Posted by Mike Tschebull on April 29, 1999 at 17:52:17:
>Mafrash, or farmash, the more commonly used term in Azarbayjan, are used for bedding storage,and are still being made. Stuffed, they provide one of the few things to lean against in the typical slope-sided felt-covered dwelling that Shahsavan and Shahsavan-like nomads use as shelter. So the box-like shape is very utilitarian.
>The Shahsavan weave and wove envelope-like bags, and also call them cuval, but they open at the short end, like Turkish cuval. Afshar and others in southern Iran also wove cuval.
>A comparison of the weavings of the nomads in Azarbayjan with those in the southern Zagros area is more germaine than a comparison with the Turkman. It's hard to see how the Shahsavan could ever have had contact across the Caspian Sea, as they almost never came near salt water, much less became sailors. Re design commonality, nothing is original, it all comes from somewhere else.
>There is lots of anthropological information on the nomads of Iran, and present-day fieldwork continues to be rewarding, so it is a mistake to assume that "it's all speculation". Watch for an article on the Shahsavan by an accomplished anthropologist in a coming "Hali".
>Nevertheless, the weaving culture in Azarbayjan is dying out, and may be gone in a generation, as aluminum and plastic replace woven bags, PVC sheet supplants felt, and machine-woven textiles from urban areas like Yazd replace jajim as ground covers.
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