Posted by Marla Mallett on April 07, 1999 at 19:13:30:
In Reply to: Re: Paired bag faces posted by Christoph Huber on April 07, 1999 at 13:55:53:
What an excellent observation. I think your assumption is correct--that knotted pile saddlebags with pile in the center connecting strip were made on upright looms, where the weaver could easily move to the back side. This feature appears not only on small Turkoman bags (most often Tekke or Yomud?) but I've seen it also on pieces from Sinkiang Province of China and on bags from Western Anatolia--maybe things from other places too...I just can't remember. This feature appears also on very large Kurdish saddlebags from southeast Anatolia or across the border in Iraq: bags that combine soumak and knotted pile on the bag faces, and have pile center connecting strips. So the practice is widespread.
Quite often the center connecting strips on knotted pile saddlebags are brocaded. This poses no problem for the weaver, no matter what kind of loom is used, as brocading is normally done from the back. On a piece that is entirely brocaded, the problem is the same as with a saddlebag that is knotted throughout.
As for prayer rugs woven top first, there is often a quite practical reason for doing so. The weaver can establish the peak of her mihrab accurately if she does that part first, and then weave a symmetrical design without the possibility of having the parts fail to come together properly as might happen if the design were woven right-side-up.
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