Re: Real Ensi's are always small and irregular. Really?

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Posted by Marvin Amstey on December 15, 1998 at 15:42:05:

In Reply to: Real Ensi's are always small and irregular. Really? posted by Steve Price on December 15, 1998 at 15:10:12:

: Dear Jim,

: I am reproducing here some comments from your previous posting about the two Ersari ensis. I note that certain assertions ae presented as being factual. Specifically:
: 1. Ensis that are much larger than #1 are too big to have been used as doors of a yurt, and therefore, were presumably commercial products.
: 2. Ensis that are not highly irregular in design are commercial products; "real" ensis are irregular for reasons having to do with protection from the unknown.

: Here are the excerpts from which those are paraphrased:
: "The ensi in plate one is the actual normal size of a yurt opening... what we have here is a first half 19th century ersari ensi which was almost certainly used as a door... this piece is an important example of a once in situ Ersari artifact... Pic.#2 is of a village weaving done for sale. It is large regular and unendowed with the asymmetic inclusions which mark the charms and ensignia of a shaman. No real ensi will ever be found that is perfectly regular... This well executed but not really ethnographically interesting."

: Here is what I see as the problem. They are not abundant, but there are a fair number of published Saryk and Salor ensis attributed to the early 19th century and before. Whether the date attributions are really accurate or not, they do seem likely to predate Turkmen commercial weaving. Every one of those that I'm aware of is much larger than #1, and at least as free of irregularities as #2. Is it you position that these are not actual tent doors? If this isn't your position, is this inconsistent with your position on the Ersari pieces shown here? If you think the Saryk and Salor pieces were not tent doors, what is the evidence on which this view is based? That is, what information do you have that might convince, say, Jon Thompson that his ca 1800 Saryk ensi was not made by a nomad for the purpose of being used as a tent door?

: Please note that the questions are straightforward, and ask only for the basis of the most unconventional opinions expressed.

: Steve Price

I'm not chiming in to speak for Jim, just to ask an additional, more fundamental question: was any pile woven engsi ever used as a door rug? My understanding is that no one has photographed this; only felts have been seen as doors. One would surmise that a pile engsi is not heavy or dense enough to keep out the cold, and therefore, would make a poor door. Marvin

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