TurkoTek Discussion Boards

Subject  :  Tekke and Yomud lattices
Author  :  Christoph Huber
Date  :  02-28-2000 on 03:16 p.m.
huber-ch@pilatusnet.ch Dear all Steve asks in his first question whether or not there is a relation between the lattices of Tekke bird [and animal tree] asmalyks on one side and Yomud ashik asmalyks on the other. Since this question touches another two of my working hypotheses (and there are still some more...) I would like to put the following to discussion: 1.) The lattices of animal tree asmalyks and the a little bit simplified ones of bird asmaliks have strong relationships to carpets from the Caucasus. The connection of the bird and the curled leave border to the same region hasnít to be repeated here. So, I guess that these asmalyks have at least a part of their roots to the west of the Caspian Sea, where I suspect the source or intermediary for a considerable part of Turkmen ornaments. 2.) Iím one of those romantics who loves R. Pinners Editorial Comment in Hali 5/2 where he compares among other things the ashiks of Yomud asmalyks with designs found on Namazga III pottery from southern Turkmenistan. He concludes that (Turkmen) carpet ornaments ďmay include a substratum of designs indigenous to western Central Asia as early a the Chalcolitic period.Ē Based upon the above mentioned assumptions I would say that the Tekke and Yomud lattices possibly donít have much in common, against appearance. But the camel's knee trapping shown in the salon could be an argument that Iím wrong: It has a lattice which is, with its two parallel light and dark serrated leaves, reminiscent of animal tree asmalyks but has an ashik in the centre. Regards, Christoph

Subject  :  RE:Tekke and Yomud lattices
Author  :  JimAllen
Date  :  02-29-2000 on 09:01 p.m.
The oldest Yomud asmalyks all seem to have this one quirksome drawing. I see a man sitting in the lotus position wearing a hooded robe. This is the figure in WHITE. The colored designs are all representative of a four dimensional bow and arrow. Not really four dimensional but indicating action, showing for instance the instant the arrow is released as a peak or spike in the line represewnting the bowstring. The nock of the arrow is located about at the mouth of the meditating man and this is exactly where an arrow is drawn to for consistent aiming and shooting. The arrows point indents the bowstring. This reads ambivalent and thus implies a choice indicating motion. The "W" shape of the bow is absolutely typical, this is how they looked in side view. The diagonal major colored bars are jagged to represent vibration, they represent a vibrating bowstring. I have learned that the Turkoman had a real penchant for images which would have made some particular sound, trumpeting elephants, thundering & lightning, or a heard of horses. Notice how amid all the percieved motion the centers of the diagonal intersections remains calm. The zen of archery was constantly reinforced in a lot of Turkoman iconography, it was an important survival skill that wasn't very easy to pass along. This was the kind of "message" that was deemed important enough for a REAL Turkoman carpet. Jim Allen

Subject  :  RE:Tekke and Yomud lattices
Author  :  Yon Bard
Date  :  02-29-2000 on 10:24 p.m.
Jim, isn't it a bit strange that all the little men have been toppled over on their sides? Regards, Yon

Subject  :  RE:Tekke and Yomud lattices
Author  :  JimAllen
Date  :  02-29-2000 on 11:20 p.m.
YE Gads Yon , Your straight. No really, look at your very best Turkoman bags. I am thinking about the traditional ones so Yon isn't the best example here, he loves the out of the ordinary examples best. I always look long and hard at a good piece from the side or 90 degree persspective. Good composition shows the same depth of meaningfulness and design integrity from every angel, they have no real best perspective, all perspectives are great. Think they would not have been interested in designs at 90 degrees to normal? Leaning on my little knowledge of ancient Central Asian representational art, Sythian for instance, I believe the dominant aesthetic is one of four dimensional montague. There is even an X-ray internal organ perspective. It seems logical to me that really old designs would be thought through from every angel. Jim

Subject  :  RE:Tekke and Yomud lattices
Author  :  Steve Price
Date  :  03-01-2000 on 06:21 a.m.
sprice@hsc.vcu.edu Dear Jim, The biggest problem with subjectively deciding what you (or I) see in a stylized or perhaps even completely abstract design or motif is that there are no rules. The example you offer is perfect for illustrating this point. Here it is again, for convenience: You see a man crouched in the lotus position. Suppose I see a man sitting on the toilet? Suppose someone else sees it as a mihrab, and someone else again sees it inverted 180 degrees as a flower pot? How do we decide who, if anyone, has a high likelihood of being correct? And if we can't, how is this different than my 8 year old and I looking for forms in clouds? You see the serrations as representations of vibrating strings. What if I see them as rows of spikes from an animal trap? And someone else sees barbed wire? I'm not making sport of you here, but while this highly personal imagining of what is in the Turkmen's mind may be great fun, it is not very illuminating. I think that's an important distinction. Regards, Steve Price

