toughts of a "not turkomaniac"

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Posted by Deschuyteneer Daniel on July 12, 1999 at 16:58:15:

Dear Steve and you all,

First of all I would want to say that I am not a "turkomaniac".
I have handled very few pieces as they aren't easily available here in Belgium, and never handled an ak or kizyl chuval. All what I know about them is through readings and book's pictures.
I have magnified some of them to better study small details which are difficult to see on small pictures.

1/ What, if anything, does this imply? Why are the design elements so consistent…?

The vocabulary of designs could be limited only because : "The artistic merits of Tekke rug decoration lie not so much in the wealth and diversity of patterns,…." (Moshkova- Carpets of the people of Central Asia - translated by O'Bannon-page 218).
I looked at figures 93, 94, 95 and plate LVII page 227 of this book and at figures 80, 81 in Uwe Jourdan's book "Turkoman"

First remark Moshkova draws 21 different patterns for narrow border patterns of pile stripes of ak torba and chuval in combined techniques. Observing the different figures I noticed that other patterns not reproduced in this plate were also used.

Can we say that the design is so limited.?

2/ Is there any vocabulary or language in their stripes pattern?

I think not. The use of parallel bands of repeated motifs needs to be organized symmetrically to maintain a well balanced design.

3/ What were these bags used for?

I like Steve's reasoning but don't share his thoughts. It is almost based on the fact that the closure rope is worn and broken about one foot from the end.
How do you then explain the fact that the closure rope seen in figure 94 in Moshkova's book is also broken but nearly in its middle.

Why would a nomadic weaver foresee a wide opening if it was to open it partially?

4/ Could these Ak chuval have been used as containers to carry heavy products like grain?

Here once more I doesn't share Steve's thoughts and thinks that the wear of the close rope and the edges is the result of to their fragility.

Their structure doesn't fit Steve's proposition for the following reasons:
1/ Cotton is almost used in the white elem and is not fairly resistant.
2/ Silk is surely not I would use for a common utilitarian container even to highlight the white decorations.
3/ Would an ordinary container be so tightly woven.
4/ Having magnified the closure rope seen in picture 94 it appears that this cord is made with three twisted yarns that were twisted together without any twinning. This cord is too much fragile to carry heavy products. You say also that this cord is sewn to the sides. This imply that the strands used to fasten this cord would quickly break.

5/ Could the stripes have been used to measure out something?

This would imply a regular spacing of all the stripes. As I don't see this feature I would also reject this possibility

These are only my thoughts but I think they are defendable and logical.

Best regard's


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