Re: A Few Structural Questions

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Posted by Marla Mallett on December 30, 1998 at 19:41:12:

In Reply to: Re: A Few Structural Questions posted by Michael Wendorf on December 30, 1998 at 12:44:00:

: : : Michael, Daniel and all:

: : : I wonder if, with your knowledge of Kurdish rugs, you might be able to add a little more structural information to help with our collective effort at sorting out muddled northwest Persian rug groups...both the limited group displayed and related rugs...

: : : In my studies over the past year and a half, several quirky features popped up spasmodically within the west Persian village and nomad rugs I examined. The most distinctive practice I discovered was that of wefts crossed between sheds (pp. 43-45 in my new book on woven structures). Previously in the literature, no attention had been given to this technical detail, but this noteworthy feature should help--along with other features--to differentiate weaving groups. The occurrence of discontinuous knotting, discontinuous wefts, and weft inlays should also be helpful. These were rarely used by weavers who crossed pairs of wefts. In which NW Persian rugs have you perhaps found any of these details?

: : : I am sure you are aware that Kurds have used a wide variety of warp-end finishes--especially crosswise bands in which warp ends have been either interlaced obliquely (both in one- and two-pick bands) or wrapped obliquely. I even found an unexpected Iranian variation (right after finishing the book, of course) that combines oblique interlacing and wrapping. While the wrapped varieties may be sure signs of Kurdish production, interlaced bands have been used by others as well. Has anyone found any pattern in the distribution of these within the Kurdish areas? (The wrapped bands are constructed in much the same way as the wrapped triangular bases combined with heavy square braids that are featured so commonly on Iraqi and Anatolian Kurd rugs.) Less frequently occuring, but similar-looking, half-hitch bands (so-called "Philippiine" and "Damascus" edges) may be limited to non-Kurd production in Iran. I can't feel certain about this, though, since one type of half-hitch band does appear in east Anatolian Savak work. The processes used to produce these end finishes are so distinctive, we are foolish to ignore the differences they present--even though at a glance the several types look similar.....I wonder if any of this makes sense without illustrations? Possibly not.

: : : I wonder, too, if anyone has found heading cords on NW Iranian Kurd pieces?...Or only on non-Kurd rugs? The specialized warping procedure that produces this detail is noteworthy. As for selvages, published descriptions have been so inaccurate and superficial that they do little more than separate the largest Iranian, Anatolian, and Iraqi Kurdish groups.

: : : It is unfortunate that this kind of discussion must be so circular. Since there is little in print concerning the features I've mentioned, we tend to ignore potentially useful details in our own rugs. When enough data accumulates, however, it will become significant.

: : : My apologies to folks interested only in design issues, since the boring technical and structural minutiae above is relevant only to questions of provenance. If replies to any of this stuff seem inappropriate for this discussion board, please E-mail me your comments.

: : : Thanks, Daniel, for your work in putting together this current topic.

: : : Marla Mallett

: : Dear Marla,
: : The structural analysis and its ability to divide weaving groups with some scientific basis is what all of us as collectors seek. In contrast to Jim, the design, while aesthetically important, tells me nothing about provenance. Keep up the good work, Marvin

: Dear Marla:

: Further to Marvin's sentiment; yes, let's go further. One problem is obtaining a meaningful sample. I have been intrigued by the warp end finishes, these Sauj Bulagh rugs tend to be fringed out, on Kurdish rugs. I do think we need images and I am embarrassed to say I have not yet acquired your new book. This is important because patterns do seem to emerge not just with warp end finishes but also in side finishes, wefting and knotting. I am not comfortable enough with the terminology or information to even articulate some of these patterns, though I very much would like to. For example, what are heading cords?
: Happy New Year and thank you for your often thankless efforts. Michael


I'm glad you're interested in this nonsense, as only if we poole our efforts can we make any sense of such structural trivia. I'll post a couple of heading cord illustrations as soon as I find out how to do that...and then locate the scans. It is exactly because so many rugs are fringed out that other features, like the crossed wefts, inlays, etc. that I mentioned are likely to be important....Thanks!


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