TurkoTek Discussion Boards

Subject  :  Linguistics model for classifications
Author  :  Steve Price
Date  :  10-25-1999 on 10:43 a.m.
sprice@hsc.vcu.edu Dear Costa, Linguistics has long provided a model for other systems of classifying things and tracing their historical developments. Darwin, for example, argued in Origin of Species that the obvious relatedness of certain species should be explained in terms of their genealogical relationship, as was routinely done in linguistics even in the mid-19th century. There are any number of classification systems in the world of rugs, although we usualy call them attribution systems. Assigning a rug to a particular time, place or tribe are all examples, and the methods by which we do so are more or less those of the linguists. That is, we look for relations in their vocabularies, grammars, etc., along with structure and materials. Steve Price

Subject  :  Motif diffusion as adoption of foreign words?
Author  :  Steve Price
Date  :  10-26-1999 on 05:42 a.m.
sprice@hsc.vcu.edu Dear All, Diffusion of motifs; that is, the adoption of motifs typical of one group's weaving by another group, is pretty common. Is this like the adoption of foreign words into a language? If so, why? Is it because the motif seemed pretty to someone? Introduced to the group's vocabulary by marriage? Or what? Right now there's a little discussion on our Show and Tell board about a piece that offers a specific example of this. All of the design elements are what we normally think of as Yomud. The "ram's horn trees", the border, are Yomud "words". But the piece isn't. Structurally (dyed cotton wefts, palette, goathair warps, asymmetric knots), it's probably Chodor, perhaps something else. So we can ask the question, how did this Yomud vocabulary find its way into a Chodor (let' call it that for conversational purposes) trapping? Here are some possibilities. 1. The motifs predate the separation of some of the Turkmen tribes, so both have carried it for a long time. I think not, for we don't see either motif beyond the Yomud and Chodor - the Tekke seem not to use these words, for instance. 2. Some mystical importance? That's an unlikely thing to transplant across cultures, even related ones. 3. Tribal identification. It makes no sense at all to suppose that the Chodor would want to be identified as Yomuds. One sensible explanation would be that a Chodor woman married into a Yomud group and, therefore, adopted Yomud designs but did them in the techniques, structure and materials with which she had been raised. Plausible, but the materials would probably not be readily at hand in the new tribal setting. Particularly, the dyes, which are not normally made by the women who weave. How about a Yomud woman marrying into a Chodor group? That actually begins to make sense. Costa, am I making progress or just noise? Steve Price

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