Posted by Deschuyteneer Daniel on November 25, 1998 at 10:05:43:
I know I run some risks posting this but I haven't any better contribution to propose.
I never lived or travelled in Turkmenistan, so I may be totally wrong but here are some of my thoughts, and I have tried to control them empirically.
Are salatchak kind of "sleeping rugs" in the conventional sense in which we think of "sleeping rugs" or "child's outerwear's"
1/ The corporeal perimeter of a child of 6 months measured at the level of his shoulders is around two feet (1'10"). How would it be possible to wrap a child with a rug that is only 2'6" width.
It can appear that a width of 2'6" is enough to cover 1'10", but this is without telling the thickness of the ply. You can't ply a rug like a tape measure applied against the body. I used a cushion of the same perimeter (1'10") and I rolled it into a very floppy piled rug. I needed a width of 2'3" to cover the cushion. So this rug is just wide enough to cover it but how will the child still be able to make any movements?
Also what will happen when the child will growth? I don't think the mothers would weave sleeping or outerwear's rugs for a six month use.
2/ As there aren't any closure's system on the side of the rug the child would be surely totally uncovered after some movements.
It could be secured by wrapping with straps but considering the problems evoked at point 1 I don't think so. Why have their bags closures and not these rugs if their intention was to wrap the child?
3/ The height of a child of six months is around 2' 3" so I wonder how it could be possible to fold a child from bottom to top with this rug which measures 3'8"
A length of twice the height of the child would be necessary. You must tell 2x the height of the child + the length of his feet + the thickness of the ply. Using the same cushion I needed a length of 4' to do it.
4/ Child's and peculiarly new born have a very delicate skin. Such a rug with a dry crisp wool would surely be to much irritating if it was used for this purpose. This was already evoked by Steve.
5/ The corporeal surface of a child is proportionally greater then the corporeal surface of an adult. This is one of the reason wherefore child's don't control their corporeal temperature as easily as we, adults, do. So I don't think that a flatweave would be enough to protect them against cold.
6/Inevitably the rug will be often dirty by urine even if kind of layers were used. As we know that urine contains mordants and colorants the colours would be faded in the middle of the rug. Does this happen with salatchak ?
7/ I think the women, as in many nomadic tribes, had a high fertility rate and that they had many children's. So they would have woven a lot of "cradle" or "sleeping" rugs.
Why are they so rare?
Is this piece not only an "eyerlyk" (saddle-cover) woven for very special events (which explains its rarity)?
You surely will answer that the absence of a slit at the bottom of the rug is against this hypothesis, but I think that there aren't always a slit in saddle-covers.
These are at least my thoughts.
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