1988 (abridged version in ORR, Vol. 9, #2) proposed that an easily recognized group of weavings, identified as 'Baluch' by Boucher and Black & Loveless, were actually products of a Turkic tribe, the Karai. As far as I am aware, since that publication Craycraft has consistently proposed non-Baluchi origins for piled weavings typically labeled as such. His attributions have not been consistent with time (see "The Story is Free," Hale, HALI, Issue 76). That is unsurprising (to me) given the difficulty of the problem. As far as I am aware, however, since I was first introduced to this idea in 1996, Craycraft's methodology has been invariant. I am hoping he will one day describe that fully, perhaps as part of a catalog of the many weavings from the tribes of Greater Khorasan that he has analyzed. Many of those analyses have previously appeared on-line (but are not currently available).

I like your: " ... the idea leaps out ... on account of the mélange of ethnic groups in the region taken together with the variety of rug and weave types under the Baluch/Belouch rubric." Why do we still use 'Baluch' to identify such a large and varied assortment of weavings with undocumented provenance and uncertain origin? Granted, it often does allow for mutually comprehensible communication. However, as (I believe) is exemplified by the OP in this thread, it may also result in logical errors. Consider "Baluch weavers often adopted and adapted Turk(ic) motifs" if those 'Baluch' weavers were actually Turkic.

Henry
  
October 29th, 2012, 07:46 PM    8
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Quote:
as (I believe) is exemplified by the OP in this thread, it may also result in logical errors. Consider "Baluch weavers often adopted and adapted Turk(ic) motifs" if those 'Baluch' weavers were actually Turkic.
Hi Henry,

I believe I wrote that Baluch weavers (by which I meant weavers in the perhaps mis-labeled 'Baluch tradition') "often adopted and adapted Turkmen motifs, most commonly Salor and Tekke guls in their field designs." Do you take "Turkic" and "Turkmen" as extensionally equivalent? Is this, perhaps, a "logical error"?

Joel

Last edited by Joel Greifinger; October 29th, 2012 at 08:55 PM.

  
October 29th, 2012, 09:01 PM    9
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Default Turkman/Turkic

Hi Joel,

The Turkman are a Turkic people. Thus, Turkman iconography is also Turkic. Logical, eh?
; )

The more important point is that poorly chosen labeling for a large group of weavings may lead to erroneous judgements about the cultural/artistic significance, integrity, and value of many of those weavings.
Henry

October 29th, 2012, 09:28 PM 
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Hi Joel,

For what it's worth, I think that your rug is a wonderful piece, and I would certainly place it as a rug woven "in the Baluch tradition".

One thing I have learned from folks who have been dealing in rugs in that region for decades is that we too often forget the kilim ends when we consider the attribution. The kilim ends on yours certainly looks firmly in the "Baluch" camp to me, as does the field design and motifs. That the weaver has adapted the design from another (Turkmen) tradition, and "Baluchified" it is all part of the Baluch design tradition.

James


  

October 29th, 2012, 10:57 PM    11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Henry Sadovsky View Post
Hi Joel,

The Turkman are a Turkic people. Thus, Turkman iconography is also Turkic. Logical, eh?
; )

The more important point is that poorly chosen labeling for a large group of weavings may lead to erroneous judgements about the cultural/artistic significance, integrity, and value of many of those weavings.
Henry
Hi Henry,

The difficult reality is that "Turkman iconography" has been appropriated by other weaving groups that were non-Turkic. The examples are plentiful, particularly among tribal groups from a "Baluch" ethno-cultural and linguistic heritage. There are several plausible explanations. In later years, we might ascribe this to commercialization of rug-making, whereby tribal weaving groups use iconography, design and colour palette that will sell. In earlier times, tribal groups that were open to the use of other designs and iconography in their weavings could have adapted them from nearby tribal groups. In the case of the Baluch, Spooner and others have made persuasive anthropological observations that compared to the Turkmen tribal groups, the Baluch were much more inclined to assimilate others into their tribal groups, perhaps explaining the wider variation of designs and iconography in Baluch weavings than we see in Turkmen weavings.

Having said that, I would agree that it would be a mistake to be overly broad in categorizing rugs by their tribal origins. Surely there are other weaving traditions in the area that have been unhelpfully lumped in with the "Baluch" group. It brings to mind terminology that has been shared with me by an experienced rug dealer from within the region. He is inclined to say that some rugs are from the "original" Baluch, whereas others are from other weaving groups in the area (including Chahar Aimaq, other Aimaq groups, "Kuchi", etc.).

James


  
October 29th, 2012, 11:02 PM    12
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Quote:
The Turkman are a Turkic people. Thus, Turkman iconography is also Turkic. Logical, eh?
Hi Henry,

Well, not really. All Turkmen are Turkic, but not all Turkic peoples are Turkmen. Though rugs in the Baluch tradition may share some elements of a common Turkic design tradition with assorted Turkmen (and various Anatolian Turkic groups, as well), these were elaborated into culturally distinct forms. Whether this assimilation of forms was related to the contributions of a Turkic tribe within what has come to be called "the Baluch tradition" hasn't, to my knowledge, been clearly established.

Quote:
The more important point is that poorly chosen labeling for a large group of weavings may lead to erroneous judgements about the cultural/artistic significance, integrity, and value of many of those weavings.
I agree, if we had a solid evidentiary basis for new labels, we'd be in a better position to make informed judgements. However, there seems to be little progress in that direction and attributions in the 'Baluch' literature are highly idiosyncratic with little agreement as to even the gross elements of the tribal picture. In the face of the 'Baluch' tribal Tower of Babel , at least our loose references to "the Baluch tradition" allow for, as you say, "mutually comprehensible communication."

I would gladly hang a more specific tribal attribution on the rug that I posted, if it was convincingly available. Any suggestions?

Joel
 

Last edited by Joel Greifinger; October 29th, 2012 at 11:16 PM.


  
October 30th, 2012, 01:32 AM    13
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Default Baluch weaving in the Turkic tradition

 
Hi James and Joel,

Quote:
Originally Posted by James Blanchard View Post
The difficult reality is that "Turkman iconography" has been appropriated by other weaving groups that were non-Turkic. The examples are plentiful, particularly among tribal groups from a "Baluch" ethno-cultural and linguistic heritage.
I agree with the first sentence above. The second is more difficult. Please note that my initial post in this thread refered specifically to 'old' weavings. That a (for example) 20th c. 'Baluch' woman weaves something that entered her people's repetoire from a Turkic tradition which has assimilated does not make that weaving 'in the Baluch tradition.' Does is rather not make it a 'Baluch weaving in the Turkic tradition?' Please note, that I am not refering to the rug in the OP here. With regard to that weaving:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joel Greifinger View Post
I would gladly hang a more specific tribal attribution on the rug that I posted, if it was convincingly available. Any suggestions?
Perhaps Bahluli. I would add, that a more specific tribal attribution is not necessary for improved accuracy/clarity. The rug was labeled as Baluch. I would have been O.K. with 'Baluch.' Better still, 'Baluch in name only.' As above, I do not think 'in the Baluch tradition' is apt.

In closing, allow me to once again ask (rhetorically): where are the weavings of the numerous Turkic/Turko-Mongol people who inhabited Khorasan/Afghanistan for centuries?

Henry
  
October 30th, 2012, 09:57 AM    14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Henry Sadovsky View Post
Hi James and Joel,



I agree with the first sentence above. The second is more difficult. Please note that my initial post in this thread refered specifically to 'old' weavings. That a (for example) 20th c. 'Baluch' woman weaves something that entered her people's repetoire from a Turkic tradition which has assimilated does not make that weaving 'in the Baluch tradition.' Does is rather not make it a 'Baluch weaving in the Turkic tradition?' Please note, that I am not refering to the rug in the OP here. With regard to that weaving:



Perhaps Bahluli. I would add, that a more specific tribal attribution is not necessary for improved accuracy/clarity. The rug was labeled as Baluch. I would have been O.K. with 'Baluch.' Better still, 'Baluch in name only.' As above, I do not think 'in the Baluch tradition' is apt.

In closing, allow me to once again ask (rhetorically): where are the weavings of the numerous Turkic/Turko-Mongol people who inhabited Khorasan/Afghanistan for centuries?

Henry
Hi Henry,

Since we don't actually know how designs from other tribal groups made their way into the repertoire of the Baluch (and other weaving groups), we are just left with the rugs in front of us. Considering the three "older" rugs shown by Joel (including his own), I can't imagine that they were woven by a women recently joining from a known Turkmen weaving group. They are just too different, and share more similarities with the "Baluch tradition" (sorry for using that term again).

Still, I agree with you that we are not precise enough when we attribute so many of the rug types from that region to "Baluch". If there were Turkic/Turko-Mongol weavers in Khorasan and Afghanistan, there weavings appear to have become much more like the other Baluch weaving groups than the Turkmen weavers from north and west of that region, based on the rugs that are left with us today. I suppose that some of them might have woven "red Afghan" rugs as well, which we have mis-attributed to "Ersari" or other Afghan weaving groups.

Whatever the case, from a novice perspective it seems that it has been difficult for experienced rug dealers and collectors to agree on what is "Baluch", and if so, from which "Baluch" weaving group many of the old weavings arose. We don't have enough systematic analysis of design, motifs and structure, which is why this discussion thread is so interesting.

Considering Joel's rug and the set below, what about them leads to a "Bahlul" attribution? Is it the structure (symmetric knotting, or the kilim ends, etc.), or is it the design (and particularly the incorporation of Turkic motifs)?

Below is an example of a rug that has also been apparently attributed to "Bahlul". It is reportedly symmetrically knotted, but otherwise the design and palette seem to be from different pools than the set shown by Joel.

"Bahlul" Rug - (from: http://www.persiancarpetguide.com/sw...uch/Bal947.htm



Perhaps we should group this with Joel's "Bahlul" rug, but if so, then I suppose it is predominantly on the basis of structure, since it would be hard to place them in the same grouping based on other features.

James


  
October 30th, 2012, 09:59 AM    15
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Hi all,

First, I must point out that logic has little place in oriental rug studies. In this forest of syllogisms, it is becoming difficult to see the trees.

As far as “the Baluch tradition” is concerned, it seems a reasonable argument can be made that the essence of it is the inexorable assimilation of whatever designs come their way into their way of doing it. As Joel mentioned,
Quote:
Though rugs in the Baluch tradition may share some elements of a common Turkic design tradition with assorted Turkmen (and various Anatolian Turkic groups, as well), these were elaborated into culturally distinct forms.
Taking the ubiquitous turreted gul ‘Baluch’ rugs for example, one doubts that elements of the scattered Salor tribe were taken in by the Baluch (if, indeed, that gul is primarily Salor) to infect the collective artistic consciousness of the host tribe. More likely, examples of Turkoman weaving employing that gul became in some conspicuous way available to ‘Baluch’ weavers, who did not miss the opportunity. The rest, no doubt, is history. This kind of assimilation, by the way, is in my opinion just as "authentic" as anything else in historical weaving traditions. After all, all those weaving groups we know and love certainly didn't invent the Memling gul independently.

On another tack, Henry, not to quibble too much, I didn’t think Black and Loveless adopted the canard that ‘Baluch’ pile rug production emanated from Baluchistan proper. I own the book, though it is presently in the custody of an aficionado who shall remain unnamed; but I thought it merely discussed the history of the Baluch people in terms of Baluchistan, while maintaining the distinction between those circumstances and the rug weaving. I mention it because the fact of Baluch pile weaving north of the region of Baluchistan was fairly well known early on, notwithstanding the errors of Mumford and Hawley. For example, Eliza Dunn, in Rugs in Their Native Land (1910), described them as having been woven in the Persian provinces around Kirman. Edwards had plenty to say about the subject around 1950, discussing the movement of various Baluch weaving groups at different periods in Iran, largely in the direction of Khorassan.

In 1974, the International Hajji Babas at Washington D. C. themed their annual Christmas exhibition around “Baluchi Rugs.” The catalog was the work of McCoy Jones and Col. Boucher, and lumped the whole oeuvre under the “Baluchi” rubric. Of 61 items illustrated in the exhibition (with mediocre black and white photos), one prayer rug (that they assigned to the early nineteenth century) was attributed to the Timuri. Still, in the introduction, they recognized the importance of the contributing non-Baluchi weaving groups, the Bahluri (they cautioned against the term, “Bahluli,” to finger still another knotty problem in the field), Kurds, Arabs, Hazaras, Ghilzas [sic], and the aforementioned Timuri.

None of this is news, of course, but it illustrates that there has been an understanding in the field for a while that the weavings generally attributed to the Baluch aren’t really limited to that ethnic conglomeration. The abiding question remains, per Craycraft, How pervasive and dominant is this "non-Baluch-ness?"

Last, I note a cogent comment by James regarding Joel’s opening rug.

Quote:
One thing I have learned from folks who have been dealing in rugs in that region for decades is that we too often forget the kilim ends when we consider the attribution.
It is worth noting that Joel's rug employs the (presumably) quintessentially Baluch feature of flatwoven ends embellished by supplementary weft decoration, while the second one (an apparently close relation by the appearance of the two) uses only striped plainweave at the ends. I used to consider the lack of supplementary weft decoration on the flatwoven ends of ostensibly Baluch rugs to indicate merely a relatively later production date. But I've modified that view, and consider it instead to be a function of provenance, possibly indicating a group that weaves in a Baluchi style by adoption. Which again raises the question before us.

Rich


  

October 30th, 2012, 12:51 PM   16
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I've always thought that the flat-weave ends on "Baluch" rugs and bags should be of use to folks trying to sort out weaving groups in NE Iran--though that's not an area with which I've personally been involved. While it's easy for weavers to copy designs, some of the flat-weave decorations used in that area are NOT so easy for just anyone to copy. Just TRY to weave one of the weft-substitution borders, and you will instantly understand what I mean.

A few years ago when I was working on an "End Finishes Project", we gathered several variations of these "Baluch" details together. See this page at www.marlamallett.com/ef-weft-.htm. Shown there are several variations of weft-substitution, slit tapestry "look-alikes", and the difficult tiny "wrapped and bound" borders. OCCASIONALLY, "supplementary-weft" (i.e. brocaded) borders appear, on so-called Baluch pieces, but they have been rare in the examples I have seen. (Unfortunately, I didn't have an example of this brocading from a Baluch piece on hand to photograph for comparison, but to see the structure, there are brocaded borders from other places on this page: www.marlamallett.com/ef-broca.htm.) Because these four techniques are SO different, they should provide valuable clues to separating groups in this terribly confused geographic area. Actually, the little "wrapped and bound" borders seem unique to "Baluch" pieces...I don't know of their existence anywhere else.

Marla
 

Last edited by Marla Mallett; October 30th, 2012 at 02:39 PM.


  

October 30th, 2012, 01:25 PM    17
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If anyone has a "Baluch-type" piece with supplementary-weft (brocaded) bands in the kilim ends, I would love to post a detail of that on the "Weft-Substitution" page (linked to above) for an easy comparison. My e-mail: marlam@mindspring.co m.

Marla


  
October 30th, 2012, 01:38 PM    18
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Default Logic not needed?

 
Hi James, and Rich,

Quote:
Originally Posted by James Blanchard View Post

Considering the three "older" rugs shown by Joel (including his own), I can't imagine that they were woven by a women recently joining from a known Turkmen weaving group.

(snip)

Considering Joel's rug and the set below, what about them leads to a "Bahlul" attribution? Is it the structure (symmetric knotting, or the kilim ends, etc.), or is it the design (and particularly the incorporation of Turkic motifs)?
I said that it perhaps may be Bahluli based on the limited structural information provided. Please see DeWitt Mallary's article in HALI 168 (which, as Joel pointed out, includes the the third piece picuted in the OP). Having said that, I think there is more to be learned about symmetrically knotted pieces.

BTW, you have equated 'Turkmen' (your word) with 'Turkic' (mine). That is not legitimate. Turkmen are Turkic, but not all Turkic people are Turkmen (or live in Turkey!).

