Re: Shahsavan Mafrash Panel

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Posted by Patrick Weiler on July 01, 1999 at 23:56:26:

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

: Dear Folks,

: Here's part of a Shahsavan cargo bag panel that I think is quite old (whatever that means).

: The colors all look natural, and the green is obviously done by the two-dye method in which the wool is dyed with indigo and with some yellow dye (which you can see poking through where the indigo has abraded away in spots).

: Among the reasons for thinking that this is a very old piece is the morphology of some of the motifs. The border just above the white-ground birds-on-a-pole stripe consists of what looks like an early form of what is seen in later pieces as a nice, neat rhombus with nice, neat hooks projecting from both ends. The one just below the white ground stripe also has an archaic look compared to the same motifs in many Shahsavan mafrash.

: We might suppose that the person who did this just wasn't very good at drawing, but the drawing in the white ground stripe and in the widest stripe are very well done.

: Okay, you can start picking on me again now.

: Steve Price


An issue you raised regarding this piece, in an article several years ago, was that the upper "H" border was not common - if even known - in similar "newer" (early 20th century) weavings. Could it be possible that a nominal difference in a motif, such as a minor border, in an otherwise relatively "common" design weaving might be no more than a regional or even familial difference?
I like the scenario in which a new bride marries into a distant tribe and either brings a little bit of home with her, or incorporates something of her new family into her weaving.
Granted, subtle features of this piece "feel" more archaic than the "average" mafrash face of this design.
Interestingly, I have seen some mafrash of this type that appear no newer than most of these, however they are rampant with synthetic dyes. (Is that worse than being infested?)
Housego shows an example in black and white actually dated to 1903 (plate 17).

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