Posted by Steve Price on December 15, 1998 at 08:26:58:
This Salon opened with a presentation of two tulu with wool foundations and sparse pile of long, unspun goat hair. The introductory material pointed out their links to the oldest known pile weavings, and the fact that they are among the relatively few genres of oriental rug in which 20th century examples are taken seriously by collectors.
The discussion included some clarification of confusing terminology in the literature. According to at least one anthropologist, "tulu" refers to any rug with long pile. There are two major subdivisions to this broad class. One, the "baddani", is a Kurdish product made entirely of sheep wool. Baddani are 13+ feet long, and re used for sleeping. The person (or people; they are also known as wedding rugs) lies on its pile surface with his head at the top, and the bottom half of the baddani is folded over the sleeper(s) as a cover. The type shown in the introduction, with unspun mohair pile, is often referred to simply as tulu but a more exact term is "filikli" (literally, of or from goat). It is not clear whether a saddle cover made with long mohair pile (in the catalog of the Arizona collections) should be referredto as a filikli, as it is not a rug at all.
Short filikli such as those illustrated in the introduction are generally regarded as sleeping rugs, but Saul Barodofsky has seen them used at least three ways in central Anatolia. One is as sleeping rugs for children. Another is as seating rugs for guests, a usage so common that they are called "hospitality rugs" in the Konya region. A third is as an amulet, hung on the wall as protection from the malevolence of the evil eye.
The aesthetics of filikli were also a topic of discussion. John Howe posted images of several, which permitted comparisons and suggested some generalities. They use very few colors (sometimes only one, rarely more than four), and the long, sparse pile makes it impossible for the weaver to generate fine details. Nevertheless, many of them re visually very strong as well as having interesting designs. The long, unspun goat hair is lustrous and colors can be radiant, and the silky touch gives them about as much tactile appeal as any rug can.
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