Quote:
Originally Posted by James Blanchard View Post

If there were Turkic/Turko-Mongol weavers in Khorasan and Afghanistan, there weavings appear to have become much more like the other Baluch weaving groups than the Turkmen weavers from north and west of that region, based on the rugs that are left with us today.
That there have been Turkic(-Mongo) people in the area for centuries is beyond question. Did they not bring a weaving tradition with them? The evidence is to be seen in the weavings from the area. As to "the other Baluch weaving groups," it sounds as if you believe that is a well defined concept. I don't find it so.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich Larkin View Post
First, I must point out that logic has little place in oriental rug studies.
We will have to agree to disagree on that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich Larkin View Post
As far as “the Baluch tradition” is concerned, it seems a reasonable argument can be made that the essence of it is the inexorable assimilation of whatever designs come their way into their way of doing it.
Earlier in this thread, on the idea that many old weavings from Khorasan/Afghanistan are not from the Baluch people, you wrote: "Certainly, the idea leaps out on its own simply on account of the mélange of ethnic groups in the region taken together with the variety of rug and weave types under the Baluch/Belouch rubric." So... which is it? ; )

Henry
  

October 30th, 2012, 01:53 PM 
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Quote:
I used to consider the lack of supplementary weft decoration on the flatwoven ends of ostensibly Baluch rugs to indicate merely a relatively later production date. But I've modified that view, and consider it instead to be a function of provenance, possibly indicating a group that weaves in a Baluchi style by adoption.
Hi Rich,

Interestingly, Mallary thinks this is a sign of earlier production in the group of rugs he wants to attribute to the Bahluli. In his article, Bahluli? (HALI #162), he writes, "A further typical feature, especially in what seem to be the oldest examples, is end finishes of plainweave in bands of solid colour, with no supplementary weft decoration of any kind." By what criteria the "oldest examples" are judged oldest is, as far as I can tell, unstated. He goes on to argue that, though there are exceptions and variations, "undecorated plainwoven ends are a key feature" for identifying rugs as Bahluli (a/k/a Bahluri).

Joel
 

Last edited by Joel Greifinger; October 30th, 2012 at 02:45 PM.


  
October 30th, 2012, 02:19 PM    20
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Hi Marla,

Predictably, my use of the phrase, "supplementary weft" was erroneous. I meant "weft-substitution."

I'll canvass the inventory to see whether I have something that would fill your bill for a supplementary-weft example of a weft-substitution end finish.

Rich


  
October 30th, 2012, 04:21 PM    21
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Quote:
That there have been Turkic(-Mongo) people in the area for centuries is beyond question. Did they not bring a weaving tradition with them? The evidence is to be seen in the weavings from the area.
Hi Henry,

Would you would be willing to present some of that evidence and explain how it supports your specific contention about the derivation of Turkic design elements in a range of weavings, whether 'in the Baluch tradition' or 'Baluch in name only'? Is your contention that all of the weavings we see from the region that contain such elements were in fact made by Turkic/Turko-Mongol people? Or that such elements were brought by those groups and later "adopted and adapted" by the Baluch proper? Given the lack of definitively older examples from any of these groups, does such evidence exist?

Perhaps the evidence is "to be seen". Without exposition it can't self-evidently support your (or anyone else's) thesis. As James wrote earlier, all of us on this thread find these issues interesting and important. So, please endeavor to connect the dots (or guls) for us.

Joel
 

Last edited by Joel Greifinger; October 30th, 2012 at 05:03 PM.


  
October 30th, 2012, 04:46 PM    22
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Hi Henry,

Quote:
BTW, you have equated 'Turkmen' (your word) with 'Turkic' (mine). That is not legitimate. Turkmen are Turkic, but not all Turkic people are Turkmen (or live in Turkey!).
Well, that is not exactly what I meant. Pardon me for the inarticulate post. What I meant was that if there were Turkic or Turko/Mongol weaving groups in the region, then it seems that their weaving styles have become recognizably similar to Baluch weaving traditions within the region.

Quote:
That there have been Turkic(-Mongo) people in the area for centuries is beyond question. Did they not bring a weaving tradition with them? The evidence is to be seen in the weavings from the area. As to "the other Baluch weaving groups," it sounds as if you believe that is a well defined concept. I don't find it so.
The difficulty is that without definitive documentation of who wove which rugs, and when, we are left with the rugs to tell the story, as you note above "evidence is to be seen in the weavings from the area". Perhaps there is still a way to systematically sort the rugs in the region according to structure, materials, design and palette and thereby separate the historical weaving groups. It would be a useful exercise, even if we are not able to definitively attribute the resulting "taxonomy" to specific weaving groups. However, I think we might end up with many incongruities, overlaps and inconsistencies even in the classification process.

If we consider the Bahluli (or "Bahluri") weaving group, rugs attributed to this group tend to share many close similarities to "Baluch" weaving groups in NE Persia, with the defining characteristic seeming to be symmetric knotting. For example, if we look at the symmetrically-knotted rugs attributed as "Bahluri" in Azadi's book ("Carpets in the Baluch Tradition, Plates 11-16), they include rugs with an "oak / willow leaf", the "Mushwani" type hooked medallion, and a floral(?) lattice. Main borders include one most-often seen in Seistan (diagonal stripes with inner squares), an "arrow meander", and a "hooked vine" similar to the Yomud "boat" border. Kilim ends include intricate float-weft technique, striped plain weave, and "brocading" and "weft-twining" (according to Azadi). None of them have the slit-weave technique found on the end of Joel's rug.

To be clear, I am not disputing the likelihood that there is order under the vague chaos that we have overlaid on the classification of rugs from the region. I am just not sure if we have enough examples and documentation to move very much further ahead than we are now. Maybe that's because I would have expected that it would have been accomplished by now, if possible.

James


  
October 30th, 2012, 08:16 PM    23
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Hi Joel, Hi James.

Joel, your questions are well stated. I hope James will find that my responses to them also adequately address his comments.

1) Would you would be willing to present some of that evidence and explain how it supports your specific contention about the derivation of Turkic design elements in a range of weavings, whether 'in the Baluch tradition' or 'Baluch in name only'?

I would be enthusiastic to work with others who both: have a passionate interest in the question, and have access to convincing material.

2) Is your contention that all of the weavings we see from the region that contain such elements were in fact made by Turkic/Turko-Mongol people?

No. The contention (it is not original with me) is that Turkic(-Mongol) peoples residing for centuries in Khorasan, (Western) Afghanistan, and (perhaps) Sistan, have left us a legacy of weavings attesting to their (related) cultures and histories. That legacy is difficult to discern as the bulk of surviving weavings from the area(s) reflect cultural disintegration, and greatly dilute the historical signal.

3) (Were) such elements ... brought by those groups and later "adopted and adapted" by the Baluch proper?

By the 'Baluch'- yes. Such late "adopted and adapted" weavings have been the source of much confusion.

4) Given the lack of definitively older examples from any of these groups, does such evidence exist?

I am certain that definitively older examples of authentic Turkic(-Mongol) weavings from Khorasan, (Western) Afghanistan, and (perhaps) Sistan, do indeed exist. It is my hope that the caretakers of this weaving legacy will co-ordinate their efforts to make this rich legacy, and its associated history, better known.

Henry


  
October 30th, 2012, 10:38 PM    24
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Hi all,

Henry's thesis seems to boil down to the proposition that there must me an underlying tradition of indigenous Turkic-Mongol weaving in the area on top of which the presumably later 'Baluch' weaving matrix played out, sank in, and somehow became the principal name in commercial parlance; otherwise, where did their weavings go? And how can anybody deny it? There must have been a weaving output from these (T-M) peoples. The catch, of course, is which are they? And is the prevalence of Turkic ornament among weavings we've been calling 'Baluch,' for want of a better-informed understanding, evidence of that background? Or did the real 'Baluch' also carry their own Turkic tradition with them? Or did the weavers of the region simply copy Turkic ornament from other sources, such as Turkoman tribes to which they were adjacent or by whom they were dominated? Or all of the above, or any number of other scenarios.

As I mentioned earlier, the mix of rugs from the region is varied enough to suggest strongly a complex background of sources, such as Henry suggests, rather than a uniform 'Baluch' weaving nation. At the same time, the greater 'Baluch' weaving tradition, whatever it is and was, does seem to have had a transforming effect, like a mill, on the grist that was fed in over many decades or centuries. I don't think the concepts are contradictory or mutually exclusive.

There's no need to fight about it, but the notion can't rise above speculation without more real evidence. Unfortunately, one has trouble relying on what is in the literature, even that which seems to have been based on field observation and research. James' comments on Azadi, and the five or six pieces attributed in his book to the Bahluri come to mind, for example. Kudos, James, on the ever-keen eye! A careful examination of the book in general and those pieces makes one wonder whether the Bahluri attribution was based on anything more compelling than the fact that they were symmetrically knotted and didn't look Kurdish.

Another factor that hasn't been mentioned here that probably played a huge role in obscuring the true historical tradition of the indigenous weaving of the area in past centuries is the great commercial rug weaving boom of the latter nineteenth century on into the twentieth. No doubt, it affected nearly all weaving communities in some fashion, like the gravitational pull of a very large body moving through a planetary system. Groups that wove little or not at all probably began the craft for reasons of economic necessity. Their output probably survives today, leaving us to figure it out.

I wouldn't want to discourage any intrepid scholar or researcher from trying to demonstrate the "...order under the vague chaos...." It's a challenging task indeed. If someone does it, I hope he/she will explain convincingly how he/she reached his/her conclusions. That's a phenomenon we seldom encounter in any rug literature in my experience.

Rich

P. S.: Henry, I was being facetious about logic being anathema to rug study. Scarce, possibly; anathema, never.


  
October 31st, 2012, 01:03 AM    25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Henry Sadovsky View Post
Hi Joel, Hi James.

Joel, your questions are well stated. I hope James will find that my responses to them also adequately address his comments.

1) Would you would be willing to present some of that evidence and explain how it supports your specific contention about the derivation of Turkic design elements in a range of weavings, whether 'in the Baluch tradition' or 'Baluch in name only'?

I would be enthusiastic to work with others who both: have a passionate interest in the question, and have access to convincing material.

2) Is your contention that all of the weavings we see from the region that contain such elements were in fact made by Turkic/Turko-Mongol people?

No. The contention (it is not original with me) is that Turkic(-Mongol) peoples residing for centuries in Khorasan, (Western) Afghanistan, and (perhaps) Sistan, have left us a legacy of weavings attesting to their (related) cultures and histories. That legacy is difficult to discern as the bulk of surviving weavings from the area(s) reflect cultural disintegration, and greatly dilute the historical signal.

3) (Were) such elements ... brought by those groups and later "adopted and adapted" by the Baluch proper?

By the 'Baluch'- yes. Such late "adopted and adapted" weavings have been the source of much confusion.

4) Given the lack of definitively older examples from any of these groups, does such evidence exist?

I am certain that definitively older examples of authentic Turkic(-Mongol) weavings from Khorasan, (Western) Afghanistan, and (perhaps) Sistan, do indeed exist. It is my hope that the caretakers of this weaving legacy will co-ordinate their efforts to make this rich legacy, and its associated history, better known.

Henry
Hi Henry,

I think your proposal to gather together and systematically try to parse out earlier Turkic weavings from the region is an interesting one, and I agree that it will have to start with examples.

So, the first step is to find at least one small subset of rugs that convincingly fit together and seem to have features that distinguish them from Baluch weaving groups.

James


  
October 31st, 2012, 02:20 AM    26
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Hi Rich,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich Larkin View Post

(The) thesis seems to boil down to the proposition that there must me an underlying tradition of indigenous Turkic-Mongol weaving in the area on top of which the presumably later 'Baluch' weaving matrix played out, sank in, and somehow became the principal name in commercial parlance; (snip)

You seem to be convinced ("And how can anybody deny it?"), but then write: "... is the prevalence of Turkic ornament among weavings we've been calling 'Baluch,' for want of a better-informed understanding, evidence of that background? Or did the real 'Baluch' also carry their own Turkic tradition with them?" Surely that last possibility is excluded by the fact the the "real 'Baluch'" are not a Turkic people.

Henry
 

Last edited by Henry Sadovsky; October 31st, 2012 at 02:22 AM. Reason: No change in content. Combined two paragraphs into one.


  
October 31st, 2012, 02:27 AM    27
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Hi James,

Quote:
Originally Posted by James Blanchard View Post

So, the first step is to find at least one small subset of rugs that convincingly fit together and seem to have features that distinguish them from Baluch weaving groups.
I would say that the first step is to assemble a convincing group of old Turko(-Mongol) weavings from Khorasan, or (Western) Afghanistan, or (perhaps) Sistan.

Henry


  
October 31st, 2012, 06:29 AM    28
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Hi Henry,

Quote:
"Or did the real 'Baluch' also carry their own Turkic tradition with them?"
The foregoing theory would work along the lines of the article that used to reside at Tom Cole's website, though I don't find it now. It purported to find vestiges of very old Anatolian onament in relatively recent Baluch work. For example, many of the ever popular "peacock" or "bird" khorjins, etc., seem plausibly to have been made by "real" Baluch people.

The assumption that there was some kind of Turkic-mongol tradition of weaving, including pile, awaiting the "real" Baluch whenever they arrived, is very reasonable. It's not implausible that it persisted in some weaving groups or that it continued to influence the weaving in the region; also that some of the work is extant. The problem is sorting it out convincingly.

Rich


  
October 31st, 2012, 09:23 AM    29
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Quote:
I am certain that definitively older examples of authentic Turkic(-Mongol) weavings from Khorasan, (Western) Afghanistan, and (perhaps) Sistan, do indeed exist.
Hi Henry,

Given your certainty, I assume that you have particular examples in mind. Could you post pictures of some with any known information on their context of production and structure? This discussion could be enriched considerably by the opportunity to mutually assess a body (albeit small) of evidence.

Joel


  
October 31st, 2012, 09:34 AM    30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Henry Sadovsky View Post
Hi James,



I would say that the first step is to assemble a convincing group of old Turko(-Mongol) weavings from Khorasan, or (Western) Afghanistan, or (perhaps) Sistan.

Henry
Hi Henry,

I agree that would be a good first step. But I have two questions. First, are there specific examples from this group of "Turko(-Mongol)" weavings from that region? Second, how will we know definitively that the assembled group has a "Turko(-Mongol)" origin?

James


  
October 31st, 2012, 01:05 PM    31
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Hi All,

Many 'convincing' weavings have been published. 'Seeing' them requires breaking free of the bonds of received wisdom. Once 'seen,' one wonders why it was so hard, and took so long, to do so. Since Kuhn, it is a cliché that many will die clinging to a failed paradigm at just the time its more useful successor is becoming 'obvious' to all.

Going back through books/catalogs/articles (perhaps with refreshed perspective and renewed energy) to trace Turkic(-Mongol) iconography along the conquering path of the Steppe Hordes is a fascinating exercise. The Tom Cole article in HALI that Rich mentioned in his last post is worth a look. (Btw, I am sure Tom would be the first to acknowledge that he was introduced to the concepts in that article by his once mentor, Michael Craycraft.)

I predict that Craycraft's ideas (I am less certain about his current tribal attributions) will come to be widely accepted. It is my hope that those who respect and love 'Baluch' weaving culture, and who have 'convincing' pieces, will pool their resources to make that culture (and history) better understood and known.

I've enjoyed the conversation,

Henry


  
October 31st, 2012, 02:07 PM    32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Henry Sadovsky View Post
Hi All,

Many 'convincing' weavings have been published. 'Seeing' them requires breaking free of the bonds of received wisdom. Once 'seen,' one wonders why it was so hard, and took so long, to do so.
Hi Henry

You lost me here: "convincing" of what? Help me out.

Regards

Steve Price


  
October 31st, 2012, 02:29 PM    33
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Hi Steve,

I don't wish to appear rude, but i have contributed all i can at this time to the thread.

Thankful for Turkotek- the best 'rug' discussion site on the net,

Henry


  
October 31st, 2012, 02:48 PM    34
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Hi Henry, et al,

It's a fascinating inquiry, and the basic presenting question which was the banner for your opening post in this thread,

Quote:
Where are the Turko(-Mongol) weavings of Khorasan?
is difficult to ignore. But it's a long step between that and convincingly demonstrating actual rugs that answer the question. Intending no disrespect to Michael Craycraft and the other commentator mentioned in this connection, Siawosch Azadi, I tend to approach their works with some skepticism, based on my sense of matters I think I'm capable of judging. Prominent among those are the very ambitious statements of the age of the rugs they illustrate without much authority or rationale. One gets the impression one is simply expected to trust their judgment on the issue. For me, however, it only undermines my confidence in the other assertions. Not that I want to throw a wet towel on such an exciting project at the getgo.

Rich


  
October 31st, 2012, 06:09 PM    35
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Quote:
many will die clinging to a failed paradigm at just the time its more useful successor is becoming 'obvious' to all.
Quote:
Going back through books/catalogs/articles (perhaps with refreshed perspective and renewed energy) to trace Turkic(-Mongol) iconography along the conquering path of the Steppe Hordes is a fascinating exercise.
Quote:
I don't wish to appear rude, but i have contributed all i can at this time to the thread.
Thankful for Turkotek- the best 'rug' discussion site on the net,

Hi Henry,

I'm just asking for a little guidance out of a "failed paradigm" before my demise. Since many of us have been through the publications you cite (and many others) without this new way of seeing spontaneously occurring, shouldn't you at least try to further the process by, as I requested earlier "connecting the guls"? If it's, as you say, a "fascinating exercise", why not engage in it with an interested cohort on this "best rug discussion site"?

