Re: Are Prayer Rugs Ethnographic?

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Posted by Marvin Amstey on December 04, 1998 at 09:02:24:

In Reply to: Re: Are Prayer Rugs Ethnographic? posted by Maury Bynum on December 03, 1998 at 11:55:30:

: ::Mu First entry into this discussion:

: In my limited travel in the midd east, I have seen a number of devout mulsems praaying and have seen numerous prayer rugs, but never together! The nomadic pastorialists tend not to be devout muslems,, and rarely wove prayer rugs.
: They would just as often use a small tile to touch the foreheadd to in prayer at the side of the road. To my perception, prayer rugs were woven for trade to capitolize on the "Mystique" of prayer on the mind of the western market.

: Regarding quality and ethnicity:
: During the TM Turkoman tour in 1975, we visited the Ethnographic museum in Tashkent and saw the wonderful Ikats and Suzannis, also the very coarse
: Uzbek pile pieces. The curator, who spoke English, indicated that these pieces were fairly rare because the nomadic uzbecks prided themself of their fine suzanis and ikats, didn't think these coarse products were worthy of trade, and consequently used them on the ground floor of their yurts, and wehen they wore out were discarded.
: Certainly there are a plethora of pieces of this type on the market today, usually new and in perfect condition, suggesting that there is an active cottage industry producing these pieces for trade--therefore, not at all ethnographic, though in the not-too-distant past,
: these pieces were in fact ethnographic.
: :

Maury makes a good point: at what time do ethnographic rugs become non-ethnographic? Inherent in that question, at least to me, is the fact that unless the rug was made exclusively for the use of the weaver or her family, it is not "ethnographic". In fact, I'm not sure that the term is very meaningful (sorry, John). We need another term: personal property vs non-personal property. Marvin

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