TurkoTek Discussion Boards

Subject  :  Why were they woven?
Author  :  Deschuyteneer Daniel
Date  :  09-15-1999 on 06:36 p.m.
Daniel Deschuyteneer Dear Steve, In your introduction of this salon you said : "Most intact bags have backs that are pretty uninteresting, usually plainweaves that are undecorated or decorated only with simple horizontal stripes and making no contribution to the bag's aesthetics." Why would a weaver pay attention to the back's aesthetic of an utilitarian object? Why are these pieces more rare? There aren't perhaps any reasons but if there are any I tried to "imagine" wherefore they were woven! This type of bag faces were perhaps part of the dowry or were woven as gifts or to celebrate some important event. This would perhaps explain that some of them show woven date. They could also have been woven for Khans or other important people or a settled aristocracy, Are these bags kinds of Versace, Louis Vuiton, bags of the past? Last as being more attractive they could have been woven as commercial objects. Any thoughts? Daniel.

Subject  :  RE:Why were they woven?
Author  :  Steve Price
Date  :  09-15-1999 on 08:52 p.m.
sprice@hsc.vcu.edu Dear Daniel, My best guess - and it is only a guess - is that when a weaver paid particular attention to the back of a bag it was because the bag was for something or someone special. The owner, after all, would know that something extra went into making it. I think the same is true of tribal weavings that use very small amounts of silk. The Belouch bird khorjin from VANISHING JEWELS has 11 or 12 silk knots. You wouldn't see the silk from more than a very short distance away, so the only one who knew it was there was the person for whom it was woven. Steve Price

Subject  :  RE:Why were they woven?
Author  :  Patrick+Weiler
Date  :  09-16-1999 on 11:05 p.m.
jpweiler@worldnet.att.net Bags with "interesting" backs do not seem to be necessarily rare, just a subgroup of bags from specific tribal cultures that always decorate the backs of specific weavings. Kurdish "grain" bags, lur khorjins, baluch chantehs, the bottom of Shahsavan mafrashes and backs of their saltbags, innumerable Anatolian "grain" bags, Bakhtiari camel bags, the backs of all of these seem to be inevitably decoratively woven. Take a look at Woven Gardens by Black and Loveless for several beautiful examples of SW Persian bag backs. On the other hand, Turkoman bags are generally "blank". Newer Khamseh and SW Persian bags are less likely to be ornamented. (This is a very unscientific survey) Newer bags are less likely to be decorated on the back because, presumably, these were more likely to have been woven for the market as opposed to those woven for the family. This would mitigate against the extra expense in time for decorating the backs. Tradition more than anything else seems to be the motivating factor, rather than a dowry piece as opposed to a run of the mill utilitarian object. You can't suppose that all Kurdish grain bags, for example, were woven as dowry pieces. Maybe a girl would weave one for her dowry, but, if any of you has been married for a few years you know that those wedding towels get threadbare. The next one she wove would probably be woven the same way, decorated back and all. Bakhtiari camel bags also always seem to have decorated backs. Some nicer than others, but an undecorated one would be the rarity. This is certainly not an argument against the beautiful and occasionally spectacular bag back. You get twice the value for your money when the back is decorated! Patrick Weiler

Subject  :  RE:Why were they woven?
Author  :  R. John Howe
Date  :  09-17-1999 on 04:55 p.m.
Dear folks - This does not follow Daniel's question but Steve moves from bag backs to bag fronts with his comment about a very few silk pile knots. I own an Ersari bag face that has a grand total of 8 silk knots very systematically placed in four widely separated parts of the field. As Steve says they serve no aesthetic funtion whatever. Every time I go to look for them I have to search and I know that they are there and approximately where they are. Odd. Regards, R. John Howe

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