Quote:
I've enjoyed the conversation
Isn't stating one's position just the beginning of a fruitful dialogue. Don't we all get to examine and assess the supporting evidence to our mutual benefit?

I hope you will reconsider your premature departure from the conversation.

Joel


  
October 31st, 2012, 06:54 PM    36
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Default In conclusion...

 
Hi Joel, and all,

I do not wish to appear arch or coy, so i will adress your latest, but this really will be my last post in this thread.

Michael Craycraft, for over twenty years, has been giving all who cared to listen and think for themselves the key to the question(s) posed in this thread. All who have spent any time with him know of his generosity, honesty, scholarship, and great love for the 'Art of the Hordes.' A few, to their great benefit, have well understood him. To my embarassment, it has taken me a rather long time to do so. I don't for a second say that i have internalized all he has to teach. As the saying goes, "he has taught me all i know, but not all that he does (know)."

Joel, you say you are "just asking for a little guidance... ." How about the following?

Quote:
Going back through books/catalogs/articles (perhaps with refreshed perspective and renewed energy) to trace Turkic(-Mongol) iconography along the conquering path of the Steppe Hordes is a fascinating exercise.
That was posted just a few hours ago. Won't you give the exercise more time than that? Just for a new perspective on the problem, think outside-the-box and boldly assume that there is no such thing as an old (read pre-commercial) piled Baluch rug.

Do have fun. That's what our hobby is all about, no?

Henry


  
October 31st, 2012, 07:44 PM    37
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Hi Henry

One last imposition on your time: Has Michael published his stuff or posted it online, or has anyone summarized his thoughts someplace accessible?

Thanks

Steve Price


 
November 1st, 2012, 02:36 AM    38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Price View Post

One last imposition on your time: Has Michael published his stuff or posted it online, or has anyone summarized his thoughts someplace accessible?
Hi Steve, (and all,)

O.K. Even though I now look foolish, I can't ignore your inquiry. To my knowledge, Craycraft's most detailed published examination of a group of 'Baluch' piled weavings that he believes are not Baluch was presented in "Belouch and Karai rugs of Torbat-i-Heydarieh," Adraskand Galleries, 1988. That monograph is difficult to find/obtain. An abridgement, that Craycraft had no control over, and was not satisfied with (personal communication), was published in Oriental Rug Review, vol. 9, no. 2, pp. 50-56.

I was remiss in not emphasizing the above to James, who in post #25 of this thread, advocated that "... the first step is to find at least one small subset of rugs that convincingly fit together and seem to have features that distinguish them from Baluch weaving groups." He will find the above suits that description well.

Michael (Craycraft), since the time of the above publication, has identified further groups of 'Baluch' weavings he believes to be Turkic(-Mongol) in origin. In addition, Mallary has recognized a group of Bahluli weavings that were previously considered 'Baluch.' It is my understanding that Michael now believes that most (perhaps all) old 'Baluch' weavings are the works of Turkic(-Mongol) peoples. I have found his evidence/exposition persuasive and look forward to seeing those in print.

Henry
 

Last edited by Henry Sadovsky; November 1st, 2012 at 08:31 AM. Reason: Final paragraph revised.


  
November 1st, 2012, 08:43 AM    39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Henry Sadovsky View Post
Hi Steve, (and all,)

O.K. Even though I now look foolish, I can't ignore your inquiry. To my knowledge, Craycraft's most detailed published examination of a group of 'Baluch' piled weavings that he believes are not Baluch was presented in "Belouch and Karai rugs of Torbat-i-Heydarieh," Adraskand Galleries, 1988. That monograph is difficult to find/obtain. An abridgement, that Craycraft had no control over, and was not satisfied with (personal communication), was published in Oriental Rug Review, vol. 9, no. 2, pp. 50-56.

I was remiss in not emphasizing the above to James, who in post #25 of this thread, advocated that "... the first step is to find at least one small subset of rugs that convincingly fit together and seem to have features that distinguish them from Baluch weaving groups." He will find the above suits that description well.

Henry
Thanks Henry.

I haven't been able to find those references, but would be very interested to read them.

I have read a critique by Eiland of Craycraft's "Qarai hypothesis" for a specific subset of rugs in the Khorasan region (http://www.tcoletribalrugs.com/article71Tribal.html).

Eiland doesn't dispute the existence of Qarai (or "Karai") groups in that region, but is skeptical about whether the criteria used by Craycraft to assign rugs to this "non-Baluch" category (depressed alternate warps, four-cord selvage and supplemental weft chevron kilim ends). Eiland's main critique appears to be that the documentary evidence for this attribution is weak or non-existent:

Quote:
To have any claim to reliability, such a determination would have to be based on rugs of known Baluch and known Qarai provenance, and no one on the spot has provided us with any such thing.
Moreover, Craycraft attributes some rugs to the "Karai", which others would assign to other groups (including the Jehan Begi and Salar Khan). Indeed, rugs that have "Karai" structure have designs ranging from the classic floral patterns with meandering vine borders, to those with the variant of the "Mina Khani" design that is most often attributed to the Salar Khan, to those with latch-hook medallions or Turkmen guls.

I am certainly intrigued by Craycraft's hypothesis, and would not discard the technical structural criteria lightly. I would note that But it seems apparent that if rugs with the "Karai" structure were woven by a distinct group of non-Baluch weavers, they have not maintained a distinct design tradition. Either they have adapted to use designs from other groups, or they originated a wide variety of designs, many of which have now been adopted by others. If the latter is the case, then they would be the most influential and under-appreciated weaving group in the region.

If the Turkotek world would like to delve deeper into the Baluchomania that gripped the discussion board a few years ago, it might be interesting to do the following:

1) Assemble examples of rugs from personal collections and published sources that have the "Karai" structure (depressed warps, four-cord selvage, etc.).

2) Assemble examples of rugs without "Karai" structure that have the same designs as the "Karai" set.

Perhaps we will find some interesting intersections in that Venn diagram that will influence the way in which we think about "Baluch" and other rugs from that region.

James

  
November 1st, 2012, 09:10 AM    40
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Hi People

An abridged version of Craycraft's Andraskand monograph was published in Oriental Rug Review. That's on line; here's a link to it. I've been getting error messages when I try to access that page or any other on the ORR website; I hope their problem is temporary. But that article is in my computer and I can forward it to anyone who's interested in having it. If any of you has the Andraskand monograph, please let me know.

Thanks

Steve Price


  
November 1st, 2012, 09:59 AM    41
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Hi Steve and All,

Here is the ORR article via a Wayback crawl:

http://web.archive.org/web/201107140...orr/9-2-51.htm

Same for the Tom Cole article Rich mentioned:

http://web.archive.org/web/200706061...cocBaluch.html

Dinie


  
November 1st, 2012, 12:15 PM    42
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Hi there,

what an interesting thread.
I too have had quite a lot of inspiring input over the years from Michael Craycraft on attributions, anlong the lines of what Henry stated a few posts up. I do, however, remain unconvinced, and decided to keep sitting on the fence, as, of course, I don't know any better.

However, let me remind you about my interview with Dietrich Wegner, in which he clearly (and from extensive personal contact) groups the Ghara'y (his spelling) as a Baluch sub-tribe. This seems to somehow contradict Michael's hypothesis - from memory, as it is at least 12 years or more that I read it. Perhaps I should re-read it, but somehow I lost momentum in trying to sort out that "in the Baluch tradition" puzzle.

As to Michaels "Karai" catalogue and the ORR version: I wrote, in 1996, that the texts are almost identical. However, while the catalogue has 14 pieces in colour (tipped-in photographs) the ORR version shows just two, different, rugs with it.

Frank
 
__________________
This is just an uneducated guess!
 

Last edited by Frank Martin Diehr; November 1st, 2012 at 12:40 PM.


  
November 1st, 2012, 01:37 PM 
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Hi Frank, et al,

Good to see you weighing in here.

Isn’t it widely believed and reported that the Baluch have been constantly reforming and renaming themselves, or annexing non-Baluch elements who eventually come to regard themselves as Baluch? I don’t have either of your excellent books on hand at the moment, but one of them has an article by a British scholar that goes into the phenomenon in some detail. Even the article in ORR rehashing Michael Craycraft’s work on the Qarai offers the statement (ostensibly originating with Craycraft) that the Qarai group that was contemporary with Toghril Khan and Genghis Khan was made up of a motley assemblage of various ethnic elements. I forget which ones.

If this penchant of the Baluch to play tribal musical chairs non-stop is a fact, it seems that everyone may be right, and the picture is extremely complex and muddy in respect to tribal identity; and that there are many different and ever-changing ethnic elements in and out of the Baluch core. It seems the Qarai had plenty of time to decide they were Baluch before Wegner reached them. Doesn’t it follow that it is unrealistic to be attempting to discern a pure Turkic-Mongol artistic and cultural tradition, including a distinctive structural approach (which the ‘Qarai’ rugs do demonstrate), shining through the many thousands of rugs woven by the greater ‘Baluch’ weaving community since, say, just past the middle of the nineteenth century?

The reported habit of the Baluch to keep churning the tribal pot also makes me wonder how accurate and useful the typical labels we use can be. “Salar Khani,” “Jan Begi,” etc. I remember the very lengthy lists our old friend, Gene Williams, used to put up naming the latest ‘Baluch’ tribal groupings. They certainly made this old head spin. I know the standard labels all over rugdom are supposed to be useful to enable ruggies to communicate about known types of rugs. The law of diminishing returns tends to set in early on that “advantage.”

I must add that since a few of my earlier (possibly dismissive) remarks, I’ve taken a fresh look at Craycraft’s Belouch Prayer Rugs catalog, as well as the Qarai article in ORR. One can only admire the great amount of work and thought that went into those efforts, and the conclusions are interesting and stimulating. I take back any snide remarks. But I agree with those who find the conclusions too “complete” and ambitious for the amount of actual evidence.

Rich


  
November 1st, 2012, 01:50 PM    44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank Martin Diehr View Post
Hi there,

what an interesting thread.
I too have had quite a lot of inspiring input over the years from Michael Craycraft on attributions, anlong the lines of what Henry stated a few posts up. I do, however, remain unconvinced, and decided to keep sitting on the fence, as, of course, I don't know any better.

However, let me remind you about my interview with Dietrich Wegner, in which he clearly (and from extensive personal contact) groups the Ghara'y (his spelling) as a Baluch sub-tribe. This seems to somehow contradict Michael's hypothesis - from memory, as it is at least 12 years or more that I read it. Perhaps I should re-read it, but somehow I lost momentum in trying to sort out that "in the Baluch tradition" puzzle.

As to Michaels "Karai" catalogue and the ORR version: I wrote, in 1996, that the texts are almost identical. However, while the catalogue has 14 pieces in colour (tipped-in photographs) the ORR version shows just two, different, rugs with it.

Frank
Thanks, Frank.

I have great respect for folks like Michael Craycraft, who are interesting in using inductive reasoning to try to advance how we think about things. In particular, I think it is refreshing to think about more systematically distinguish between rug-weaving groups in that region, rather than blithely attributing everything to "Baluch like".

The problem, as you allude to, is that it is difficult to categorize these rugs without encountering anomalies and contradictions. Perhaps we can explain these by postulating that a woman from one weaving tradition joined another. But we probably need to be a bit more systematic to see whether these hypotheses can be falsified through empirical analysis of the rugs that we have. We have too few "databases" of these rugs to do that properly, I think.

Anyway, it's a fascinating topic and I hope that knowledgeable and insightful people don't stop theorizing about the rugs and their origins. It would remove much of the interest that many share in the rugs and the weaving cultures.

James


  
November 1st, 2012, 01:59 PM    45
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Default Devolution from Karai to Baluch

 
Hi Frank,

Throwing my last shred of self-respect into the fire, I find this all too interesting to not participate in.

From the Craycraft article (from which I have cut and pasted) we learn that the Karai, in the 12th c., occupied the area around Qarakum in outer Mongolia, and that in the second half of that century they emerged as the most formidable tribe in the region under the leadership of Toghril Khan. A segment of the Karai tribe accompanied Hulagu on his conquest of Persia (1256-59) and occupied Azerbaijan. These Karai subsequently emigrated to (what is now) Turkey. In the latter part of the 14th century Timur (Tamerlane) moved 40,000 families from Turkey to Samarqand, of which 12,000 subsequently separated and moved into Khurasan. In the second quarter of the 18th c., following a couple of centuries of turbulence, Nadir Shah reunited the various western factions of the Qarai tribe under Najuf Ali Khan, and granted them a district in what is now known as east Khurasan. The tribe became the premier force in Khurasan, establishing its base at Turbat-i-Haidari which grew into a cultural and commercial center in the latter part of the 18th century. The independence of the Qarai tribe and the district of Turbat-i-Haidari ended with Muhammad Khan (c. 1790- 1850). The governors of the district were thereafter no longer of the Karai tribe but of the Qajar. The chief of the Karais traditionally served alternate terms of naib and vazir to the Qajar governor for the rest of the 19th century.

From those seven hundred years of Turkic history we go to a 1960s- 70s observer:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank Martin Diehr View Post

... Dietrich Wegner ... clearly ... groups the Ghara'y (his spelling) as a Baluch sub-tribe.
So... regarding the 19th century (and any earlier extant) piled weavings of this people: are they products of Karai (Turkic) people, or are they Baluch? This 'little' story clarifies how observers in the late period might ascribe weavings of Turkic(-Mongol) people to the umbrella tribe/socio-economic group to which they had devolved.

Henry


  
November 1st, 2012, 02:57 PM    46
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Henry, James, Rich, and all,

no, I'm not weighing in, because I'd feel uncomfortable to do so. On the Karai, I just reported what I read and heard when working on my first book.
I, too, have seen and handled thousands and owned hundreds of old "Baluch" rugs, and spent a lot of time takling about them, and gathered experience, and yet I'm not much wiser. Over the last 20-odd years I have listened to ruggies of all sorts, and Balooneys in particular, I have heard so much conflicting information and inconclusive speculation, that I somehow lost interest. I know that I took, and sometimes still do take part in the game, but I believe I always do with a huge caveat.
The rugs still manage to grip me, the stories less so.

Frank

p.s. Henry, please go gently on you self-respect
 
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November 1st, 2012, 04:43 PM    47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank Martin Diehr View Post
Henry, James, Rich, and all,

no, I'm not weighing in, because I'd feel uncomfortable to do so. On the Karai, I just reported what I read and heard when working on my first book.
I, too, have seen and handled thousands and owned hundreds of old "Baluch" rugs, and spent a lot of time takling about them, and gathered experience, and yet I'm not much wiser. Over the last 20-odd years I have listened to ruggies of all sorts, and Balooneys in particular, I have heard so much conflicting information and inconclusive speculation, that I somehow lost interest. I know that I took, and sometimes still do take part in the game, but I believe I always do with a huge caveat.
The rugs still manage to grip me, the stories less so.

Frank

p.s. Henry, please go gently on you self-respect
Hi Frank,

You echo many of my sentiments. I am a rank novice compared to you and others, but the rugs of that region do "grip me". There is a nuance and depth of mystery in those weavings that, for me, hold greater interest than other weaving areas / groups.

I still enjoy reading about and discussing the attributions, design origins, and even the purpose for various weavings. But in the end, I have come to the conclusion that many of the clues to these mysteries have become shrouded by the mist of time and mythology. But we are still left with the rugs, thankfully.

James


  
November 1st, 2012, 06:27 PM    48
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Hi Frank,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank Martin Diehr View Post
I have heard so much conflicting information and inconclusive speculation, that I somehow lost interest.
Yes, trying to make sense of it all can be huge PITA. (What is PITA in German?) : )

Have you given thought to visionaries? What allows them to glimpse reality (for lack of a better term at hand) more clearly than their peers/colleagues? Why, after their (perhaps arduous) labor, may their vision become so 'obvious' to all that one is left wondering why they did not see before? I think all visionaries share two traits. First, unquenchable curiousity. Curiosity that can withstand the deadening effects of frustration and fatigue and ridicule. Second, an uncanny ability to recognize and filter out noise- thus clearing a path to a purer vision.

Frank, you have well described where 'Baluch' studies have been for many (most?) of us. I think the not-so-far-off future will be much more interesting. When you have time, do give my last post some further consideration. It was the information you provided about Wegner's lack of understanding of the historical identity of the Karai that makes me even more confident than I was before joining this thread that Michael Craycraft's vision is true.