Subject  :  RE:Tekke and Yomud lattices
Author  :  JimAllen
Date  :  03-02-2000 on 04:45 p.m.
I would say we make these assumptions inductively from all the experiences we have had relative to the question at hand. I have read everything available to me on the subject. I have travelled a little in the East. I have a good associative imagination. By your rules we can never know anything it would seem. You are correct in absolute terms, that is as per scientific standards for validity. This is why all rug "experts" are "gurus". Their field of expertise is undefinable. I am attempting to fuel the readers imagination, shake it up, bump and grind, get down, have fun. Jim

Subject  :  RE: Testing the truth of propositions
Author  :  Steve Price
Date  :  03-02-2000 on 06:15 p.m.
sprice@hsc.vcu.edu Dear Jim, Obviously, we see the world through different eyes and use different criteria for testing truth. But I should emphasize that the rules I use are not "my rules", or "science's rules". They are the rules used, with relatively minor variations, in every scholarly discipline. That doesn't make them infallible; in fact, they sometimes lead to incorrect conclusions. The reason they're used is that most of us believe them to be the best we have. Your alternative, ad hoc hypotheses being accepted as truth if proposed by the most learned person known to the initiate (in this instance, the one who has read and thought the most about the subject, traveled to the area a few times, and with the right intellectual makeup to handle it) is scholasticism. It was the test of truth for centuries, and the major intellectual event in the renaissance was its abandonment. I think that was a huge step forward, and so do most of the people I know (which, I recognize, doesn't really prove anything except that I am part of the herd on this subject). To assert, as you do, that the system to which I subscribe is sterile - your words are "By your rules we can never know anything..." seems to me to ignore our entire corpus of experience. As an obvious example, you and I are having this discussion in a medium that didn't exist until invented (by Al Gore, I'm told by usually reliable sources) some 25 years ago. The process by which it got to where it is now is application of "my" rules. Unless someone avers that no new knowledge was needed to do this, I don't see how the conclusion that these rules can't lead to new knowledge can be taken seriously. Is speculation on cultural significance of designs and motifs fun? Sure it is. Even for stuffed shirts like me. But I don't confuse it with knowing. In my previous message I made light of the "hooded monk in lotus position" motif by using some intentionally absurd alternatives. But we could consider any number that are not absurd, and still have no way of deciding which, if any is correct. Consider some of these: 1. It's a rider on horseback coming straight at us. 2. It's a goddess in the birthing position. 3. It's a woman in the birthing position. 4. It's an evergreen tree. 6. It's a pyramid. 7. It's a serpent. 8. It's a mountain. 9. The serrations are birds on limbs, and the figure is simply a result of that motif's use of space. 10. The serrations are (insert as long a list as you care to) and the figure is simply a result of that motif's use of space. 11. Rotated back to the normal orientation, the "monk" is two face-to-face elephants with uplifted trunks. Etc., etc., etc. Obviously, the list can go on forever, even if we restrict the possibilities to the culturally relevant (and, for all I know, the man on the toilet may be significant in some cultures). And, of course, there is always the possibility that it doesn't represent anything at all. It might be great fun and relaxing to engage in this kind of an exercise, but I just don't see how it can illuminate anyone seeking the meaning of the motif. Regards, Steve Price

Subject  :  RE:Tekke and Yomud lattices
Author  :  JimAllen
Date  :  03-02-2000 on 09:29 p.m.
For me it is the forest and the tree thing. For instance like a good deductive scientist you have looked hard at the figure in white and deduced that it could be any number of unrelated objects. I am perceptually always stepping back, in this case to see the bow, the arrow or projectile, the denting of the string, in other words the iconographic totality. I would say that your mode of seeing is flawed or lets say seldom challenged by doubts about itself. You and I both know that I cannot prove any assertion about any specific iconographic design. The chain of knowledge is broken and the only way to put it back together again is by projection and induction. To understand you better I just read your article in the just released Oriental Carpet and textile Studies edited by Pinner and Eiland. I also have an article in the same book. you can see the difference in our thought process right away. We do think a lot differently yet we have both contributed to the field. I would say that this is evidence that the old never really goes away, it just pokes up from time to time in new faces. Jim

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