Re: Paired bag faces

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Posted by Marla Mallett on April 03, 1999 at 10:39:54:

In Reply to: Re: Paired bag faces posted by Wendel Swan on April 03, 1999 at 07:15:38:

In response to an e-mail request that I comment on this question from a weaver's perspective, here are my thoughts:

From a logistical standpoint, a weaver could produce a pair of matching bags on the loom in four ways without cutting and retying warps--all with equal ease:
1. Front-back-front-back. The pile would lie upward on both bag faces.
2. Back-front-back-front. The pile would lie downward on both bag faces.
3. Front-back-back-front. Pile on the first bag lies upward; pile on the second lies downward.
4. Back-front-plainweave band for hems-front-back. Pile lies downward on the first bag; pile lies upward on the second.

With a non-directional design, I can think of no practical weaving advantage of one approach over the others if one is making a pair of separate bags. The weaver would choose one sequence over the others based on the choice of pile direction, i.e. the practicality of downward pile, vs. the intensified colors of upward pile. With a directional design, however, it is obviously an advantage to weave both faces from the same end.

Of course if one is producing a continuous weaving for a saddlebag, the #3 option is the only one possible. All of this raises the question for me of when and where saddlebag traditions may have proceeded the practice of producing separate bags for hanging in the tent. Some of us have speculated, for example, on the possibility that some of the earliest extant banded ak chuval were saddlebag halves (and represent a tradition that grew out of flatweave practices, primarily brocading). Is the practice of producing pairs of separate bags in the #3 sequence with pile in opposite directions simply the lingering sign of such a saddlebag tradition?

This question becomes more intriguing when we consider that among Turkmen nomads who split off from Central Asian factions some centuries ago and moved into Anatolia there is a well-established tradition of producing brocaded saddlebags (and standing storage sacks called ala cuval), but NO hanging bags in any structure--even among those groups who until recently were yurt-dwellers in central Turkey.

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