Henry


  
November 1st, 2012, 06:56 PM    49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Henry Sadovsky View Post
Hi Frank,



Yes, trying to make sense of it all can be huge PITA. (What is PITA in German?) : )

Have you given thought to visionaries? What allows them to glimpse reality (for lack of a better term at hand) more clearly than their peers/colleagues? Why, after their (perhaps arduous) labor, may their vision become so 'obvious' to all that one is left wondering why they did not see before? I think all visionaries share two traits. First, unquenchable curiousity. Curiosity that can withstand the deadening effects of frustration and fatigue and ridicule. Second, an uncanny ability to recognize and filter out noise- thus clearing a path to a purer vision.

Frank, you have well described where 'Baluch' studies have been for many (most?) of us. I think the not-so-far-off future will be much more interesting. When you have time, do give my last post some further consideration. It was the information you provided about Wegner's lack of understanding of the historical identity of the Karai that makes me even more confident than I was before joining this thread that Michael Craycraft's vision is true.

Henry
Hi Henry,

I am very much drawn to visionary approaches and people. I don't think that the dispute is so much over the existence of Turko(-Mongol) weaving groups, and specifically the Karai, in that region. And it would seem to make sense that they would have woven rugs. The question is at hand relates more to how one can affirmatively assign rugs to that specific weaving group, and what was the temporal and influential direction that resulted in such a melange of rug designs and structures in that region.

So, for example, Craycraft indicates that the rugs of the Karai have some defining structural characteristics, including: depressed alternate warps, wide (4-cord) selvage, float-weft chevron end finishes. So what do we do when we see other rugs that have one or more of those characteristics, and not the others? Does that mean that the structural techniques have migrated from one group to another? In that case, does it contradict a central point from Craycraft that technique is more stable than design? And what do we make of rugs that share designs, but not structure?

Craycraft's analysis and views on this topic might well turn out to have been visionary, but it seems that it will require the rather prosaic task of assembling documentary evidence and a more systematic analysis of the rugs to confirm that vision.

I think it might be worth the effort, but should be done with an open mind with regard to what evidence emerges.

James


  
November 1st, 2012, 09:08 PM    50
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Hi Henry and all,

Currently on his site, Michael Craycraft has a rug (for sale, so masthead restrictions apply) that he labels Karai. The rug is knotted asymmetric open left and appears to have four cord selvedges overwrapped with goat hair. There are no remaining kilim ends and he points out that the warps are on one level, there is no warp depression.

Back when the ORR piece was published, Craycraft provided criteria for inclusion in the Qarai category. First and foremost was an "offset or depressed warp." This was supposedly significant because it was "a deviation from true Baluch structure, a method of weaving based on flatweaves with all the warps set on one level." Another important structural feature to be considered was the end treatment. He described this as "two narrow bands of weft float on either side of a wide band of multicolored weft-faced plain weave chevrons or diagonals resolving at each color change into stepped diagonal weft substitution, all on a weft-faced plain tapestry ground. Another type that is frequently found is a simple kilim of narrow colored bands of weft-faced plain tapestry." In the case of the current posted rug, no ends survive and there is presumably no indication of what was originally there. And, there isn't any warp depression.

I feel I am not in any position to comment on whether or not Craycraft qualifies as a visionary. Unlike James, I'm not even clear enough on the category to know what the qualifications and requirements are. In any case, I feel quite sure that that status wouldn't allow for circumventing one's own criteria for placing a rug into the Qarai bin. Perhaps Craycraft's defining characteristics for inclusion have changed in the almost 25 years since that article. Or, perhaps the ability to know that this is really Qarai despite the deviation from the criteria is part of what Henry called his "purer vision". To me, it just seems like the sort of 'category creep' that Eiland (ORR 9/5, cited earlier by James) cautioned against in his response to Craycraft when the ORR article first appeared.

I think James gets it just right when he writes, "Craycraft's analysis and views on this topic might well turn out to have been visionary, but it seems that it will require the rather prosaic task of assembling documentary evidence and a more systematic analysis of the rugs to confirm that vision."

Perhaps the reason I chafe at granting visionary status to any investigator is the possible effect it has on that invaluable attitude of openness (I would call it skepticism) at the heart of useful research.

Joel
 

Last edited by Joel Greifinger; November 1st, 2012 at 10:07 PM.


  
November 1st, 2012, 11:03 PM    51
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Hi Joel,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joel Greifinger View Post

Currently ... Craycraft has a rug ... that he labels Karai. ... the warps are on one level, there is no warp depression.
Link?

And, since i have your attention, what are your thoughts on post #45?

Henry


  
November 1st, 2012, 11:28 PM 
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Hi James,

Quote:
Originally Posted by James Blanchard View Post
The question ... relates more to how one can affirmatively assign rugs to that specific weaving group, ... ?
Just curious... how, would you say, can one affirmatively assign any particular rug to the Baluch weaving group?

Henry


  
November 2nd, 2012, 12:51 AM    53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Henry Sadovsky View Post
Hi James,



Just curious... how, would you say, can one affirmatively assign any particular rug to the Baluch weaving group?

Henry
Hi Henry,

Provenance would be one way. Through the years, there have been dealers and others that have acquired or seen rugs directly associated with Baluch families from specific weaving areas. I know that you view Wegener's observations as late, but it is surely of some significance that he was able to observe the specific woven articles owned by specific Baluch clans. Many of the weavings that were recent would reflect a longstanding design and structural tradition, and older pieces would reflect the designs and structure from an earlier time. I am the first to acknowledge that dealer lore often has faux specificity, and could be wrong. But I have also observed that there is some consistency with regard to attribution to certain weaving types and groups, and that this consistency is derived from more than hearsay. It is based on the actual geographic source of the rugs, and an understanding of the ethno-cultural background of the weavers there.

In any case, for me it is a bit more solid than broad assertions such as the proposition that Baluch group weavings have a flat warp structure because their weaving tradition emerged from flatweaves.

I like broad theories, and I don't need much convincing that the weavings of that region represent diverse ethno-cultural origins. But I am a bit reluctant to replace one set of overly specific assumptions with another without more systematic analysis of extant weavings, and where possible, supplemented by some first-hand evidence of provenance.

James


  
November 2nd, 2012, 09:32 AM    54
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Hi Henry,

Here's the link to the rug that Craycraft has listed (for sale) as Karai:
http://gallery-arabesque.com/item/400016296

My rug that I posted to begin this thread has wide, four-cord selvages overwrapped in goat hair and end finishes including multi-colored weft-faced, plainweave chevrons. It also features designs that clearly derive from a Turkic tradition. The structure features mild warp depression and, as I pointed out, is symmetrically knotted.

Given your very interesting historical backdrop in post #45, why can't I tentatively declare my rug (which fulfills many of the identifying Karai elements) as a Karai rug with the symmetrical knotting as a "degenerate feature" just as easily as calling it either Bahluli or "symmetrically-knotted 'Baluch'"? Does that really get us any closer to understanding what Rich called the "complex and muddy picture" of 'Baluch' tribal identity?

I have to echo James when he wrote of his reluctance to "replace one set of overly specific assumptions with another without more systematic analysis of extant weavings." Even more so when variations in the specific criteria can always be explained as deviations from an earlier tradition under the syncretic force of later circumstances.

Joel
 

Last edited by Joel Greifinger; November 2nd, 2012 at 10:49 AM.


  
November 2nd, 2012, 11:06 AM    55
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Hi all,

I agree with everything in James' and Joel's last posts (i. e., second last for Joel). Moreover, I'm having trouble seeing the "vision" in Michael Craycraft's 1988 article. It merely attempts to trace the movement of a particular group of people over several hundred years to a present location (since 1750) around Turbat-al Haidari (though, as Murray Eiland says in his article [linked at James' post #39], the connection between the group contemporaneous with Toghril Khan and the Turbat-i-Haidari group is "tenuous"); and it attempts to link that group with a definable group of rugs. It is a substantial and notable effort, no doubt about it. But I agree with the criticisms in Eiland's article, which pretty much stand up today. As that article noted, it sets up a structural baseline for "true" Baluch weaving that is largely conjectural, then purports to discover a variant group of rugs exhibiting a different set of structural parameters.

The following two rugs just happen to be on hand, and illustrate the difficulty of correlating Michael's description of the Qarai type with what one actually finds “out there.” The first is a Mina Khani type, loosely woven with no significant warp depression. It seems fairly old.



This next appears to be a Mina Khani variant, much more regular in weave than the first and with only the slightest variation in warp elevation.



The last image provides the backs of the two rugs together, demonstrating the great difference between them in weave character, though both have selvages finished in multiple cords wrapped in (apparently) goat hair. (Interestingly, perhaps serendipitously, both have the characteristic running dog or running hook minor border, too. The second lacks the color contrast in that border of the rugs Mchael Craycraft would call Qarai.)



Many other examples could be adduced to demonstrate the impracticality of Michael Craycraft’s neat dichotomy, as Joel pointed out. The man (MC) has been looking at and thinking about ‘Baluch’ rugs in large volume for a long time, with much insight and understanding, but that doesn’t automatically establish his “vision” as the correct standard.

Getting down to brass tacks, and the side issue of Dr. Wegner’s sense of who the Qarai (Gharai) thought they were, Professor Brian Spooner’s comments (in a very interesting article in Frank’s Treasured Baluch Pieces) are illuminating, and need to be given weight:

Quote:
“…[A]ll Baluch - despite obvious differences in occupation and status – agree on what it means to be Baluch.…Today, despite variation within Baluchistan and similarly between the Baluch and many of their neighbours, such as the Pashtun (Pathans), there is never any empirical confusion about who is and who is not Baluch. A Baluch is one who calls himself Baluch, and no one who is not Baluch will so call himself.”
Getting back to the principal issue at hand and quoting Henry,

Quote:
Michael (Craycraft), since the time of the above publication, has identified further groups of 'Baluch' weavings he believes to be Turkic(-Mongol) in origin. In addition, Mallary has recognized a group of Bahluli weavings that were previously considered 'Baluch.' It is my understanding that Michael now believes that most (perhaps all) old 'Baluch' weavings are the works of Turkic(-Mongol) peoples. I have found his evidence/exposition persuasive and look forward to seeing those in print.
I certainly look forward to any such publication as well. Though many have recognized the proposition that the ‘Baluch’ group of weavings owes its existence to far more diverse sources than merely the Baluch Nation (e. g. Azadi in 1986, among others), one must applaud the serious and sincere efforts of such as Craycraft and Mallary to make the details of the picture clearer. Still, in the end, one must prove the propositions advanced with more than plausible conjecture and claimed “vision.”

Rich

P. S.: I can well understand that Michael Craycraft would have been less than pleased at the treatment of his Adraskand paper in the ORR article. Apparently, the original was accompanied by 14 illustrations. My copy of ORR shows three. Dinie's "crawlback" version of the article shows one rug illustrated twice (it is one of the three in my magazine). Reading the article, one misses the illustrations that surely were supplied by the original version and made the argument much clearer.
 

Last edited by Richard Larkin; November 2nd, 2012 at 12:44 PM.


  
November 2nd, 2012, 11:17 AM    56
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Hi all,

For what it's worth, I think I know what distinctive type of rug it is that Michael Craycraft designates "Qarai" (Karai, etc.). The distinctive character is more than merely depressed warp construction. There is a certain look to the back that I interpret as the knot yarn not having been pulled as tightly against the warps as, for example, typical urban Persian workshop rugs. Whether that really explains the phenomenon, I don't know, not being nearly enough of a Marla to make such technical judgments. Also, I'm not referring to a sloppiness of weaving, or irregularity. The weave type, such as it is, is very regular and controlled, giving the impression the weavers were seeking just this balance. I mention it because the "Karai" rug Joel linked us to at MC's site looks to me like the genre. The warp depression isn't as severe as most of them, but that certain look is there.

Another point is that I've seen many of the type, most being of the narrow long format type, usually in dark colors showing a Mina Khani variant design with white petaled flowers, and invariably showing the black (or deep purple outlined in black) and white running dog border. Most seemed not to be very old to me, in line with Eiland's comment, but seemingly at variance with Craycraft's notions.

Rich


  
November 2nd, 2012, 12:14 PM    57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joel Greifinger View Post
Hi Henry,

Here's the link to the rug that Craycraft has listed (for sale) as Karai:
http://gallery-arabesque.com/item/400016296

My rug that I posted to begin this thread has wide, four-cord selvages overwrapped in goat hair and end finishes including multi-colored weft-faced, plainweave chevrons. It also features designs that clearly derive from a Turkic tradition. The structure features mild warp depression and, as I pointed out, is symmetrically knotted.

Given your very interesting historical backdrop in post #45, why can't I tentatively declare my rug (which fulfills many of the identifying Karai elements) as a Karai rug with the symmetrical knotting as a "degenerate feature" just as easily as calling it either Bahluli or "symmetrically-knotted 'Baluch'"? Does that really get us any closer to understanding what Rich called the "complex and muddy picture" of 'Baluch' tribal identity?

I have to echo James when he wrote of his reluctance to "replace one set of overly specific assumptions with another without more systematic analysis of extant weavings." Even more so when variations in the specific criteria can always be explained as deviations from an earlier tradition under the syncretic force of later circumstances.

Joel
To complicate matters further, that rug is referred to as a "nomadic Karai", and the description indicates that the design is "very rare" in Karai weaving. So it might only have one of the key structural features attributed to Karai weaving, has a different design, and is assigned to "nomadic" Karai.

Perhaps the description is correct, but what is the evidence base for this?

James


  
November 3rd, 2012, 03:05 AM    58
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Hi Rich, and all,

From "Reports on the Tribes," Pittenger, 2003:
Col. Sir Charles MacGregor, 1875
"Turbat-i-Haidari: the Karai are the paramount race, with some Baloche nomads."

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Larkin View Post
... as Murray Eiland says in his article [linked at James' post #39], the connection between the group contemporaneous with Toghril Khan and the Turbat-i-Haidari group is "tenuous" ...
Richard omits Eiland's very next sentence: "But the existence since the 18th century of a group of Turkic background in the neighborhood of Turbat-i-Haidari under the name Qarai is undisputed." (Emphasis added.) Wegner, on the scene for about 20(?) years, evidently did not know that, and reports that the Karai were in his time a subgroup of Baluch. So... perhaps it is not legitimate to extrapolate 20th century tribal labels back into the 19th (or earlier) century(s).

Why Turko(-Mongol) people(s) might have joined (if they did) Baluch in the late period is an interesting question. Doing so, however, would not retroactively confer Baluch attribution to their people's prior weavings.

Yup, its confusing.

Henry


  
November 3rd, 2012, 05:25 PM    59
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Hi all,

With the conversation to this point (which has been genuinely interesting ) as backdrop, I thought it might be time to toss some more grist into the mill.

Here are another couple of 'Baluch' rugs, the first another recent acquisition. Both of these are asymmetrically knotted, open to the left and both have two-cord selvages wrapped in goat hair. These both feature a motif (in this case as a field repeat) variations of which are used by Tekke Turkmen, Lurs (who are Persian speakers) and, since it's a variation on the Memling gul, just about everyone else. Peter Stone refers to it as aina kochak and, in its lattice form (as in the second rug) it is a relatively common 'Baluch' device. Less so as it's deployed in the first, prayer rug, I believe.

Here's the first:









and the second:





Even assuming that our common vocabulary of terms for 'Baluch' rugs suffers from all of the shortcomings that have been pointed out thus far , how do you think these particular rugs could more specifically be characterized beyond calling them "so-called Baluch"?

Joel
 

Last edited by Joel Greifinger; November 3rd, 2012 at 09:34 PM.


  
November 4th, 2012, 04:07 PM    60
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An addendum to the last post:
The field device in the first (prayer) rug might also be seen as having morphed from the motif Stone calls a 'kochak cross' (of which the Tekke 'gurbaghe gul' may be yet another variant).

Here's it is featured on a rug that was used to illustrate Opie's theory of its derivation from animal-head-based designs (Tribal Rugs, p.238) and then in Craycraft's ORR article in support of his Qarai thesis:



and here's one from Treasured Baluch Pieces, p. 89:



I hope Frank doesn't mind if I quote from his description: "Opie discusses the main motifs using two well published related rugs, deriving the central double hooked crosses from animal head forms. In Eiland, one of those rugs is classed as 'possibly Jamshidi', the totemic main motifs being related to Turkoman guls; whereas Craycraft employs the other of those rugs as proof of his 'Karai' hypothesis. In HALI, Wegner features another rug of this type, dating it to the first half of the 19th century! He uses it to underline his opinion that the 'Baluch' of Khorassan had, long before Nadir Shah's rule, learned the art of rug weaving from the Turkoman tribes.
A typical 'Baluch' free-for-all?"

