Arab-Khamseh? Dowry items?

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Posted by Deschuyteneer Daniel on November 18, 1998 at 12:33:35:

Good morning,

Here is my small contribution:

Part one: Khamseh or Arab Khamseh attribution?

The most important contribution to a better understanding and attribution of South West Persian rugs has been provided by the research's of James Opie and the publishing of his book "Tribal Rugs of South Western Persia".

His reasonable attributions are based on personal observations and information's gleaned through local dealers when he travels around Shiraz.

Using his guide lines and having handled a lot of one I am sure this rug is from the Kamseh Confederacy.

Some Kamseh characteristics in this rug:

1/ The use of coarsely spun warps with a mixture of white, light brown and "barberpole" yarns.
2/The very floppy handle due to the use of medium thick brown wefts not tightly packed.
3/The shape of the central stepped diamond, with arms of rather plain design extending from it. (The more usual three medallion format is an old inheritance in Southern Persia)
4/The use of the Morgh design. The morgh was a favourite motif a design which may have developed with them or may have borrowed from the Afshars.
5/The main border rendering.
Commenting this type of border James Opie says : "This border was popular in the Feraghan district of Arak province, and in many other weavings centers…, and was very rarely, if ever used in Qashqa'i work. This same border is found in many Afshari village rugs, and also in Khamseh pieces, though it certainly had a city or town origin.
6/The overall crowded design and the small checkerboard diamonds scattered in the field are usual in Khamseh rugs. Also James Opie in "Tribal rugs from South western Persia" show a Kamseh bag face with exactly the same type of boteh framing the field (p 107).
7/ Despite the intense colours of this rug the range of colours is limited. Only seven colours are used.

When James Opie tentatively attributes a rug to one of the sub-groups it is always based on reasoned scholarship and keys to identifying their rugs were presented in his book.

Trying to use them I couldn't make a convincingly sub-group attribution and it seems preferably to use for this rug the more general Khamseh attribution, as already been proposed in other discussions.

Part two: An "ex-dowry" piece?

I was very pleased with the information's given by Wendel. Many thanks.

Now were rugs, trappings, bags used as dowry as asked by Tom Cole.

Trying to find an answer I search in Barth's book (who lived among them in the 50th): " Nomads of South Persia: the Basseri Tribe of the Kamseh Confederacy" .

There are very few information's concerning this custom:

Page 139

"The choice of spouse lies squarely in the hands of the parents; and even adult men, e.g. widowers, never negotiate their own marriages, but act through a senior relative.
Once a father and son agreed to seek a betrothal, the son starts performing a sort of informal bride-service, helping his prospective father-in-law by fetching wood, serving tea, and assisting in tasks requiring the co-operation of several men, such as breaking in young horse riding, or shearing sheep. Gifts for the girl are also offered to her father, the acceptance of which places him under a certain obligation, while the refusal or return of such gifts is a clear idiom of dismissal.
Finally, if a formal promise can be extracted from the girl's father, this is solemnised the next day in a betrothal ceremony. The crucial feature of this is the drawing up of a marriage contract, usually by a Sayyid or a mullah from a village. This document stipulates the size of the "mahr", or deferred dowry, but not the bride-price. The sum of the mahr is arrived at by bargaining in wich a number of persons participate, and it ranges from 500-1000 Tomans …"

Page 8

"All locally used wool and hair is spun by hand on spindlewhorls…All sadlebags, packbags and sacks used in packing the belongings of the nomads are woven by the women from this thread, as are the rugs used for sleeping. Carpets are also tied, as are the outer surfaces of the finest pack and saddle-bags…"

Hoping this can help

Best wishes

Daniel Deschuyteneer

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