Woven Bags and Mosque Donations

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Posted by Michael Wendorf on March 30, 1999 at 10:52:30:

Dear Turkotekers:

Saul's article states that:
"Happily, much nomadic weaving has been preserved. Custom dictated the provision of a dowry with marriage and donations to mosques. Since nomadic wealth consisted mostly of textiles and animals, the dowry and donations generally included textiles. Many of these were preserved and, therefore, can still be found in good condition."
I would like to put the issue of dowry to one side for the purpose of this post and focus our attention on mosque donations. I think we are all familiar with the fact that many of the oldest rugs, particularly Anatolian rugs, that have been identified in the past 20-30 years were found and preserved because they had been mosque donations. This includes fairly significant numbers of rugs that date to the 18th century and before. I do not believe that the same can be said of woven bags.
I am not familiar with woven bags being found in mosques with similar age or frequency as rugs nor am I aware of any tradition of donating woven bags to mosques in the way that rugs were donated. Assuming that there was no similar tradition, I wonder if anyone can explain why?
One reason might be that the objects were more utilitarian. But many of the rugs found were probably equally utilitarian. Another could be that woven bags represent a pre-Islamic tradition and the images found on bags are inappropriate to mosque donation. This does not seem to make much sense if the same people wove rugs and donated them to the mosque. Moreover, I am unaware of any research, anthropological, archeological or otherwise, that would support such a theory. Another reason might be that woven bags just were not important enough or valuable enough in the eyes of their makers and owners to constitute a mosque donation.
I'm sure there are lots of opinions and information that may help shed light on this and I look forward to reading them. MW.

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