You said it, Frank.

Joel
 

Last edited by Joel Greifinger; November 4th, 2012 at 05:39 PM.


  
November 5th, 2012, 04:23 PM    61
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Ay Joel,

well spotted, that was one of my favourite pieces. Yes, and I wrote that caption, and I was just as confused about the apparent design similarities to the Craycraft/Opie piece then as I am now (but I seem to have been more confident in voicing an opinion).
Not having ever seen the Craycraft piece in the flesh, I know quite well what he means by "Karai structure", and I can tell you that my piece is nothing like that at all. It has soft, almost shaggy pile, with the feel of real camel wool (though I am not sure if it actually is), and handles like a thick woollen blanket. The picture was, if I remember correctly, taken in sunlight, and is quite flattering indeed.
As to the kurbaghe-like motif, we're almost coming to full circle in this thread; but keep them coming, I like the merry-go-round!

Frank
 
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Last edited by Frank Martin Diehr; November 5th, 2012 at 04:29 PM.


  
November 5th, 2012, 05:06 PM    62
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Hi Frank,

I certainly wouldn't want to try and pressure you to "weigh in" , but is there any chance I can induce you to make any "uneducated guess" about the two rugs I posted in #59 beyond labeling them 'Baluch'? Or, do you think that's as far as we can get before falling into another inconclusive (fruitless? ) "'Baluch' free for all"?

Joel


  
November 5th, 2012, 05:09 PM    63
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Joel,

sorry, I need to go, be back tomorrow evening.


Frank
 
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November 6th, 2012, 06:25 AM  64
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Hi Joel, et al,

Just in case it wasn't made clear, the first of your illustrations in frame #60 is also one of the four rugs illustrated in the ORR article based on Craycraft's Adraskand paper (ORR Vol. 9, #2, Ill. 2). (BTW, I had mentioned earlier there were three illustrations in ORR, but it was four.)

Rich

  
November 6th, 2012, 03:33 PM
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Hi again,

I just got Michael's original "Karai..." publication out; the MC/Opie rug posted alongside mine in post #60 was also in the original publication. Michael wrote:
"This example is characteristic of the third major design group of Karai rugs; those with Turkoman or early Turkic designs. Most of the rugs of this type appear to be of nomadic production." He dated it to mid-19th century.
(The other two design groups are lattice patterns and Minha Khani variants.)

Frank

p.s. If you own ORR 9/2 (the Baluch special edition), please note that Adraskand Inc (then Michael and A.H., if I remember correctly) had an advert on the inside cover with another Karai rug that was used in the original "Karai" publication. It is a large, fairly stiff looking blue ground Minah Khani variant, dated in the ad as pre-1864. In the original publication, that rug was dated to early 19th century, based on the presence of silk.
 
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November 6th, 2012, 05:32 PM    66
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Hi Rich,

Back in #56, you wrote:
Quote:
I think I know what distinctive type of rug it is that Michael Craycraft designates "Qarai" (Karai, etc.). The distinctive character is more than merely depressed warp construction. There is a certain look to the back that I interpret as the knot yarn not having been pulled as tightly against the warps... I'm not referring to a sloppiness of weaving, or irregularity. The weave type, such as it is, is very regular and controlled, giving the impression the weavers were seeking just this balance. I mention it because the "Karai" rug Joel linked us to at MC's site looks to me like the genre.
I'm still having a good deal of trouble picturing what you're describing. So, here are a picture of the back of the rug from MC's site and shots of the backs of the two rugs I posted in #59. Can you walk me through the differences that you see as relevant to MC's Karai designation?







Joel


  
November 6th, 2012, 09:51 PM    67
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Joel, Joel,

These aren't trifling questions. One must have the fabric in hand. Then, there's the long period of study.... Aahhh, nevermind....

I would say the first close-up is very much the closest to what I would take to be the "Qarai" weave. Furthermore, my sense is most of them show even greater warp depression, so the back is even more "closed," and the secondary knot node more hidden. Yet, it is visible nevertheless. In addition, one has the impression that the yarn isn't as tight against the warp as in some other warp-depressed rugs. This may be illusory, and based either on the fact that the yarn is relatively full or heavy; or on the fact that the dyes are often deeply saturated in lively wool, making the yarn seem more prominent. It may also be the case that the single knot node is relatively "longer" on the back, vertically, than wide. I don't have any Qarai rugs on hand to make a careful study of these haphazardly observed features. My comments were based on impressions from past experience. Anyway, whatever the phenomenon is that I've observed and utterly failed to describe coherently, it is very regular and consistent across the rug. I would add that there are many Baluch weaves with partially depressed warps, the so-called and familiar "ribbed back," that to me don't have the same look and feel as the Qarai types. Sorry to be so verbose, yet so opaque.

BTW, the terrific deep purple of MC's example is typical of the Qarai palette. Deep surmey, deep purple and brown black, along with the madder and undyed white. That's the usual array of colors.

There is nothing about the other two that suggest the Qarai weave to me. They appear to have the standard, warp-on-one-level Baluch weave.

Rich


  
November 7th, 2012, 04:15 PM    68
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Quote:
my sense is most of them show even greater warp depression, so the back is even more "closed," and the secondary knot node more hidden. Yet, it is visible nevertheless.
Hi Rich,

In the "Ersari Ensi" thread, you referred to "...the slower students in the class." I'll take that as an apt characterization of my lack of success at seeing what you are pointing out. Even when I zoom in on the image of the back of MC's purported Karai, it looks to me just as he describes it on his site: "Warps are on one level; no warp depression."

Quote:
I don't have any Qarai rugs on hand


OK. But, do you happen to know anyone who might be willing to lend me a few? That way I can perhaps develop the necessary ability to recognize them by the feel of the back. Maybe once I have the tactile piece down, the visual will follow.

Joel


  
November 7th, 2012, 05:06 PM    69
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Default Qarai depressed warps...

 
Hi Joel, Rich, et al...

I have a Qarai long rug which I think is younger than Rich's spectacular example, but still pretty old. This seems like a classic example of the long Qarai rug type...



The following closeup image of the back of the rug shows the depressed warps and a nine-knot bit of silk in this rug. A couple of years ago Steve started a thread inquiring about the significance of nearly invisible "special materials" in Baluchi weaving, and at that time I posted my recent discovery of a nine-knot bit of camel wool in the center of the top center white flower. Because I don't have this rug in a very bright spot, it wasn't until a year later that I found this silk flower center in the next white flower down. From the front you really have to be looking for it not to think it's just more of the red-brown color...



What were those gals up to?

Paul


  
November 7th, 2012, 09:18 PM  70
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Hi Paul,

That's the back I was talking about. Nice rug.

Joel, it seems to me that for each double node on the back of MC's rug, one side is prominent and the other sunken. The same is true of Paul's rug. On MC's, the depressed half of the node is on the left side. On Paul's, it's the right side. That distinction isn't significant per se. It may mean nothing more than that one rug was oriented opposite to the other as regards top and bottom when the pictures were taken, respectively. In any case, I think the partial warp depression is evident on the back of MC's rug.

Even that bottom image of yours has some slight warp depression in sections. Note the left side of the image, where one of each of the nodes is brighter than it's neighboring node.

Rich


  
November 8th, 2012, 10:10 AM 
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Quote:
I have a Qarai long rug which I think is younger than Rich's spectacular example
Hi Paul and Rich,

That is a very nice rug. And on that one even I can see the warp depression. It seems to fulfill many of the criteria that MC set out for delineating Karai rugs: the Mina Khani design, use of "camel hair" (albeit, quite discreetly) and end treatments. Does it have the four-cord, goat hair wrapped selvages that he wrote were "invariably" present?

I missed that Rich's first Mina Khani example back in #55 was intended to illustrate a 'Karai' rug that was without any significant warp depression. Does that one have the distinctive look and feel that was summarized in #56?

Joel


  
November 8th, 2012, 12:02 PM    72
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Hi Joel,

I wouldn't think to call my Baluch in #55 (top photo) "Qarai," though the similarities to Paul's are obvious. The thing about Paul's is that it has a distinctive weave balance and weave look, coupled with that palette and general approach to design (and long narrow format, usually, too) that makes it recognizable as a member of a group of closely related pieces. I don't necessarily hold that it was woven by the Qarai ethnic group. (Craycraft didn't, either, in 1988. As Eiland suggested, he was only throwing the notion out there; but, as Eiland predicted, the cautionary second part was soon lost in the shuffle of ruggie madness.) The term is handy, nevertheless.

In any event, mine doesn't have that particular feel. Of course, it's eminently possible that later generations of weavers from the same group (Qarai?) changed their approach to structural and weaving practices but kept to the old design repertoire. One often reads that it is the latter that is prone to change while the former will persist among the tribe. But there's no reason it couldn't go the other way for reasons we don't know.

Getting back to Michael Craycraft's rug of which you posted a detail in #66 (top piece) and can't see the warp depression. I don't mean to beat the issue to death, but look at the central diamonds outlined in red, either the small one or the large one. The relative prominence and apparently greater mass of the right hand node of each knot is most obvious there. Do you agree? It appears that way because the left side node of each knot is down into the weave. Anyway, that's how I read it.

Rich


  
November 8th, 2012, 12:32 PM    73
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Hi Joel,

Yep, four-cord, goathair wrapped selvage...I remember the first time I read about the "Qarai" type, and there was no doubt in my mind that this rug was one of 'em!

Regards,

Paul


  
November 10th, 2012, 07:28 PM    74
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Default Round and round we go...

 
Hi Folks,

A little ways back, Frank wrote
Quote:
we're almost coming to full circle in this thread; but keep them coming, I like the merry-go-round!
Well, I thought I'd bring us all the way round.

I began the thread by posting some 'Baluch' rugs that featured a motif widely used on Tekke main carpet borders, the so-called sheple gul. I had not seen it on many 'Baluch' pieces, and all of them were symmetrically knotted. One of the rugs I posted is from the (excellent) site http://baluch.ch whose proprietor was kind enough to send me images of other 'Baluch' rugs that feature the sheple gul, either as a field repeat or as the major border. He is a collector whose special interest is symmetrically-knotted 'Baluch' pieces. I believe that all of these are symmetrically-knotted:







Back in the opening post, I wondered whether, among weavers "in the Baluch tradition" (or, perhaps the "Baluch in name only" tradition ) this motif was part of the design pool exclusively for a group or groups that used the 'Turkish' knot.

Are there examples on asymmetrically-knotted 'Baluch' rugs out there? If not, that must mean something, however tentative and inconsequential.

Joel


  
November 16th, 2012, 01:11 PM    75
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Default Yes

 
Hi Joel,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joel Greifinger View Post

Back in the opening post, I wondered whether, among weavers "in the Baluch tradition" (or, perhaps the "Baluch in name only" tradition ) this motif was part of the design pool exclusively for a group or groups that used the 'Turkish' knot.

Are there examples on asymmetrically-knotted 'Baluch' rugs out there?
A different version of the (Turkic) motif in question is found on some ASL knotted 'Baluch' weavings. Those (ASL) weavings have not only a different knot, but also different weave, coloration and texture than the SY knotted (presumably Bahluli) group. I have only one image of such a piece at hand (but have seen others).



Henry


  
November 16th, 2012, 01:48 PM    76
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Hi Henry,

Does that happen to be your rug? It looks very promising.

Rich


  
November 16th, 2012, 05:03 PM    77
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Default Link?

 
Hi Rich,

The image was taken from a commercial web site. I will forward the link to Steve so that, should forum rules allow, he may post it.

Henry

PS - Here is the link. Please, no comments bearing on the seller's reputation or on the value/merits of the rug.

Thanks

Steve Price


  
 November 17th, 2012, 12:40 PM    78
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Hi Henry,

Thanks for the link to the rug on MC's site. In his description of it, he makes an interesting comment about the visual configuration of the border motif, "Though the main border is often employed by the Turkoman Tekke tribe, you never see the rare gul composed of the space between pairs of this radiating icon in Tekke weavings." This is his picture of the "rare gul" created by the vertical alignment of this version of the sheple guls:



In the 'Baluch' rugs that utilize it as a field repeat, the sheple guls are offset in alternating rows creating a visual effect much more like the one created in Tekke border designs. But as drawn in my rug, as a border design, you can make out an inkling of the "rare gul" MC refers to:



if you stare at the middle of the photo and squint hard enough.

Joel


  
November 17th, 2012, 03:23 PM    79
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Hi all,

I tend to be a skeptic about much that is claimed for the "drawing" represented by negative space. After all, in this universe, you have negative space by default once you've created positive space. However, the whole notion is very intriguing. I wish some of the space mavens (Martin, et al) would weigh in to tell me what I should think.

Rich


  
November 17th, 2012, 04:40 PM    80
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Default Yin/Yang

 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich Larkin View Post
I tend to be a skeptic...
After all, in this universe, you have negative space by default once you've created positive space.
Hi Rich,

A corollary to the above is that an animated/evocative/intriguing/beguiling (in short- well-drawn) negative space can be no less a wonder than is such a postive one. The positive/negative dichotomy may lead to missing the entirety of the whole, no?

"A picture is worth a thousand words." In this case, perhaps 2000.






Henry
 

Last edited by Henry Sadovsky; November 17th, 2012 at 04:49 PM. Reason: Change one word


  
November 17th, 2012, 04:53 PM    81
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Hi Henry,

Well said. Perhaps when drawing is inspired, well-conceived and well executed, the negative space takes care of itself. I'm too benighted in those areas to know for sure.

Nice detail images there.

Rich


  
November 17th, 2012, 11:39 PM    82
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Default If one wants to see, they must look...

 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich Larkin View Post
Perhaps when drawing is inspired, well-conceived and well executed, the negative space takes care of itself.
Hi Rich,

One need not think too hard about this. Simply look. Figure/ground ambiguity is deeply embedded in the Art of the (Turko-Mongol) Hordes.




Henry


  
November 18th, 2012, 12:12 AM    83
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Pretty good, Henry!

Rich



November 18th, 2012, 09:14 AM   84
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Hi Folks,

Here's a rug that seems like a very close analogy to the one linked at MC's site. It was posted on Turkotek by Jack Williams and set off a long discussion of Turkmen motifs in 'Baluch' rugs (as well as lots of other topics ).



It has that configuration of the border motifs that produces what MC called the "rare gul" though, as in my rug, the color shift between motifs has a dampening effect on the figure/ground alternation.



That archived discussion makes for an interesting complement to the current thread: http://www.turkotek.com/misc_00060/baluch.htm

Joel


  
November 18th, 2012, 10:53 AM    85
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Hi Joel,

Your last image tends to support my skepticism expressed in an earlier post regarding the implications of negative space in these weavings. In Henry's image, Michael Craycraft mentioned "...the rare gul composed of the space between pairs of this radiating icon...." Presumably, if the device is to rise to the distinction of "a gul," the weaver must necessarily have intended it as such. I would think we can dismiss the question of an intended "rare gul" in your image on account of the color shift issue you noted. So, is it a "rare gul" in the Craycraft rug because the uniform approach to color in that area was maintained? Or is the effect an accidental result of the unavoidable (in this universe) negative space?

I don't reject the possibility that some rustic artist-weavers had the ability and desire to manipulate negative spaces in the weavings in this manner. To the extent any of them did, it represented a giant leap of sophistication in the execution of their craft.

I suppose there is a middle ground in this analysis. That would be the recognition a refinement of the aesthetically satisfying effect of the inevitable negative space thrown out by such patterns as found in the Turkoman models. Your example demonstrates the point well. It can be read as a pattern of simple red/brown crosses with baroque crosses within, flanked by (beautifully shaped) guls.

Rich

P. S.: The shape of those main guls raises another issue, which is that the "Baluch" copies of the Turkoman models often reproduce the guls more elegantly than most of the surviving "genuine" examples.

Rich


  
November 19th, 2012, 01:39 AM    86
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Default Misleading names midlead...

 
Came across the following from Peter Poullada in HALI, Autumn 2011. Poullada was born in Pakistan, spent his early years in Afghanistan, and spent further years in Afghanistan during the 1960s and 70s.



This is not cited as proof of anything. It simply provides an opportunity to ask: Why call the set of all such things Baluch? 'Baluch' is sort-of O.K., but surely we can do better. 'In the Baluch Tradition'? Since we do not know what (if there was any) antique Baluch piled weaving tradition might be, it is meaningless.

"Weavings of the Small Scale (Largely Turko-Mongol) Societies Inhabiting Greater Khorasan and Sistan, Previoiusly grouped as 'Baluch'" is accurate, but unusable. Need something snappy...

