Khamseh Attribution

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Posted by J. Barry O'Connell Jr. on November 24, 1998 at 07:08:01:

Khamseh Attribution
I assumed this was a teaching exercise that would wind it's way around to the most probable answer but I may as well voice an opinion since you are wrapping it up. .

This is a beautiful old rug woven by skilled weavers. However I fail to see how you can firmly attribute this to the Khamseh. Daniel was most correct when he wrote" Khamseh (?)". Whoever edited out the "?" did him a disservice. I am familiar with this pattern rug and it is a village rug from the Shiraz region. Just because it is pretty does not mean a tribal appellation is warranted. Anyone who studies Persian weaving should realize that Iran has a myriad number of villages that turn out beautiful rugs that are not attributable to a specific tribe.

Even to use tribal designations is questionable. Qashqai speak Qashqai, Luri speak Luri, Afshar speak Afshari, however no one speaks Khamseh because it is not a language. It is not a homogeneous confederation of linguistically related peoples. It is a late Persian early Iranian political unit. A detribalized Khamseh can not remain a Khamseh after separation from the political unit and especially not after the political unit ceases to exist. This is different than the Qashqai who remain identifiably Qashqai after separation from the tribe (il) because they are linguistically Qashqai. I will acknowledge that following Opie (who is brilliant) then Khamseh is an appropriate appellation for a specific group of rugs but even Jim would never try to attribute all the Shiraz village rugs to the Khamseh. There is not even sufficient reason demonstrated to attribute the rug to detribalized Khamseh or their descendents. This over-attribution is like trying to call a Pak-Bokhara (even if it is beautiful) a Tekke because it looks like one to the casual observer.
Best wishes,
J. Barry O'Connell Jr.

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