Re: Human Images on Turkmen Textiles

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Posted by Marvin Amstey on February 01, 1999 at 14:33:05:

In Reply to: Re: Human Images on Turkmen Textiles posted by Yon Bard on February 01, 1999 at 13:41:25:

: : Dear Marvin and Friends,

: : Although I don't have references at my fingertips right now, there are two kinds of Turkmen textiles in which unambiguous human images can be found. One is in the upper field of some Yomud asmalyks. Curiously, the human figures in these are sometimes headless. The other is near the ends of some tentbands.

: : I can't think of any other Turkmen weavings in which human representations are clearly the intent of the weaver. Does anyone else know of some? We've had some earlier discussions that included what might be interpreted as humans on Turkmen weavings, but it was not possible to know if that was the weaver's intention.

: : Steve Price

: I have a Yomud chuval with a camel and a horse with rider depicted in the elem (can send picture if you'll tell me where I should address it). I also have a tent band with wedding procession in the middle, rather than near the end.
: I think human figures are more common in Caucasian rugs than you imply. As a sterling example, note the Rudnick rug, no. 25 in 'Through the Collector's Eye.' I have a Shirvan with two three-legged human figures. One should also mention the Caucasian rugs with pictures of the Tsar, which were featured in a recent HALI.
: I am no authority on Islamic docrine, but I am under the impression that the prohibition against human figures is not as absolute as most people believe, certainly not among the Shiites. It would be nice to hear an authoritative exposition on the subject.

: Regards, Yon

Dear Steve and Yon,
I, too, have two Turkomen pieces with stick-figure images of humans. It's not that they don't occur, but that they occur so infrequently in ethnographic pieces. For every asmalyk or tentband with a wedding procession or even a single figure, there must be 1000 without such; same with Caucasian rugs where the ratio may be 10,000 to 1. Furthermore, they are stick figures or otherwise poorly drawn. Yet, these weavers are capable of beautiful drawing. Why don't we see more human representation? Regadrs, Marvin

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