Re: Shahsavan Mafrash Panel

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Posted by Wendel Swan on July 01, 1999 at 15:50:05:

In Reply to: Shahsavan Mafrash Panel posted by Steve Price on July 01, 1999 at 09:31:26:

Dear Steve,

As to the date, I'll be precisely imprecise: July 2, 1920 +/- 20 years. There is little to distinguish it from the many complete mafrash and their panels that came through Turkey following the collapse of the FSU. Nearly everyone who is familiar with Shahsavan material thought that these items were 1 - 2 generations later than the limited numbers of finer material that found their way here earlier.

Assessing the age of Shahsavan material, even with it in hand, is difficult. I have seen a few pieces that could pre-date 1850, for example, but there is almost no way of knowing.

To me, the design elements suggest a later rather than an earlier date. As to "the white-ground birds-on-a-pole stripe," the horizontal extensions of the top and bottom triangles are a devolved version of the tessellation from which it is derived. This tessellation can be viewed on an Afshar khordjin at:

as well as in a Shahsavan pile rug at:

Variations of this design in a border format can be found on South Persian, Turkmen and Belouch pieces, among others. However, the distortion to which I referred can be found even on rugs that we could clearly say are 19th Century.

Another version has the triangles coming off in the same direction, as in this Tekke:

Steve, do I understand you to be saying that one border "looks like an early form of what is seen in later pieces as a nice, neat rhombus with nice, neat hooks ... " on the basis that "nice, neat" equates to later? If so, I wouldn't necessarily agree.

Best regards,


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