Re: What about some other matters? Materials

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Posted by Steve Price on May 02, 1999 at 06:52:43:

In Reply to: What about some other matters? posted by Steve Price on May 01, 1999 at 07:03:59:

Dear Folks,

Marvin notes that differences in use of materials between Turkmen and NW Persian is relative, not absolute, and I suppose this proves conclusively that cotton (and silk) were available to Turkmen. Yon points out that people can only use what's available, obviously true. But I think there may be more to it than that.

Both groups were sheep raising people, so wool was plentiful, cheap and traditional. Cotton or silk were available, but at an additional cost. If someone used them, there must have been some advantage that justified the cost.

For cotton the obvious advantages over wool are greater dimensional stability and, probably more significant, really white whites. Those things ae just as true for Turkmen as for NW Persians. So why the difference in usage of cotton? I'd suggest that it was related to the predominant weaving techniques. One of cotton's disadvantages is that it is not very resilient, so it mats down when used as pile. This is not much of a problem with flatweaves, and the NW Persians mostly made flatweaves. In fact, their pile weavings don't have cotton any more often than Turkmen pile weaving do. And, as Marvin noted, Turkmen flatweaves are more likely to include cotton than Turkmen pile weavings.

To make a long story a little shorter, I believe that cultural practices of uncertain basis (to me, although Wendel's suggestion that weight might be important is provocative) led to differing predominances of weaving technique. I think it likely that the differences in weaving techniques are an important element in the differing use of cotton.

And then there are the Chodor, who often used cotton in the foundations of their pile objects.

Steve Price

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