Re: some questions

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Posted by Tom Cole on June 25, 1999 at 20:27:16:

In Reply to: Re: some questions posted by Christoph Huber on June 25, 1999 at 16:52:32:

: Dear Wendel
: I have to say that I never was really happy in assuming a direct lineage between Timurid carpets and Turkmen carpets. But on the other hand I have as well to admit that I'm fascinated by some of the observations (and conclusions) published by such authorities as R. Pinner and M. Franses in their article in "Turkoman Studies" or by M. L. Eiland in "Tribal Visions".
: At the beginning of my interest in carpets, being about 14 years old, I "knew" that Turkmen carpets are something very special and that they are very, very distinct from any other group of carpets. I still hold to the first half of my "knowledge" but the second part fades away with almost every carpet book I leaf through. And now I really don't know (anymore) how the relations between the Turkmen carpets and those of other peoples have to be seen. This has caused me to formulate the question in my last post. I'm still surprised to see carpets, which I thought to come from the 19th, maybe 18th century, to be (chronologically) very much nearer to the "Timurid" carpets then I was aware of before. Another such new nearness was in my mind established with the early Animal carpets, for which with Merw as a possible place of manufacture a geographical "link" already was suggested. But I don't know what to do with this "insights" and my vague ideas about the relations between different groups of carpets are again disturbed. That's not bad, but where are the new models which could help to recognise more of the whole pattern?
: Suggesting to test Caucasian carpets I thought about Dragon carpets and was partly inspired by the recent article Afshan by M. L. Eiland, Jr. published in HALI. He is very cautious in establishing a chronology although having much more clues then those available in the field of Turkmen weavings. I feel a little bit uncomfortable to see the Turkmen 14C dates without having much of an alternative possibility for the dating. And with saying this, I really don't want to indicate that I distrust in these 14C results.
: I just know that I don't know anything - and I don't want to have to believe (especially not a single source and without any "interdisciplinary" confirmation.)
: Regards,
: Christoph
: P.S.: I got a hint to an interesting paper by Tom Cole about dating Turkmen rugs which can be read at: on the discussion part under the heading of carpets.

The relationship of Turkoman tribal rugs to Timurid carpets may be more tenuous than what most people have understood to be a direct relationship. Undoubtedly the Timur was an urban based, and if I am not mistaken, Mongol ruler. The Turkoman are/were a people of the steppes whose lifestyle and such closely resembled that of the Mongol hordes but may also have given rise to independent art forms which then may have influenced each other. The weavers of the "animal rugs" too may have been inhabitants of the same steppe lands, and obviously Turkic, but were they Turkoman? The ubiquitous "sarkhalka" border is seen on the Met example, a motif commonly encountered on Uzbek, Turkoman (primarily Yomud group and Ersari pieces), and oddly enough Baluch rugs from Khorassan. An arguement has been made that the Met rug is an ensi, due to the quartered field, etc. But to be baffled by what may be nearly contemporaneous rugs not resembling one another as one thought they might,... well that may constitute a case of un-learning what we have previously learned and try to put the puzzle together again. Neat little packages (ie. theories on rug design dissemination) are meant to be examined and ammended and at times, refuted entirely. Excellent questions and comments offered by Mr. Huber.

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