Henry
 

Last edited by Henry Sadovsky; November 19th, 2012 at 02:33 AM. Reason: Make less provocative. ;)


  
November 19th, 2012, 03:45 AM    87
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Snappy? Like...
"FoKaB"? (Formerly Known as Baluch)

Regards,

Filiberto


  
November 19th, 2012, 08:35 AM 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Henry Sadovsky View Post
Came across the following from Peter Poullada in HALI, Autumn 2011. Poullada was born in Pakistan, spent his early years in Afghanistan, and spent further years in Afghanistan during the 1960s and 70s.



This is not cited as proof of anything. It simply provides an opportunity to ask: Why call the set of all such things Baluch? 'Baluch' is sort-of O.K., but surely we can do better. 'In the Baluch Tradition'? Since we do not know what (if there was any) antique Baluch piled weaving tradition might be, it is meaningless.

"Weavings of the Small Scale (Largely Turko-Mongol) Societies Inhabiting Greater Khorasan and Sistan, Previoiusly grouped as 'Baluch'" is accurate, but unusable. Need something snappy...

Henry
Hi Henry,

I would agree that specificity should be used and that the "Baluch" catch-all is overly broad. The problem is that we shouldn't replace uncertainty with faux specificity. Not many would doubt that the Jamshidi are not a Baluch tribal group, but I am quite sure that even experienced dealers and collectors would not always agree on which pieces fit into the Jamshidi classification. Perhaps a geographic catch-all with a bit of specificity is better. What I would not be as comfortable with is labeling something with a precise tribal attribution if there is not clear evidence that they wove that particular sort of rug, and especially if knowledgeable folks would very often disagree on the attribution.

By the way, the relative population predominance of an ethno-linguistic group in a particular area does not necessarily mean that they are responsible for the majority or any of the rugs from that region.

James


  
November 19th, 2012, 08:54 AM    89
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Hi Henry,

If Mr. Poullada would produce some well illustrated volumes (at attractive prices ) matching up the weavers with the rugs, I'll be at the forefront of promoting the nomenclature. Perhaps this has been done. In any case, there's no point in replacing one dubious set of terms (that is at least understood among the people who care about the subject) with another unless it advances understanding of the real facts.

There isn't that much difference between using the term "Baluch" to cover a multitude of weaving provenances, and using many, perhaps most, of the terms used for other weaving sources. This includes more frankly commercial goods, such as urban and village sources in Iran or Turkey. Take "Bijar," for example. The type is fairly distinctive and recognizable for persons who pay attention to them. At the same time, a study of a large number of examples suggests that they are and were produced in several different venues, probably in the vicinity of the town. In addition, there is some indication that the oeuvre that passes under that rubric is not uniformly Kurdish, as was once widely thought.

I don't mean to take the comparison too far, only to point out that most of our terms in this respect are vaguely accurate at best. It is laudable to shed clear light on the true facts of provenance, no doubt. The problem is, it seems, many alleged advances of knowledge are not much more than the substitution of one inaccurate or, at least, uncertain term for another. Take "Qarai" (Karai) for example. I don't mean in any way to disparage the work of Michael Craycraft, a major figure in the explication and appreciation of these rugs. But even now, I'm not clear on the question whether he (or anyone else) has definitively linked the particular and recognizable pile weavings to the ethnic group. (BTW, has it ever been proved that uniformity of weaving technique and practice as recognized in a given goup of material is necessarily a function of tribal or other ethnic identity?) At the time the Adraskand article was published, he himself indicated that he was merely proposing the argument. Has the state of knowledge become more certain since? Perhaps it has, and in any event, I wouldn't discourage such articles for the world. But the net effect is that the confusion is as often advanced as dispelled.

I don't want to be too curmudgeonly about this, and I recognize that progress has been made in the nomenclature. It's an uneven process, however.

Rich


  
November 19th, 2012, 10:01 AM    90
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Default FoKab?

 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Filiberto Boncompagni View Post
Snappy? Like...
"FoKaB"? (Formerly Known as Baluch)
Thanks Filberto,

Not bad... It would be nice to work a 'P' in somewhere... and starting with "F*K" is always problematic.


Henry


  
November 19th, 2012, 10:33 AM    91
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Default re: faux specificity

 
Quote:
Originally Posted by James Blanchard View Post
The problem is that we shouldn't replace uncertainty with faux specificity.
You find "Weavings of the Small Scale (Largely Turko-Mongol) Societies Inhabiting Greater Khorasan and Sistan, Previoiusly Grouped as 'Baluch'" too specific?

Quote:
... the relative population predominance of an ethno-linguistic group in a particular area does not necessarily mean that they are responsible for the majority or any of the rugs from that region.
Of course. But... an ethno-linguistic minority, of a different tradition than much of the iconography used in the rugs of a particular area (Area 2), and one that in the area (Area 1) where it is the dominant ethno-linguistic group is not known to weave pile rugs, is not, off the top of one's head, likely responsible for the bulk of the rugs from Area 2, no?

Henry


  
November 19th, 2012, 10:38 AM    92
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Default Proof?
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich Larkin View Post
... has it ever been proved that uniformity of weaving technique and practice as recognized in a given goup of material is necessarily a function of tribal or other ethnic identity?)
Has it ever been proved that the only life in the universe is not a single hallucinating cockroach?


Henry


  
November 19th, 2012, 11:14 AM    93
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich Larkin View Post
... has it ever been proved that uniformity of weaving technique and practice as recognized in a given goup of material is necessarily a function of tribal or other ethnic identity?
Hi Rich

I doubt that it can be proved to necessarily be a function of tribal or ethnic identity, but there's overwhelming evidence that it has a high probability of being a reliable indicator of provenance. Attribution is messy enough without abandoning the entire foundation on which it rests, don't you think?

Regards

Steve Price


  
November 19th, 2012, 11:23 AM    94
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Hi Henry

Quote:
Not bad... It would be nice to work a 'P' in somewhere... and starting with "F*K" is always problematic.
That’s why I discarded the other possibility: Formerly Universally Known as Baluch (FUKaB).

Filiberto


  
November 19th, 2012, 02:25 PM 
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Hi Steve,

Of course we wouldn't abandon the analysis of weaving practices as an elemental part of the foundation of attribution for the weavings. My beef is that a perceived "uniformity of weaving technique and practice" is nearly always taken uncritically as an indication that the weavers were all members of a particular tribe, if only we could figure out which tribe. The next thing you know, somebody does, and we are leapfrogging into what that tribe has done historically. Etc.

That approach is often effective, as you suggest. But there are other circumstances that could quite plausibly account for the "sameness" of a given set of weavings, such as mutual geographical proximity among the weavers who are responding to a set of market demands or conditions. Perhaps they are acquiring dyes or materials from a central source, etc., so that the homogeneous character of the weavings is more of a function of the weavers involved in the production being in a certain milieu at the same time, than of them being in the same tribe (and carrying on the artistic and cultural traditions of that tribe). (Steve, I believe your professorial self would call that a run-on sentence. However, that kind of thinking has no place here. )

I suspect that complex circumstances are behind the ultimate character of various weaves much more than we think, rather than the simple fact of tribal identity. Moreover, I suspect that though many weavers may admit to a tribal identity, the degree to which their work product somehow reflects traditions and values of the historical tribe, not to mention technical weaving practices, varies greatly. Consider the Afshar, for example, who apparently weave in a great variety of styles and designs, depending on where they are or were. Thus, I think attribution of a discernible set of weavings to a particular tribe requires more than simply showing that the tribe was well represented among the population of the area from which the weavings emanated.

I don't think my objections here are just so much contrariness. As you say, attribution is inherently messy; I think a lot of that is the result of unwarranted conclusions and deductions, based on limited evidence, being strung together and promoted as fact.

BTW, I personally am an egregious offender in this regard.

Rich
 

Last edited by Richard Larkin; November 19th, 2012 at 02:45 PM.


  
November 19th, 2012, 03:34 PM    96
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Default Mumford, "Baluchistan"

 
Mumford, in "Oriental Rugs," 1901, wrote:



In the sections of the book on Khorasan and Herat, the rugs he verbally describes seem to be unrelated to the ones we are discussing. Was he under (or given) the mistaken impression that the (tribal) rugs that we are interested in were from Baluchistan? Did other early writers repeat his error? It would be only a short step from that to calling the rugs Baluch.

Henry

P.S. By "Tatar with Chinese" I believe Mumford is saying "Turko-Mongol."
 

Last edited by Henry Sadovsky; November 19th, 2012 at 03:57 PM. Reason: To add P.S.


  
November 19th, 2012, 05:04 PM    97
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Hi Henry,

I don't think there is a lot of scholarly-accurate information in that blurb from Mumford. I used to read Mumford, Hawley, and others of the period religiously in order to glean scraps of "real" information about rugs that were around and about at the time. My mindset was that they had access to "experts" from the source countries, who had the "real" information. In retrospect, that might have been naive. In any case, it seems he and others among the early writers assumed erroneously that the pile rugs came from Baluchistan; from that tenuous base of "information," they elaborated tales of the trek, the rug market, the artistic traditions, and so forth. (Seems like a familiar methodology.) It is generally later in the literature that the oft repeated mantra that they don't shows up. We know, from Edwards, for example [ca. 1950, based on a career started in the early 20th century, of which a dozen years or so were spent in country], that migratory Baluchis from different periods who were pile weavers (or at least, became pile weavers) appeared in different parts of Iran, including Khorasan and Seistan. I suspect that Mumford and his peers learned in some manner that the rugs were called "Baluch" or "Baluchistan" in the markets, and assumed that they were from the geographical region of that name. But I doubt that alone accounts for the use of the name in the marketplace.

Speaking of Mumford incidentally, I had reason recently to reread his sections on the rugs of Herat. He must have been talking about rugs we know today, but it beats me what they would be. In fact, I find his prose maddeningly opaque in general. It's amazing how he can be writing at length about rugs he must have been looking at directly, and leave the reader completely in the dark about what rugs they might be.

Look at the description you posted, for example. He says the rug isn't the most frequent type for them. Why? Because the red is of the Tekke variety. Hello? Those plates were tinted by some turn of the century process, and maybe he was let down there in some way. It sure looks like a "Baluch" mahogany red to me. BTW, I made some effort years ago to determine where that illustrated rug might be today, if anywhere, without success.

Anyway, I suspect he had a pile of rugs, the word, "Baluchistan," and several gazeteers at hand, and largely made up the rest. According to Dwight (Persian Miniatures), everybody else of the time plagiarized Mumford.

Rich


  
November 19th, 2012, 06:34 PM    98
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Default Data?

 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Larkin View Post

I don't think there is a lot of scholarly-accurate information in that blurb from Mumford.

... it seems he and others among the early writers assumed erroneously that the pile rugs came from Baluchistan;

According to Dwight (Persian Miniatures), everybody else of the time plagiarized Mumford.
Yes.

Quote:
We know, from Edwards ... that migratory Baluchis from different periods who were pile weavers (or at least, became pile weavers) appeared in different parts of Iran ...

Hi Rich and All,

Yes, there are, and have been, Baluch people outside of Baluchistan (e.g. in Khorasan and Sistan). I am curious to know if anyone viewing this knows of the/any evidence that Edwards (or anyone else) has provided of a longstanding piled weaving tradition amongst such Baluch people?


Henry


  
November 19th, 2012, 08:15 PM    99
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Hi Henry,

Based on the description of the pictured rug in your previous post, I can imagine why Mumford's writing might lead to some confusion and perhaps erroneous conclusions.

First, there is nothing about the colour that reminds me of Tekke. Second, he seems to imbue his interpretation of the design in the same way that many regional rug merchants might, ascribing irregularities in the design as a reflection of "superstition" and suggesting that specific motifs are there to avert the "evil eye".

Frankly, I have no idea what he means in saying that the design "combines Tartar with Chinese". What is the basis for that interpretation? Would others agree with that interpretation, particularly now when the myriad of published rugs and now the internet has opened up a much wider sample of rug designs than were likely available to him at the time? For example, would he have been familiar with the Anatolian and Caucasian rugs that have closely related border designs?

My impression is that if the accuracy of all of his rug descriptions and the attendant interpretations are akin to the one for this rug, I wonder what we can actually infer and how it helps it move us forward.

James


  
November 19th, 2012, 11:29 PM 
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Default Baluchistan, ergo Baluch?

 
Quote:
Originally Posted by James Blanchard View Post
... I can imagine why Mumford's writing might lead to some confusion and perhaps erroneous conclusions.

... I wonder what we can actually infer and how it helps it move us forward.
Hi James,

It is my understanding that Mumford's book was widely read, and influential. I am wondering if he didn't propogate/contribute (to) a wide misunderstanding that Baluch people were the weavers of the diverse piled items that he erroneously attributed to Baluchistan?

Henry
 

Last edited by Henry Sadovsky; November 19th, 2012 at 11:51 PM.


  
November 19th, 2012, 11:53 PM    101
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Henry Sadovsky View Post
Hi James,

It is my understanding that Mumford's book was widely read, and influential. I am wondering if his ("Baluchistan") error didn't propogate/contribute (to) a wide misunderstanding that Baluch people were the weavers of the diverse piled items (from Greater Khorasan, and perhaps Sistan) that had nothing to do with Baluchistan?

Henry
Hi Henry,

Perhaps Mumford influenced some, but much of the information/lore resides in local dealers, many of whom have likely never heard of Mumford. Experienced dealers (>40 years) from the region seem to have a fairly well-developed sense of the origin of various woven products, and attribute them to the "original Baluch", or to other weaving groups (e.g. Chahar Aimaq, Kuchi, etc.). I presume this information is not infallible, and not always consistent. But I don't think that these attributions rely much on the writings of Mumford or other Western sources.

James


  
November 20th, 2012, 12:32 AM 
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Default The answers lie with local dealers?

 
Quote:
Originally Posted by James Blanchard View Post
... much of the information/lore resides in local dealers... Experienced dealers (>40 years) from the region seem to have a fairly well-developed sense of the origin of various woven products...
I assume that 'experienced dealers from the region' were the ultimate source of much of Mumford's mis-information. Are local dealers, such as the ones you have confidence in, better informed about 19th c. (and perhaps earlier) weavings than those Mumford dealt with over a century ago? I suspect not.

Any thoughts on the question I posed at the end of post #98?

Henry


  
November 20th, 2012, 06:41 AM 
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Hi Henry,

Mumford and other early authors were aware of the presence in the market of what they considered a high volume of rugs they attributed to Beluchistan, Baluchistan, Belouch, etc. In 1904, Mary C. Ripley was writing that some of the rugs bore constellations of stars in the design. Most of her discussion was about the reasons they were often called "Blue Bokhara" in the market. In 1910, Eliza Dunn knew the tribes were nomadic in the vicinity of "the Kirman provinces." A few authors were decrying the prevalent practice of bleaching the rugs then being imported. Clearly, there was existing widespread knowledge of a body or rugs attributed to the place or group. It is doubtful that Mumford started a rumor that took over the entire industry.

Rich


  
November 20th, 2012, 08:27 AM    104
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Hi Henry,

Continuing my last post (had some pups to walk). There isn't much doubt about what I take to be your principal thesis: that a great deal of the rugs labeled "Baluch" in the marketplace weren't woven by Baluchi people, but rather by people of other ethnic identities or extractions. Turkic or "Turkic-Mongol" peoples are surely among them, along with Kurds, Arabs, and others. This proposition is implicit in virtually all the serious commentary since, say, 1950. Even in 1940, A. B. Thacher recognized the Teimuri as a separate component of the greater Baluch picture. In the Hajji Baba Christmas Exhibition catalog of 1974, an influential article by Boucher and McCoy Jones implicitly recognizes that a great many of the "Baluch" weavers were not Baluch. In sum, the term has been accepted for some time now as a convenient generality to cover the lack of evidence to identify specifically the weavers of various rug types in the group.

To address your question of post #98, I'm not aware of any evidence for a long-standing pile weaving tradition among strictly Baluchi peoples, to the extent that we can define "strictly Baluchi." It may be that once the "non-Baluch" weavings have been separated out, there isn't very much left. However, it's difficult to to say with certainty what is what. Having in mind the proposition asserted earlier in this thread about the Qarai origin of most of the "Mina Khani" ("Baluch") rugs, it is interesting that as early as 1911, Hawley was noting that the prevalence of this design among the Baluchi output was clear evidence of Persian influence among them.

Until the presently very murky picture becomes clear, in light of a literature full of confusion and contradictions, I'll be sticking with "Baluch," or "Baluch group." If "Weavings of the Small Scale (Largely Turko-Mongol) Societies Inhabiting Greater Khorasan and Sistan, Previoiusly grouped as 'Baluch'" becomes the operative phrase, I'll be heading for the nearest gas pipe, or a reasonable substitute.

