Re: Shahsavan Mafrash Panels - The Minor Borders

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Posted by Wendel Swan on July 04, 1999 at 14:46:55:

In Reply to: Re: Shahsavan Mafrash Panels - The Minor Borders posted by Patrick Weiler on July 04, 1999 at 12:12:55:

Pat posted:

: I was taking a look at your (wonderful) website and noticed, on page 2 of the bags section, a shahsavan mafrash panel of similar design, # W-1916, that has the same "H" border as the one being discussed here.

Dear Pat,

In Shahsavan bags (and parallels could probably be drawn to other weavings as well), motifs and borders can be found drawn to quite different scales, even when the different textiles in which there car found are virtual contemporaries. I draw your attention to mafrash panels W-1917 and W-1675 on Marla's site as two larger scale versions of what you have called the "H" border. In those instances, the "H" border is the primary border, not a secondary or tertiary one, and the scale is three to four times that found in Marla's W-1916 or Steve's panel.

The juxtaposition and overall format of the elements of both the larger and smaller versions should give no doubt that they share a common origin - somehow, somewhere, sometime. The larger versions are more complex and display details that could not be woven into the smaller scale versions.

For another comparison of this phenomenon, in John Wertime's Sumak book, compare Plate 50 (a mafrash side panel) with Plate 74, a khordjin. The scale of the primary cruciform design of the former is 1/3 to that of the latter, but the ivory backgrounds and the overall composition indicates that these two pieces, like the large and small "H" borders, share a common lineage. Yet these two weavings are indistinguishable in age.

If something as important as scale is not conclusive of age, then, in my opinion, the mere presence or absence of the "H" border, particularly in its smaller version, provides no basis for dating any of this material - even on a comparative basis. I wish that such simple rules could be devised, but the process for dating any rugs is, as Tom Cole has previously stated, multi-functional.



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