Re: Paired bag faces

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Posted by Steve Price on April 03, 1999 at 06:08:45:

In Reply to: Re: Paired bag faces posted by Yon Bard on April 02, 1999 at 21:24:17:

Dear Yon,

I believe your obseration is probably of wide application. The VANISHING JEWELS collection, as you note, includes a number of bags and trappings in which direction of weave is reported, and 11 of the 16 plus both pile asmalyks are bottom-first. I've done a quick check on most of my own stuff (some is too inconveniently located to dig out), and the numbers come out to be 11 of 16 plus 2 of 2 asmalyks woven bottom first. I'ved noticed something else, too: of the ones hanging on the walls, 10 of 12 were woven bottom first. This is true for only 1 of 6 that are stacked in a pile. More about this below.

Here are some possible explanations that come to mind:
1. The one I think is most likely to be correct is that the conventional wisdom about these always being woven in pairs is wrong. I can think of reasons why weavers might make a majority from the bottom up. (a) The sunlight would make the colors brighter when the pieces were hung on an animal. (b) It is sort of natural to rub them in a downward direction, and they feel much nicer when woven from the bottom. If tactile properties were important to them (as they are to us), this could be a factor. (c) The weaver might be able to weave more rapidly from memory when going from the bottom (the beginning of the design) to the top. If, as Jon Thompson and others say, what weavers do is similar to playing a musical instrument, then weaving a bag from the top must be like playing a piece backwards.
2. Collector selection has preserved bottom-first weavings selectively. Since bags are often hung, almost always top end up, and since most lighting is from above, the top-first and bottom-first weavings look different. I doubt the importance of this factor. On the other hand, nearly every collector handles pieces before buying them, and the usual way is to hold the top end uppermost. The tactile properties are really nicer when you hold a bagface that way if you rub the surface the way most of us do - from top to bottom. The fact that most of the pieces I have hanging are bottom-first weavings and nearly all the ones in my pile of rugs go the other way suggests that this has been a factor (albeit not a conscious one) for me.

Larger numbers with subcategory properties would be very useful.


Steve Price

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