Rich


  
November 20th, 2012, 10:54 AM    105
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich Larkin View Post
... in light of a literature full of confusion and contradictions, I'll be sticking with "Baluch," or "Baluch group." If "Weavings of the Small Scale (Largely Turko-Mongol) Societies Inhabiting Greater Khorasan and Sistan, Previoiusly grouped as 'Baluch'" becomes the operative phrase, I'll be heading for the nearest gas pipe, or a reasonable substitute.
Hi Rich,

The above (no doubt inadvertently) misrepresents what I wrote.

Quote:
Why call the set of all such things Baluch? 'Baluch' is sort-of O.K., but surely we can do better. (snip)

"Weavings of the Small Scale (Largely Turko-Mongol) Societies Inhabiting Greater Khorasan and Sistan, Previoiusly grouped as 'Baluch'" is accurate, but unusable. Need something snappy...
As I have for a long time, I too will settle for 'Baluch' (ironic quotation marks mandatory- which is a bit of a problem in verbal communication) until something better than the more accurate but unusable tongue-in-cheek phrase above comes to mind or is proposed.

"Misleading names mislead minds." (All rights reserved, Henry Sadovsky, 2012).

Henry


  
November 20th, 2012, 12:46 PM    106
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Hi Henry

I've been using "Belouch group" (without the quotation marks) for years. It communicates (most ruggies know what I'm talking about), and is vague enough to cause me no conscience problems.

Regards

Steve Price


  
November 20th, 2012, 02:32 PM    107
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Default Beginning again...

 
Hi Steve,

The following is for wordsmiths only.

"Baluch Group" (without quotation marks) offers a slight advantage in verbal communication over "'Baluch'" (note quotation marks). (I admit that when speaking I do go to the trouble of pointing out the irony in 'Baluch.' Sometimes I say "so-called Baluch," but I'm not fond of the dismissive tone of that.) "Baluch Group," as does "'Baluch'," suffers from, at best, giving the Baluch a pride of place they do not deserve, and, at worst (as in the OP of this thread), fundamental miscommunication as to the source of the tribal weavings of Greater Khorasan (and Sistan).

"Now vee may perhaps to begin. Yes?"


Henry


  
November 20th, 2012, 02:46 PM 
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Hi Henry

I don't disagree, but it's also true that appellations are not only used to identify origins (however inaccurately), they're also a shorthand way of describing something. If, for example, I tell you that I own a Dokhtor-i-gazi prayer rug, you've got a lot of information about it without seeing it or a photo or a lengthy description. The fact that there is no record that Dokhtor-i-gazi was ever a geographic place or the name of some group of people detracts from the usefulness of the term, but doesn't destroy it. It's usefulness is that it conveys information concisely.

Regards

Steve Price


  
November 20th, 2012, 02:53 PM 
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Hi Henry,

Aha! Common ground! Something we can agree on.

Quote:
"Misleading names mislead minds."
The entire model of attributing rugs is made up of misleading names. Think about it. "Hamadan." None of the rugs are made there. The rugs that were made there are called "Qazvin" or "Alvand." The whole bag of labels is so many apples and oranges. "Varamin," covering all manner of production. "Northwest Persian," because we're stymied on provenance.
"Yuruk." Most not made by the tribes called by that name in Turkey. Etc. The misuse of a term like "Baluch" in the description of a class of rugs, because we don't know enough to use actual facts, is not novel. The whole business is a virtual reality. We make it do for lack of a better system.

Rich


  
November 20th, 2012, 05:36 PM    110
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Hi Steve,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Price
... appellations are not only used to identify origins (however inaccurately), they're also a shorthand way of describing something.
A proper appelation uniquely identifies a unique entity/idea. The problem with 'Baluch' is that the name is already attributed to a Class (A). Using the same name for a different Class (B), however much winking is done while doing so, unwittingly/incorrectly/unnecessarily attributes to Class B properties of Class A. Furthermore, it isn't hard to find examples where the winking was dispensed with.

---------------------------------------------------------------

Hi Rich,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich Larkin View Post
The misuse of a term like "Baluch" in the description of a class of rugs, because we don't know enough to use actual facts, is not novel.
So... we shouldn't bother trying to do better? I wouldn't care if it wasn't for my impression that sloppy thinking among the small group of people championing 'rugs' as art detracts from the seriousness/respect/attention paid to that art.

Henry


  
November 20th, 2012, 06:15 PM 
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Hi Henry,

Of course we should try to do better. My problem is with having to deal with a plethora of additional misinformation, because we aren't doing better, when we're already choking on the misinformation we have. For example: While thumbing through a few volumes trying to find some information with which to address your question in post #98, I found this statement in one of those long lists of "Baluch" clans and tribes in Azadi's Carpets in the Baluch Tradition: "9. The Karai, in Turbat-e Haidari, who are obviously a sub-tribe of the Salar Khani." Oh? You don't say!

I've long since had as much of that stuff as I can stand, so tend to ignore 'scholarly breakthroughs' until they are established beyond doubt. Azadi certainly comes across as a man who has researched his material thoroughly and conscientiously. Yet, the reader is really at the mercy of the author in these situations. In theory, it would be extremely wonderful to sort out all of these weavings and assign them to their proper makers. But I will stick with the inaccurate, convenience-driven generality until a solid and reliable substitute is available. I definitely won't be adopting the clever, trendy new-label-on-the-block as a seatwarmer while I'm waiting for the solid substitute to come on the scene.

I'm lying, of course, since half the time, I'm calling those depressed warp Mina Khani Baluch rugs with the saturated colors and long narrow formats, "Qarai." That's because I'm weak. And, for all I know, it may be one more inaccurate generality that nevertheless allows me to talk with other ruggies about the piece.

Rich


  
November 20th, 2012, 08:41 PM    112
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Hi Henry,

Quote:
and, at worst (as in the OP of this thread), fundamental miscommunication as to the source of the tribal weavings of Greater Khorasan (and Sistan).
It’s not often that you get quoted as the poster child for a worst-case scenario.
I don’t believe that I miscommunicated the source of the tribal weavings of Greater Khorasan (and Sistan); we all agree that it’s Greater Khorasan and Sistan, no? Certainly, establishing the geographical source of a weaving provides us with some valuable information. I suspect, however, that you mean their “deep” tribal source. I think it should be fairly clear that there is keen doubt that either you (or anyone else) have established such sources to just about anyone’s satisfaction.

I don't think that anyone here is contesting your skepticism about the evidence that the Baluch tribes proper were the creators of the pile weavings we now refer to as Baluch. And I don't think that anyone is celebrating this state of affairs in our knowledge. Nonetheless neither you, nor those you've championed as visionaries, have moved us past the provocative and interesting but, to quote Rich, "new label on the block" level in the attempt to connect extant 'Baluch' rugs back to their tribal antecedents.

Pointing to this as a common dilemma in the study of tribal weavings in an earlier post, Rich drew the parallel to Afshar rugs. As we know, the Afshar are a Turkic tribe that established communities throughout Persia beginning as early as the 11th century. The weavings that are referred to as Afshar were largely made in the area of their greatest modern concentration, Kerman. The first time any such piece was referred to as Afshar in the rug literature was in 1911 by Griffin Lewis but it was not taken as distinguishable from other so-called Shiraz rugs. When Kerman (Afshar) rugs began to come onto Western markets in large numbers, between the end of the 19th century and WWI, they were being produced in numbers that would have made it impossible for the actual Afshar tribal population in Kerman to have been the sole, or even the major, source. In other words, what have come down to us as Afshar rugs have always been 'Afshar' rugs. We are, as with our references to 'Baluch' weaving, necessarily beset with scare quotes.

Quote:
A proper appelation uniquely identifies a unique entity/idea. The problem with 'Baluch' is that the name is already attributed to a Class (A). Using the same name for a different Class (B), however much winking is done while doing so, unwittingly/incorrectly/unnecessarily attributes to Class B properties of Class A.
I think that part of the disagreement here is about what sort of categorization is appropriate to the object of study. If by "unique entity" you mean a class of objects that meet a set of both necessary and sufficient conditions, I don't think you will find one even for much better historically-established tribal weaving groups (unless the list of conditions is so short that the group is overly inclusive and therefore not unique). I think that a useful classification for 'Baluch' rugs would be (and, in fact, is) based on what since Wittgenstein has been referred to as a "family resemblance" (or polythetic) classification. In such a category, there are a large number of properties that members of the class share although an item can be included in the class without containing any particular property. Since, as Steve points out, a major impetus for classification is effective communication, that we seem to be effectively gesturing towards an identifiable set of weavings when we say "Baluch" is reason to believe that such a "family resemblance" concept has some grip on the initiated. And, we seem to be making some progress in honing our classification along the way, since we've all (even me ) come to the agreement that, contrary to the early rug commentators, the rugs we are referring to were woven not in Baluchistan, but, in "Greater Khorasan (and Sistan)".

Quote:
sloppy thinking among the small group of people championing 'rugs' as art detracts from the seriousness/respect/attention paid to that art.
Any and all specific contributions to our collective cognitive hygiene are always appreciated.

Joel


  
November 20th, 2012, 09:49 PM 
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http://www.turkotek.com/misc_00060/baluch.htm

The above rug is definitely from the Zabol area, definitely "baluch group." This was confirmed on-site in Afghanistan by the senior, most respected wallah of the rug bazaar of Herat (for what it's worth, which may be only geographically correct).

Many consider Craycraft and his imaginative "Karai" attributions to be "Karai-zy." No one has found the "Karai" lately, only a few references in older publications that list groups belonging to the Chahar Amaiq mention a group called "Karai." There is no evidence, other than rather fantastic avowals, they weave/wove rugs, much less the rug group pushed by Craycraft.

Tom Cole will occasionally be coaxed into proposing an Amaiq alternative for Baluch-group rugs generally attributed to the Ferdous-group area, but Jerry Anderson pretty much stuck with a Baluch sub-group, Jan Begi, for the flowered mina khanis, especially with the three-flower vine-ephedra border.

The symmetrical knoted "Baluch" are usually attribuited to the Ba'lul... a rather mysterious but documented group who probably/possibly have "Afshar" roots. Their national myths correspond exactly to the exodus of the Afshar and their weavings often have an eerie echo of Afshar from Kerman and Dura'quez (?). Also, Kordi rugs from S, SW of Mershed often have a distinct Baluch influence, but usually not the same colorization... they are sy knotted. However, it is not necessary to be "Baluch" to be part of "Baluch culture." The "Baluch" have absorbed a great many sub-groups into their world. They will generally identify themselves as (sept, Khel, and Baluch).

No one has ever extensively documented the Afshar of Dura'quez. Best notes are by in his book "Kordi."
 

Last edited by Jack Williams; November 20th, 2012 at 09:57 PM.


  
November 20th, 2012, 10:18 PM    114
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Hey Jack!

Ahlan! Long time, no see.

In your experience, are persons involved in the rug market in Iran and Afghanistan conscious of the issue whether weavers of various material are "true" Baluch people, or otherwise?

Good to hear from you. Pass on our regards to Gene.

Rich


  
November 21st, 2012, 01:20 AM 
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Default Duelling wallahs

 
Hello Jack,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack Williams View Post
Many consider Craycraft and his imaginative "Karai" attributions to be "Karai-zy." No one has found the "Karai" lately, only a few references in older publications that list groups belonging to the Chahar Amaiq mention a group called "Karai." There is no evidence, other than rather fantastic avowals, they weave/wove rugs, much less the rug group pushed by Craycraft.
Rather than defer to the authority of the anonymous 'many,' and the vaguest possible allusion to 'references,' how about you speak for yourself? Specifically, what in Craycraft's Karai monograph (abridged version available here) do you object to? Speaking of evidence, can you point to any that 19th century Baluch wove piled rugs?

As to wallahs, one I know (and you do too, having cited him more than once as an authority you trust on matters Baluch) wrote me on 12/14/2011:

Quote:
Originally Posted by A San Francisco Bay Area Carpet Wallah and HALI Editor in an E-mail
The REAL Baluch people (of Dravidian origins) do not weave pile rugs. Therefore.. the "so-called Baluch" attributiion.
Last wallah standing is the one speaking the truth?


Henry
 

Last edited by Henry Sadovsky; November 21st, 2012 at 01:28 AM.


  
November 21st, 2012, 07:34 AM    116
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Hi Henry and all,

Dueling wallahs? After the recent exchange over Mumford and his contemporaries, aren't we already wallowing in wallahs?

Quote:
Last wallah standing is the one speaking the truth?
One source of confusion seems to be what "truth" is being referred to. Is anyone disputing the truth that the descriptive label 'Baluch' refers to a "family resemblance" set of rugs that, with a bit of inevitable slippage is widely understood and shared? And that within this category that there are more or less agreed upon names for sub-categories, based on geographical and/or tribal attributions (that may or may not be accurate)? This is what I took Jack to mean when he cited his rug as "Zabol" and "Baluch group". Having seen other examples with that combined label that had a number of prominent overlapping features, I understood the reference. In fact, after enough exposure to "Baluch' rugs, we can adapt Justice Potter Stewart's epistemologically canny observation that while we can't specify the necessary elements of a 'Baluch' rug, we know one when we see it.

Then there is the matter of truth about who the people were that wove these in the 19th century and perhaps earlier. While we can all agree that this question does have an answer, what appears very unlikely is that the evidence exists to establish that answer as more than a set of competing speculations on the part of our contemporary rug wallahs. Rich hit it squarely on the head:
Quote:
Of course we should try to do better. My problem is with having to deal with a plethora of additional misinformation, because we aren't doing better, when we're already choking on the misinformation we have.
There are clearly multiple answers to the question
Quote:
Speaking of evidence, can you point to any that 19th century Baluch wove piled rugs?
If we mean the rugs we all call "Baluch", it's "plenty". There is broad agreement that there are extant 19th century 'Baluch' rugs. If it asks, were these woven by Baluch people, we get into the more complicated (and contested, e.g. "the REAL Baluch people") topic of the criteria for being categorized as Baluch. Without agreement on who constituted the category in the 19th century or better evidence on who was producing the weavings in the geographical regions from which we agree they came, rhetorically reiterating the question may generate a little heat, but surely very little light.

Joel


  
November 21st, 2012, 07:39 AM    117
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Henry Sadovsky View Post
Hello Jack,



Rather than defer to the authority of the anonymous 'many,' and the vaguest possible allusion to 'references,' how about you speak for yourself? Specifically, what in Craycraft's Karai monograph (abridged version available here) do you object to? Speaking of evidence, can you point to any that 19th century Baluch wove piled rugs?

As to wallahs, one I know (and you do too, having cited him more than once as an authority you trust on matters Baluch) wrote me on 12/14/2011:



Last wallah standing is the one speaking the truth?


Henry
Hi Henry,

I can understand the concern about attributing rugs to the Baluch, which might well have been woven by non-Baluch weavers. It will always be a challenge with regard to rugs from that region, I think.

However, you seem to challenge the notion that Baluch have any tradition of pile-rug weaving at all. I think that goes much too far in the other direction. Let me try to explain my reasoning.

First, the Baluch know who they are, and those that are not Baluch don't call themselves Baluch. We have plenty of evidence (particularly from Wegener) of Baluch families having their own pile woven objects, and as Wegener observed, the different tribal groups had their own motifs. Admittedly, Wegener's written observations were from the 3rd quarter of the 20th century but is seems reasonable to assume that if Baluch tribal groups had not only developed a facility for making pile-woven rugs, but also developed well-formed distinctive design traditions, they had been at it for at least several generations. If their pile weaving was simply a recent derivative from other weaving groups then I don't think it is plausible that they would have formed separate design pools within their tribal groups within a generation or two. Moreover, even within those specific Baluch tribal design pools, we have extant examples of design degeneration, which must have also occurred over generations.

Perhaps more importantly, we have evidence of an early "word of mouth" oral tradition that affirms that the Baluch people have a long history of weaving rugs. I would refer you to references in Diehr's "Three Dusty Dozen" in which he quotes passages from M. Longworth Dames' "Popular poetry of the Baloches" (1907). Dames recorded ballads, songs and poems that he heard from the Baluch in the last two decades of the 19th century. As Diehr points out, there are "snippets" within the translated poems, etc. that refer to a longstanding tradition of producing and valuing carpets. For example, in 1879 one of the Baluch "bards" recounts of how the Rind Baluch tribe (c. 1500 AD) prepared to move to conquer new territory:

Quote:
They came to their carpet huts, and ordered their turbaned slaves to saddle their mares... The fighting men called the women. 'Come ye down from the castles, bring out your beds and wrappings, carpets and red blankets, pillows and striped rugs...'
In 1883 two Baluch bards recounted events surrounding a war between the Rind and Lashari Baluch tribes (late 15th century). They recounted:

Quote:
Then Mir Bakar and Ramen and famous Gwaharam [Lashari "heroes"] sent a beautiful mat, and bribed the Turks..."
In this account, they refer to bribing Sultan Shah Husein (a "Turk"), who is recorded in other historical accounts as having ruled from AD 1468 to 1507. As Diehr points out, the mat must have had some value if it was seen as a suitable bribe for a non-Baluch Sultan.

