Re: Are Prayer Rugs Ethnographic?

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Posted by Marvin Amstey on December 01, 1998 at 20:02:27:

In Reply to: Are Prayer Rugs Ethnographic? posted by Irwin Kirsch on December 01, 1998 at 19:19:18:

: Dear Folks:

: 1) One would think that weavings as personal as "prayer rugs" would be woven exclusively for self consumption. Was this in fact the case, or were many woven for sale outside of the family unit?

: 2) On Caucasian prayer rugs, does anyone have any idea or premise why many exhibit the mihrab attached to the guard stripes or borders while others are "free floating". Is there any significance that many Kazak Fachralo and Bordjalou prayer rugs have a re-entrant niche whereas in other Caucasian regions none are to be found?

: Looking forward to your comments,

: Irwin

Irwin's first question is the most obvious question that rug lovers might ask, yet I don't recall anyone asking such an obvious question in all my reading. That being the case, maybe the term "prayer rug" is a misnomer. Did a dealer long ago hit upon that term as a marketing device for those rugs designed with a mirhab incorporated? Did the weavers simply add that device to show their devotion to their religion?

Since most of these "prayer rugs" were never used as such - anymore than any other clean place to pray - it would appear that the answers to my questions are yes and yes. More importantly it answers Irwin's question that "prayer rugs" , per se, are not ethnographic; the rug itself, no matter what the design element may be ethnographic. Marvin

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