TurkoTek Discussion Boards

Subject  :  Commercial Influences on Design
Author  :  +Kenneth Thompson+
Date  :  09-03-2000 on 11:03 p.m.
Dear All, Unless I missed them in one of the longer threads in Daniel's very interesting and useful salon, I haven’t seen suggestions that commercial considerations may have influenced the design similarity of these pieces. One reason these carpets share similar designs but different structures might be that weavers of different ethnic groups in the same region may have found that this design sold. After all, these pieces would have been made at a time when there was demand for such rugs in the West. The Memling gul was already a familiar and popular design in Europe and such a carpet would have great appeal and probably fetch a good price. Given that most of the finer Caucasian rugs were woven to be sold and probably exported, is it not likely that the weavers (or the middlemen financing the weavers) adopted designs that were most popular? Look at all the very fine Shirvan prayer rugs that ended up in Europe and the US in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, without much evidence that they were ever prayed upon or even meant to be prayed upon. To my eye, these do not look like strictly “tribal” pieces; they look like luxury items that were woven for sale, gifts, or trade. Unless they were all dowry weavings,they don’t look like specifically “ethnic” pieces that would necessarily have had a common or ritual use within a specific tribe, as would be the case with very fine Turkmen weavings. That is not say that whoever wove these lovely pieces may not have had one in their dwelling, (tent,village house?) for special occasions, but can we rule out the likelihood that these designs were chose more to satisfy a particular taste among buyers in New York, London, Vienna or St. Petersburg than to preserve or transmit traditional designs? With apologies for suggesting something as prosaic as commercial motives in producing such handsome pieces, Regards, Ken

Subject  :  RE:Commercial Influences on Design
Author  :  Mike Tschebull
Date  :  09-04-2000 on 08:28 p.m.
Very good point, and to ignore the connection between Eastern (pile) rug design and Western demand is to only concoct huge folly when trying to figure out what it all means.

Subject  :  RE:Commercial Influences on Design
Author  :  Steve Price
Date  :  09-04-2000 on 08:41 p.m.
sprice@hsc.vcu.edu I agree, too. And I am struck by the fact that it hadn't really occurred to me until Kenneth mentioned it that the most obvious driving force in deciding what to make for sale is what is most likely to sell easily. It's interesting to discover our blind spots. Steve Price

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