Re: Negative image

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Posted by Tom Cole on December 25, 1998 at 08:07:46:

In Reply to: Negative image posted by Marvin Amstey on December 21, 1998 at 19:03:06:

: In the attached scan of a well known ensi medallion, the center ground between the two 8-sided designs represents the figure of a splayed animal or animal pelt. I cannot take credit for seeing this as my impressions were simply that this was the ground between two connected design devices. When I asked Michael Craycraft what he thought the designs represented, his first impression was that of the splayed animal. In other words he saw the ground as design between the two small "guls" or flowers or medallions or whatever. Now when I look at this rug hanging on my wall, I can't see anything else. It may be that in some rugs, we should look at the negative design, but I'm not sure that this applies to all Turkomen rugs. marvin

I have no problem seeing this design as either a pelt or perhaps a representation of the fertility symbol, a motif often encountered in Uzbek weaving and textile art. Dualistic and even pluralistic interpretation of certain motifs is not uncommon in the art of the hordes. To dismiss the possible significance of it merely because it occurs in weavings as geographically removed from each other as Anatolia.... All I can say, so? What's the point? Is there some doubt that animal pelts have a virtually universal appeal, meaning to many georgraphically disparate cultures - a sign of power, wealth and/or prestige. Representational animal pelts in Anatolian art is in fact classical - the chinatamani pattern, be it derivative of a far eastern culture or not. I agree with suspending one's belief in theories one does not understand, but refuting something because you feel it is irrelevant and/or spurious without really understanding it all? Not sure how that works. Andy and Kate have one of the most thoughtful texts on Central Asian history and cultural context, but I am uncertain how it directly pertains to Turkoman weavings. They write of guilds and truly established, classical culture whereas, some of the weavings we are concerned with in this discussion originate far to the west of that cultural sphere of influence. The Mongol invasions flattened cities, decimated sedentary culture while the people of the hordes (ie. Turkoman and other nomadic and semi-nomadic peoples) were more apt to be absorbed into rather than destroyed by the Mongol horsemen. No? Or am I a hopeless romantic?

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