Shahsavan weavings

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Posted by Mike Tschebull on July 29, 1999 at 19:55:27:

Responding to both Wendel and Marla:

>It is curious that some (of what I assume are) Shahsavan pile mafrash outside panels are beautifully woven, really masterpieces of pile weaving. How, Marla, could these nomads do it if their major textile was the jajim and they lacked much familiarity with pile weaving (yes, I know, I know, sumakh bags, too, but I'm pretty sure that 100 years ago, the big-time item for artistic expression was the warp-faced jajim and balanced plainweave varni, made up of sewn-together strips woven on a ground loom)? The pile faces I'm thinking of are from the Miayneh area, I believe, and have well-drawn Herati designs on dark blue. They're uncommon - I know of only two or three. This message should smoke out more.

>Wendel, just because you value pile weaving doesn't mean it was viewed as a luxury by Azarbayjani nomads in, say, 1860. So, you can't say for sure the nomads sought it out or produced pile rugs for their own use.

>As I've said to Wendel in our exchanges about the issue of "Shahsavan pile", there are cascades of interlocking reasons that point to the conclusion that the Shahsavan weren't pile weavers of any significance, but I could only learn about them in the field. Fieldwork in some cases confirmed what I deduced from reading other accounts. Marla's comments about Turkish nomads certainly relate.

>I sort of fell into this study of Shahsavan textiles. My basic interest is Azarbayjani village weaving, but I needed to learn about Azarbayjani nomad culture to have a more rounded grasp of what villagers wove. It was pointed out to me today by a cogent curator that I can't come to good conclusions w/o contact with others in the same or allied fields. So true.


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