Whatever one might think about the accuracy of the Baluch oral tradition recounted here, it is important to note that these accounts were given in the 19th century. I think it highly unlikely that Baluch oral histories would refer to beautiful mats, rugs and carpets if they did not have a well-formed tradition of weaving them at that time.

So, I am not ready to abandon the notion that Baluch tribes have a long-standing tradition of weaving Baluch rugs. I remain prepared to accept that many of the rugs from that region (I would include W Afghanistan) are woven by other ethno-linguistic groups. But I would offer the observation that rugs from that region have a particular aesthetic character that distinguish them from other major tribal weaving groups. I don't think that it is far-fetched to suggest that it might have resulted from a long-standing "Baluch" weaving tradition in the region, particularly considering the sociological flexibility and assimilative capacity of tradition Baluch society. Beyond that, I'm not sure that there is sufficient evidence for more specificity.

James


  
November 21st, 2012, 10:44 AM 
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Hi Joel,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joel Greifinger View Post
Is anyone disputing the truth that the descriptive label 'Baluch' refers to a "family resemblance" set of rugs that, with a bit of inevitable slippage is widely understood and shared?
Not I.

Quote:
Then there is the matter of truth about who the people were that wove these in the 19th century and perhaps earlier. ... what appears very unlikely is that the evidence exists to establish that answer ...
So you don't know who wove the rugs but you are satisfied to give them the name of a specific people, albeit in quotation marks, though you may reserve the right for yourself to drop the quotation marks as in the OP. Well, its certainly not against the law.

Henry


  
November 21st, 2012, 10:45 AM 
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Hi James,

Quote:
Originally Posted by James Blanchard View Post
... M. Longworth Dames' "Popular poetry of the Baloches" (1907). Dames recorded ballads, songs and poems that he heard from the Baluch in the last two decades of the 19th century. As Diehr points out, there are "snippets" within the translated poems, etc. that refer to a longstanding tradition of producing and valuing carpets.
To be rigorous, one could substitute "owning" for "producing" in the last sentence above, and one could wonder if the word translated as "carpet" implies pile in the original language, but I do thank you for bringing that to my attention.

My take-away from Diehr was (Treasured Baluch Pieces, last paragraph, page 15),
"How it came about that the emigrated Baluchis turned from flat to pilewoven items, we do not know; we do not even know for sure if this assumption is true at all."

Henry


  
November 21st, 2012, 11:05 AM    120
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Hello Joel, hello all,

in addition you will following find a scan from a rug with at least two rows of Shelpes in the main field. The rug has been shown in Bausbacks exhibition catalogue from 1980 on page 19.
It is described as knotted with the Ghirodes knot and has a two cords goat hair wrapped Shirasi.



Interesting but also confusing are its ends. Upper is a flat weave with a chevron stripe, maybe made in interlocked technique . It seems to be nearly complete. Lower end is, as DeWitt Mallary described in his Bahluli-article in Hali 162, a plainweave in bands of solid colour. Lower end seems to be reduced, question is now whether there was such a chevron stripe too, as seen in upper end . If not, ends are not made similar/symmetric, which is in my experience unusual.

Martin


  
November 21st, 2012, 12:19 PM    121
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Hi Martin,

In the lower end of the piece you posted, there is a fine whitish line in about the middle of the flatwoven end section. It looks as though it might employ the weft substitution technique, though the ebtire section could be simply plainweave. Do your sources provide information about that?

If one end used weft substitution and the other didn't, I agree that would be unusual.

Rich


  
November 21st, 2012, 12:54 PM    122
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Hi Henry,

Quote:
though you may reserve the right for yourself to drop the quotation marks as in the OP. Well, its certainly not against the law.
Is that bona fide legal advice, or should I consult my attorney?

Quote:
So you don't know who wove the rugs but you are satisfied to give them the name of a specific people, albeit in quotation marks
Yes. Actually, with or without the quotation marks, single or double. You should try it. It keeps you from having to do that peculiar "air quote" thing with your fingers when you're speaking with someone.

I didn't realize that the worst-case, "fundamental miscommunication" characterization of the opening post in the thread hung entirely on my having neglected my scare-quotes around "Baluch". Who could have guessed it would be nearly as evocative as the taste of a madeleine cake dipped in tea in the first volume of Proust's Ŕ la recherche du temps perdu.

Joel


  
November 21st, 2012, 03:25 PM    123
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Hi all,

I think James is spot on in post #117, particularly in respect to the weight to be accorded Wegner's observations. He spent years among the tribes providing medical care, and took a greater than ordinary interest in their weavings all the while. Though he probably wasn't doing an anthropological study, as such, in regard to the strictly Baluch origins of his various patient groups, surely he would have noted the fact had it been the case none of the pile weavers were genuinely Baluch. Beyond that, James' point that the state of their aggregate production suggests at least several generations of weaving is very cogent in my opinion.

Another factor that suggests to me a link back through a strictly Baluch weaving tradition for the surviving pile work is the prevalence of the characteristic flatwoven ends, usually featuring very prominently the weft substitution technique. The same technique is widely used in the flatwoven production of Baluchistan proper as illustrated in Konieczny's book on the subject. Between the suggestive aspects of that circumstance and Edwards' comments about the Baluch who entered Khorasan in the eighteenth century, it seems eminently reasonable to conclude that those Baluch were pile weavers well back into the nineteenth century and beyond. How far beyond, of course, is anybody's guess.

Finally, looking again at Mumford, one can understand his need to wax a bit lyrical about the bleak sands of Baluchistan in order to fill out his book, not realizing that the rugs weren't coming from there. Where we might expect him to be more firmly grounded in fact would be in his comments that the rugs were being imported in very large numbers at the time of his writing. And aparently, everyone was calling them "Baluch," or "Baluchistan." How did that happen, if the Baluchi people weren't weaving any of them? We note it took a while for the notion to set in that saying "Baluch" and "Baluchistan" wasn't quite the same thing. BTW, not to speak for Joel, I would think his comfort in conveniently calling a group of rugs whose specific origins are not completely clear to us "Baluch" would derive in part from the fact that that's what everybody else has been calling them for at least 112 years.

Mumford's comment about the volume of production raises another consideration that I think tends to hide the historical past from out view in the case of Baluch (and other) pile weaving. It is the enormous impact of the huge boom in rug production in the Middle East that occurred towards the latter part of the nineteenth century. It seems very likely that pile weaving of rugs was taken up as a regular economic activity by far more people from that point forward than in the period before. That a society whose economy was essentially based on wool and hair bearing animals would jump onto a newly enlarged demand for goods woven from those materials is not surprising. Mumford's remarks confirm that it happened among the Baluch. Certainly, many women of the tribes must have allocated much more of their time to such weaving once it was realized there was "gold in them thar hills." Very likely, whole groups took up pile weaving in earnest that had done none or little theretofore. Given the sparseness of historical information about weaving anyway, that huge expansion of weaving activity, which no doubt has persisted to a degree through the twentieth century, further obscures our view of the distant past among discrete groups in the region.

Rich


  
November 21st, 2012, 03:33 PM    124
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Hi Joel, and All,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joel Greifinger View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Henry Sadovsky
So you don't know who wove the rugs but you are satisfied to give them the name of a specific people, albeit in quotation marks, though you may reserve the right for yourself to drop the quotation marks as in the OP.
Yes. Actually, with or without the quotation marks, single or double.

"The thing speaks for itself."


Henry


  
November 21st, 2012, 03:53 PM 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Henry Sadovsky View Post
Hi James,



To be rigorous, one could substitute "owning" for "producing" in the last sentence above, and one could wonder if the word translated as "carpet" implies pile in the original language, but I do thank you for bringing that to my attention.

My take-away from Diehr was (Treasured Baluch Pieces, last paragraph, page 15),
"How it came about that the emigrated Baluchis turned from flat to pilewoven items, we do not know; we do not even know for sure if this assumption is true at all."

Henry
Hi Henry,

Perhaps you are not persuaded that the "carpet huts" and "carpets... and striped rugs" does not imply that pile-woven rugs are likely part of that grouping, but I am inclined to think that this strong enough evidence in combination with the rest of the information we have. Moreover, I would think that it would be a rather interesting kilim that would have been seen as a suitable bribe for the Shah of Herat.

I think that we are making assumptions about the transition from flatweaving to pile weaving among the Baluch, and when that might have occurred.

You asked for some evidence that there was a pile weaving tradition among Baluch tribes in the 19th century. I think I have provided it, at least to my satisfaction.

I wonder if you would be able to reciprocate and provide evidence for the assertions about pile weaving by the Turkic(Mongol) groups of that region in the 19th century and earlier.

James


  
November 21st, 2012, 04:33 PM    126
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Default Things don't speak for themselves, but Rich can speak for me

 
Hi Henry,

Quote:
"The thing speaks for itself."
Really? I've never heard a "thing" speak for itself.
If you mean that you believe that you have made a compelling prima facie argument for your point of view, it appears to me from the abundant and diverse counter-arguments that such a belief is unfounded.

Rich,

Quote:
BTW, not to speak for Joel, I would think his comfort in conveniently calling a group of rugs whose specific origins are not completely clear to us "Baluch" would derive in part from the fact that that's what everybody else has been calling them for at least 112 years.
Of course you can speak for me. You were the attorney I was intending to consult with (in #122) on whether my missing quotation marks in the opening post of this thread might constitute a misdemeanor.
Besides, the point you make for me was one that I was trying to make in elaborating the Afshar analogy back in #112.

Joel


  
November 21st, 2012, 04:49 PM    127
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Hi James,

Quote:
Originally Posted by James Blanchard View Post
You asked for some evidence that there was a pile weaving tradition among Baluch tribes in the 19th century. I think I have provided it,
Yes. Again, thank you. Evidently the conciliatory tone of my initial response was not received by you. I don't believe in skepticism for skepticism's sake, and i was just having a little fun in being as skeptical as some others in this thread have enjoyed (being).

Quote:
I wonder if you would be able to reciprocate and provide evidence for the assertions about pile weaving by the Turkic(Mongol) groups of that region in the 19th century and earlier.
Evidence that pile weaving is an old and deep tradition of the Turko-Mongol Hordes? Now, that's skeptical!!

From Pittenger, "Reports on the Tribes":

Edward Stirling, 1828-29, speaking of a Timuri(?) village between Meshed and Bala Murghab:
"One womean was engaged along with two other women in weaving an elegant rug."

Gen. Josiah Harlan, 1837-40:
"The Hazarrahs of Dye Zungee exchange their ghee and woolen cloths for wheat, fruit, etc... "
"An excellent carpet is made in Dye Zungee. ... perhaps the best results of Hazarah efforts in the fine arts applied to utilitarian purposes."

Capt. Arthur Connolly, 1841, "Report from area between Bamian and Maimana":
"The Huzarahs and Eimauks bring to market... grain sacks and carpet bags, felts for horse clothing, and patterned carpets."

Nicholas de Khanikoff, 1958-9, Herat:
"... but in the rugs prepared in the huts of the Illyats (nomads), all the wefts throughout are of hair."

H.W. Bellew, 1872.
Ghayn (Qain):
Talks of the "celebrated" carpets in a context of nomads who are clearly not Belooch.
Also:
"at Turbat-i-Haidari, seat of the Carai family, of Tatar origin."
"The Balooch have now left the area; ... ."

One could go on ... Interestingly, there is no similar eyewitness accounts of Baluch people weaving in the area!


Henry


  
November 21st, 2012, 04:54 PM    128
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Hi Joel,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joel Greifinger
Quote:
Originally Posted by Henry Sadovsky
"The thing speaks for itself."
Really? I've never heard a "thing" speak for itself.
Here ya' go.


Henry


  
November 21st, 2012, 05:26 PM 
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Default Reification strikes again

Hi Henry,

Thanks for the link. It states:
"Res ipsa loquitur means that because the facts are so obvious, a party need explain no more" thus, "no further explanation is needed to establish the prima facie case."

While I've still never heard anything speak for itself (the idea is a legal reification), it certainly isn't true, as I wrote earlier, that further explanation is unnecessary to establish your prima facie argument.

Ah, but as I've said, I really should leave the legal niceties to my attorney.

Joel


  
November 21st, 2012, 05:51 PM 
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Hi Martin,

Welcome to Turkotek.

That rug from the Bausback catalog is interesting in a variety of ways.
The weaver seems to have changed her mind about the field motifs, shifting over to the shelpes for the top two rows and then decided to go with the seemingly interlocked chevron tapestry stripe. Even if there is some of the end finish missing from the bottom, whatever was there was clearly not entirely symmetrical with what she finished off the top with.

Quote:
Lower end is, as DeWitt Mallary described in his Bahluli-article in Hali 162, a plainweave in bands of solid colour.
While most of the pieces in his HALI article have the plainweave bands (which he believes to be a sign of greater age in this group, for unstated reasons), he does show two rugs with chevrons similar to the ones in the top of the Bausback piece. The first is this double-niche rug with shelpes that I posted at the start of the thread:



The other is this sofreh from the Wisdom collection where the chevrons are described as being interlocked :



Is that major border one that you have seen on other 'Baluch' rugs?

Joel


  
November 21st, 2012, 05:55 PM    131
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Henry Sadovsky View Post
Hi James,



Yes. Again, thank you. Evidently the conciliatory tone of my initial response was not received by you. I don't believe in skepticism for skepticism's sake, and i was just having a little fun in being as skeptical as some others in this thread have enjoyed (being).



Evidence that pile weaving is an old and deep tradition of the Turko-Mongol Hordes? Now, that's skeptical!!

From Pittenger, "Reports on the Tribes":

Edward Stirling, 1828-29, speaking of a Timuri(?) village between Meshed and Bala Murghab:
"One womean was engaged along with two other women in weaving an elegant rug."

Gen. Josiah Harlan, 1837-40:
"The Hazarrahs of Dye Zungee exchange their ghee and woolen cloths for wheat, fruit, etc... "
"An excellent carpet is made in Dye Zungee. ... perhaps the best results of Hazarah efforts in the fine arts applied to utilitarian purposes."

Capt. Arthur Connolly, 1841, "Report from area between Bamian and Maimana":
"The Huzarahs and Eimauks bring to market... grain sacks and carpet bags, felts for horse clothing, and patterned carpets."

Nicholas de Khanikoff, 1958-9, Herat:
"... but in the rugs prepared in the huts of the Illyats (nomads), all the wefts throughout are of hair."

H.W. Bellew, 1872.
Ghayn (Qain):
Talks of the "celebrated" carpets in a context of nomads who are clearly not Belooch.
Also:
"at Turbat-i-Haidari, seat of the Carai family, of Tatar origin."
"The Balooch have now left the area; ... ."

One could go on ... Interestingly, there is no similar eyewitness accounts of Baluch people weaving in the area!


Henry
Hi Henry,

I apologize if the tone of my last message gave the impression that I have found this discussion anything other than cordial. Indeed, I think that it has, but perhaps the written word doesn't always adequately convey the sentiments of the writer.

With your wonderful sources above, we have now confirmed that all of the weaving groups to which we normally ascribe carpet weaving in the region have a relatively long-standing tradition. Perhaps the Baluch are the lone group that we should exclude from the list, but I don't happen to think so. We still have the conundrum of which rugs to attribute to which groups, and how to refer to the overall group.

An approach has emerged among long-time dealers in the area, and it has been applied in other weaving areas. It includes a mix of geographic localization, along with various levels of tribal specificity.

For example, we might hear of "West Afghanistan Baluch" or "Adraskand Baluch" or "Farah Baluch", or "West Afghanistan Aimaq" or more specifically "Yakub Khan" or "Timuri" or "Djan Begi" or "Sangtchuli", etc. My own approach tends to mirror that approach, with a tendency towards generalization when there isn't clarity. But I have no qualms about using the term "Baluch" if I think it has a strong enough basis.

James

Last edited by James Blanchard; November 21st, 2012 at 06:10 PM.


  
November 21st, 2012, 06:12 PM    132
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Hello All,


From http://tinyurl.com/bzdezvk:





Not proof of anything, of course. Just to perhaps unsettle some seemingly settled opinions.


Henry


  
November 21st, 2012, 07:54 PM    133
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