Re: Kaitag Motif Origins

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Posted by Steve Price on January 21, 1999 at 07:05:35:

In Reply to: Re: Kaitag Motif Origins posted by Michael Wendorf on January 20, 1999 at 11:58:53:

Dear Michael and Everyone Else,

Chenciner is an anthropologist, and his book devotes considerable attention to the cultural aspects of the region. He has a more recent book about Daghestan's cultures that places much less emphasis on textiles; I don't have the title handy.

The local people are Moslems, and apparently have been for many years as there are ruins of a 10th century mosque in the Kaitag district's capitol. Chenciner illustrates some details of the ruins to show motifs similar to those on some embroideries, but the designs are too general to make a compelling case for a historical relationship. The ones on the grave stones are very similar in ways that are not trivial, but unfortunately, there are no legible dates on them.

Getting back to age attributions for a moment, Chenciner reports that the embroideries were handed down from generation to generation and the nature of their use would allow the textiles to survive for very long periods. Thus, I think it is completely plausible that some of these are 18th century and, perhaps, even earlier. That is quite a different matter from knowing which ones are 18th century and which were made in the third quarter of the 19th century. Apparently, from about 1875 on, synthetic dyes appear in the area and it seems reasonable to assume that any piece without obviously synthetic dyes is most likely to have been made before 1875.

Steve Price

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