The Ersari Asmalyk

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Posted by Steve Price on December 03, 1998 at 20:02:23:

In Reply to: Do these qualify? posted by Jerry Silverman on December 03, 1998 at 18:58:54:

Dear Jerry,

Oh yes, the three pieces you put up. We've been so busy with other things we forgot about them.

The Ersari asmalyk is ethnographic, and in an unusual way. It is obviously not derived from archaic Turkmen tradition, the field design and layout being heavily influenced by urban styles.

The folks who made this were not nomads, but descendents of nomads. They lived in villages and towns, sometimes in tents sometimes in houses, but retained much of the culture from which they emerged. Their furnishings were mainly woven, just as they were for their nomadic ancestors and relatives. I assume from the existence of this kind of asmalyk that their marriage practices also had much of the old tradition in them.

What makes this piece especially interesting ethnographically to me is how perfectly it reflects the situation of the weavers. Settled people with strong influence from the cities as well as from their nomadic pasts.

Besides that, I think it's really beautiful. It wass my favorite piece in the Chicago show, and I was glad to see it among your selections for this Salon.

Steve Price

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