19th Century Sauj Bulagh: Clearly Kurdish?

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Posted by R. John Howe on December 30, 1998 at 04:46:55:

Dear folks -

Although I am an admirer (not yet a possessor) of 19th century Bijar rugs, this particular topic moves beyond my admittedly minute knowledge of Kurdish weaving. So permit me what may be a question of innocence.

In his 1998 revision of his complete guide to "Oriental Carpets," this time co-authored with his son, Murray Eiland organizes his treatment of Kurdish weaving in four categories:

1) the finely woven urban rugs of Senneh;
2) the thick, heavy rugs woven...around Bijar;
3) rural rugs with simpler designs woven by villagers and nomads;
4) "Rugs from towns of northwestern Iran that may resemble Kurdish products, but may be made by other rural peoples as well."

He places Sauj Baulagh weaving (his spelling) under this fourth category. His discussion of them accents rugs with thin red wefts and depressed warps, which are distinctive from the flat backed weavings that are the focus of this salon, the latter are apparently the 19th century products.

Pat Weiler has noted elsewhere in this salon that the Kurdish attribution for the Sauj Baulagh weavings did not seem questioned by the knowledgeable posters in it but Eiland's placement of them in this fourth category raised for me the question of whether there is consensus about the Kurdish origin of the 19th century Sauj Baulagh rugs? Or are we perhaps in a situation analgous to that in the Caucasus in which rugs attributed to one locale have been found to have been woven in a variety of places and likely by a number of ethnic groups?


R. John Howe

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