TurkoTek Discussion Boards

Subject  :  More on motif evolution
Author  :  Steve Price
Date  :  10-26-1999 on 02:17 p.m.
sprice@hsc.vcu.edu Dear People, Here's more to chew on. This is a Yomud mafrash, design generally known as tree of life on white panels. It seems to be used almost exlusively by Yomud and Tekke, and almost always with the same borders by both tribal groups. I think that's interesting and relevant. Another thing that's interesting is to compare the "trees" in it with the "ram's horn tree" in the piece shown in the other thread, which I've put here as well in order to make the comparison easier. It's easy to visualize "tidying up" the "trees" in the mafrash and ending up with the motifs in the trapping. Isn't this, more or less, the way languages evolve? Steve Price

Subject  :  RE:More on motif evolution
Author  :  Erol Abit
Date  :  11-06-1999 on 11:59 a.m.
Dear Steve, You say, "..It's easy to visualize "tidying up" the "trees" in the mafrash and ending up with the motifs in the trapping. Isn't this, more or less, the way languages evolve?." I looked at the pictures carefully for a long time but was unsuccesful to do that easy thing. So, since i couldn't do first thing i can't go further to answer your question, that would be interesting and enjoyful to think about language&motifs evolution.. Regards, Erol

Subject  :  RE:More on motif evolution
Author  :  Patrick Weiler
Date  :  11-06-1999 on 01:24 p.m.
jpweiler@worldnet.att.net Steve, I have read numerous times that border motifs can be illustrative in determining origin. In this comparison, it appears to me that in fact the "evolution" of this piece is the other way around. Both weavings have the same border. The mafrash has a "degenerate" (or, as this salon would describe it, "evolved") version of the border in the trapping. If the trapping field design evolved from the mafrash, how could the mafrash have a more evolved border while the field has a less evolved design? Now, if you add this example to the other examples and replies to this topic, it becomes clear that the direct-line evolutionary theory is in fact not clear at all. It seems more likely that there is a constant cross-fertilization as opposed to a linear progression. I am not saying that the original theory is not valid, but I have been struggling to accomodate the theory with my observations. There is more of a diffusion rather than a one way influence of design motifs. I think it was either Beck or Housego who remarked upon the facility with which tribal weavers would incorporate disparate designs into their weavings, even having only briefly seen something of interest to them. Granted, a weaver would have had to see a design to incorporate it into her weaving ( aside from the "universal" designs incidental to the construction of the weavings), but even migratory nomads had wide ranging contact with a tremendous variety of design influences. Opie opines that the Lur were quite isolated and, therefore their design pool is most "pure" and was spread out among their neighbors, but the mere fact that their neighbors got hold of and appropriated Lur designs into their own weavings argues for an interaction that must have gone both ways. The complex universe of designs and widespread dissemination seems more like the language of chemical interactions than the language of speech. Patrick Weiler

Subject  :  RE:More on motif evolution
Author  :  Yon Bard
Date  :  11-06-1999 on 02:53 p.m.
Steve, you posit that the torba's ram's-horn tree developed from the rather garbled tree-of-life in the mafrash, and then you struggle with the inconsistencies that ensue. But there are many possible solutions, the most obvious being that there is no direct relation between the motifs (I do think your observations are hardly compelling, and I suspect they are merely a trial balloon). But even if your provenance is correct, it is not unusual to find both original and 'degenerate' versions to persist in usage for long overlapping periods, so finding both on one piece means nothing. The only thing that's meaningful for deducing the provenance is the earliest appearance of each form. Regards, Yon

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