Posted by Wendel Swan on February 08, 1999 at 10:31:16:
In Reply to: Is it a genius? posted by Daniel Deschuyteneer on February 07, 1999 at 17:23:18:
I am normally at least as skeptical of the existence of animate objects in many rugs as Jerry is about this one. However, I think that this rug does have an intentional duality of image that is certainly rare, but not unknown.
My guess would be that the rug before us was woven without the aid of a cartoon. The borders seem well executed, so one cannot help but feel that whatever the weaver put into the field was intended. Strictly as a prayer rug, the proportions are not what one would expect, indicating a compromise in order to also create the face. As to the face, the zig-zag line outlining the mihrab is at least generally consistent with the way eyebrows are depicted prominently in Persian rugs. Further, the "stern" expression on the mouth resembles what one might find in urban pictorial carpets with greater definition.
There is a group of Northwest Persian pictorial rugs with a central animal (normally a camel) which is comprised of many other animals - serpents, felines, monkeys, etc. They are gnerally executed from a cartoon, so imagination is not required to see these animals quite clearly.
I once saw an Afshar bag face with what at first appeared to be a strange center medallion. Finally, I realized that it was a mosque reflected upon itself.
There is an interesting Sil-I-Soltan published in Oriental Carpets by Robert de Calatchi as plate 69, which expresses duality as botehs with human faces. I'll try to scan the image and provide it to Larry for posting.
To my knowledge, this concept of duality in representational images is limited to Persianate rugs. I cannot recall seeing such a feature in any rug that we might call Turkic.
Daniel has posted a very interesting rug. Perhaps others could expound on the philosophical and religious connotations.
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