Re: Accidental(?) Human Images

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Posted by Marvin Amstey on February 02, 1999 at 08:01:30:

In Reply to: Accidental(?) Human Images posted by Steve Price on February 02, 1999 at 07:26:31:

: Dear Friends,

: Images that look like humans, but are probably not intended to, are pretty common on rugs. I own a Shirvan prayer rug (image can be seen at ) that has images that look like smiling stick figures dominating each spandrel. I'm reasonably sure (for a variety of reasons) that this was not the weaver's intent and that the piece was made and used in Moslem worship. Nevertheless, I've had several visitors who knew nothing about rugs immediately pick out the two "humans" when they saw it in my home. Intentional or not, such images can be very obvious.

: Another thought comes to mind on the subject of human images on rugs. The longstanding animosity between Christians and Moslems in the Caucasus is well known. I wonder whether Christian weavers sometimes included ambiguously human images, particularly in prayer design rugs, as an expression of disrespect. As long as the images were ambiguous, they could deny the disrespectful act. At the same time, they could vicariously enjoy insulting those to whom they were hostile. This may have been one low-tech equivalent of insults on web pages posted under pseudonyms.

: Steve Price

That's an interesting hypothesis, but it only fits the Caucasus. These religious conflicts don't exist in Southern Iran or among the Kurds - at least in terms of Christian/Moslem. Marvin

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